TR: Heatwave Baby! the Valley, July '07


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
This thread has been locked
Messages 1 - 20 of total 62 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand.... man.....
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 11, 2007 - 03:35pm PT
(note: movies will probably require QT7 )

TR: Heatwave Baby! Valley, July '07

In standard fashion, it was one of the hottest Julys on record and we were going to the Valley. I'm not sure why we do it, but every year it is the same searing hell for a week or so.
This one would be no different. Trips like this start months beforehand in the planning and logistics. My plan was to sew my ass off for guys like the Pagan Monkey Boy and then still run out of time and have to beg and crawl at his feet for more time with which to fill his order.... I'm begging to go to the heat..... I hate it, but now after close to thirty years in the game, I no longer have a choice. The addiction takes over and suffering will be dealt out in heaping doses. Sooze arrives and does a quick inventory of our gear.... seems someone in the off season has sold their personal wall gear or traded it for beer.... I start to sew again..... aiders are needed... a haul bag is neeeded.... If a wall was in the cards, we would also need some sort of sh#t bag thingy.... I quickly sew up one of these, although I was planning on only eating cheeze and Jerky which will not be available for public viewing for at least a week after the fact if done correctly and in the perfect tube clotting ratios. Ok..... gear is adequate enough to cover any objective. Let's drive!

We stop in Bishop, mostly to feed on the soft money at the local poker game.... that and to see a few friends. Three hours later, I've won my gas money and am informed we will be going to a local crag in the AM.... good enough...... The approach is almost tolerable, but just barely. The illustrious Jingy and Tom (hmmm... no SuperTopo handle on him) are to meet us at the Dike Wall in Mammoth. We find Tom in the parking area waiting on Jingy... seems Jingy has been in the head for 45 minutes. The boy has some funny pipes. We eventually ditch the parking lot and find the cliff and crack off a few routes with a few hangs.... just to make Jingy feel good.

Here we are on something...... I fell off at the top but still downrated it.

Next stop is Tuolumne. We roll in and do what we usually do for the first 3 hours... look at the guide book and wonder why the hell helmet headed N00bs are all over the 5.8 Five Star routes..... on a holiday no less!!!! After a while I get desperate and fussy..... I settle on Hoodwink. Classic 5.10a. Says you need to be a real 5.10 leader to bag this beauty..... sounds like a n00b free zone. Before I can get out of the car, some fit looking metrosexuals quickly prance up the approach trail and I'm sure they are after this coveted prize... drats! I watch as they purposefully march up the trail and walk right past our proposed climb..... super! We gasp our way up the trail (we are in the Death Zone afterall) and scramble to the base...

Sooze takes off on the first pitch....

I lead the next one and since it is late in the day, there is talk of me busting it right over the crux roof and gassing for the summit..... this was not to be. The pro I took was not exactly inspiring, the rope drag was bordering on tremendous, and when I saw the roof I sh#t my pants.

I quickly set up a barely adequate anchor and brought up the Sooze.

The roof pitch is something to behold..... a crappy looking pin, a three finger flake at the lip, and then a view of nothing but air. After pretending it would be casual, I tell the Sooze to watch me close and I cast off right to the lip and do a free hanging thing (no pics.... whaddya, nuts!) to make sure I can actually hang the holds.... oh sh#t, I can hang them..... with my vast experience, I quickly deduce that there must be some righteous holds just over the lip, but out of sight.... only overcrimping severely, I slap up and left over the lip and find something that would usually be called a jug if you climbed 5.12 regularly... so I start some of the most ungraceful pulling of my career as I try to get my bacon over the lip of this roof. Pretty it was not, but the heel hook, hip scum, belly roll did the trick and I clipped the anchor of a very nice 9 foot pitch. Sooze then floated it...... damn! The next pitch has some very nice new 3/8" ASCA bolts and proved to be only mildly exciting for a few pulls.

On the summit while coiling the rope, Sooze got attacked by a hair monster....

OK.... down to the Valley for some heat. These bearable temps up in the Meadows are just too nice. We hook up with our buddy Will and take him to the only cool spot in the Valley on days like these...

the Blow Hole.

Here Will looks up in wonder.... and wonders how this crap will climb.

A shady spot with a consistent wind was just the ticket and we actually thought it was a nice day... even though it was probably 101 degrees down on the Valley floor. Looks like crap, climbs okay..... bolted sport type stuff with a lot of traffic noise and some vegetation....

Sooze on what is probably the best route on the crag... maybe

Sooze ready for less belaying and more Margaritas

Next stop on the tour between peeks at various walls that have sweating flailers on them, is some aid practice for Sooze. We go over to Controlled Burn and she does that aid thing up and down the monster. The heat at this point could probably be called "oppressive".

Next day we dig up our pal Will again and I have a new plan. Since this day will be the hottest day of the heatwave, up to 108 degrees some say, I thought it would be a good day for some wide stuff. I suggest we go to 1096 and then Bad Ass Momma for a warmdown. Will recruits some fresh meat in the form of "Young Strong Local", an 18 year old waif with plenty of pull left in him. He don't know it yet, but he is going to lead the 1096. Ah, youth..... they are up for anything! We get over there and prep the YSL on just what the deal is.... fist in the back, left side in, pimp into a layback at the top..... bad slings for an anchor. YSL proved to be a real gamer and was pimping hard right up until the moment he popped..... see the video here:

He got back on the thing and started pimping again, with copious moans and wriggling he eventually made it to the top... and to quote, "I'll need a minute here before I set up the anchor...... I'm pretty dehydrated and I think I might puke".

