South Face C1 5.8
Trip ReportFirst big wall and first solo, washington column
So im a uk climber, 32 years old. Never done a big wall
Originally I decided to climb Washington column via Southern Man_
I planned on climbing for 3 days.
Day 1 to dinner ledge
Day 2 to pitch 7 ( staying in my portaledge )
Day 3 to the top ( spend the night on top )
My wife and I arrived in Yosemite, Thursday may 15, and promptly decided to scout the walk up to the base, wasn't too bad, did really well up until we reached the base of the west face of Washington column, here we made a mistake. The guide book says that when you reach the east face, your to walk left on a zig zaggy trail, this is what we did until we reached the royal arches, realising our mistake we tracked back and up the path till we could see the base. upon reaching the base we were met by two lovely girls who were staying at the base of the prow, they were practising putting up there hired portaledge and were struggling a little, im sure they managed it in the end. Anyway, we headed back down to sort all my gear out ready to take up the next day. We were staying in the Yosemite lodge,( expensive I know) but the missies didn't fancy camping on her own. But I must admit its very nice sorting gear out in a large room!!!.
Friday may 16th, set off with all my gear which by the way was far too much!!!! you see, even though I was planning on doing southern man, I came with gear enough to do any of the routes on Washington column.
The plan was to leave all the gear at the top of the first pitch, leaving it fixed and spend the night in the lodge , then to get up on the Saturday and jug the line. As I said we took far too much gear, and it took two trips to get it all up there. The 2nd trip was really tough on the missis but fortunately a really nice guy called shane ( thankyou very much ) came to our rescue and offered to take some of the gear. By now I was getting really knackered so offered shane and another chap called drew, 50 dollars each to carry all the gear right up to the base. After a rest I climbed the first pitch, hauled the gear, then rapped back down, and on down to the lodge. Pheww what a day !!!.
Saturday may 17, Game on!!!. so the wife drives me to the ahwahnee hotel car park, and I set of, making good time I reach the fixed rope at around 7/ 7.30 am. climb the rope and get to the 2nd pitch, id set the rope up already at the anchor, so im off climbing in good time, the pitch goes really easy, cleaning and hauling the same. Around 11am I think, im starting the 3rd pitch, but first I have some flapjack and protein bar. Climbing the 3rd pitch to dinner ledge, again was easy c1, same with the cleaning but the hauling was a pain, the bag got stuck in a tree, so I rapped back down and far end hauled till I was free. climbed back up and hauled again.
Dinner ledge.2.30 / 3 pm. Its at this point with no one around that I decided id climb the south face instead. After getting all the gear set up on the ledge. I climbed the 4th pitch and fixed it. but as I was rapping down 2 guys were coming up on to the ledge.
My climbing up until then was taking me around 3 hours per pitch (climb,rap,climb/clean,haul)
After rapping back to the ledge it was around 6 / 6.30pm. I asked the guys if they were going to fix as well, but they were too tired and it was getting late. so we just crashed out for the night, I was concerned about being slower than them. so I asked what they'd like to do in the morning, go fist and get in front of me?. But they said that they weren't fast so I should just go ahead in the morning.
Sunday may 17th, Wake up, bagel, start climbing. I get to the top of the pitch and haul. set the ropes for pitch 5, Here I make my 2nd mistake I follow skull queen, realising I've made a mistake, I penji back to the anchors and start again. Pitch 5 goes well. onto pitch 6, goes well till a small cam pops, small fall, no big deal. but I take a moment to see where the 2 guys were, they hadn't got over the kor roof yet????. finish the pitch. I started to notice that my good eye is getting bad, its like looking though fog, Too much sun and cheap sunglasses ( a little worried ). Clean and haul.
Pitch 7. I've been using 2 sets of hybrid aliens for most of the climb and on this pitch I did loads of back cleaning, about half way up there's a bolt and piton,so I rapped back down off these to take all the lower gear out. finish the pitch, clean and haul.
Portaledge. I decided to set up the ledge here,now I've practised putting this up loads, so it should have been ok, yet still I struggled. what seemed like an age, id finally got it set up, only to find that one of my aiders had unclipped from my harness, DOOOHHH !!!!!!!
After a long day I'm absolutely Knackered and just crash out.
With my eye no good, losing an aider, and knackered I decided to bail at this point, im not worried as I think ive done an amazing job, First big wall, solo at that. sleep calls me.
Monday may 18th. wake up, eat, sort all the gear, take down the portaledge, then begin rapping, not much to say really, got all the way down and started humping loads to the carpark, a very hard day.
All in all I had a fantastic time. People ask were you upset you didn't get to the top. Hell no!!! I breezed up the climb with no big problems, sure I bailed sure I was knackered, but for my first big wall, as well as doing it solo I think I did great!!!! Proud as punch. Yer baby!!!
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