TR - Steck Salathe 7/26/08


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Social climber
My Inner Nut
Jul 28, 2008 - 10:12am PT
Awesome TR, Will. Way to get after the classics! Very impressive! Yowza!


Boulder climber
Redmond, OR
Jul 28, 2008 - 10:21am PT

A great tr! Recommend sticky rubber wet suit hood for Narrows pitch+ welder glovery.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jul 28, 2008 - 10:26am PT
Nice job guys!!!

Reliving the memory of being beat by that monster...ugh.

Trad climber
Jul 28, 2008 - 10:52am PT
Wow, thanks for the TR. So much enjoyed suffering.
Thanks for the list of preparation climbs too -- not that I'll ever have your goal in mind...
Dingus Milktoast

Jul 28, 2008 - 11:10am PT
Great story thanks

Gary Carpenter

SF Bay Area
Jul 28, 2008 - 11:51am PT
Steve & Will;

We were thinking about you Saturday. Trying to send positive energy your way. Glad you were successful!!


Jul 28, 2008 - 12:24pm PT
Cool rundown, thanks Azz. You guys are badass. Great accomplishment. What a route!

Still never heard of anyone doing the outside of the Narrows. I can't imagine it being as bad as that tunnel; it's reasonable back-foot into a stem and up, maybe a move or two of .9. Scary even to follow, which I did twice.

P1 is quite the eye opener. I know a 5.10 ripper who couldn't get it and had to bail when his partner couldn't either.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jul 28, 2008 - 12:54pm PT
Mike - I did the outside of the Narrows, albeit on TR after Brutus led it and chucked a rope down outside the chockstone. No way my widebody was going up that slot! Pretty wild, but doable. Salathe's bolts were out there going up the outside arete.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 28, 2008 - 01:00pm PT
Nice report - thanks for sharing. We did the Chouinard-Herbert on Thursday/Friday with 6 liters of water and were still glad to get down and drink from the stream!

Links for the photos you lifted:

Steph Abegg's report:

Zander's report:

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 28, 2008 - 01:29pm PT
Thanks dudes and thanks Clint for linking that.

BTW: Went I went up to retrieve my pack from the base of the approach ramps on Sunday, it was gone. If anyone knows anything please contact me. It's a charcoal and black Lowe Mountain Attack 50, pretty abused. There wasn't anything in it, except Scuff's windshirt and some random junk in the top lid like sunscreen and some webbing. No food in there so I can't imagine an animal dragged it away (I also had put a big block on top of it, so it would have taken a good size critter).

The best TR I've read for this route was Yo's Father-Son account buried halfway down in this thread

It's hilarious, don't miss it.

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
Jul 28, 2008 - 01:35pm PT
"My face was numb and tingling, I was sort of giggling, dizzy, and felt like Id taken about a half-tab of acid and some narotics."

Nice work on the description. great TR.

scuffy b

Zeno's Paradise
Jul 28, 2008 - 01:48pm PT
How bad can it be?
Thanks, Will.
Big route, ass well kicked. Being intimidated for years by this
is understandable in hindsight.

As usual, I have been trying to figure out what I did wrong.
1) get some sleep before attempting this climb. My reserves
felt low, but, you bad can it be?
2) I wasted an incredible amount of energy trying the wrong
things at the Wilson Overhang. I think by the time we were
both up this pitch, our fates were sealed.
3) I was really, really, SUTPID in the Narrows. I didn't just
trail everything from the get-go. I paid for this big time in
wasted energy, Will paid for this in the time I wasted, I'll
have to wear long pants for the next couple weeks to keep
from grossing out my co workers.

Will was solid, the descent was fine.
Under 20 hours car to car, swam in Tenaya the next day.

Dancing beneath a Full Moon on the Edge of Forever
Jul 28, 2008 - 02:05pm PT
Dang Will,

Excellent TR! Great writing--I could really feel all the joy and all that pain, too...(although maybe that was me feeling the joy of not ever having to do what was causing you all that pain--the Narrows gave me claustrophobia just looking at the photo you posted).

Congrats to you and Scuffy for getting up that thing, especially without H2O. Amazing effort.

(And I loved the way you guys kept changed your clothing, hair, even your bodies during the climb...kind of like we girls do...only better.) ;-)

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jul 28, 2008 - 02:10pm PT
I'd still have to give Brutus' game plan for the SS the big vote. Hike up the back way the day before, drop off bags, food, water. Then when you top out, have a nice comfy bivy and hike down the next morning.

Okay boyz... if you're ticking the list, sounds like Yosemite Point Buttress is next up to bat. :-)

Jul 28, 2008 - 02:33pm PT
But when somebody swipes your cache?...Ouch, babe.

Aye, steelm, you took the easy way = ) Which I would do every time there. The outside was rumored to be an aid variation as I recall. It's actually fun, eh? The Narrows proper does not really look like fun to me. I wonder what the bolts look like today, they were creepy 16 years ago as I recall.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Jul 28, 2008 - 02:46pm PT
Mike - it was doable on TOPROPE. Don't recall enough about it to have any opinion on how it would be on lead. At this point, I don't even recall if I hung on it or not. I remember this cool funky pirouette stemming move coming out of the chimney proper and I remember the bolts sort of hanging out tinkling in the breeze. But I was too trashed to be concentrating on much more than getting to the top at that point.

There was NO way I was getting up the Narrows. No way, no how.

Largo has a barrel chest... did he ever go up that thing?

Edit: Here's the paragraph on that section from the trip report I did back in June of '95 after doing the route.

"When my turn came, I swallowed and began chimney out to the outside face. The chimneying was very solid on the way out there. The exposure of exiting this slot near the top of the north face was pretty huge. I continued chimneying out and was able to brace off an unseen offset shelf on the outside of the slot, which made things actually doable. I got up a little higher and then turned around in the slot and started chicken-wings, stemming and knee-slots to get up the wide crack (5.9+). Considering the nature of the climbing, it went surprisingly well. Lots of little footholds on the outside wall helped, as I wiggled my way past the four historical bolts, placed during the first ascent by John Salathe. I got past the chockstone and was soon at the belay."

Social climber
wuz real!
Jul 28, 2008 - 02:58pm PT
Excellent Excellent! That's what it's all about!
Congrats Will and Steve!
We were in the meadows this weekend, wondering if you were on it, sent vibes.

Too bad we missed you yesterday, we even swam in Tenaya lake Too!

Social climber
Truckee, CA
Jul 28, 2008 - 03:31pm PT
"Al, if I could only have a little orange juice..."

Best TR in a long time and adds a lot of fuel to the fire. Plus, some good beta/advice that I hadn't heard elsewhere. I've been very eager to get on this one, and likewise trying to gobble up as much wide practice as I can get. Afraid it will have to wait another year, but I guess that's more time to get my wide down and my fitness up (assuming my ankle ever heals). ECIYA, you got some pretty rugged routes in your training list. Just curious, but did you lead all those? I get thirsty on long climbs, to the point that it affects my performance a lot. But chimneying with a bunch of crap dangling is no fun, so I've been wondering about how I'll rectify that. Long tethers I suppose. Anyway, awesome TR and congrats on baggin' a coveted classic!

Social climber
Joshua Tree
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 28, 2008 - 03:57pm PT

No, I didn't lead all the stuff in that list, probably led or free soloed 2/3 of it and TR'd or followed the rest. Led all the valley stuff except 1096 and BAM. Russ led the harder stuff in Josh like Point of No Return, One Armed Giant, etc.

The hardest ones (for me) that I led were probably Generator and Ahab. I'd TR'd Generator a few times before leading it, and got shut down on Ahab the first time and came back with a 6 friend and got it done. There is nothing remotely as hard as either of those on the SS, it's just the cumulative effects. Lots of people recommend Entrance Exam as a good practice pitch that is similar to the crux, but I've never done it...never climbed at Arch for that matter, usually way too hot down there.

For water it won't get in your way too much until the upper half of the route. You'll probably end up trailing junk in a couple of spots, so I'd take thin crushable bottles and by the time you get to the great chimney you'll have drank and flattened half of them. I could have easily drank 3 liters on the route.

I only dangled stuff on the Narrows, just clipped my gear sling with part of the rack, shoes, water bottle to the end of my daisy so it hung about 3' below my feet.
scuffy b

Zeno's Paradise
Jul 28, 2008 - 04:30pm PT
I had an overall impression of impending doom, especially
after my shenanigans in the Wilson Overhang nearly cost us
our job descriptions.
I kept thinking, "O No, we don't have it. we're... we're...

Flat Out Not Good Enough!!"

But whenever I looked down, we were indisputably higher than
before, so onward...

Also, in the back (sometimes front) of my mind was a story I
heard way back when I was young. Maybe Bruno remembers this.
Story was, a guy fell out of his hand jams almost at the top of
the climb, his foot got stuck, he hit his head and fell onto
the ledge and died. I really, really didn't want to lead the
last 5.9 pitch.
So after my supremely time-burning final lead, when Will finally
got up to me, headlamp going, I asked (please, O please) if
that pitch might have included the 5.9 hands.
When Will told me that the last 5.9 was below us, that's when
I knew we probably wouldn't die.
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