Iron Hawk A4 5.10

 
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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Iron Hawk - Solo*
Monday July 30, 2012 11:57pm
Credit: Mark Hudon

*Almost.

My trip reports can now be found at ElCapPanos.com

  Trip Report Views: 11,775
Mark Hudon
About the Author
Mark Hudon is a climber from Hood River, OR.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:11am PT
Saving this for my dawn thirty reading....CAN'T WAIT!!!!!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:26am PT
^^ Dean - there is something just inherently wrong about how you like to get up so early all the time.

Mark:

Wow! I guess it has to be a good sign when after working on this thing for so long, that when I saw it posted for the first time with the photos, I laughed out loud at the beginning!

It really comes to life with the photos, buddy. Superb job.
ms55401

Trad climber
minneapolis, mn
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:35am PT
Mark, great TR, perhaps your best yet. Sometimes a magnificent defeat is far prouder than token victory.

As for the safeness of jugging on a traverse: I assume you are tied into the rope (below the jumars, out of view).
Nate101

Trad climber
Aliso Viejo, CA
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:53am PT
Great job Mark! I really enjoyed following your climb in real time. Bad Ass!

Nate
QITNL

climber
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:58am PT
Breaking news: climbing!

Awesome.
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
  Jul 31, 2012 - 01:03am PT
wow, from somebody who wears glasses, that has felt the hurt and pain of soloing a hard el cap route near the age of 50, that has to be the greatest tr of all freaking time. i'll bring extra glasses, stacks of advil and other pain relievers, and 2 gri-gris on my next big solo, if i ever do that again. cheers to you mark for pushing towards your limits, steve
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Jul 31, 2012 - 01:14am PT
Has the feel of one of those TVWOY write-ups. Bookworthy stuff for sure.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
  Jul 31, 2012 - 01:52am PT
Death by 1000 cuts.. no not exactly.

Some times everything adds up and errors accumulate..ending in something much worse than calling friends to lend a hand. Nice decision.
Too many are no longer with us. Really glad you are.

For those of us that have been waiting to read this TR, man does it deliver!! More than I can digest in one reading. So much great info built into a gripping narrative!

WOW
Captain...or Skully

climber
Boise, ID
  Jul 31, 2012 - 01:29am PT
I can dig it. Pete, yer a Lazy boy. The A of M are The Golden Times. Craggy is Wise.
I bet Mark gets up early, most days. Or what, eh?
Oh, BTW, LUV Yer Shades. Or, er...Shade.
;-)
Skot433

Big Wall climber
Corona CA.
  Jul 31, 2012 - 01:30am PT
my hero...


Im in awe...

You are the man Mark, the definition of my aspirations
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Jul 31, 2012 - 02:26am PT
What a TR~ Keep firing it up Mark!
but I think Theodore Roosevelt said it best.
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked with failure...than to take rank with those poor souls who neither risk much nor loose much, because they live in that gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
bergbryce

climber
East Bay, CA
  Jul 31, 2012 - 02:00am PT
Cool man. Always enjoy your placement pics.
A fine TR and props for realizing and accepting your situation.
skywalker

climber
  Jul 31, 2012 - 02:28am PT
Thanks, I will return. I think of a friend that runs 100 mile races.

It sounds emotional.

Inspires me.

Thanks!

S...
Captain...or Skully

climber
Boise, ID
  Jul 31, 2012 - 02:33am PT
Inspiration is a Grand Thing, huh?
PAUL SOUZA

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Jul 31, 2012 - 02:49am PT
WOW!! Well done my friend! Truly inspiring!
Cole

Trad climber
los angeles
  Jul 31, 2012 - 02:50am PT
Holy sh#t man that was intense! Fabulous TR and great inspiration.
QITNL

climber
  Jul 31, 2012 - 04:11am PT
First world problem:

Damn, it takes a long time to find the bump button!
QITNL

climber
  Jul 31, 2012 - 06:16am PT
Why are Republicans Wrong about Everything?

Bump.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Jul 31, 2012 - 07:50am PT
you bunch of mountain freaks
are good company.

it takes a man of courage
to voluntarily seek his physical and mental thresholds.

bravo, mark.
it's good to know you.
telemon01

Trad climber
Montana
  Jul 31, 2012 - 07:56am PT

As usual, inspiring and impressive. Thanks for all of it!.

eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
  Jul 31, 2012 - 09:13am PT
Wow. That's a helluva well told, not to mention instructional, TR!
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Jul 31, 2012 - 09:27am PT
Spectacular read Mark! You need to start publishing these things in a coffee table book or something!

