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erik fischer

Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 31, 2009 - 04:10pm PT
The video we made of the climb can be accessed by clicking on this link.



Epinephrine is a 5.9 2000 foot 5 star sandstone classic with 500 feet of chimney climbing thrown in for good measure. The climbing is moderate and super fun. The views and the exposure are awesome!


We did the approach twice. We approached the climb the day before to scope out the route and mark key turn points with reflective tape. We marked 8 points. As a result, the approach only took us 30 minutes the day of the climb. Once we got into the dried up creek bed we stayed in it until it pinched off. There is a short fixed line there that continues up the creek bed. We opted not to use it because we could not see if it was core shot. Instead we climbed up an embankment (as described in the beta) to the left. This is where we found the 10 ft 5.0 crack. After soloing that we curved right and descended a little back down into the creek bed. A few minutes later we were at the base of epinephrine.


We bypassed the 5.8 start of the climb and opted to solo the 5.4 variation to the right to save time. It seemed like it was 5.4 for 2 moves.

Pitch 1 (5.7) was fairly easy. It was sort of a mixed trad bolted route.

Pitch 2 (5.6) The 1st chimney pitch. The chimney opens up after about 20 ft and then begins again. This is where I got off route. What I should have done was gotten into the 2nd chimney and stayed in it until it pinches off after a bulge and then move out onto the face. This is all described quite well in the beta and topo but I was too impatient and did not reference the beta before continuing. I left the chimney too early (at the 1st opening) and got sucked in because I saw a bunch of chalk marks going to the right. So I guess other people have screwed this pitch up as well. I have no idea what rating I was on, but it was definitely a lot harder than 5.6. I checked the guide books afterwards. There is no established route variation until you get to the top of pitch 3 and it is 5.11. I was able to place protection for a while but then it thinned out significantly. I set our only number 3 nut and opposed it with a number 4 to force it to stay in place. After that there was no where to set any pro with the gear I had left. I knew I was off route. I should have backed off. Instead I made the bad decision of pressing on and trying to run it out to safety. I was about 25ft above the #3 when I suddenly experienced weightlessness. The only thought that went through my head was ďTHIS IS NOT GOING TO TURN OUT WELL!Ē It was the longest fall Iíve ever taken (about 70 ft = 25ft x 2 + slack 5ft + stretch 15ft). Ross lowered me down about 10 ft where I could get on a ledge. It was difficult to belay Ross up to me because I shredded my figure tips on my middle, ring finger and thumb on my right hand. I also racked myself pretty bad. By the time Ross got up to me there was blood everywhere. He did a great job of taping my fingers up so we could continue. After the whipper I could only use my pointer finger and pinky finger to climb with unless it was a huge jug. (Note to self) If there is ever any doubt which way to go reference the beta before continuing.

Pitch 3 and 4 (5.9) did not seem too difficult. They are plenty of places to place protection. A lot of the Chimney climbing had awesome hand jams in the back and positive layback moves. On pitches 2-4 we used a combination of chimney, crack climbing and layback skills.

Pitch 5 (5.8) (The last chimney) On this pitch all the climbing (except 2 fist jams at the end) was chimney climbing. It was protected by 2 bolts. A lead fall would have felt scary as hell but it would have been safe and clean. Ross went to a ledge to the left just before the belay. It was not the correct way. He had to climb back into the chimney (which he said was scary as hell) and do a couple of fist jams to get above the chimney. Immediately after escaping the chimney was the belay station. Our backs did not hurt at all from the chimneys.

Pitch 6 (class 4) was the second part of supertopo pitch 5. It was very easy but exposed with no pro.

Supertopo pitch 6 (5.8) was face climbing with 2 bolts and plenty of places to place protection. It ends at the top of the elephant trunk. A set of black diamond c3 cams (or other small cams) on this pitch would have prevented long run outs and speed things up a little. There are great photo ops from the top of the trunk.

Pitch 7-9 (5.9, 5.9, 5.8) nothing special to comment on.

