Trip Report
Jones and Hudon - Lost in America, October 2012
Friday February 8, 2013 6:05pm
Start of the day on Lost in America
Start of the day on Lost in America
Credit: m_jones
Lost in America - SW Face El Capitan - Yosemite
Early October 2012
By Max Jones

At one point he ( Tommy T.) was rapping back to the anchor but stopped and looked at Max. So Max, you said it was great, but do you want to do it again?

T2s question on top of El Cap after climbing South Seas/PO last October 2011 with Mark caught me off guard, but my response was instant oh yeah, I sure do!
Committing to a second wall means you are back in the game. Was I?

To paraphrase Mark - Sometimes you do not know when your life will change directions. All we can hope for, as we stumble through, is to still be able to keep our eyes open for possibilities. And hopefully maintain the gumption to jump on those possibilities.
Last fall, finally being coaxed into climbing El Cap again by Mark was one of those possibilities. I found that I really really missed climbing and my friend had opened the door and presented me an awesome change of direction in my outdoor life on a silver platter.

Before climbing South Seas I had so much doubt about willingly diving into the discomfort of a wall yet a strange inner pull at the same time. An up to that time, unrecognized longing to be up there again. To once again engage in the cleansing sufferfest therapy that most walls become.It had been a long time. And so began my reentry back as a climber.

On South Seas, Mark totally took care of details and equipment and as he said buffed me out. It was hugely appreciated. Even still, the work and discomfort had really worked me. His preparation suggestions and tech information was the only way I would have ever been able to believe Id get up El Cap again. I had not climbed at all for maybe 15-17 years before leading that first pitch on South Seas and that was a few years just clipping bolts. I last climbed El Cap some 30 or so years ago back when I was young and tough. So cool to see how all the new gear and techniques make it possible for someone slightly south of his prime to get back in the game with some greater degree of comfort. A least the aid climbing big wall game. Talk about leaping ahead in the future, kids these days do not know how good they have it. The new tools of the trade are amazing, mini cams, big honking mega cams, cam hooks, beaks, tomahawks, good small nuts, 2:1 hauling, porta ledges, hot meals, iphones, pour over coffee for gods sake!

After SS/PO I made lots of notes about things to do better or remember. First and foremost, adapt to hiking with weight. The approach should not kick my ass - especially an El Cap approach! Figure out how to rack gear so I could quickly find what I wanted. I needed to get glasses made so I could actually see to place small gear (just a bit stronger than my distance prescription but not reading strength). When to trim my fingernails (yes that specific but man my fingers really hurt last year - fyi not the day before, Im trying mechanics gloves next wall, at least for cleaning!). How much water we went through and the temps. Better food to bring and most important, what food NOT to bring. Pack an extra spoon so when I forget one I still have one! Teather the spoon so I can find it. Make a topo with bigger pitch length numbers so our old eyes can actually read them. Leave pitch ratings off the topo. Aid ratings on routes that have seen a couple of dozen or so ascents seem pretty scattered anyway, may as well expect every fixed head to fail and every pitch sporty!

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My notes from South Seas/PO. Just kept track of things to change and remember.

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Big old guy pitch length numbers - the rest you pretty much do not need to see anyway.

I do not really mind suffering and hard work. I have worked hard all my life. Mountain bike racing was at times quite the short term suffer fest. I just hate suffering needlessly or because of mistakes in preparation. So off I went to become a climber again with the goal of being stronger, better at placing gear and a faster climber. And suffering less. After Mark talked to a few friends about some routes we had in mind, we decided on Lost in America for fall 2012. A step up into harder less traveled aid climbing for me. Mark wanted the A4 pitches and that was quite alright with me. A Randy Levitt route. So cool. Randy did his first wall with me. An early ascent of Tis Sa Ack on Half Dome back in 77. It would be cool to see first hand some of what Randy accomplished after I faded away from climbing.

The winter of 2012 was really mild and spring started early. I was able to climb at Sugarloaf and Phantom spires in January. So cool to watch my body sort of remember climbs and stumble up things I did a lifetime ago. So thankful for friends to be rope guns.

Being very mountain bike fit but not climbing for more than 15 years was not enough last year. Seems that the strength required to top step on a steep wall to reach some crazy out of reach rivet with a heavy rack and carry and haul heavy loads are fairly specific strengths required for walls. As I was no longer 20 and tough I needed to train a little smarter and more specific. Training... I pretty much had my fill of that bike racing. Hmmm maybe Ill just to go climbing any chance I can and carry a heavy pack all the time! Simple!

I spent the spring and summer managing to climb maybe twice a week. Spent a number of very nice summer evenings at Donner with back in the day climbing friends who were great at picking a proper pace for my comeback. In addition, one evening a week I was able to go top rope soloing with a micro trax. What a cool little device. So convenient to get some quick laps in on the local small crags. This was just enough to get me flowing a bit better up the rock and confident with rope work.

Strange how you forget how good climbing is at rebooting the brain. Even a couple of hours here and there do the trick. Crazy year year of changes for my wife and I. Calling a career running a cross country ski area and grooming ski trails quits after 27 years. Last years ultra light winter was the last straw for our xc ski area on the east side of Tahoe. Just cannot rely on good winter snow on the east side of the lake it seems any longer. And the seemingly longer January thaw that just throws more importance that it snows enough for the Christmas holiday. The payday of the ski industry. It was a stressful summer lining up another location to move our bike shop, opening up a cafe in Incline and in the middle of it all getting our only daughter off to college. Kind of busy like every one is these days. Crazy life we all somehow get sucked into. Not sure why we let it happen. Those route filled camp 4 days of long ago are so alluring. The lucky are able to grab bits of the mountains every time they can. It is so cool to re find something that takes me out of that craziness if even for a little bit. And I am so lucky to be close to lots of climbing and friends to meet at the crags. I am baffled why I have not done it all along.

I was really to busy (scattered) to go to the valley. Mark even asked if it was going to be too much. Maybe. Probably. I really should have stayed home but I had committed a year ago to climb another route with Mark in the fall. Walls are wonderful islands isolated from the real world. Lots of work, random moments of terror, loads of problem solving and most importantly, one goal, kind of perfect! I really did not realize how much I needed to go. Yet I really needed to stay. Thankfully it ended up being not too hard on my awesome wife who ran our new cafe with the help of great friends while I got to slink away and reboot.
As hard as it was to drive out of my driveway, I did my best to not think, just go. The pull of staying home and on the ground is so so strong sometimes. Somehow, Im still not sure how, I just went.

It was really hot for October. Mid to upper 90s in the Valley. I e mailed Mark to see if we should put it off a day or two as it was supposed to cool. I read on Toms El Cap report about Awesome Alice soloing Zodiac and she was baking. Mark told me to come on down. We can fix then decide to wait a day.
Dont think so much Jones Mark used to tell me ... I did not know at the time but Mark and his nephew Paul had been hiking loads to the base. When I arrived at the bridge, after a very nice early morning drive down the east side to the valley he told me to load all my stuff - everything else was at the base - no sh#t - that is great! You guys rock! So only one heavy load up to the base for me.

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And up we go. Pretty sure the topo said that the first pitch had an r bit off the deck. Meaning one could impact that deck if not careful. Our topo did not have pitch ratings on them just so we would not think so much about what was coming and always pay attention. Nothing worse than expecting an easy pitch pitch you think will go fast that is awkward and kicks your butt.

Mark points the way and - dont think, just go... Part way up the pitch, Pete walks by and mentions that we might be off route. Why are we going that way - avoiding hard pitches already? And some other Great White North based slander. What?

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If you are starting Lost in America here - go back down and start again in a different spot.

I quip that I was just doing a warm up and was soon going to pendulum over to the actual start. So down I come and head up the actual start. I was determined to do the first pitch much quicker than last years glacial five hour first pitch on South Seas. I was very relieved to note it was much shorter, not as steep and even had some free climbing mid pitch. The r part was clipping, testing and then trusting fixed heads. Not too bad, until theyre not. Then some exciting free climbing up a narrow and exposed ramp. Pretty fun. Finished. Much faster. So much more comfortable. Kind of hot but not too bad. Mark lent me his da brim - actually a pretty sweet helmet umbrella - I do believe it actually made a difference. I like the shade. My skin likes the shade. The sun gods will eventually take their due on your skin kids! Mark cleans, I haul, then it is off to a great dinner in camp provided by Marks uncle in law. Steak and potatoes! Sweet! I actually feel pretty good. Not wasted at all like last year. I am so psyched. Feels awesome to be established on El Cap this time after climbing for a year. And it is supposed to cool a bit through the week.