Cheers!
-Roger
Rankin

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
  Jul 31, 2012 - 10:18am PT
Right up to the edge. Awesome job Mark!
BASE1361

climber
Yosemite Valley National Park
  Jul 31, 2012 - 10:25am PT
Holy Sphincterballs!!!!

Well done Mark. Inspirational to the end.

You give a very raw and genuine account of an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 31, 2012 - 11:00am PT
And the Supertopo TR Lifetime Achievement Award goes to.......

I'm thinking about writing a Trip Report about reading your Trip Report. Reading this thing is an emotional ride man. You have done yourself, your journey, the climbing community, the route and the Captain proud with this one. Great writing, photos so crip you can feel the exposure and an openness about your experience. An "editor's" dream.

Thank you for all you do for this "sport."


I love this photo by the way.
Credit: Hudon
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 31, 2012 - 11:14am PT
An "editor's" dream.

Funny you should mention that. After working on this thing for so long, I actually had a dream last night I was up climbing on some mountain with Mark. It was cold and snowy, however. Definitely more of a nightmare for the likes of me, the Penguin Who Hates the Cold.

The ability to inspire is a gift, but it takes a ton of work, too. Thanks for putting in the huge effort this trip report had to require, Mark.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jul 31, 2012 - 11:16am PT
Thanks for the gripping TR Mark!
NA_Kid

Big Wall climber
The Bear State
  Jul 31, 2012 - 11:51am PT
Great report Mark! Does your topo reflect the grades YOU thought the climb was? Or are those the rating from the supertopo?
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:06pm PT
Fantastic TR, Mark! That was a truly gripping read, and your writing is most excellent. My guess is that most of us would want to have the bragging rights about having done all but the last two pitches, rather than lament that we were too spent to do them. Really impressive climb, and thanks for bringing us along!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
Author's Reply  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:27pm PT
Thank you for all your kind comments!

Jordan, those are the ST Guide ratings. I have no idea what the aid rating system is doing these days.
Tribal Rite, the South Seas, ZM, Iron Hawk and Native Son are all rated A4 but are all vastly different. It's a rating system that is truely broken and worthless.
I'd rate Iron Hawk A3+. I haven't done it but Native Son would stay at A4 and the other routes I mentioned would be C3f. Shortest Straw would be A3+. That would align the ratings back to the old school ratings I learned in the 70s.
10b4me

Social climber
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:24pm PT
Excellent as always
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:42pm PT
Hard to say what the real rating is, as it's been so long since I did it. But what makes Iron Hawk a big step upwards from anything Mark had climbed before is two things - its traversing/overhanging nature, and its length.

I think Mark did a great job of self-analysis and retrospection. In reading it, I saw a few things he could have improved upon, and he and I have spoken of this.

I think he really needs to bounce-test better - harder, and more consistently. Trust nothing. You can get away with this on popular routes that see several ascents per year if not per season, because someone has probably tested the fixed gear/mank ahead of you recently. I don't recall the last time I saw Iron Hawk climbed, let alone soloed. Proper bounce-testing would have cut his number of falls in half, I'm guessing, based on what he has described so well above.

You need to bring a nailing mentality to a nailing route. With a name like "Iron Hawk" there could be a clue there. Don't be afraid to use your iron. Big peckers will especially bring down the rating of an aid pitch. You really need to know when to say when. Sure, you should climb as clean as possible whenever reasonably possible, but there comes a time where the consequences of a fall are more severe. Know when to nail, and do it. Know when to climb clean, and do it. Know the difference, and don't be afraid to nail when you have to. I would personally not risk a fall on a hard route by trying to climb it too cleanly.

I also think Mark burned himself out a lot more than he realized at the time by doing his 'public service' of replacing bolts. It's one thing to replace a single bolt when you need to, it's another to do two or more at a single belay. Bolt removal and drilling is HARD work - it trashes your hands. Ultimately, it was Mark's hands which failed, although certainly it was a synergistic effect of these concerns and others he has spoken of. It was awesome that Mark replaced so many bolts, and future parties ought to thank him. Unfortunately, there was a significant cost involved to him.

