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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Gentlemen's Vertical Camping Trip
Tuesday July 16, 2013 3:09pm
I'm Jon and my comments are in this format: This just happens to be a trip report for the 5th ascent of Genesis by Pass the Pitons Pete and ag.Fox

I'm PtPP, and I'll be writing in this format. I see that Jon resized the photos a bit on the narrow size, although they are of decently high resolution. So the Better Way to look at this slide show would be to hit "ctrl" plus "+" on your keyboard to make text and photos a bit bigger and better to look at. If you make it too big, just hit "ctrl" plus "-" to shrink it back. And to return to regular size, hit "ctrl" plus "0" Cheers, eh?

We're going to climb an El Cap obscurity named Genesis. Genesis as we chose to climb it begins on New Dawn, continues to Lay Lady Ledge, then climbs straight up the corner to briefly intersect the Nose. The route proper starts just right of the base of Texas Flake. This route was put up in 1989 by Doug Englekirk and Eric Brand. I don't know who made the second ascent, but our very own Shipoopi made the third ascent – solo and in the wintertime, no less. Steve ranted about the quality of the climbing, and before long Batgirl and E. made the fourth ascent. Kate returned from the climb with a grim look on her face. "The free climbing is the Real Deal, Pete," she declared. "Erik made a nest of peckers, and ran it out another fifty or sixty feet. You're going to need to find yourself a Free Climbing Rope Gun.

Meanwhile, Silver and I had been typing back and forth, and Aaron had managed to locate my erstwhile climbing partner, Jon Fox. Back in 1999, Jon and I had made the eighth ascent of the big wall testpiece Jolly Roger. Arguably among the finest of El Cap routes, its combination of hard free climbing and hard aid climbing keeps away the riff raff for most part. Yet when Mr. Riff of free climbing and Mr. Raff of aid climbing get together, we achieve a synergistic effect whereby the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In other words, we send. Jolly Roger, along with Bermuda Dunes, remains at the top of the list of my favourite El Cap routes.

So with Silver's help, I recruited Jon to be my free climbing rope gun for Genesis.

New Dawn -> Genesis -> New Dawn; September 2012
Prepping in front of the base flake - has it been 13 years since JR?
Are there beers in those big bags?
Are there beers in those big bags?
Credit: ag.Fox
So here it begins, yet again. It's time for another wall. More schlepping, more fixing.

Pete had invited TS to learn some wall technique, so he drove up after he got off work in Las Vegas and got to the bridge the next morning to help with some pig schlepping. I had led the first pitch the previous day but hadn't cleaned yet, so I suggested Travis clean the pendos since I could jug up along side on a haul line to coach him through the process. As he began passing the lead line through the first pendulum point, Travis passed out -COLD. I was in disbelief for a few moments as I approached him...until he flipped over in his aiders.

Fifty feet off the deck I starting into freaking out: "WTF??? What happened? Dude!!!! Wake the f*<K uP!1!1" I struggled to keep him upright and supported while reversing the lead line through the pendi-point
Travis: "My face looks like it got stuck in a meat grinder there :-/"
Travis: "My face looks like it got stuck in a meat grinder there :-/"
Credit: ag.Fox
We got off to a rather inauspicious start. Travis = VegasClimber had volunteered to come along and give us a hand fixing and schlepping, but on the first pitch, he had some sort of seizure and passed out on the rope while cleaning the pitch! Jon managed to upright him, and then reach me on the radio as I was hiking a load up to the base. I dropped my pig and ran back to the Meadows to grab a cell phone off a guy in the first car I flagged down, and called Yosar who responded within minutes.

I yelled for help, and Justin immediately ran to the base, and was up beside Travis until the Yosar crew arrived. Together he and Jon lowered Travis to the ground where he was immediately put on oxygen and an IV. Yosar felt there was risk of serious brain damage should Travis have another seizure, and insisted he get flown via helicopter to hospital. They rolled him down to the Meadows on their one-wheeled gurney, and we soon heard the sound of helicopter rotors.

I figured this was the last of Travis we’d see for a while.  The whole scene was very dire and not a little frightening.

Justin Ray Cory was crucial in the rescue effort.
Justin Ray Cory was crucial in the rescue effort.
Credit: ag.Fox

Miracles never cease to amaze…
Travis: "They got tired of me bitching that I wanted to go back to the...
Travis: "They got tired of me bitching that I wanted to go back to the valley, so they stuck me in an ambulance and dumped me off in the C4 parking lot at like 2AM. Good for a laugh for stubbornness."
Credit: ag.Fox
I was beyond amazement when I saw Travis sitting on the bridge the next morning – I practically had to pick up my jaw from the asphalt. I was certain he'd have been kept in hospital, but they chucked him out that very night, and not all the worse for wear. The most likely diagnosis was that he "bonked" from lack of food, water and sleep. Worse for Travis than getting bonked was getting dinged – thousands upon thousands for the helicopter ride and the hospital treatment.

