Anyway, went to the fisher towers with dreams of being the next Jim Beyer. Saw his routes. Felt more like Jim Carrey. Not happening. But still want to get scared and muddy. So which one looks the best? Which one can I brag to all the pretty girls about soloing? (To which they say: "what are you talking about?", "Who are you?", "That sounds terrible"...). The Titan! That sounds big and impressive, right? So I go and try to find the base of the Finger of Fate. First done in the 60's and apparently pretty popular for the area. Figured finding the base wouldn't be too hard. Figured wrong. So start up the Sun devil Chimney instead. Nice line, sunny, and A3. Shouldn't be too hard right? Wrong again numbnuts! Get to literally the second placement off the ground. Can't get anything to stick. The rock keeps crumbling. Don't want to nail it, as Stevie Haston has freed the thing. I worry he'll know through some mysterious 6th sense that someone is desecrating his route. I worry he'll crush my ill formed, aid-climber testes in the crook of one tendonitis scourged elbow. I worry I won't be able to do it, I'll fall off and die, it will be embarrassing. I worry I'll be the first person I know to die climbing. 2 feet off the ground, I bail. Failure. Ignominy. Fishers 1, tw#t 0. Might as well go home.
But.....I'm incredibly lazy. Humped a haul bag, water and food 2.5 miles into the base of the damn tower and don't really want to walk it out again. So look harder for the base of the FoF. Lo and behold, its exactly where its always been! Its also where the guidebook says it is. Why couldn't I find it before? Because I'm a blind tool, that's why. So hump my stuff up there, fix a surprisingly solid pitch, and call it a day. Still have to walk 2.5 miles back to the car. I hate life. But the ropes are up a pitch so it could be worse.
Day 3 (first day was a recce, second was climbing). 3rd time walking the 2.f-ing5 m into the tit-an. Psyched. Kinda. Still don't want to walk the bags and rack back out so decide to fix to pitch 5. I have 3 ropes, so feck it, why not? Potter up the pitches. Not too hard, rock is OK, some exciting free sections over iffy fixed gear. No one there to say its a bad idea. That means its a good idea, right? Link 4 and 5. Get to the top of the pitch 5 chimney when the knot in the rope gets stuck in a bloody crack. I can see the anchor so try to reach it by stretching the rope. Bad idea. Get slingshotted from the top of the chimney to halfway back down it. Rubberband man style. Instinct makes a grab for the size 5 cam below. Instinct gets me a tweaked, shredded, bloody finger. Arse. Finish the pitch. Can't recall how. Wander back the 2.f5 m in the dark with a dying light and a bum hand. Time for a day off.
Day 4. Sat in a coffee shop the next day, making friends and failing to influence people. So that night did the 2.f5 in the dark, on my own, with bivvy gear. Plan was to sleep at the base, fire it in the morning, get the hell out and go somewhere fun. Woke up at 4 the next morning. Day 5. Had enough time for a piss, a bagel, a coffee, and a fag before the rain.... marinate in a bivvy bag for a few hrs, bitching at no one in particular. Then the descent gully starts to slide (well, a couple of pebbles fell on me). I get scared, and slog back to the van. Have a hot flush, and a momentary lapse of reason. Sick of the fishers, sick of aid climbing, sick of being alone. Drive 80 miles to Indian Creek. Sit and read a book for 2 hrs before realizing I like the fishers, and aid, and people suck, and my stufg is still at the top of the 5th. So drive back. 160 miles of driving in one day because I'm on my man period. Jesus.....
Day 6, nearly done. If you've made it this far, take heart. Get up at 2, slog in the dark, finish the route. The strippers and beer I imagined onto the summit don't appear. Bummer. But the summit register is there. Leave scrawl, take pics, start abseiling. Goes smoothly. Thank christ. I've learned to hate descending. Too lazy to walk all the stuff out in multiple trips. So pack the Piggie, shoulder it, super squat my way to a standing position, and grind out the 2.mf5 miles one more time. The iPod runs out of battery slightly faster than the head torch, and a lot faster than I can get back to the van.
8pm. Back at the van. Soloed the Titan. I'm no different than before, just a bit more tired. I hadn't soloed the titan before. Obviously. I know a bit more about myself. I smell terrible. The climbing wasn't hard, but wasn't easy if you get me? Standing on top was superb.
Go do it. Wall climbing sucks, and its slow and hard and occasionally scary, and obsolete. But you might enjoy it and learn something. I learned that it makes you look cool to other hairy, smelly blokes. Need to go away and reassess some things.