Trip Report
Airstream 5.13, The Incredible Hulk
Monday July 8, 2013 11:39pm
The Hulk Bites
The Hulk Bites
Credit: mishik

It's 4:30am, the alarm goes off, we race to make coffee and drive from Lee Vining to Bridgeport. The drive is a blur. Forty minutes into the 2.5 hour approach, my stomach is upset. The antibiotics I have been taking for the past few days aren't doing me any favors, leaving me somewhat weak. Nevertheless, we keep hiking.

We are at the base, and the wind is howling. The only other party on the wall is a duo of German's dressed in warm Alpine down suits. They are bailing off. "Positive Vibrations, too windy!" one utters.

The first pitch is 5.10, the next 4 5.11. I blast off on lead, trying to climb fast and stay warm. It's cold, but I still manage to weld pieces. I feel like I am drowning: is it the strong winds, the fast pace, the elevation, the drugs? My partner pulls a huge block off one of the pitches.
P3 of Airstream
P3 of Airstream
Credit: mishik

We are finally at first crux. 12c Mystery Stemming according to Croft, a brilliant, bolted pure stem box with no crack in the back. I start off, the pitch feels easy. I am a sport climber at heart. Next pitch is 5.13, more stemming. The start feels easy, I break a crimp 15 feet up, take a big fall, gash my index finger, I am bleeding everywhere. We never bring tape, but for some unknown reason, this time we have it. A roll later, I am climbing again and get through the pitch. The final crux is 12c stem to world class finger splitter. I forget half the gear at the belay, maybe that's why I feel so light on the pitch.
5.13 crux
5.13 crux
Credit: mishik

We don't do the final 5.10 pitch as gaining the ridge is a chancy proposition due to the hurricane around us. We rappel, get to the ground.

The way back.
The way back.
Credit: mishik

Next morning, we run into Peter Croft, the FFA of the route in Lee Vining. I don't know what to say to him: "Great route!", "What a choss pile!", "Look at my finger!" So I don't say anything, and we drive to climb 5.9 in Tuolumne.

  Trip Report Views: 5,247
About the Author
mishik is a gym climber from San Francisco.

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Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:04am PT
Nice, Mike!
Actually pretty awesome to go from no partner 3 days earlier to running up that!
Must be all those day trips up the Grade VIs could get you into shape if you're not careful? :-) What a spring/summer.
It seems that cold hands can bleed so quickly, and that red stuff is slippery! Pretty cool to have the tape, slap it on and jump back on....

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:18am PT
12c feels easy?!? You're a robot at heart.

Thanks for sharing, that thing looks beautiful

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:28am PT
Great job! I love how you opened with the bloody finger picture.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:28am PT
Nice! I wish I could climb 5.13 like that!

Trad climber
  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:38am PT
Sport climber my ass!
goatboy smellz

  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:39am PT

  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:56am PT

Social climber
Santa Cruz
  Jul 9, 2013 - 01:02am PT
very impressive...
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
  Jul 9, 2013 - 01:08am PT
You run into Croft and say nothing about the climb? That's pretty cool.
The Tuolumne 5.9's must have felt pretty pedestrian. Way to go!

Trad climber
  Jul 9, 2013 - 01:38am PT
Mike, impressive lead. Whenever I climb Positive Vibrations I look at Airstream I wonder what a person can climb the 5.13 pitch... Just a correction the German duo was me and my Czech friend and we wished we had alpine dawn jackets. We were freezing cold in the high wind on P5 in our light windbreakers. Even the bailing was hard - got tangled into our double rope on the rappel from P5. What an remarkable lead under these conditions!

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Jul 9, 2013 - 02:31am PT
love hulk

Trad climber
  Jul 9, 2013 - 02:33am PT
eliot carlsen

Social climber
  Jul 9, 2013 - 03:17am PT

Boulder climber
  Jul 9, 2013 - 03:30am PT
Short but sweet....awesome report!!

Social climber
San Francisco
  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:04pm PT
Nice pictures, Mike! Thanks for the report. Sport climber - ha, ha! You are definitely a robot. I hope your finger heals up.

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:13pm PT
At least someone is climbing on this forum. Well done.

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  Jul 9, 2013 - 02:22pm PT
Hulk Smash!!!

bay area
  Jul 9, 2013 - 02:27pm PT

How was the 5.9?
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 9, 2013 - 08:15pm PT

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 9, 2013 - 08:42pm PT
Well done!

Trad climber
Mountain View
  Jul 11, 2013 - 06:08pm PT
Sweet to see you posting Mike. You should write up a TR from freeing Watkins and doing Freerider!!

  Jul 11, 2013 - 06:15pm PT
Wow, inspiring TR. looks like a beautiful route.

Oakland, CA
  Jul 11, 2013 - 07:19pm PT
Bump. Wonder how many ascents a season this line sees? Can't be many.

Trad climber
Clovis, CA
  Jul 12, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
Siqueness! Bump for the Hulk Hardman...way to bleed for it!
Johnny K.

  Jul 16, 2013 - 07:08pm PT
Watkins and Freerider?Please share...

Amazing climbing,thanks for sharing!
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