Wednesday morning a quick hike up to the start and off we go up the ropes to our waiting gear. And we are off - Im hoping not to think too much and really enjoy Lost in America.

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Pretty cool bit of shade. We come up with custom brim ideas through out the climb.

Rp3 Brim - Geology scale printed on it so when Tom takes a photo Roger has data.
Topo brim - topo of route printed on it.
Disco brim - flashing lights attached to help with birthday celebrations.
Yellow brim - reserved for the bad ass ascent of the season (Go Alice!)
The list could go on and on.

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Astral Lasso
I guess the first ascent party had to lasso something to avoid drilling bolts in this section - pretty blank. There are bolts now.

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So much of some pitches are becoming time bomb clip ups. Anytime we could get gear close to something fixed the fixed piece came out. At least most beaks and tomahawks will become hand placeable in quick time. There is an amazing difference looking at a pitch that is mostly free of fixed gear and one that is totally fixed. Kind of like the difference of riding a bike on the slick rock trail and then venturing out of sight from the painted lines. Try it sometime. Totally different experience. Route finding becomes important. You actually start looking around.

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Start of the fifth pitch
Pretty secure hook moves off of the belay lead to a long line of beaks.

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Pano of pitch 5.

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End of the fifth pitch
Small nuts and cams under what was I am sure a pretty exciting expanding pitch back in the day with iron. Metolius cams. Magic. Just the ticket.

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Mark devised a clever and quite simple anti tat system. Here I am cleaning a traverse that started at the belay. We had 25 feet of six mil cord. Place it directly through the piece and lower your self out. One can make it a two or three to one set up and lower out quite far. I think it is simpler and safer than the typical clip and unclip the jumar routine. A friend took a full rope length dive on the last pitch of Mescalito. Every time I uncliped that top jumar I think of that.

You can completely take apart an anchor and leave no tat even when you have to lower out directly from that anchor.

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Mark on the 5.10r free climbing.
Mark was a bit nervous about this pitch after last spring on Iron Hawk. He did not look up once while cleaning until he arrived at the belay. I could see the relief on his face when the pitch did not look too bad. I did not get any photos of him at the bottom of the pitch as it was run out immediately off of the belay and I figured Id pay attention. He cruised the pitch.
It is very run out. A snap to clean.

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Max cleaning the 5.10 pitch.
An island of lower angle diorite in the middle of a steep climb.
Mark noted that the face pitch on Iron Hawk looked much harder.

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Part of the bivy anchor on top of the 7th pitch. Bomber mix of Totem and Metolius master cams. We were loaned some Totem cams for the climb.
They evolved from back of the rack out of sight to right at home in the A team.
Very solid secure feel to these cams.

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We each seem to grab a photo of our diciest hook move while on that hook.
Im thinking that the placement was much better just to the left - until it wasnt.

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Mark on the crux aid pitch (8th pitch)
A fair number of hook moves to fixed heads. Pretty much every head had a bit of lower out tat on it from previous parties cleaning the pitch - not any more.
Lots of tricky placements and some loose stuff finishes off a long one.

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Yes the heads are now gone. The hook was WAY better.

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Toms view of the action. I kind of wonder how they picked out this line. Vague features connected by featureless sections. But yet, just enough for fun aiding!

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Like most El Cap belays - nice spot - good views!
A fair number of hook moves between solid pieces.

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Pitch 9
Starts kind of the same way as the pitch before. Pretty secure hooking off of the belay but a fair number of hook moves in a row. I really really enjoyed this pitch. Quite spicy for me. Lots of hooks and unfortunately lots of death heads. One pulled when testing just to keep me on my toes.
Really made me think. And even though placements were pretty good it was the most consecutive hooking I have ever done and the landings, at least in my mind, were not all air.

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Pitch 9
Looking at kind of a bad fall to get to this spot but fairly secure hook moves.

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Pitch 9
Toms view. Big mix of rock types on the route.

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My spiciest hook placement.
Not too bad or small but on a flat spot and not much of anything in below it.

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Pitch 10
Mark started this pitch the evening before but we ran out of light.
I finished it the next morning to set Mark up for the infamous Fly or Die pitch.

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The belay.

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Pitch 10
Out of the black and into the gold - Amazing rock! One of the prettiest sections of El Cap I think.

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Fixed head and dead head.
We began to notice that under the dead heads we cleaned there was often a very good tomahawk placement. Most likely most of these old broken heads had been placed before beaks and tomahawks were invented. Take a butter knife when leading and take them out to have a look! Might actually find a better non time bomb removeable placement. Use a beak or tomahawk maybe we can get rid of lots of sketchy fixed heads. At least on climbs of this vintage.

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The belay for the Fly or Die pitch.

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Fly or Die panorama.
Wild spectacular pitch. Rated A5 on the first ascent we could see why. Very thin nailing, very steep and a big slab 100 below you that you think you will hit if everything pulled. An added 3/8 bolt, a couple of added bat hook holes and many fixed heads take the sting out of it. Feels like you are suspended over the real pitch. Mark did not use the bolt nor did he see the bat hook holes. We wish we had the tools to remove the bolt and should have filled the holes. And removed all the fixed heads - then rapped back down, pulled the ropes and climbed it again - if we were real men.

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Cleaning the last part of Fly or Die.

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Place of Dead Roads.
No, I was not trying to be bad ass and only clip every fourth or fifth rivet. Just forget wire rivet hangers - only bring slotted rivet hangers and then you do what you have to. Make sure to plan ahead for those hook moves you wont see coming! What a great pitch though. The top half is very much like the zig zags on Half Dome. Sweeping and majestic! I noticed that the layers of granite in the small corners were very different looking from each other. I hope I got good photos for Rodger!

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Very cool clouds. Lots of cool different clouds these days.

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End of the dead roads and the junk show.

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Toms view of the top of the dead roads pitch - nice light!

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The dawn wall from the top of the Dead Roads pitch. I think my favorite view of El Cap.
The small dot at the top next to the black streak is Dave Alfrey leading the top crux of Reticient. Ranger Ben is belaying.

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Top of pitch 13 on ZM. Enjoying life!

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Start of the last pitch - well actually the second to last pitch - Mark linked the last two.
Note the disturbing absence of gear left behind. Trying to make the rope reach the top
Just a second Hudon, let me put a screamer on the belay!

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Amazing sunset! I am glad Mark took the shot as I completely missed it cleaning the pitch.

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Finishing in the dark.
So Hudon decides to link the last two pitches. He said it worked when he soloed ZM.
After the aid bit, he took off free climbing for the top left his rack and everything he could where the free climbing started. I got there in the dark and just put his gear rack on over mine and kept cleaning the pitch feeling like the double rack and rope weighed about 100 pounds. I switched over to the white haul rope when I reached the top of the lead rope and jugged to the top. Took me a few weeks to think about and figure out what he had done. The lead rope was tied off and then I just started up the haul line. I did not realize at the time he untied from the lead rope, anchored it for me then took off for the top short fixed to the white (static) haul rope. Yeah only 5.7 but still. Still not exactly sure of the precise Hudon magic to leave an end of haul rope tied to the anchor for me and then haul.
Good time to be really sure of what is going on when the haul rope comes tight and you think it is time to cut loose the bags!!

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Trash from the climb - all of this rotten lower out tat was removed using our anti tat system.
And a sharp knife! Harder to see are the heads we removed. Maybe a dozen where we were able to avoid their use. I figure we also removed a dozen or more dead heads that open up more placements.

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Isnt the top of El Cap one of the coolest places there on the planet!
Great week and could not ask for a better climbing partner - just what I needed.
No need to ask the question this time. Heck yeah Ill be climbing it again.
I am so in!
After a day basking in the glory in the meadow, I headed back home enjoying the slightly different look of the world after a very cool vertical walk about.

Post script.
And now a glimpse of the view the truly bad ass wake up to.

