South Face C1 5.8
Trip ReportFFA South Face Washington Column - Triple Use Acronym
Let me start this off by saying 3rd time is a charm, first go on the south face I ended up free climbing the first pitch a couple years back (2014) and the temperatures in the valley were insane so we simply decided to go and climb in the meadows instead. So although that is not much of an attempt we will still put it on the list of failures and or lessons learned. The second go was last year (2015) in which we were fixing pitches with rain day in day out and ended up bailing after fixing P5 as the storms were not looking good (raining again) and we were moving slow as well, wow what a disappointment failures again...
Moving along... (2016) Nicole and I flew into RNO to get some climbing in in lovers leap area for a day followed by some climbing in the valley at which we would meet our other partner Ed. We were moving pretty well at lovers leap and got in some good climbing there to get our climbing moving along (we are from Florida so some warm up was needed: pop bottle, surrealistic pillar, god of thunder, and East Crack).
We then got into the valley after following a slew of traffic through the winding roads (we came in on memorial day weekend, and what a mistake that was - about 2 hours added to the commute time). We did a few routes to warm up here as well and I wanted to make sure we did not get screwed with the weather as in the previous year so if it was calling for rain 30% or more in the days I was going to wait. Well the 31st of May was looking good for a start so we decided on that day...
The walk in to this route is kind of a pain in my opinion, which we knew so we decided to walk in the majority of our stuff the night before and then stash it at the base above the 4th class to then walk in early am and start the route. We had a spot in camp 4 and we did not get much sleep as I think we woke around 4am and got to the base around 5am, there was a party of two girls already starting but they were doing a single push skull queen ascent so we were good to go...
Nicole and I got up to dinner ledge a bit before lunchtime and were waiting a bit for the party to finish up on the Kor roof, it wasn't long and we had at it. Some fun aid and we had up to the end of 5 finished around 4-5pm. We had two lead lines with us hoping to continue on so it was my lead and although I was feeling a bit tired Nicole talked me into continuing to get 6 fixed for the next day (there were a ton of people on this route and it would make it easier to not create a giant cluster of people the next day anyway). So there it was I was about half way up there, there was a fixed piece so I thought (pretty sure I just clipped it and weighted) and there I went – about 20 ft total fall with stretch and I had fallen on a brass nut that was placed below the cam I was top stepped on.
Our other partner Ed who decided to stay behind on this one was nice enough to take some sweet photos of us from the floor.
Well back to some more aid climbing and on to the mandatory 7 free move (pretty airy more so than the 8 move on p10 I thought) and we were at the top of 6. So great we had up to 6 fixed in a day and went to go sleep on dinner ledge, there were 4 people on dinner ledge (already so 6 with us added in there) and 2 already on honeymoon ledge so we simply ate some food and slept right on the part of the ledge you would belay from (the most crowded I had seen it up there) but we still fit and got some sleep at that!
The next day we woke up at a decent time and started on 7, the party behind us was moving at a decent rate but we were having a blast! We got to pitch 8 and WOW what a great looking crack to climb so I did a couple aid moves to get off the ground and then decided to go free for the rest of it, I am not the best offwidth climber and man that last section of 8 was some grunt work for me.
We ended up finishing the route at around 4pm and started our rappels by 4:30ish as we did not want to do the last part and knock down loose rock etc. Rappels we had some confusion on which pitches would do a single vs double here as there are a lot of cracks right off the raps that will get a double rope knot caught in so we marked that down for future note now that we know, and wow about a 30 pound rock was pretty loose in that chimney that I managed to move farther up in it so the loose rock is no joke here…
After walking off in dusk/dark by the time we packed all up and getting back to the parking lot we were feeling pretty accomplished this time! Finally did it and in a 2 day push as we should have, so now… Why FFA?? Lately there have been some people re-using the First Free Ascent acronym for “First Female Ascent” so I figured I would give it one more use “First Florida Ascent” haha and who knows how we can keep track of that one…
We got in some more climbing a bit in the valley and then headed back to SF bay area where we had some camping stuff stolen from our car (smash and bash) but with all of this great climbing we really couldn’t be too angry. And at least we had our racks up in the hotel room.
Abbreviated report that I put up for any trip: http://www.thelonepixel.com/trip-reports/tahoe-and-the-valley
Recent Trip Reports
Other Routes on Washington Column