First morning at the top of pitch 3 - day 3 climbing, 1st vert bivy after 3 days of humping loads, fixing, lushing, plundering..... Aarrrrhhhh!!!
Credit: ag.Fox
Anyway, we're finally on the wall, and life is good. Is that a Breakfast Burrito sitting on top of your ledge, dude?

P4 New Dawn. Plenty of time to relax before the belay marathon begins
Credit: ag.Fox
This is one of the hardest pitches on the route currently, with a significant lack of fixed gear. It has some very thin beaking and runout hooking. I didn't place any heads, which would have made it easier. In a failed attempt previously, I climbed this pitch just after having completed Grape Race, and it is harder than anything on that route.

PTPP setting up belay at top of P4
Credit: ag.Fox
I wore a red T-shirt, to avoid the Wrath of Tom Evans. This is actually a pretty decent little bivi spot, with plenty of opportunity to spread out the ledges on natural pro to either side. There is also a bit of a stance which is handy when you first arrive. Of course by the time you get everything set up, you're always bivi'd below the ledge it seems.

First half of haul, P4
Credit: ag.Fox
Jon is lowering out the first load beneath the flagged ledge. On our Big Wall Camping excursions, we need two loads on two hauls using two power points and two haul lines. We couldn't possibly lift all those beers in a single load. Plus the propane-powered fridge is pretty heavy.

Second half of haul, P5
Hauling begins day 4
Hauling begins day 4
Credit: ag.Fox
I'm cleaning while Jon hauls my Crab-O-Ledge, which is the virtually indestructible Fish double portaledge. Do KNOTT buy a Fish Portaledge … unless you only want it to last 500 nights on El Cap. {wink} Wee-Wee the Big Wall Crab, El Cap's premier climbing crustacean, is painted on its bottom. Notice how I have my half of the Junk Show rigged in a vertical array. This is to save horizontal docking space at the belays because we have two loads. The extra food, water and libations for the second week are in the lower pig, which we only need to access on the second week. Otherwise, any of the sub-loads are attached to the main suspension point via colour-coded Catch Lines, so that we can pull them up easily when we need them.

Lay Lady Ledge – did someone say there was BBQ???
Hauling in the shade rules!
Hauling in the shade rules!
Credit: ag.Fox
I made sure we packed the sausages we roasted in my upper pig.

Fireside grape juice – definitely roughing it with roasted kielbasa!
Credit: ag.Fox
We opened a bottle of fine Napa Valley Cabernet to have with our entrée, of course. Note the Mountain Equipment Co-op stemware in Jon's hand. Big wall wine snobbery knows no bounds. We built our little campfire – which didn't last very long since it was made mostly from dried grass! – in a pre-existing firepit

I couldn't help but think of the words of Isaiah:
All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.

I always feel so privileged share and enjoy God's creation here in Yosemite. And He did one helluva fine job when he sent those glaciers to carve El Cap for us. And in case you ever wondered, my complete Yosemite nickname is "Praise the Lord and pass the pitons Pete".

Nine section of first pitch off Lay Lady, this looks like a good place to run it out...
nothin like lounging about till the shade rolls...
nothin like lounging about till the shade rolls...
Credit: ag.Fox
It's definitely a benefit having a free climbing gun on your team!

Awesome view up the right side of El Cap Tower
Most fun pitches, if you're into that sort of thing
Most fun pitches, if you're into that sort of thing
Credit: ag.Fox
Notice how the shadows have already passed over the west, thus proving we did knott start climbing too early. There are three long, clean and WYDE pitches above Lay Lady Ledge
FUN!!!
FUN!!!
Credit: ag.Fox
Gads, one man's idea of fun is another man's torture move. My ass muscles hurt just looking at that photo!

P8, better now – I've crossed over to the wyde side…
love it
love it
Credit: ag.Fox
Splitter cracks, big cams, and Jon cruising on up.

Fixed to right side of Texas Flake. Back to LLL, with PtPP and the burning bush
Credit: ag.Fox
Hey, you crafty bugger -- that's a pic from the night before! But it makes the trip report look a little better, eh? Incidentally, I highly recommend the Platypus Big Wall Wine container.

Rise and shine hoser! Don't roll over
Credit: ag.Fox
Crap. I hate mornings. However in the Dr. Piton lexicon, "mornings" don't begin until the double digits, and can linger well beyond, pretty much until Changeover Time. Lay Lady Ledge is one of my favourite ledges on El Cap, and one of the very few big enough to safely unrope.

That's me – the counter-balance – extracting kit from the wyde.
Credit: ag.Fox
The hauling has to be getting easier by now. Doesn't it?!

Right side of Texas, ledge #2
awesome ledge, camping 2 nights - no reservations
awesome ledge, camping 2 nights - no reservations
Credit: ag.Fox
Here's a little known and unappreciated bivi spot, close to the Nose but out of everyone's way. If you ever find yourself arriving at El Cap Tower and the neon sign reads No Vacancy, climb another half pitch up to the base of the Texas Flake, and walk carefully right along the boulder-strewn ledge to a great alternative campsite.