Some pics of the YSL in action:

Will and I both were glad to have a top rope. We both pitched out of the maw before gasping and bleeding our way to the anchors. Damn..... This thing never used to feel this hard... must be the new sticky rubber.

Now that we are fully beat down, what better time to go over to Bad Ass Momma. I set up the TR and notice the tree is much bigger since the last time I was here.... must have been a while.

I give the kids pointers on how I did it back in the day.....

My Dark Art tips didn't seem to help much and any upward success was hard fought for Will and the YSL.

Here is Will punching away on the thing.... looks kinda hot, huh?

I broke out my secret weapon..... taped down cuffs on some Jordache jeans.

Will and I gave it a couple of valiant and sweaty tries (video here: ) before I needed help to untie my knot after leaving some nice DNA samples in the crack.

Due to blood loss, no water, and general lack of fitness, the walk back to the car was a long one... but man that beer was cold when we got there.

Next day was yet another scorcher.... what better to do than go to Short Circuit! (another bad idea!)

I set it up and a bikini clad and already sweaty Sooze gives it a few pulls:

To say it was greased would not do it justice.... There would be no summits today. We quickly switched modes and went to the river and floated around for a while, then returned to pack our junk and get the hell out of there.

In a condensed and out of order timeframe, we also talked to EpicEd and had a mini shittalkers fest in the Camp 4 lot, partied with the El Portal crew (you know who you are..... all hail Yngwie Malmsteen!) made margaritas in El Cap Meadow a few times, blabbed with various illuminaries, ate our wall food which gave me a mild bout of butt-water (note to self: do not take that Curry Dream stuff up on a wall) had a Werner sighting at the Deli, went back to Bishop for more poker, and then hoped the fire closed 395 would open so we could get home.


Crestline CA
Jul 11, 2007 - 03:46pm PT
Yo... Nice report and great pics... nice to see people making good climbs in the heat... thanks

San Fran Cisco
Jul 11, 2007 - 03:48pm PT
awesome tr. i'm getting the sense that it was a bit warm.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jul 11, 2007 - 03:52pm PT

Social climber
The West
Jul 11, 2007 - 03:54pm PT
For a bit there, I thought you had it!

Cool chalkbag!
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jul 11, 2007 - 03:55pm PT
A nice TR - thanks!

That first picture looks somewhat like a bolted crack?

33 in Squamish today, so far - it's usually hottest in late afternoon. It was 36 yesterday = 97 Fahrenheit.

East of Seattle
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:01pm PT
Thanks for the great TR and for reminding me why I don't like offwidths though you almost tricked me into believing you were floating it.

Trad climber
A cube at my soul sucking job in Oregon
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:06pm PT
Wow... I think I need to stretch more...
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:15pm PT
Hey Russ,

I had hoped to run into you in El Portal when you were here, but your vehicle was gone after I had run some errands.It got to be 116 degrees that day. The Blowhole is the only place to climb when it is that hot, good choice. I did 15 different pitches up there and the further left you go the harder and steeper they get. Did you do the 200' pitch above the picture? It is classic (Redheads with jugs is the name).I think the Blowhole is some of the more enjoyable face climbing in the Valley.


Social climber
A prison of my own creation
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:25pm PT
Great TR, Russ.

Gym climber
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:26pm PT
So sorry I missed y'all. But DANG it was too hot to [fill in the blank, a la Charles Bukowski].

the slick
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:29pm PT
Here's a tip to avoid the heat:
Brought to you by shade, the summer alternative to the sun.

beneath the valley of ultravegans
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:31pm PT
After 30 years in the game you should have known that anything above the car IS the death zone. Good onya Mussy!

Happy and Healthy climber
the Gunks end of the country
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:38pm PT
OK. The 1096 vid was ok.

Nice whimpers!

But the half meter whipper disappointed!

BAM - Crazy! Looks like all ya needed was a pair of size 15 feet!

mountain view, ca
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:49pm PT

All I remember about your trip was very tasteless wack'a'mole jokes that had Frenchy cryin' with laughter. Oh, and mini going on about Xanax.

Don't forget to Netflix Grey Gardens.....fantastic!

BTY, I got nothin' to show for 2 hours of Google searching for the deocumentary you described.

the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Jul 11, 2007 - 04:57pm PT
Good stuff.

Maybe next time put margaritas in the nalgene on your harness?

Social climber
St. Looney
Jul 11, 2007 - 05:03pm PT
Looks like fun as usual. And looks like Sooze is crushing as usual.

A tent in the redwoods
Jul 11, 2007 - 05:09pm PT
When are you gonna show me how to width weasel?

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 11, 2007 - 05:12pm PT
Sweet TR, Russ. That 1096 OW looks awesome...and hard. You look pretty hot in those Jordache Jeans, I'll have to score me some of those.

Trad climber
Jul 11, 2007 - 05:58pm PT
Nice "sweatin like cheap pork" TR Russ. All I could do in the valley a week ago was dunk the Captain and two Neils in the Merced, kill green labels with amazing speed, and whine my way back to the meadows complaining of heat stroke.

cheers to you guys!


The chairman was envious of my capitalist green demon luggage.
Messages 1 - 20 of total 62 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta