Jesus Built My Hotrod A4 5.7
Trip ReportJesus Built My Hot Rod First Ascent History by Eric Kohl
I looked everywhere but I couldn't seem to find an original topo for "Jesus built my Hotrod". That's OK though because this isn't that complex. The topo in the Reid guide is essentially the one I drew and the hole count is accurate as I remember we drilled 20. This includes rivets and belay bolts except for the ones already on Ahwahnee Ledge and a few enhanced hooks on pitch 2. Rasmussen and I swapped leads with myself doing the first. The name of the route came from the Ministry tape we constantly had playing in the boom box.
You have my permission to reprint any of this with the condition that you must print my "note" at the end of this account. Impressionable climbers should be aware that some of us "old timers" are concerned with the current proliferation of unnecessary bolts on Yosemite's cliffs.
We became interested in climbing the line after we viewed pitches 4-7 with binoculars. We thought pitch 4 would be a wide crack (not so) and pitch 6 the crux as it looked ultra thin in the binos. This also was not the case. We were disappointed to find this pitch open up to cam placements and solid pitons.
The route began ominously when I took a 10 foot fall on the first placement of pitch one when a small block I was hooking fractured. We fixed two pitches before committing with a flotilla of haulbags stuffed with amenities such as a huge ghetto blaster, case of Olde E, and fireworks. I had to draw the line when "Spuety" (Rasmussen) announced his intention to bring firewood for Ahwahnee Ledge.
Climbing pitch 3 was somewhat spooky due to a super expanding block I had to nail, which I understand fell off shortly thereafter. So ignore my p. 3 rating. I then entertained myself by cranking Zappa's "Shut up and play yer Guitar" and tossing lit firecrackers down at Spuety as he cleaned.
Pitch 4 looked staightforward and short yet somehow still required Spuety an eternity to lead. The boredom of belaying him for hours on end was only relieved by the many vodka and fruit punch cocktails I mixed. This was not without it's consequences, however, as it likely was the cause of me "slipping" off Ahwahnee Ledge in the dark trying to get into my portaledge. I was tied to the anchor with 20 ft. of slack, enough to make my lumbar spine feel like an elephant stepped on it when the rope caught me. Spuety didn't know i was even tied in, as he was not. When he saw my headlamp fly down to the approach trail, he naturally assumed I suffered my ultimate demise. I surprised him when I Batmanned back to the ledge.
The next morning began with Spuety hauling and me cleaning pitch 4. Halfway up I heard a "ping, ping" and watched the haulbags suddenly drop 4 ft. Concerned, I asked what was going on up there. He said everything was OK, just part of the anchor blew. When I arrived at the belay I made this shocking assesment: he was hauling off two equalized pitons which both failed. So he finished the haul off the single 3/8" belay bolt and hand placed the pitons back to their placements as a "back up". I really felt nauseous when I realized I had ascended on this bolt as well. In fact everything we had, including ourselves, was hanging off a single carabiner. Weighing my options, I decided to start leading instead of drilling another belay bolt figuring I'd feel better just getting some solid gear in between us. This next pitch, "Go for the Olde", proved to be the crux and no holes were drilled.
NOTE: 12 years later it appears times have changed. There currently is a proliferation of unnecessary bolts on Yosemite's walls. The trend seems to be that it is OK to drill on established routes. This lack of respect for the style of the first ascent greatly saddens me. Not only do these actions destroy the route for future ascents, they are also robbing themselves of the challenging experience that the first ascentionist had intended. Therefore, I strongly encourage others to remove any bolts that were not part of the F.A hole count, 20 in this case.
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