The solo tag rack is a benefit and a drawback - it's not for everyone, but I really like it. But it's dangerous and complicated. I'm not sure if Mark was plagued by bad luck in this department, or if he just wasn't careful enough each time setting up the tag rack. If you're really lucky, you can solo a wall and not bugger up any tags, but it usually happens to you at least once.

Another reason this is a great trip report is because you can learn a lot of stuff from it!
david r

Social climber
Seattle now NY then
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:46pm PT
Not only one of the best trip reports, but one of the best articles about a wall ever.
Thanks for the inspiration and the brutal honesty Mark.
Plaidman

Trad climber
South Slope of Mt. Tabor, Portland, Oregon, USA
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:48pm PT
Nice job Mark! Great TR with lots of details about how to overcome "the problems" when aid climbing. The details are like gold. How to stay out of getting cluster f*cked when aid climbing is the biggest trick. Learning what not to do is almost as important as learning what do to do. Thanks for not holding back and sharing all the gory details. These details are not small or meritless to this aspiring big wall climber.
Double D

climber
  Jul 31, 2012 - 12:56pm PT
Epic story Mark, thanks for the TR.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Mexico City, D.F.
  Jul 31, 2012 - 01:04pm PT
A great story but ... I have no desire to do this route. Hidden in it is the detail that you took 4 or 5 pretty good falls. Including one upside down fall, and those are scary. Not easy to mentally recover. I also wonder if you were hypothermic after the storm, wearing all your clothes and still feeling cold. Not a good sign. Finally, I also wonder what the psychological effect is of having that runout pitch as the last one, it seems like torture, since it is only that one short pitch between you and the top. If it were lower down on the route, it might not have seemed so imposing.

chappy

Social climber
ventura
  Jul 31, 2012 - 01:24pm PT
Mark,
Great story and a great effort. I was supposed to get out the door right away today and get some projects done but your journey had me mesmerized. I just couldn't leave without knowing how it ended. Take a rest! Now to my projects...
Chappy
wayne burleson

climber
Amherst, MA
  Aug 1, 2012 - 09:26am PT
Great report and climb! as we have come to expect from Mr. Hudon. I always wondered what 5.9r high on ElCap by the likes of Bard/Kauk might be like... I think we learned how fatigue, injury and just being alone can so completely change the game. And it is a good heads-up to others about this next level of El Cap routes, even though put up long ago. It seems like the traversing nature of the route made it a particularly hard solo. The video was perfectly placed in the story. Although I've seen Mr H. on video before, it was good to see and hear you. I'll be thinking about this TR for many days to come...
David D.

Trad climber
California
  Jul 31, 2012 - 02:19pm PT
Mark, this TR is phenomenal, and it's all because of your willingness to open yourself up and put it all out there: your planning, your passion, your mistakes, your failures, your anguish and heartbreak at the end. Thanks for dreaming big and taking us along with you.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 31, 2012 - 03:02pm PT
This is a beautiful TR. One of the best I have ever read.

It is a great to see someone go so hard that they literally do not have anything left in the tank. A lot of respect to you, and thank you for posting your experience.

That picture with a wall flower and a hook is beautiful too.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 31, 2012 - 03:30pm PT
QUESTION:
What is that green moco stuff on the hook?

Credit: micronut

a. A nasal discharge (snot rocket) from a unilateral sinus infection.

b. Alien slime

c. Spinach residue from a MountainHouse wall dinner, yacked up durin a sketchy pitch.

d. Apple flavored GU. 120 calories right there son. Eat that stuff!

e. A bit of Mark's mojo, spilled from one of his numerous falls.
BASE1361

climber
Yosemite Valley National Park
  Jul 31, 2012 - 03:33pm PT
I just noticed this little nugget:

The first photo really captures the story your about to read......

Morgan

Trad climber
East Coast
  Jul 31, 2012 - 03:51pm PT
Bravo!
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Jul 31, 2012 - 03:54pm PT
Freakin' sweet
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
Author's Reply  Jul 31, 2012 - 04:02pm PT
Yellow epoxie to mark my gear.
Regan

Big Wall climber
  Jul 31, 2012 - 04:18pm PT
Great TR. Very honest and authentic...
You showed your character and style by coming back on El Cap. Congrats, Mark.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Jul 31, 2012 - 04:19pm PT
mark,
how did you carry the slack end of your lead
line, upstream of the silent partner?
Magic Ed

Trad climber
Nuevo Leon, Mexico
  Jul 31, 2012 - 04:34pm PT
Mark, perhaps it's time to come clip bolts in the Potrero Chico with the rest of us old-timers. Imagine climbing big walls (not quite El Cap big but still big)with a single rope and a dozen draws!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jul 31, 2012 - 04:36pm PT
Wow! I feel like every trip report I've read this month has been outstanding, but this one tops them all. It was well worth the wait. Thank you for your willingness to share so much of yourself and your experience.

John
slodog

Trad climber
ontario canada
  Jul 31, 2012 - 04:36pm PT
totally amazing trip report-lots of lessons here -tagging traverses seems problamatic-great stuff Mark-you are definatly badass
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Jul 31, 2012 - 04:44pm PT
Epic!
Well done.
Wow.
S.Leeper

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Jul 31, 2012 - 05:18pm PT
oh my god what a great and heartfelt TR! You expressed feelings so many of us have felt before(except for the EL Cap part for me.)
elcap-pics

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
  Jul 31, 2012 - 05:42pm PT
I'm with all you guys on this one.... great report and climb too! I watched the entire climb and was getting a little worried when the pitch count sunk to one a day higher up. I figured Mark was in deep sh#t after the storm and was really pleased to hear from Cheyne that he and Alik were going up to help Mark off. Now that was a great call Mark! There is a lot to be said for placing your life above your passions! We have lost many a good climber who did the opposite.
Anyway thanks for the great report Mark and to you too Pete for the editing, never an easy task when done properly!!!!
Matt Thomsen

Big Wall climber
Places
  Jul 31, 2012 - 05:49pm PT
I could not think of a harder el cap route to solo... There is so much traversing!

Good effort and TR!
Gagner

climber
Boulder
  Jul 31, 2012 - 06:52pm PT
Sweet TR Mark. Your story telling and honesty about how you were feeling is refreshing. Good decision too.

WOOT!!

Paul
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
  Jul 31, 2012 - 07:15pm PT
It's an emotional roller coaster just reading this great TR, let alone doing the actual work. Great job Mark, your truly an inspiration.
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Jul 31, 2012 - 07:26pm PT
Great TR! Real, raw, honest and gripping. Great job - monster effort!
JSpencerV

Trad climber
Santa Monica, CA
  Jul 31, 2012 - 10:32pm PT
You are an inspiration man. So vivid, so honest - you put it all out there.
Silver

Gym climber
  Jul 31, 2012 - 11:17pm PT
Mark I have always respected your climbing ability with Donner being my home crag, and climbing on routes you put up with Max is always a humbling experience.

This TR however is raw unadulterated Hudon at its best. We finally get to see the man behind the mask and he is human. You're not only one tough climber but you're one of the smartest and that combo will keep you in the game for many years to come.

Great stuff and proud send.



guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Jul 31, 2012 - 11:20pm PT
Thanks Mark, for digging deep and opening up the internal workings of a most awesome guy. Proud to have met you and shared this tale. Dam, you are human after all.
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
  Aug 1, 2012 - 01:50am PT
By far the best TR I have read...I had to read it again, just to make sure I hadn't missed anything as my eyes skated from fall to fall.

Your reports are always an inspiration to me, and this one is no different. Thank you for so blatantly showing us your true core. I can honestly say that I would have packed it in long before you did..which shows me how far I still have to go in my glacially slow pace of trying to learn aid and the systems to attempt my own big wall adventures.

You inspire many, and regardless of what happened on this trip, you are still Mark Hudon and you are still badass. Keep climbing man.

roy

Social climber
NZ -> SB,CA -> Zurich
  Aug 1, 2012 - 03:26am PT
A really great trip report Mark. An amazing climb too, going right to you limits.

Cheers, Roy
ulybaZZa

Trad climber
Bonn, Germany
  Aug 1, 2012 - 04:36am PT
Wow! What an epic. Probably the most emotionally involved supertopo TR for me. I was mentally cheering for you all the way, almost down and out in the middle, then after you decided to continue, hoping that you would still make it. Smiling at the monitor when Cheyne arrived from the top. I must admit that part had a bit of Deus ex machina feeling to it :)
Thanks for sharing this awesome story, and more awesome climbs to you.
ulybaZZa

Trad climber
Bonn, Germany
  Aug 1, 2012 - 08:21am PT
And BTW, your elbow injury looks exactly the same as the one I got some weeks ago while climbing a not so big wall in Arco. I looked rather bloody and I also suspected a broken toe, so we bailed right away. You're really bad ass for keeping going despite all the problems, especially being solo.

This is me on the ledge where we slept that night before bailing.
This is me on the ledge where we slept that night before bailing.
Credit: ulybaZZa
Anonym Astmatiker

Ice climber
Trondheim, Norway
  Aug 1, 2012 - 07:45am PT
Great TR. Been crying on a wall a few times myself too.
cowpoke

climber
  Aug 1, 2012 - 07:51am PT
Such a great read and inspiration. Wow.
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Aug 1, 2012 - 08:09am PT
Awesome story and great gear pictures.

“I’m Mark Hudon, and I’m badass,” I said to myself, and almost started crying.

That's badass writing the soft way!
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Aug 1, 2012 - 08:15am PT
Epic, and beautiful, Mark.
icegang

Big Wall climber
Seoul,Korea
  Aug 1, 2012 - 09:06am PT
Awesome...Mark....You are the great...
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
  Aug 1, 2012 - 11:30am PT
Absolutely inspiring.

A good friend always says, "Let's be sure to pack an extra ration of humble pie, just in case.", prior to our alpine adventures. It rings true in this TR. I hope you view this climb as a success, if nothing else, it is motivation for an untold number to get off the couch and do something.

Wow.
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
  Aug 1, 2012 - 01:57pm PT
Great TR Mark! Thanks for all the on topic stuff you contribute and the inspiration you give.
donald perry

Trad climber
kearny, NJ
  Aug 1, 2012 - 06:28pm PT
Dear Mark,

My son and I just finished the Salathe, we did about 2 pitches a day but we could have done more. The hardest part mentally was first dealing with the prospective of hauling 50 gallons / 400 pounds of water and then physically lugging down the 200 pounds of gear. We ran out of water [intentionally on the last day just to see what it was like] at the base of the ledges. I have a hip injury I am trying to recover from over the last two years, so I called for some hired help to help carry down the loads the rest of the way. I think that was a good idea. Originally I was planning on having people carry everything, so I actually achieved more than I thought I was able to do.

You can see our videos here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYan14FCeLY numbers 1-14. Or do a search under redirectionalism.

I feel I have no business giving you advice, but you seem to be looking for feedback, so, foremost if I was you I would not give up.

First I would advise you to go to naturalnews.com and examine your diet. For example are you drinking fluoridated water?, it's poison. Root canals can be very unhealthy too, do a search on naturalnews.com.

Second, now that you have gone this far you know what gear you need, and how you should be feeling as you get back up to your high point. You’re a lot further along than you think.

Third, I would cheat a little here so you don’t waste any more time, go back to the top when you are feeling better and FIRST do those last pitches.

Fourth, develop your endurance and strength until you get back there again, keep a record and note your progress.

Eat right, and keep exercising, if you do that I have confidence that your next trip will be with more energy and you should make it to the top. What do you think? [Before you answer please do some thinking about your diet and check out that naturalnew.com website I mentioned.]

Good luck and God bless you,

DJP


Silver

Gym climber
  Aug 1, 2012 - 06:29pm PT
Yeah Mark

More Slim Jims and less water and you would have made it no problem.

There is no doubt you should have done that coffee enema at pitch 4 for a powerful clean colon finish to this route.

All kidding aside this Euro has a point. Nutrition or lack there of can really make a fine tuned machine sputter and when it does its game over.

I think Mark is probably in better shape than 95% of us and if anything he over trains and doesn't get enough rest.
dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
  Aug 1, 2012 - 11:12pm PT
"Not only one of the best trip reports, but one of the best articles about a wall ever.
Thanks for the inspiration and the brutal honesty Mark. "


Yes sir.


edit. Dude, that was a long story but I couldn't stop reading and I'm supposed to be packing for a backpacking trip tomorrow. OK, back to work.
Nick

climber
portland, Oregon
  Aug 1, 2012 - 11:19pm PT
Nice Mark. You set the standard for good judgement in a tough situation.
BooYah

Social climber
Ely, Nv
  Aug 1, 2012 - 11:19pm PT
Nice Trip report.
I must say, though the birds are (mostly) NOT SWALLOWS. They are swifts.
Swifts, sir. Ask your local birdMan. Not a big deal.

Again, Nice trip. Kudos.
westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
  Aug 1, 2012 - 11:37pm PT
Thanks Mark

Waited for this TR and you did not disappoint! What a great read. I laughed, I cried, even learned a bunch! Keep up the fine work.

Thanks again for your inspiring words.

Wes
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
Author's Reply  Aug 2, 2012 - 12:14am PT
Thank you again for all your kind comments.

Klaus, for me to do that I'd have to do it on the lead, and then if I did that I'd have to take them all out when cleaning, leaving the pitch totally naked. I can't imagine all the grief I'd get.

One of these days though... I'm toying with the idea of doing that on Lost in America this fall.
cornel

climber
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
  Aug 2, 2012 - 03:44pm PT
Thank you Mark for an inspiring dose of reality. Yes sir soloing on the big stone will strip you right down to your core. Never soloed but I have done a couple of A5s on El Cap and as you clarify the rating system is flawed. There are significant differences in many routes with the same rating, absolute fact. Love to do a climb as clean as possible but when you hit the A4 zone it is pretty hard to get it clean without a huge cheater stick which is in fact cheating. I agree with Pass the Pitons Pete it is all about the bounce test too especially on fixed gear. Got to bounce on those placements fairly hard absolutely on heads. Thanx too for replacing those bolts. That was above and beyond the call of duty...Great report and good judgement in calling for help. I had to call for help about 12 years ago on Salathe. . Verglas from a storm about 6 inches deep plastered on the last 2 pitches made it impossible to climb, so I asked for a rescue. Knowing when to say when is as crucial as any other skill in this crazy game. Again thanx for laying it all out there. Really enjoy your writings...
cornel

climber
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
  Aug 2, 2012 - 12:00pm PT
Oh yes, another thing you might appreciate Mark is something I discovered a few years ago that really facilitates a faster recovery from big walls. It is a Chinese medicinal supplement called Super Jing when taken in conjunction with Accupuncture treatments. The synergistic effect accelerates recovery big time. It is one thing to fatigue the body but quite another to exhaust the body as big walls do. Sustained exhaustion renders the body into a dangerous state where disease can enter. Kind of like being on A4+ and not knowing it. I really appreciate Super Jing now that I am well into my 60's. ...There is always a way one simply must find the way. Keep Cranking' !!
DerekCl

Trad climber
Altanta
  Aug 2, 2012 - 01:45pm PT
Thanks for another awesome trip report Mark! I am relatively new to aid climbing and you are a real inspiration and wealth of information. Whenever I have a question about best practices I like to ask myself WWMD. The trip reports/videos/pictures you post have been a great place to study different techniques, and skills.

Thanks!

Sidenote: Why does this comment thread sound a lot like a herbal remedy infomercial?

Mark have you tried C8H10N4O2? I hear it is great for big walls...
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Aug 2, 2012 - 01:50pm PT
does not it just completely suck
and totally kill buzzes

when you get to the top,
one way or the other,
and your realize with emotional pain

that your ascent is insignificant
and nothing matters,
beyond the end of the pitch.

six could be nine,
no matter.

smiles smash tragically against realities everywhere,

time and reality march on.

kudo's mark though you have none influence on spirtual concessions.

neither do i, and i still try.

my, is endangered. so is, is.
m_jones

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
  Aug 3, 2012 - 01:27am PT
and nothing matters,
beyond the end of the pitch.

Exactly.

How often does one get to be where nothing else matters.

How many tell the tale so well.

Thanks Mark!
gonzo chemist

climber
the east coast, for now.
  Aug 3, 2012 - 01:53am PT
Credit: gonzo chemist

Mr. Hudon,
Outstanding TR. The emotionally raw nature of it cuts to the very heart of climbing experiences. Iron Hawk sounds like a route to be reckoned with.

I'm just a nobody, but I respect your TRs.

RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Aug 3, 2012 - 11:06am PT
BTW...that pic of everyone on the approach is a commercial for 5.10 guides!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Aug 3, 2012 - 11:24am PT
Really awesome TR.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
Author's Reply  Aug 3, 2012 - 11:57am PT
I noticed that also, Roger.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Aug 3, 2012 - 12:12pm PT
Perfect epic on El Cap is when you just barely have enough juice to get to the top. It hardly matters that you were a few feet off one way or another, you found the limit and touched the "death state" from which you are reborn in some way

and you and PTPP should simul-solo two routes next to each other sometime. I dunno why

Great tr

Peace

karl
cornel

climber
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
  Aug 3, 2012 - 09:00pm PT
One other tip - when nailing any A4 or A5 pitch never clip the junk to the lead line. If a placement is body weight or only slightly better never clip it. If it blows and you have clipped a string of body weight placements you are simply going to have to redo all that work. Had you not clipped them to the lead line you would only have to redo a single placement. . A traverse is the only exception.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Aug 3, 2012 - 07:45pm PT
Thanks for this Mark. Inspiring as always!
irene+

Trad climber
nowhere
  Aug 3, 2012 - 09:36pm PT
Incredibly amazing mental feat - Congratulations!!!
And thanks for writing up the story and sharing.
Scott McNamara

climber
Tucson, Arizona
  Aug 3, 2012 - 10:08pm PT
Amazing adventure! Well told. It is the rare teller that allows the reader to feel the saga.

Thanks!

P.S.

I am hoping for a double feature—The Thriller in Manilla, The Rumble in the Jungle. You and Max---Hootin’ Hudon and Hawk--—Saturday Night at the Movies, where an older John Wayne teams up with his buddy and cleans up.....Iron Hawk.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
Author's Reply  Aug 3, 2012 - 10:31pm PT
Scott, Ha! just today I was texting with Max and told him that the New Jersey Turnpike was in our future!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 3, 2012 - 11:55pm PT
One of you best ever Mark, Thanks MUCH!!!

Awesome soul-searching writing!!!
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
  Aug 5, 2012 - 08:51pm PT
THAT was TRULY the best TR I have EVER read!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Aug 6, 2012 - 11:58pm PT
Cornel - are you knott familiar with John Yates' amazing invention known as the Scream Aid? These little load limiting slings deploy at a constant force of only 285 pounds, and allow marginal pieces of fixed mank to actually stop a decent fall.

If you were as much of a pussy as me, and afraid to fall like me, you would knott only know about these things, but you would have plenty of them on your aid rack, like I do.

I clip every damn piece of crap I can.
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
  Aug 7, 2012 - 12:52am PT
I'm sure many of you have already read it, but this TR is a close tie...

http://www.fishproducts.com/topos/nativeTR/nativeTR.html

(I'd forgotten about it)

Wicked rad epic Mark! I can certainly relate to bad karma stacking up against you, and after a fair bit of solo climbing myself how it feels to be alone up there!
John Fine

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Aug 17, 2012 - 11:15am PT
What makes this particular report such better literature than the others is that in here you are experiencing the universal human condition of "meeting your match", coming to the end of something (not wall climbing altogether, but hard solo wall climbing). The other reports, however well written, are primarily of interest to other wall climbers. This one is literature - it will be of interest to the general population.

When you cried for an hour after giving a pitch away for the first time ever, I cried (well, at least in my mind) remembering how I couldn't get up Lovin' Arms with you (for the first time ever); remembering every wall bail; remembering when I could climb 5.12.

Everyone will cry remembering something they have lost, forever....
moosedrool

climber
Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
  Oct 29, 2012 - 12:54pm PT
photo not found
Missing photo ID#270812
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Oct 29, 2012 - 01:12pm PT
Credit: mouse from merced

Only kidding, Mark, since I was JUST BUMPING YOUR FABULOUS TRIP REPORT! :O)
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Oct 29, 2012 - 07:11pm PT
Wow! Super heavy double duty Mark, awesome! Inspirational, you have twice the determination of the heaviest of hitters. Thanks for this TR, amazing!
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Nov 5, 2012 - 08:08pm PT
aid climbing seems dangerous....
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
Author's Reply  Jul 9, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
No joke, I'm going on a month long free climbing trip to Colorado this September to get in physical and mental shape to lead that 5.9 pitch when Max and I get up to it via the AO Wall this October. It still scares me that much!
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Mexico City, D.F.
  Jul 9, 2013 - 12:59pm PT
You're going back up to finish the last pitch? I'll put it on my calendar to tune in to supertopo for the live feed.