Pitch 10 5.9 We pulled 3 roofs before getting to the belay station. The bolts are cut at the belay station and for the rest of the route. Also, this pitch is much shorter than the beta described. Ross almost kept going until he saw the bolt holes and realized he was at the belay station.

Pitch 11 (5.6) nice easy 5.6 crack.

Pitches 12-15 (4th and low 5th class) On the ramp it seemed like you could go left or right at several points. We kept going left and felt it was the easiest way. Once we got to the large tree at the end of pitch 15 we unroped.


We tried for 2 hours and made very little progress. 1st we went to the summit. That part was easy. (There is a decent wind break on the summit.) Then we tried following cairns down the ridge. Finally it seemed like we had reached the last cairn. We descended down what we thought was the correct gully. I did not see any cairns. At this point we had been trying to get down for almost an hour and a half. We were still relatively close to the summit. I was worried about becoming severely dehydrated. I suggested bivying so we could conserve what water we had left in our bodies. Ross quickly agreed. I remembered passing a small cave but I didnít recall exactly where it was. After about 20 minutes of searching we found it. It felt like the wind was blowing directly into the cave at about 30 knots. I ventured outside to find a better bivy spot. As soon as I crawled out of the cave I almost got knocked off my feet by the wind. So we decided to stay put and suffer. I choked a lot and my eyes got extremely irritated from all of the dust being kicked up by the wind. We got in our 3.5 oz Emergency medical bivy sacks (a last second addition to our gear) and kept them pulled over our heads. If we had not had those bivy sacks it would have been a horrendous night. After a few hours the wind died down. We both actually got some sleep. It did not get below 67 degrees.

We decided to get going about 45 minutes before sunrise. We started baking as soon as the sun rose and we had no water left. We found a guide book on the way down. This was very helpful since I lost the beta the night before. It was very easy to navigate with daylight on the ridge. We got to our car in about an hour. Luckily we had left some Gatorade shaded in the car.


We were in the shade the entire climb. It felt very comfortable with a high of 97 reported in Vegas. Its about 10 degrees cooler at the start of the hike than it is in Vegas.

We used 1 rope. We could have bailed from the top of the black tower and left only 2 nuts. Above that bailing with 1 rope would have been more difficult but possible. However, once we were at the top of the black tower we figured we pretty much had it in the bag. Using fanny packs and not having a back pack really worked out well. It made things a lot quicker and easier.

We elected not to link up the chimney pitches in the chimneys because we thought the chimneys were going to more strenuous. Also, we only had 1 #4 and thought we might not have it to use if we needed it if the pitches were too long.

We were slow getting to the top and had to bivy for 3 reasons: #1 My whipper ate up a lot of time, #2 I could not crimp with my right hand at all and #3 Ross had to lead all the pitches except 2 after I whipped. Otherwise we would have made it up and down with plenty of daylight to spare.

On the descent, donít turn left off the ridge into the descent gully until you are absolutely sure that there are no more cairns to follow on the ridge.

GEAR LIST (amounts are total group gear unless otherwise stated)

The Rack

1 sets of black diamond nuts 3-13
2 sets black diamond cams .3 to 3
1 black diamond #4
12 24in slings
6 48in slings(2 for fanny packs, 1 for HD camera)
2 rope hooks
4 daisies
2 long slings pre tied off for belay station
63 Lightweight Binners
4 Small Locking Binners
4 Large Locking Binners
3 atcs +2 rap rings

Other gear

2 Mountainsmith recycled tour lumbar pack
Black Diamond Zodiac gear sling
1st aid kit 7 oz (has compass, whistle, lighter, fire starter, tape, etc)
2 Small knifes
2 nut tools
Rope - Beal Joker
Head lamps + extra batteries
2 Cameras
Extra memory cards
Tape gloves
Route map + beta


Climbing shoes
Lightweight approach shoes
Lightweight long-sleeved Polypro base layer
2 lightweight short sleeve shirts (Could have got by with 1)
Rei taku pants
3 oz walmart poncho
3.5 oz emergency bivy sacks

Hydration (per person)

3 liters
1 1 liter collapsible platypus we drank before we got on the wall

Food (per person)

3 pb+js 2 cans 3 oz tuna 5 accel gels (1900- 2100 calories each)

Gear for scoping the route the day before gear

10 pieces of reflective tape

We both felt it would have been better to take a set of BD c3s and leave the largest 4 nuts behind. We felt 1 #4 cam was sufficient for us. However, we should have been a little more careful to use it only where we really needed it. The rest of the gear seemed about right.