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I was going to post the video of our over stuffed haul bag taking it to Cheyne as he wrestling it on when he came up to help us hike our gear down.

This is the view from his bivy on the top of Fitzroy,
which was the third summit and last bivy of some monster linkup/traverse
he and his buddies did in Patagonia.
I sure the equivalent of more than a few El Caps were climbed in a crazy little amount of time.
Good on ya Cheyne! Sounds like quite the season down under.
Ah to be young and tough.
Got to keep on his good side so he helps us again!
And glad we were able to contribute to the empanada fund!

Ah hell can't let him get too big for his britches!

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  Trip Report Views: 6,862
About the Author
Max Jones is a climber from Carson City, NV who is getting back after it after a long lay off.


Boulder, CO
  Feb 8, 2013 - 06:10pm PT
we have a DaBrim spotting!

Mountain climber
The Ocean
  Feb 8, 2013 - 06:24pm PT
What a great reason to log onto ST. Lots of work in writing these up and adding photo's in the right place.

Work well appreciated!

Quality full value trip and some of the best wall pics I have seen anywhere! Infact I have to say.. The BEST!


Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Feb 8, 2013 - 06:29pm PT
Very Cool M+M!

Thanks for the writeup.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Feb 8, 2013 - 06:31pm PT

A TR from Max, what a treat!

Keep coming back my man!

  Feb 8, 2013 - 06:34pm PT
dave goodwin

carson city, nv
  Feb 8, 2013 - 06:34pm PT
That was an awesome TR Max. Thanks.

I stopped in to your place recently after b/c skiing when we had snow, and had a beer. Cool spot!!

Hope to see you around sometinme.

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
  Feb 8, 2013 - 06:40pm PT
Cool! I will be back for some of the missing photos....

PS I see the photos on the reload.

Trad climber
  Feb 8, 2013 - 07:09pm PT
What a beautiful TR, with amazing photography! One of the best yet!

Thanks for posting this, Max!
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Feb 8, 2013 - 07:50pm PT
Really enjoyed this TR, thanks Max.


The Granite State.
  Feb 8, 2013 - 07:55pm PT
Is this the promised 'Climbing Content'?

Great write up, Max, thanks dude!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 8, 2013 - 09:56pm PT
Good one, Max!

Jones and Hudon ride again! (and we ain't dead yet either)

The circle head pitch, the crux pitch, was no where near A4, the hooks are all pretty good and the fall would be a clean sideways swing. If we didn't use it, we took it out. The route was a bit overrated to begin with and it's no more difficult now.

Notice on Max's topo that there are no ratings.
ron gomez

Trad climber
  Feb 8, 2013 - 08:25pm PT
Max Jones and Mark Hudon.......them guys were my hero's way long time ago! Still gettin it done, still inspiring, how cool. Great report Thanks

Social climber
  Feb 8, 2013 - 08:40pm PT
Great trip report
Another Nordic Skier makes good
David Wilson

  Feb 8, 2013 - 08:43pm PT
Way to go ! Max, your words ring true for me. I took a long hiatus from climbing, and now I can't imagine why. Great to have both of you back, an inspiration as you also were BITD
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Feb 8, 2013 - 09:17pm PT
Pretty good job for a coupla old farts! {wink}

I didn't realize you actually came down and went to the correct start! Do you have any idea what you were on? It's not Virginia, as that goes up through the roofs.
Double D

  Feb 8, 2013 - 09:36pm PT
Awesome job dynamic duo! Nice photos too, especially the big panos! It's big wall photography taken to the next level...

Social climber
Ely, Nv
  Feb 8, 2013 - 09:37pm PT
Echoing the MilkToast post.

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Author's Reply  Feb 8, 2013 - 11:03pm PT
Thanks all.

A huge thanks goes out to Mark for sizing all of the photos and adding the drop shadows plus all of the tweeks he does and has taught me to make the shots pop. We take everything in raw and they have to be reformatted. But you should see the big prints! Really nice

Pete - I have no clue what we were starting up. Should have kept going - man I hope we did not miss out on the last great unclimbed line up there!

