Trip Report
Cosmic Trauma Zion National Park
Saturday June 6, 2009 8:32pm
Cosmic trauma

Day 3 in Zion. At 10:00 we met up in the coffee shop but couldn’t figure out what to climb. Everyone recommended Cosmic Egg but we were done climbing north facing shaded routes. We had our eyes on another celestial route: Cosmic Trauma. By all accounts it was just an OK route. Nobody in the coffee shop was really all that psyched on it… but it was in the SUN!

Driving into the canyon, we didn’t see another wall climber anywhere. I think we had the walls to ourselves!

Here is the route:
The route line.
The route line.
Credit: Chris McNamara

When we got to the base, Ammon remarked “Whoa, I don’t know quite what to think about this… It’s warm!”

We were ready to climb at 11:43. We debated waiting 18 minutes to maintain a perfect streak of post noon starts. But decided to start climbing anyway. Two pitches of Spaceshot led to 3 free pitches. I was at the pitch 5 belay 25 minutes after starting and Ammon Took over.

Here i am (a wee bit runnout) nearing the top of the fifth pitch
Credit: Chris McNamara

Here is Ammon toward the top of pitch 6.
Credit: Chris McNamara

I suggested that he leave the hammer behind so he would be lighter on the delicate clean placements (and therefor not take a whipper back onto me). He could always pull up the hammer if he needed it on the tag line. But he insisted. You see, we have two different styles: Ammon Feels that since every speed climbing rack is lighter than a full el cap nailing rack, its no biggy to carry the extras. I need to feel as light as possible. I feel no shame in leaving every single piece of gear with ammon that I don’t think ill need: extra big cams, my camera, candy bar wrappers…

Here is ammon midway up the Awkward pitch 7.
Ammon McNeely on crux pitch of Cosmic Trauma using the Yates Speed Aid...
Ammon McNeely on crux pitch of Cosmic Trauma using the Yates Speed Aiders
Credit: Chris McNamara

The route was rated A3 but we knew it had gone clean once. He led the first aid pitch clean. On the second aid pitch, he nailed one bugabook (big knifeblade). This would be the only hammered placement on the route. I think you can do that one move clean if you equalize the tinyest slider nuts. Or maybe you can do one sketchy free move around it? Ammon cruised the next aid pitch and then I lead 3 mostly easy free pitches to the top. One recommendation: once the route joins with Equinox, avoid the 5.10ow by climbing the cool 5.9 arete out left. We topped out with a time of 2:54. We think this was the first one day ascent of the route.

Here is the view from the summit:
Credit: Chris McNamara

When we got ready to walk down we realized we forgot the double rope rappel device. We only had two gri gris. Hmm. Guess we are simul rappelling… but does an 8mm accessory cord tagline work in a gri gri? Only one way to find out: 1) determine who has the newest Gri Gri with the least wear (that would be you, ammon) 2) start rappin.

Here ammon in enjoying the thin line. But for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they call him the El Cap Pirate?

Ammon McNeely rapping a too skinny rope (8mm?) with a Petzl Gr...
Ammon McNeely rapping a too skinny rope (8mm?) with a Petzl GriGri after the first one day ascent of Cosmic Trauma, Zion.
Credit: Chris McNamara


For the trip reports for Days 1 and 2 click here:

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Chris McNamara
About the Author
Climbing Magazine once computed that three percent of Chris McNamara’s life on earth has been spent on the face of El Capitan—an accomplishment that has left friends and family pondering Chris’ sanity. He’s climbed El Capitan over 70 times and holds nine big wall speed climbing records. In 1998 Chris did the first Girdle Traverse of El Capitan, an epic 75-pitch route that begs the question, “Why?”

Outside Magazine has called Chris one of “the world’s finest aid climbers.” He’s the winner of the 1999 Bates Award from the American Alpine Club and founder of the American Safe Climbing Association, a nonprofit group that has replaced over 5000 dangerous anchor bolts. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and serves on the board of the ASCA, and Rowell Legacy Committee. He has a rarely updated adventure journal, maintains, and also runs a Lake Tahoe home rental business.

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Lida Junction
  Mar 12, 2014 - 09:54pm PT
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