Mountain climber
Aug 31, 2009 - 05:09pm PT
nice report and nice vid. funny looking decoration sticking out of the top of your helmet though.

Is that your vid also of the casual route on the diamond. Even better. You guys seem to be in the habit of bivying. ha

Trad climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
Aug 31, 2009 - 05:26pm PT
Nice sticktoitness!

Cool video.


Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Aug 31, 2009 - 05:27pm PT
Sounds like an adventure.
Didja go back and get your tape?

Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Aug 31, 2009 - 05:39pm PT

Story... Thorough....

Details.... Many....

Video... perfect (love the soundtrack)....

Nice send guys.. too bad about the fall and the crazy nights sleep ..... but good to see everybody made it out ok...


Trad climber
Boston, MA
Aug 31, 2009 - 05:41pm PT
A friend of mine got off route in, I think, the same place you did. He also broke off a hold and went for a long fall. Only landing on his camelback saved him from breaking his coccyx. Banged up though he was, they still finished the climb. But after that fall he had nightmares for months, never really got his head back in the game, and eventually gave up climbing.


Trad climber
San Diego
Aug 31, 2009 - 08:32pm PT
Nice video guys. Looks like you had an awesome adventure.

The coolest thing about putting the effort into editing a TR is viewing it 6 months later and reliving the moment. Nice Job .

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Aug 31, 2009 - 08:57pm PT
bumb cuz you finished!
Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Aug 31, 2009 - 09:06pm PT
Hay hey! Good job!!

Trad climber
Aug 31, 2009 - 09:21pm PT

Big Wall climber
A cube at my soul sucking job in Oregon
Aug 31, 2009 - 10:24pm PT
Very nice. Bivying beats down climbing past rap stations like my bud Kevin ended up doing...

Aug 31, 2009 - 10:25pm PT
A great adventure! What video camera did you use?
Captain...or Skully

Social climber
Aug 31, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
Dudes, that's a SWEET vid....
Way to stick with the program, whippers & all.
Loved the tunes, too.
Look, a desert bighorn!

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Sep 1, 2009 - 12:08am PT
FANTASTIC video. whippers, unplanned bivies, booty a guide book when you need it the most...great stuff!!!

Sep 1, 2009 - 12:33am PT
Thanks for sharing it, great music and video, but your camera sucks. Upgrade your camera and turn pro, thats good stuff!
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Sep 1, 2009 - 10:39am PT
The time lapse chimney footage is very cool.
i posted a link to this page

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Sep 1, 2009 - 12:52pm PT
Great TR guys, right on! and way to persevere through the hard parts, really showed your climbing spirit!

The music selection was right on, too. Happy climbing!

Trad climber
The High And Lonely
Sep 1, 2009 - 06:30pm PT
Awesome TR. That climb is so spicey all the way, it never lets up!

Sep 3, 2009 - 03:37pm PT
This is cool.. I almost want to say that the video narration is cheezeball - but actually I really like it.

[paraphrase] ~ "We made it! on the summit .. [yeah! all smiles] ... Now we have to get down [in the dark, Yikes]"



Social climber
Jtree, now in Alaska
Sep 3, 2009 - 05:08pm PT
Looks like a good time, hope the hand heals up!

Old Pueblo, AZ
Sep 3, 2009 - 05:14pm PT
Good video, great attitude.

That's what you get for pretending the danger's not real.
Meek and obedient you follow the leader
Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
What a surprise!
A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
Now things are really what they seem.
No, this is not a bad dream.

edit- "He converteth me to lamb cutlets"
always loved that line!
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