Ian - the pitch after the crux had a fixed circle head. Only head I did not test as I had no clue what I would have done had it pulled and I figured I'd take the chance.
And to clarify - if we used a fixed piece we left it. I think we cleaned most if not all dead heads so there may be more placements now for beaks and such. We did remove all the tat so you may have to make one more move to get to the fixed piece and we did that extra move before removing the tat.

Our cafe is called Tunnel Creek Cafe. It is in Incline Village North shore Tahoe on the west side of the old Ponderosa Ranch. And of course we serve some very nice Hood River Coffee!

Big Wall climber
  Feb 9, 2013 - 01:06am PT
Thanks for the fantastic TR. I like your topo...
Congrats for the climb.

  Feb 9, 2013 - 02:04am PT
Sweet T.R. !!! Thanks! That anti-tat lower out would be sweet to see on a video of how to set it up. I look at the photo and sorta understand it but in the "moment" I would skip out. I've tried to recreate it on the ground but not sure it is the same.

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 9, 2013 - 10:37am PT
Skywalker, I really want people to adopt the Anti-Tat line so yes, I'll get on a vid right away.

You know how, in the movies, when they say, dramatically, "Release the Crackin"? Yeah, well Jones is back!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Feb 9, 2013 - 12:47pm PT
nice read....
great to see you guys up there, expanding my concepts of what is possible.

the images, at least this morning, aren't showing up on my browser. When I put the URL into my browser directly, e.g.:

I get the message:

Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.

I will try again later!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 9, 2013 - 12:55pm PT
Hmmm... So that's a problem at my end... I'll see what I can do about that right now.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 9, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
Ah, it might take 24 hours to upgrade, sorry about that Max.
Francesca Drake

Trad climber
  Feb 9, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
Good report keep on keeping on~

Grizzlyville, WY
  Feb 9, 2013 - 01:23pm PT
I'm not often envious, but this really sparks the wall stoke!

Proud send gents!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Feb 9, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
Ron, clear your cache and try again (if you are interested in pursuing the bandwidth issues)

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 9, 2013 - 01:31pm PT
The bandwidth issue has been resolved but it's going to take a few hours before the changes take effect.. 6-12 they tell me, probably this afternoon. Sorry.
The Larry

  Feb 9, 2013 - 02:24pm PT
Thanks for the TR and the pics. I didn't bring my camera on that one and really regretted it. Looking forward to your anti tat video Mark.

Trad climber
Fresno, Ca
  Feb 9, 2013 - 04:19pm PT
Can't wait to write the same some day if Jett and I could be so lucky to be in the category of Jones and Hudon. Great job and way to stick with it. Life is busy and only seems to get busier when you take on an undertaking as you did. Again, way to stick with the program. Thanks for sharing.

  Feb 9, 2013 - 04:27pm PT
Thx for the TR, you and Mark are still stylin and great shots!

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Author's Reply  Feb 9, 2013 - 11:05pm PT
Photos are back online - sorry about that!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 9, 2013 - 11:14pm PT
Oh YES!!!

So sorry about that, Max!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Feb 9, 2013 - 11:22pm PT

Yosemite Valley National Park
  Feb 9, 2013 - 11:31pm PT
Max love the check list.......

see you needed to get some new underwear.... that scary of a route?

proud send Mark and Max.



Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Feb 9, 2013 - 11:47pm PT
Oh this is so cool....a couple years ago, my partner, Michael, Ferretlegger on ST, had kidnapped Mark after he just finished Grape Race/Tribal Rite and took him to dinner at Mountain Room. Ferret has been lusting after a later-in-life-big-wall climb. We talked a lot about Mark's recommendations for soloing a later-in-life-big-wall-climb. But the conversation always came back to Max...and Mark's long relationship with Max and his desire, passion to have that partnership once again spring to life and all it meant, or could mean for both. And now I get to read about it some more. Like I said, cool.

What a wonderful comeback, Max...incredible climbs for the two of you, together again. Watch out, if Ferret and I are in the Valley when you and Mark are there, watch out for a kidnapping!