Not sure how you plan to train for a runout slab, isn't that what it was? Better off on the glacier point apron. There's run out climbing in Eldo and the rock can be kind of slick, but its really just a crag. You'd like the Diamond, it's not el Cap but has serious mountain weather and a great adventure even on the casual route.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
Author's Reply  Jul 9, 2013 - 01:24pm PT
Just basically climbing, climbing and more climbing is going to do it for me.

If all goes to plan, we'll be starting around the end of Sept, early October.
Brock

Trad climber
RENO, NV
  Jul 9, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Proud of ya Mark!

I'm going through the years of being a father with two young girls and have some of my climbing goals on hold. I have been following your post and love them.

Hope to climb with ya someday, either here in Truckee/Donner or Yosemite.

Cheers!
couchmaster

climber
  Jul 9, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
This TR goes past 11. 2nd read here, maybe goes to 12. But ratings are worthless, it speaks for itself. Fantastic job on it. Great read. Good luck on the 2nd lap on the 5.9. I'm sure you'll be laughing and flying up it this time.
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jul 9, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
Awesome efforts and TR! Nice to see it bumped.
Noff

Big Wall climber
Nashville, TN
  Jul 15, 2013 - 04:08pm PT
Great read, and great photos. Can't wait to get to Yosemite in May!
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jul 15, 2013 - 05:02pm PT
Amazing!
bbbeans

Trad climber
  Feb 14, 2014 - 01:12pm PT
Bumpity bump bump for one of my favorite trip reports.
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
  Feb 15, 2014 - 10:03pm PT
Holy $hit!
Awesome TR.

Thanks,
Doug
ShawnInPaso

climber
Paso Robles, CA
  Feb 15, 2014 - 11:14pm PT
While I've never met Mark Hudon, I can honestly say I have more respect for him then 99% of the people I know. He is one true bad ass.

PS. Excellent TR.
Trusty Rusty

climber
Tahoe Area
  Mar 12, 2014 - 01:19am PT
Awesome tenacity and TR Mark, bump worthy.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Mar 12, 2014 - 02:51am PT
Dear Mark,

My son and I just finished the Salathe, we did about 2 pitches a day but we could have done more. The hardest part mentally was first dealing with the prospective of hauling 50 gallons / 400 pounds of water and then physically lugging down the 200 pounds of gear. We ran out of water [intentionally on the last day just to see what it was like] at the base of the ledges.

...


I feel I have no business giving you advice, but you seem to be looking for feedback, so, foremost if I was you I would not give up.

First I would advise you to go to naturalnews.com and examine your diet. For example are you drinking fluoridated water?, it's poison. Root canals can be very unhealthy too, do a search on naturalnews.com.

Second, now that you have gone this far you know what gear you need, and how you should be feeling as you get back up to your high point. You’re a lot further along than you think.

Third, I would cheat a little here so you don’t waste any more time, go back to the top when you are feeling better and FIRST do those last pitches.

Fourth, develop your endurance and strength until you get back there again, keep a record and note your progress.

Eat right, and keep exercising, if you do that I have confidence that your next trip will be with more energy and you should make it to the top. What do you think? [Before you answer please do some thinking about your diet and check out that naturalnew.com website I mentioned.]

Good luck and God bless you,

DJP



I'm just going to leave this here.






10b4me

Social climber
  Mar 12, 2014 - 10:31am PT
Bump
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El Capitan - Iron Hawk A4 5.10 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Iron Hawl is route number 22.
Photo: Galen Rowell
Other Routes on El Capitan
El Capitan - The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
The Nose, 5.14a or 5.9 C2
El Capitan
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The Nose—the best rock climb in the world!
El Capitan - Zodiac A2 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Zodiac, A2 5.7
El Capitan
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1800' of fantastic climbing.
El Capitan - Salathe Wall 5.13b or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Salathe Wall, 5.13b or 5.9 C2
El Capitan
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The Salathé Wall ascends the most natural line up El Cap.
El Capitan - Lurking Fear C2F 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Lurking Fear, C2F 5.7
El Capitan
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Lurking Fear is route number 1.
El Capitan - East Buttress 5.10b - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
East Buttress, 5.10b
El Capitan
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East Buttress with top of The Nose on left.
More routes on El Capitan