After warming up in Tuolomne Meadows, I was psyched to climb the coolest rock face in the world. Climbing El Cap with my dad had been on my wish list for ever and on August 2 we finally started the operation!
Since he has done most classics we decided to do Never Never Land.
We fixed 4 pitches,
during which I did my first actual aid leads...
which was necessary to get to Timbuktu Tower...
which has to be one of the coolest ledges on El Cap. I don't think aiding is that cool, but hanging out on the Cap definitely is!
After Timbuktu the climbing got alot harder...
and so our dinner was well deserved!
The first pitch after the Pinnacle of Hammerdom, which we climbed too, was the crux, by far. It was the first time I placed a pin in my life and very interesting. Much more fun jugging it the next morning...
The next A3 pitch was much easier, but less good.
on the way to the top we met an animal that was in worse shape than we...
and finally got to the summit happiness moment!
After a night on the summit...
we made it back down,
and took a rest day.
and then met with Jim Donini, George Lowe,Karine and Peter Croft, and Don Lauria for dinner. Peter did not provide very much beta for the Traverse, but tons of inspiration! It was a fantastic dinner.
The next day, Don, Jim, George, my dad and me hiked in. Don is more than 4 times my age and really fit.(for any age but considering he is 78 makes you speechless) His dog Olivia accompanied us.
Looking at the Mendel and Darwin made me wonder if the Evolution Traverse was a reasonable objective...
But i did not know Jim and George ... yet!
The camp at Darwin Bench is really cool.
The next morning we started the traverse, and quickly made it to the first peak.
Only 8 to go!
photo by George
photo by George
On this picture you can see the crux section, Haeckel and Fiske.
Going down from Darwin is a real bitch, tons of choss. But I guessed that as long as Jim and George were making jokes and taking pictures it couldn't be too bad... ;)
George on one of the few pitches we got the rope up for:
Jim on one of the most exposed sections...
Those "old guys" are not "old guys". I will not be able to describe this, and you will not be able to understand it, unless you see them in action. But believe me you would anyways not believe me.
After Haeckel my dad opted out, and we all started to get tired! By the time we were below Huxley I took this selfportrait:
we reached the last summit , where we bivied, just before dark.
The next day it was time for the victory shot!! Hell I was proud, I have to admit.
What is clear is that without George and Jim this part of the tripreport would probably be like... we tried, got to darwin, which has this scary descent and called it good...
As an illustration, imagine your on a pretty big face with gullies etc. You want to cross that face but no way seems better than another and you can't see very far. They will apperantly randomly choose one way to go and you end up not encountering many difficulties.So far so good. Now you look around and realize that it had been the only doable way, for some reason. ... ...
After two rest days, my friend William, with whom I had climbed the Nose, showed up for a bigwall camping trip...
Being physically but especially mentally completely trashed I was looking forward to some tanning and hanging out on El Cap.
Equipped with new sunglasses we were stoked to try the Muir Wall!
It was too hot for tanning though!
Between 95 an 101 in the valley every day made us decide to go quicker and drink more...
we had an infite amount of fun!
Those dihedrals they made me sooo happy!
On pitch 23 I took a pretty nice whipper, after cam hooking for a while and then trying to topstep a 000 C3 it blew and I had a good flight.
William who in the last 365 days had climbed on 3 days, led the hardest pitch of his life on 24. C2 my arse...
It was all microstoppers for 50 feet, and I almost pissed in my pants belaying!
He is clearly the best not climbing climber I know.
Pitch 25 was easier with a little freeclimbing, but had an interesting placement:
The exposure was amazing up there!
That big dihedral, the reason why we wanted to this route, blew my mind!!
After we reached the rim, I went back down 100ft to clean the bags, and performed the summit dance in space...
Having a few days left in the Valley, Neil, an english guy I me in Camp 4 and I planned to give the Leaning tower West Face a shot... I was more tired than I thought I was, and when I ended up accidentially climbing the free variation on Pitch 5, I got scared...
But we needed to get up there!
Ahwahnee is such a good ledge...
sketchy on P5
nice sailing for the rest, though...
look for me...
it's pretty steep!
When you top out, you get this nice view of the Bigger Stone.