Ledge #2 annex, home for bi-nationals
I might have two passports, but, well, you know.
I might have two passports, but, well, you know.
Credit: ag.Fox
Ahem. Anyway, check out that Junk Show – it's gone from vertical to horizontal. Here's your Dr. Piton Big Wall Tip of the Day: the two-dollar rope bag. Get yourself a couple of cloth grocery bags, put one inside the other, and duct tape them together to make a single reasonably strong rope bag. Guaranteed for five walls or five pitches, whichever comes first.

Roughing it with the wall-press. Gentlemen, start your engines!
mmm... Hood River Coffee
mmm... Hood River Coffee
Credit: ag.Fox
Ah yes, Dr. Piton's Shagadelic Big Wall Coffee Press. Constructed mostly out of blue closed-cell foam, contact cement, Marine Goop and duct tape, it keeps your coffee hot for forty-five minutes. Featuring Hood River Coffee PTPP Blend New Guinea Dark, with great thanks to Mark Hudon!

Here's another Dr. Piton Big Wall Tip of the Day – check out the two-dollar hanging stove assembly for the Jet Boil stove behind me. Forget that crazy unstable triangle thingy they sell you. Go to your local hardware store and buy a four-inch hose clamp, screw it around the top, and add yourself a clip-in loop. Voila!

Belaying PtPP from behind an improvised sun-proof junk curtain
Cool shades, dude.
Cool shades, dude.
Credit: ag.Fox

Petey's first of many equalized thin nailing placements
Credit: ag.Fox
This is leading up to the roof traverse on the first pitch of Genesis proper, after it branches leftward from the New Dawn traverse into Wall of Early Morning Light. Individually, none of the three small peckers seemed capable of holding body weight, but together I achieved the synergistic effect of which I previously wrote. When Jon cleaned this pitch, he came upon these three equalized small pitons. Jon positively gushed: "Dude! Take a picture of those things! You should make that picture your Facebook profile photo!" Geeeez….

El Cap tower looks mostly junk free…
Credit: ag.Fox
It is. But look what's hiding in the shade. {snicker} Here's a look down at Jon cleaning the first pitch. Dolt Tower is at one o'clock and El Cap Towers is at two.

Wow – do we have enough thin gear?
Credit: ag.Fox
Big Peckers driven straight up – and clipped to the cleaning sling tied through the hole on top, not to the cable in the tail – seemed more secure than traditional knifeblades driven straight up. Or at least I allowed myself to believe that. This kinda stuff creeps me out. My hands are sweating as I type this. [Where's my chalkbag? Oh right, I forgot – I don't own one] Fortunately the roof is not as expando as I feared.

"Ya know what, Jonny? The sun's starting to set. Let me equalize some pieces, then zip me up a rope so I can rap down to camp. I've had enough of this pitch for today!"

It's a mighty thin under this arch
Like, no frickin' kidding, dude!
Like, no frickin' kidding, dude!
Credit: ag.Fox
The start of the second pitch features rather sporting A3 nailing pitch straight up under the roof. You know, the kind of thing where you're wondering if the crack is going to open up while you're nailing the next pin, and spit out the pin you're on sending you off into space? The technique here is to keep your adjustable daisies snug, and whack that pin home as fast as you can. It definitely helped to be a lefty here!

Dawn #7 on the wall – completely Genesis
Dammit man! That big roof is not getting any closer.
Dammit man! That big roof is not getting any closer.
Credit: ag.Fox
Clearly, a photo from so early in the morning it could knott have been taken by me! You can see how I've climbed from right to left beneath the roof on the second pitch of Genesis, from where I fixed back to camp the night before.

Climbers on the Nose – where is your junk show?
I resemble that comment!
I resemble that comment!
Credit: ag.Fox
Hey – check out how I've put a Grigri on top of my ledge suspension point, and have it tensioned against one of the fixed ropes above, thus spreading out our bivi a bit. Clever, eh? Surely I can extend morning long enough for another cup of coffee, before I have to get back up there. Sheesh.

Miracle #2 – my pillow dropped during bivy cleanup to the last belay ledge
If you're gonna be stupid enough to drop stuff, at least be lucky enou...
If you're gonna be stupid enough to drop stuff, at least be lucky enough to recover it every now and then!
Credit: ag.Fox
"If it ain't clipped, it's gone." Below Jon you can see the dried grass on Lay Lady Ledge, and even farther below, the start of our route on the Mescalito slab.

PtPP leading out the 1st pitch of Genesis
day 6
day 6
Credit: ag.Fox
Oh joy, time to get back at it. Fortunately, the difficulties relent after passing the roof, and I cruised up the ramp to the second belay anchors on thin peckers and "enchanted" hooks. I'm pretty sure these were the only hook enhancements on the route. I see from my notes that I made a grand total of one cam placement in the first two pitches – a blue/black hybrid Alien.

Two-rope cleaning (very effective technique, thanks Pete!) of the long left arch, P2 Genesis
day 7
day 7
Credit: ag.Fox
Jon was a bit spooked about cleaning this giant traverse, until I pointed out how easily he could do it, if I simply fixed a second rope straight up to act as a second toprope. So with tension from directly above, Jon was able to clip, climb and funk his way across with no fear. Try it, you'll like it.

Once Jon finished cleaning this pitch, we returned to camp for a beer, then hauled the Junk Show to the top of 2.

Skyhook for pro – P3 Genesis
screamer this sukka!
screamer this sukka!
Credit: ag.Fox
Finally, it's time for Jonny to get on the sharp end on Genesis. The third pitch starts out fairly spicy, as you can see. I like this photo because you get a good edge-on view of the North America Wall area. Continental Drift diagonals up and right through the diorite – Neil, Callum and I had made the second ascent of this fine route the previous year.

Free climbing on this pitch almost done….ready for the aid-ace to tackle the A4 corner above
easy moves - 5.8
easy moves - 5.8
Credit: ag.Fox
Well, my break didn't last very long, did it – only half a pitch. Dang. Time to climb some A4, I reckon. Fortunately, it was not as hard as I had feared. At the top of 3 there is a one-foot-wide by six-foot-long shelf, and we ended up bivi'd here that night.

Genesis, day #8 on the wall
Credit: ag.Fox
Finally! A "gimme" pitch. Nice and easy clip-and-climb up rivets, with a few hook moves near the end, just to keep Jon honest.

Captain Tom's view of P4 Genesis
Buddy's flyin'!
Buddy's flyin'!
Credit: ag.Fox
I thought the fifth pitch felt pretty hard. I got a late start on it, and finished it late at night. I found the right-leaning corner to be solid A4, but what really knackered me was the hooking at the end in the dark. I probably missed the best placements, and I remember at one point going the wrong direction towards something reflecting light that I thought was fixed gear – it turned out to be the eyes of a Big Wall Frog. I was quite relieved to finally clip the bolts at the anchor after that pitch, that's for sure.

P6 free climbing fun!
5.8 run out!
5.8 run out!
Credit: ag.Fox
See? What a great partner. Even if he has a strange idea of "fun"…

Big fun, as seen from the bridge, on Genesis' P6 – just before the business
just gettin into the red lichen
just gettin into the red lichen
Credit: ag.Fox
Cool rock features, eh?

This ¼ inch rivet is not very inspiring to pull the .11 mantle – WATCH ME!!!
onsite!
onsite!
Credit: ag.Fox
I got ya, dude! Send it!

P6 dispatched – ready to haul!
Credit: ag.Fox
Nice one, mate – cheers!

Hooks in the Rain==Free in the Dry! Schneiderado Ledge, here I come
Credit: ag.Fox
Our topo said A3 hooks and heads, but Jon climbed it as runout 5.10

PtPP belaying from the palatial and airy Schneiderado Ledge (the golden promise, to the north…)
perfect ledge - with your back against the wall, your knees are bent o...
perfect ledge - with your back against the wall, your knees are bent on the edge!
Credit: ag.Fox
Golden? I look rather pink.
Steve Schneider had told us of this fabulous ledge, halfway between the 6th and 7th belay anchors. Determined not to repeat the mistake of the first ascensionists – who belayed on either side, but not on it – we converted this ledge to a fabulous bivi by adding two bolts as a hauling anchor, plus two rivets on either end for two portaledges. Schneiderado Ledge is fifteen feet long, and at its widest part – which is about three feet – we left space for the two of us to lounge on the ledge. I have rarely added bolts to an El Cap belay, but this was definitely one of those times. I'd like to think we did a good job here, and hope you'll agree.

Tom catches my last aid move before stepping out of the ladders and pulling hard onto P8's belay ledge
Credit: ag.Fox
And that would be the Show on Schneiderado Ledge, lower right corner. The next pitch – the free climbing money pitch – goes up and left across the bumpy rock towards the ^-shaped roof.

Ladies and Gentlemen – prepare for the freakin' show!
What can I say?  "To be bitchin', ya gotta look bitchin'."  - Chongo
What can I say? "To be bitchin', ya gotta look bitchin'." - Chongo
Credit: ag.Fox

Ticky tack freaklimbing crux – almost pulled it off before Pete could snap the shot
Credit: ag.Fox
Jon danced across this technical 5.11 traverse pretty darn fast, making it look easy! Dang.

Effin looz-a$s flakes to spice up the afternoon
Credit: ag.Fox
But as you can see, it starts to get runout – VERY runout – just above.

Free gear behind expanding flakes – God I love SLCDs!!!
Credit: ag.Fox
Well, it looks good, but would it actually hold a fall??

Two cams are better than one before casting off onto that loose pillar up there
Credit: ag.Fox
Yeah, and before you take off up above, please pause to ponder the frailty of mortality, and stick your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye!

Another sweet taped down skyhook for pro! I downclimbed back to this point several times before committing to heading up the left side
Did I bring up a change of shorts?
Did I bring up a change of shorts?
Credit: ag.Fox
This was some serious ass sh|t, man.

This route had three pitches that involved some committing, difficult free climbing AND difficult, tenuous aid – send in the Ace of Aid
Credit: ag.Fox
Yup, another pitch that we split, according to the team members' ability.
OK, Pete – I've got a little green Alien stuck in this expanding downward-facing flake here above this runout 5.10 free climbing with no pro. Go ahead and lower me off, and you can jug back up and take over the lead.
Are you freaking kidding me, dude?! Stick in at least a couple more cams, will ya! Geeez…

Looking back down on the free crux.
Pirates Eating Tasty Animals - Arrrrrhhhh!!!!!
Pirates Eating Tasty Animals - Arrrrrhhhh!!!!!
Credit: ag.Fox
Gee, it doesn't even look hard from up here…

Another stellar weekend ahead gents
Alpenglow on Half Dome and the Sentinel
Alpenglow on Half Dome and the Sentinel
Credit: ag.Fox

This shot would have been even better with a tripod
Credit: ag.Fox
Not bad considering I just held the camera against the rock and hit the self-timer button. Can you spot the El Cap Bridge and the Meadows?

Day 11 on the wall - a groovy shot shows where the action stopped at dark
Thanks Tom!
Thanks Tom!
Credit: ag.Fox
And check out our yellow and red T-shirts, eh?

Just before the fall of western civilization…
Credit: ag.Fox
Better than the Fall of the Millennium.

That was a sweet whipper Petey!
&#40;thanks Silver&#41; ;-&#41;
(thanks Silver) ;-)
Credit: ag.Fox
That bastard, Silver! I used one of his home-made rivet hangers that he had made for their Baffin Island trip twenty years ago, and the swage failed like ONE move from the anchor bolts! Man, did I go flying. The only fall I took, I think. Good thing. But Silver – you still owe me that beer!

Dang buddy – you CAN haul fast
Credit: ag.Fox
That's because YOU keep drinking all the rum and beers!

The view up P9 – The Golden Corner, aid crux
Credit: ag.Fox
Cool geometry, eh? That's the big Dawn Roof straight above.

During Pete's lead on this pitch, rock chips and flakes rained down a accumulated on the portaledge to the extent I had to dump the fresh till twice! Folks around the base must've been wondering WTF?!?!?

I had to ask Pete to toss the shorts he had been wearing, due to the noxious view from the belay
Credit: ag.Fox
Yeah, I was sh|tting my pants on this one. Very thin nailing for quite a ways, and then just when you think it's over, a big loose block that you have to somehow get around.

Day 12, ready to tackle P10. Any chance of dimming that thingy?
At 49 one would think a man could grow a respectable beard
At 49 one would think a man could grow a respectable beard
Credit: ag.Fox
Maybe one day when you grow up, you'll be able to grow a beard too, Jonny.

You mean I get to lead this? Thanks Pete!
Credit: ag.Fox
Hey – you're the right-handed one. Just stick in a pin, and nail it straight up. It might even hold you.

Holy frig! More nailing than I've done in a long time. Tried to keep with the clean aid program, but my patience waned after repeated daisey chain falls in the expanding corner.
last independent pitch on Genesis
last independent pitch on Genesis
Credit: ag.Fox
What? You want me to pass your more pitons? I'm not sure I know how to do that.

Well, all grand things must come to an end – back to New Dawn and a tasty run out :-D
Credit: ag.Fox
Did you backclean that whole section? Geez, I would have called for a second lead rope.

I suppose I could start leaving some gear behind
shadows creeping onto New Dawn
shadows creeping onto New Dawn
Credit: ag.Fox
Yes, please!

I have been waiting for this bivy for a long time. Looking up at the Dawn roof does no justice to the up-close and personal view
when will those ropes start managing themselves???
when will those ropes start managing themselves???
Credit: ag.Fox
It's one big ass roof, that's for sure. But we're nearly at the top!

Day 13 started with some big air beneath my heals, half an hour before my whipper at the end of this pitch
the 'soft white underbelly' of the Dawn Roof
the 'soft white underbelly' of the Dawn Roof
Credit: ag.Fox
You fell? Really? Funny how you never seem to remember when the other guy falls!

Dawn roof to bridge: who left this choss up here? Ready to grovel – over…
Credit: ag.Fox
Send it, Jonny – I've got Summit Fever. Sounds like a disco tune

Awww…flower power!
flowers in the pitch above the Dawn Roof
flowers in the pitch above the Dawn Roof
Credit: ag.Fox
Geez, I was afraid he meant the Wall Flower, you know, like that breakfast burrito down low?

So this is the Sidewalk. Weird. Get me outa here - I got summit fever!
Credit: ag.Fox
Shut up and haul!

Day 14 begins with some hauling fun - only because the pigs are nice and light
day 14
day 14
Credit: ag.Fox
"Light?" Dude! I am laughing my ass off here – look at the size of the Junk Show! It hasn't gotten smaller, it's gotten BIGGER! You seem to have disappeared from the photo – did all that junk eat you or something??

Very cool exit – can't get off this rock fast enough!
Credit: ag.Fox
I'm getting the hell off this rock. I'm going down tonight. Forget the summit bivi, I gotta get out of here.
Hmmm, I need to formulate a Diabolical Plan. (evil laughter)

Summit!!! Thanks for changing the perspective Tom! Last haul begins…
finest top out - EVER!!!
finest top out - EVER!!!
Credit: ag.Fox
New Dawn has – without question – the finest top-out on all of El Cap. A perfect foot-wide hauling ledge an easy step down from the flat. The perfect finish!
All right, let's get the heck outa here.
Come now, have a beer.
If I have a beer, I'll get all sleepy, and I won't be able to go down!
[diabolical grin] Here, let's open a bottle of wine next.

Great friends enjoying a fine red at sunset ;-) Props for the stemware.
Credit: ag.Fox
A yes, an excellent Sonoma Syrah, served in Mountain Equipment Co-op's finest stemware. Knott exactly an Eisch breathable glass, but it does the job.

Last rays from the top of The Shield
Credit: ag.Fox
I've enjoyed lots of great summit bivis here, that's for sure.

Trying really hard not to laugh – Yes, future generations will be scarred forever from the sight of such a big schnozz ;-)
Credit: ag.Fox
Savour the bouquet, mate!

He did actually eat the sun. Thanks for all the memories, we will be back again…
Credit: ag.Fox
You betcha! See yous next time, eh?

  Trip Report Views: 4,109
ag.Fox
About the Author
ag.Fox is a trad climber from Reno, NV.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jul 16, 2013 - 03:28pm PT
We couldn't possibly lift all those beers in a single load. Plus the propane-powered fridge is pretty heavy.

Now don't you go giving me ideas.

What a fine TR! Excellent text, excellent pics, and excellent effort.

Thanks much.

John
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jul 16, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
Grade A STELLAR CHYt Men!!!!!
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Jul 16, 2013 - 03:59pm PT
Fookin cool guys, awesome TR, thanks for posting and the pics
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Jul 16, 2013 - 04:08pm PT
Sweet TR
Just needs more pics. LOL
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jul 16, 2013 - 04:30pm PT


Whole pitches without cams...Sick.



Great trip report Jon.

le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jul 16, 2013 - 04:47pm PT
Yyyyyyikes those crux free climbing pics look wild. Would the fall be clean?
ag.Fox

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Author's Reply  Jul 16, 2013 - 04:52pm PT
^^^Yeah, clean falls pretty much everywhere except on "Hooks in the Rain" where a fall would have taken Pete out!
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Jul 16, 2013 - 05:32pm PT
Will it go all free? (the genesis pitches)
ag.Fox

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Author's Reply  Jul 16, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
Pitch 4 of Genesis would probably be the crux and may require an alternate free pitch. The transition back to New Dawn is a really long lower-out that would also need some updated shenanigans to bypass. Free climbing on expanding gear (cams) leaves a bunch to be desired butt (wtf???) isn't that what pins are for?
IMHO, way over my head but some scouting about should reveal free climbing treasure up there. Highly likely there is an independent free line rambling around that section.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Jul 16, 2013 - 09:41pm PT
Awesome TR!
johntp

Trad climber
socal
  Jul 16, 2013 - 10:27pm PT
Without pics it didn't happen.
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Jul 16, 2013 - 10:49pm PT
Sweet
TMJesse

Mountain climber
Olympia, WA
  Jul 16, 2013 - 11:17pm PT
This TR is one worthy of many repeated visits. Many thanks for posting up! Great work and fantastic trip! Well beyond me.
nopantsben

climber
  Jul 17, 2013 - 02:30am PT
very cool!!
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Jul 17, 2013 - 03:16am PT
Thanks! In really enjoyed this.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 17, 2013 - 07:07am PT
Excellent quality pics and TR,
Thanks!!!
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Jul 17, 2013 - 09:27am PT
Phenomenal and creative TR, guys! Thanks for bringing us along!
Les

Trad climber
Bahston
  Jul 17, 2013 - 10:13am PT
Damn, that is one badass trip report.
elcap-pics

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
  Jul 17, 2013 - 12:41pm PT
Beautiful climb and a great report about it! You guys had way too much fun up there... you need to suffer some!! A day without beer is not considered adequate suffering!
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
  Jul 17, 2013 - 12:57pm PT
One of the best TRs I've read in a while. Well done.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 18, 2013 - 10:34am PT
Bump for like, morning coffee reading, eh?
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
  Jul 18, 2013 - 10:59am PT
Yeah!

It sucks Travis got dinged for the chopper ride. Are they calling it negligence (should've drank more water), or is YOSAR just hard up for money these days.

WTF!
Deekaid

climber
  Jul 18, 2013 - 11:11am PT
Now that is a trip report! Good work all around. Pete should write a "Better Way" book. "The Better Way of Vertical Camping". I would buy it even though I would never climb with all that stuff myself. Thanks for the effort on the write up.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 18, 2013 - 11:40am PT
I have talked to Mike! Clelland, the Climbing mag illustrator, about putting together a little book. He has done a bunch, he can draw anything to show how it works. Something like "1001 Big Wall Tips by Dr. Piton". I think I heard Andy Kirkpatrick might have put together something similar, but don't know. Most of the stuff is already written.

You can go here to a fairly complete Index to Dr. Piton Stuff:

http://www.rockclimbing.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=241166;

The index was recently reworked to fix broken links and photos, and I think it is pretty much working ok now. A lot of the stuff I have written is old, but there is some newer stuff there. If you want to pick up big wall tips and tricks, this is the place! Not just camping trips, but I even tell you some climbing tricks. Climbing is, of course, a necessary encumbrance in order to reach the bitchin'est campsites.

Travis got a huge bill for the helicopter flight, and the ambulance ride back to Camp 4, too I think. The money started draining once he arrived at the Meadows and boarded the 'copter, but the "ride" down in the one-wheeled gurney from the base was "free". So I don't think YOSAR has asked him for any money, just the helicopter, hospital and ambulance.

It's hard to explain how dire his situation appeared. The SAR guy was saying, "Look, you have had a really bad seizure. It's a two and a half hour ambulance ride to the hospital, and if you have a second seizure along the way in the ambulance - where we can't properly treat you - it could result in permanent brain damage. I highly recommend you forget about the money, and take the helicopter to the hospital." Which is what happened.

But I swear, man - I could KNOTT believe it when I saw Travis sitting on the bridge the next day!! I figured he'd be in the hospital for days.

Regarding seizures, a similar thing happened to my 80-something-year-old dad a few years ago. We'd had a quick breakfast mostly of coffee, eager to get on the ski hill. Ski'd all day, stopping for coffee and beer breaks and not much water or food. At around 3pm I noticed he wasn't behind me, and I rode the chair back up to look for him. Found him standing on the hill with one ski off, apparently he had fallen but had no memory of it.

We carried on, finished the day, headed for a restaurant. Still no food or water really for him. Suddenly in the car he had an apparently massive seizure! Called the ambulance, thought he was having a stroke or a heart attack, it was pretty scary and grim. Thought he might die. Got him to the hospital, checked him out ... nothin'.

Over the next month or two, they put him through the widest variety of every possible diagnostic test available on the planet. All for free, of course, in downtown Toronto. All results negative, just like Travis.

I think what happened to my dad is what happened to Travis - they bonked. Hard. Of course, my dad is three times Travis' age, and it took three times more to get my dad to bonk... ;)

You can't kill my mom, either. She is 93 now, has had a stroke that has immobilized her left side, so she's in a wheelchair most of the time. So when she wants to go somewhere, my dad spots her on the left side, and they walk out to dinner with her four-legged cane in her right hand, and go to shows and the casino and cruises and stuff.

I showed my mom this trip report yesterday.

"I really wish you hadn't shown me this," she said.

"Why's that?"

"Well, it looks so scary and dangerous! I don't want to see it," she declared, as she continued to scroll down the page to look at every photo and read every word.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Jul 18, 2013 - 11:56am PT
Thanks for the beta on free-potential, Mr. Fox.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jul 18, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
Very nice! You make it too easy for me to procrastinate.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
  Jul 18, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
Awesome to see the full adventure, for sure! This was an awesome trip report, even with the rotten start to it.

Reeotch, I am still very lost as to the bill that I got. The largest bill was from the air transport company, not SAR. $43,500 to fly me to Modesto. As of yet they still refuse to provide me with a full charge breakdown, and as a former pilot and aircraft mechanic I call bullsh#t. Still fighting it, but will probably have to file bankrupcty due to that bill.

The thing that really gets me is that about 7 months later I was served with a $900 bill from YOSAR. No explanation. There wasn't a technical rescue, as I was on the base when they got there - all the did was package me, IV and o2 me, and roll me out to the meadow. My only guess is that the bill is due to the fact that the EMTs had to do something, but again I am not sure.
ag.Fox

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Author's Reply  Jul 18, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
The best part about the beginning of the trip was meeting you, Travis. I'm really stoked that you are sticking with the whole wall climbing adventure. Can't keep a good man down. You will find the joy in the suffering after all ;-)
The helecopter bill is stupid. I can't beleive they still won't give you a breakdown of costs. Total bullsh|t.
Last I checked, the accident report did not include your incident. I suppose it wasn't an actual rescue, but I don't get it.
Regardless, I'm psyched to climb with you in the fall. Have fun on Mt.K!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Jul 18, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
Really really awesome.... So enjoyed it


Susan
skywalker

climber
  Jul 18, 2013 - 07:09pm PT
Thanks man! That was a very enjoyable read!

cheers!

S...
Da_Dweeb

climber
  Jul 18, 2013 - 07:13pm PT
Pete, both the climb and the article were awesome. It's great to see another TR on the taco. The conversational style between the two of you was very fun to read. The pictures were gorgeous, the climb looked truly badass. I'm also very glad Travis was okay.

And yes, you do look like a lobster when you're sunburned.
Or perhaps you look like Pinkie Pie?

Pinkie Pete...?
A5scott

Trad climber
Chicago
  Jul 19, 2013 - 02:14am PT
Amazing TR, thanks for posting! It was great meeting you both and hanging out at the bridge. Hopefully I'll catch up with you guys in the fall
keep crushing it!

all the best,
scott
A5scott

Trad climber
Chicago
  Jul 19, 2013 - 02:33am PT
hope it's ok to post a pic...

scott

Credit: A5scott
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jul 19, 2013 - 02:53am PT
Great stuff - thanks for putting this together and sharing!
I thought it was cool to see the new wrinkle on the "half-a-pitch Pete' moniker, too!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 22, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
Bump for reading while you drink coffee or beer, depending on whether it is before or after Changeover Time.

Jon worked really hard on this, so please give it a reply, eh?

Half a pitch a day indeed.
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
  Jul 22, 2013 - 06:12pm PT
With apologies to Dewey Cox:


PtPP: [coughs] Get outta here, WRM!
WRM : What are y'all doin' in here?
PtPP: We're camping on walls and you don't want no part of this shite.
WRM : You're “camping” on walls?
PtPP: Yeah, 'course we are; can't you smell it?
WRM : [WRM doesn't have a sense of smell] No, PtPP. I can't.
Reefer Girl: Come on, WRM! Join the party!
PtPP: No, WRM, you don't want this. Get outta here!
WRM : You know what, I don't want no hangover. I can't get no hangover.
PtPP: It doesn't give you a hangover!
WRM : Wha-I get addicted to it or something?
PtPP: It's not habit-forming!
WRM : Oh, okay... well, I don't know... I don't want to overdose on it.
PtPP: You can't OD on it!
WRM : Sounds kind of expensive.
PtPP: It's the cheapest drug there is.
WRM : [at a loss and out of excuses] Hmm.
PtPP: You don't want it!
WRM : I think I kinda want it.
Thorgon

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
  Jul 22, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
That is SO badass!!

"The view up P9 – The Golden Corner, aid crux"

AMAZING roof!!

Good work you guys,
THOR
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 22, 2013 - 11:06pm PT
We need you as counterweight this fall, Thor!
Gagner

climber
Boulder
  Jul 22, 2013 - 11:53pm PT
Woot ... nice guys!!!!!! Way......

P.
fat-n-sassy

Social climber
San Francity, CA
  Jul 23, 2013 - 12:25am PT
SO RAD
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 23, 2013 - 05:02am PT
Don't say it, Paul.

We had TWO portaledges!
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
  Jul 23, 2013 - 10:48pm PT
How did I miss this?

Excellent!
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jul 23, 2013 - 11:45pm PT
Don't say it, Paul.

We had TWO portaledges!

The only way to fly.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 24, 2013 - 01:22am PT
"How did I miss this?"

Oh, geez, I dunno ... maybe a bunch of wrong Repubicans, rednecks with guns in Florida, and SONGs by an erstwhile FAT CHICK were bumping a real live climbing thread off the front page of a climbing forum?

Thanks, by the way, for replying...
ag.Fox

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Author's Reply  Jul 24, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
Wyde or not to wyde!
Bump for more runouts!
PtPP: We're camping on walls and you don't want no part of this shite.
WRM : You're “camping” on walls?
PtPP: Yeah, 'course we are; can't you smell it?

Whoa ho hold on just a minute there... can we get a pause for the cause?
ElCapPirate

Big Wall climber
Ogden, Utah
  Jul 24, 2013 - 01:55pm PT
I don't know who made the second ascent

I know Steve Gerberding and his wife Cal climbed it around 2002 or 03, but that doesn't seem to fit in with the second ascent time frame. You guys might have been the 6th ascent.

When did ShipoopWA do the 3rd?

Nice write up!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 24, 2013 - 04:18pm PT
Only a true Schnidely Whiplash aficionado would know that it's pronounced "shi-poop-PWA" and not "shi-poop-poy". For years I thought it was a Hawai'ian thing, when it fact it is tres Francais.

Steve has discussed his solo on this forum, he might even have a trip report. It wasn't that long ago, it was the winter before Kate and Erick climbed it. In fact, I'm pretty certain there is something by Steve S. on McTopo about it, because that is where I would have got my idea of his was the third ascent.

Maybe someone can find a link?
anita514

Gym climber
Great White North
  Jul 9, 2014 - 07:36am PT
hoser bump
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Photo: Galen Rowell
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