"That summer Walter Rosenthal and I got interested in doing an alternative route to the Nose. Maybe Bev and I were having trouble then, I don't remember. But we were looking at a long angled climb on El Cap, that I was going to call El Cappidosia. Bev was sitting in her hammock belaying and reading a book about a perverted football player and his perverted fraternity initiation involving a backwards race and the loser eating grapes. The route was so contrived we decided to use the scene from that awful book to name the climb Grape Race.
"That night we had a lovely romantic night, on Camp 4 ledge, completely relaxed.
"Then the next day we looked out across that expanse on unbolted granite we needed to traverse to stay on our route. I looked across at the corner and it was a bit contrived. It didn't go as I had hoped it would and we would have had to go back to me bolting and her belaying to the finish. And she'd been on El Cap for so long, it would have meant more sitting around."
"Beverly understood you can be living on a big rock face, and enjoy it... It takes a say or two to get into it and then it could be forever."
From Beverly Johnson
"I was still fairly strung out from the Triple Direct which I had finished five days before. My mind was still boggled and my wounds still open-an incredible set of blisters from my boots, chunk of meat still missing from my hands, my back raw from my waist loop. I couldn't believe I was going back up. Extended climbs are at least as punishing mentally. Can't relax. Seven days of trusting my life to flimsy gadgets and fragile ropes. Got to stay alert. No mistakes-Ran out of food and water and had to spring to the summit, climbing most of the final night by headlamp and moonlight."
This is not a bad route but a sort of neither here nor there route. The Great Cracks is cool, (Tommy could free climb it) and the position in fun and unique. The first three pitches (of the route proper) are almost solid 1/4" button head bolts.
I climbed the route mostly clean, hammering only 6 pieces. Two Tomahawks on P7, two LAs on P10 (which I could have avoided had I been braver to run it out, protectionless, further right off the anchor) and then two copperhead a bit further up. It made a great start to Tribal Rite since I had already climbed the Right Side of the Tower twice.
2 Copper Heads, one small and one large.
2 medium LAs
2 Small Tomahawks.
1 set Hooks
20 rivet hangers
2 sets offset and regular nuts.
2 sets Metolius Offset Master Cams
2 sets Metolius Master Cams
2 each additional cams to 3.5
The first two pitches are on the Nose (linking the 2nd and 3rd) so the last 110 feet of the third pitch is the first of Grape Race.
P3 5.11 or 5.9/5.10 C1, 190 feet
P4 Fixed copperheads and C1, 170 feet
P5 C2, 120 feet
P6 5.5 C2, 190 feet
P7 A3 (?) those Tomahawks, although in only 1/4 inch, were pretty bomber! 115 feet
P8 The Great Crack, C1, 170 feet
P9 5.9/5.10 C1, 130 feet
P10 A2, 150 feet
P11 C1 5.11 (awesome corner to Eagle Ledge on the Nose) 130 feet
All "rivits" are hangerless 1/4" buttonheads and all anchors are at least 2 solid 3/8" bolts.
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