Before I started my Partner said:
When you finally start climbing you’ll understand that there is just you and your route and on the summit, you will be a different person. Not because the route will change you but because it will show you your unknown face.
Last year we climbed Pacific Ocean Wall together. I learned my lesson
And trained a lot at home in Scotland.
There were so many things that “I’ve never done before” but I was 100% focused on my goal and nothing could stop me.
I carried water couple days before and met guys fixing on Tangerine Trip. The day before I started climbing I carried all my stuff to the base and found a present – guys from Trip left some more water for me, thank you, it was very nice!!
I blasted on 21st of October.
So..off I go
I did first pitch of Zodiac last year (for training) so I felt quite confident on it this year.
I climbed three pitches on that day. Everything was perfect, except my bed. I wasn’t able to put my portaledge up. It was so easy the day before, at the base, when I wasn’t tired.
I didn’t know what to do, it was very late (after midnight). After an hour, I gave up and extended daisy, sit down on the ledge and shaking waited for the morning.
Climbing, rock, weather, atmosphere and even my psyche, everything was great…except my portaledge. After day two, again, I was sleeping on a ledge. The base of the Black Tower was too steep so I abseiled to the Dead End Ledge. It was more horizontal but so narrow!! I fixed myself on couple bolts, glued my back to the wall behind me and try to sleep without moving on my side.
Luckily on the top of the Black Tower pitch I met two nice sport climbers who helped me with my unfortunate bed. (Couple days ago I found out that they were Babsi Zangerl and Jacopo Larcher .
16th of October they climbed Zodiac – 3rd free ascent – Contratulations!!!)
What a relief. I slept for 12hours although it was storm at night and in the morning.
When packing my haul bags, before I start climbing next day, I took a can of fruits from the bottom bag and because it was just a single can I didn’t know what to do with it (I needed two hands to jumar up to the belay) so I just put it in to my pocket and very quick forgot about it. That day I was climbing in the most beautiful part of the route – White Circle (with the can of fruits in my jacket).
I kept my portaledge up until last pitches, fixed corners with ductape to make sure nothing split during hauling. From that point all belays were hanging belays so no way to sleep without proper bed until the Peanut Ledge.
Climbing solo is so busy. I didn’t take many pictures, you may laugh but there was no time! Usually I called my days late at night.
Many people passed me on my route. Guys who did Zodiac in 24hours (2 teams, sorry I don’t remember your names, but it was very nice to meet you!!) warned me about storm (thanks guys!!) coming the next day – my 7th and last day of climbing. I wasn’t aware how many days I had already spent there, I was just pushing up, do my duties, move after move, lead, clean, haul, lead, clean haul…
I had three pitches left.
On my last day, I woke up earlier and did famous ‘no gear between me and belay’ pitch (the pitch above Peanut Ledge). It started raining at about 11:00am. I was hauling in a storm. Sort my gear and prepare to lead last two pitches. I heard the Voice from Falcon’s Nest –
‘Magda!! Do you think you can do it?’ ‘
‘I don’t know, but I’ll try!’.
It wasn’t an answer which the Voice was expecting. But what could I say.. I never climbed in a storm, or even in a rain!!
Second last pitch was beautiful and that crack in slabs at the beginning!!
It was still raining. Summit was so close and yet so far away. Water was coming through my sleeves when I was reaching high and I was soaking despite having rainproofs on. It was very cold, I topped out just after dusk and run away from the summit to Camp4.
Strom didn’t stop the next day too. I was very tired – definitely not in a condition to go back to the summit and get my bags down.
Despite the rain two nice guys who I met in the Caf did it for me and retrieved my stuff (thank you guys!!!). I had a flight booked for the next day so there was no time left.
It was my first solo in my life. I was climbing for 7 days and I didn’t fix . For belaying I used Silent Partner, it’s quite heavy but it caught my falls so…
Using hammer is not my strongest point, I did it four times on the whole route. When I was cleaning, one of the pitons jumped out without even hitting it, just by pulling the rope, yes, it was a bomber ;)
I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who trusted I can do it and to everyone I met on the route for all the help and good words.
Oh..and my Partner was right, Zodiac shown me my unknown, dirty face!