Gary Carpenter & Ed Hartouni
June 10, 2007
I suggested this climb as a test to see just how in shape we were... and I didn't quite measure up. The last time I did this climb was 9 years ago with John Gotti, in October and very quickly. I didn't remember anything really too difficult from that time. My memory is getting worse, and I'm just not as physically strong as I was... and this climb is burly.
We get an early start up to the base, just before sunrise. Wonderful views of the Cathedrals as the sun slants across.
We are using the topo on Russ' web site (http://www.fishproducts.com/topos/yostopos/eastbutt.html); which is done in 9 pitches with a 70 m rope... we start on the ground and do the "4th class" scramble and the first chimney pitch roped and all in one... here is Gary chimneying low.
The day promises to be excellent, with high cloud cover keeping things cool, along with the nice breeze. And the views keep on coming:
The first pitch is 5.9, and gets into the bidness up high, just as you pull onto the belay pedestal. Gary just jams the left crack, I stem and use both cracks, the thin crack on the right has a bunch of pin scars which serve well as hand holds.
Next the technical crux of the route, about three thin moves on a steep face with delicate edges to reach a feature... and then you're home free! Here I am standing on the feature getting pro in and thinking that the next couple of moves seem a lot harder than what I remember...
I go up the "gutter" then past the ant tree to the next higher belay place. I had to rig an "ant wiper" on the rope as the little suckers latched onto the rope for a free ride up. They were all over the place on these pitches.
Next pitch was Gary's, and it is the most photogenic of the climb. Here he is out on the buttress on easy but spectacular climbing.
We push this pitch as high as we can... my pitch is next, this is our 4th. The protection opportunities are sparse, and basically define the pitch which I took wandering all over the place up to the prominent crack below the block on the skyline.
I didn't quite like what I did on this pitch, but it worked... Gary got the pitch to the block. The 6th pitch is the real crux, and it was mine... ugh! A physical diagonaling crack leads to a corner. Both parts are really physical and try as I might, I didn't have the gas to pull off the first part of the pitch. I got in the pro, but came up short with cramping hands and fingers... four tries, with the last one resulting in a pretty good ride. At this point we know that Gary's Red Alien is OK, my having provided the mass for a pull test.
Gary takes over (great to have accomplished partners!) and takes a picture of me starting up the pitch again.
I have to say that I was in "French Free" mode at this point... two parties below making their way up, and I realizing that I've been traveling too much and not climbing enough. Even gym climbing would have been something.
We're not done yet! I get the next simple pitch... then Gary the wonderful 5.7 pitch on steep ground. This is a pitch with problematic protection, except that just when you were wishing you could get something in, a fixed piton shows up.
I have the final, pitch 9 which has a steep bulge to climb over. Not difficult, but I am beat at this point! Anyway, we top out.
Getting down is straight forward, and using the fixed lines makes it go very fast. We are back at the car in about 13 hours... not great, but considering that I backed off a pitch, not too bad either.
Gary jokes that we should just do this every week until it is easy, for training... I think it would be a great idea! Melissa sez we should totally do it, be the "Huber Bros" for the E. Butt.!
That would be fun.
A great, old school climb with the ghost of Frank Sacherer kicking your ass the whole way up...