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Feb 10, 2013 - 12:46am PT
nice images!

thanks for the fix!!

as for "clearing your cache", it depends on the browser, Safari just pull down "Safari" and click "empty cache"... in Firefox, as near as I can tell, pull down "Firefox" select "Preferences" and go to the "Security" tab, then select "clear all current history" you'll be presented with a list to select from... choose "Cache"..

fist clamp
  Feb 10, 2013 - 03:08am PT
Really great TR. Cool section of El Cap. Well done!

Social climber
NZ -> SB,CA -> Zurich
  Feb 10, 2013 - 11:36am PT
An excellent TR - thanks guys. You made it sound casual but there was a lot of space between some of those placements.

Cheers, Roy

Big Wall climber
  Feb 10, 2013 - 12:06pm PT
freaking great trip report max. hope to see you up there this year.

the start you were on was something i also got lost on, and hence my highpoit marked by a pecker or blade or something about 80 feet off the deck. wish i had pete to tell me i was off route.


Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Feb 10, 2013 - 05:06pm PT
I love the Fly or Die pano. Thanks for brightening up my winter y'all!
Michelle Gill

Redding, CA
  Feb 10, 2013 - 07:14pm PT
Whatta great read!! So neat to see you guys together after all those years. Keep 'em coming!

Trad climber
  Feb 10, 2013 - 07:39pm PT

Good stuff, as usual!

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Feb 11, 2013 - 01:41am PT
Beautiful story and images Max. A proud line on a proud rock and a friendship to share it with. What a great adventure. Thanks for the time and effort you put into this. It's a real keeper. May your walls be many in the coming years and may your fingernails be always trimmed just right. I look forward to meeting you someday.

See you around,

Mike Friedrichs

Sport climber
City of Salt
  Feb 11, 2013 - 10:33am PT
Awesome trip report, and beautiful photos. Just curious if you could elaborate on how the change in training affected your levels of fatigue. Did you climb the pitches faster? Did you feel less worked after hauling, carrying? What would you incorporate into your training next time that you didn't this time? Did you make another list of things you would do differently next time?

Thanks again for such a great trip report.

Big Wall climber
Newbury Park
  Feb 11, 2013 - 10:35am PT
Fantastic stuff, Max! I am so happy for the adventures you boys have been having up there.

RP3 brim....I LOVE IT! Perhaps I can even manufacture an RP3 jumpsuit!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 11, 2013 - 01:44pm PT
Yeah, the RP3 brim, Jones is a funny guy!

Bishop, CA
  Feb 11, 2013 - 01:59pm PT
Impressive effort. Way to get after it. Great photos. Especially the panos. Thanks for posting.

Big Wall climber
Bend, OR
  Feb 11, 2013 - 03:37pm PT
Awesome trip report. Thanks for the effort!

Trad climber
Eldorado Springs, Colorado
  Feb 11, 2013 - 04:20pm PT
Thanks Max, I really enjoyed this TR.
Last time I saw you and Mark together was in Eldorado in the mid 70's.
You were on the Bastile Crack while Mark and I climbed Outer Space. I'm stoked to know that you are still climbing.

Social climber
boulder co
  Feb 11, 2013 - 06:14pm PT
Awesome tr, those photos are amazing and the writing is great. I hope I'm still climbing at all when I'm that old ;-)

Not sure where the confusion on the anti tat lower off is coming from. This is how I have used it. Its super simple you are just rigging a short lower out on a dedicated cord. You can run it through the bolt hanger or the cable on a head because you don't care if it abrades because it isn't your lead rope. Thats the whole reason you leave the tat in the first place, to avoid damaging the lead line. Tie a loop in one end and run the rest through the lower out point. then getting as close a possible to the piece rig a munter hitch and rap off, when you're done let the end go and pull the cord through the piece. If you add another wrap before you tie the munter it will require less force to hold yourself or pull yourself closer, hence the mechanical advantage.

Am I missing something?

Oakland, CA
  Feb 11, 2013 - 05:10pm PT

Another vote for the anti-tat vid. Do you keep an eight on a bite in the cord tied to a biner that you switch back and forth depending on who's cleaning? Hmm, trying to visualize... not fully computing.

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Feb 11, 2013 - 05:58pm PT
Really great Max. The flow and photos are outstanding.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 12, 2013 - 10:08am PT

We have a "cleaning kit" for the second. We have only one set of jugs out for daily use and they have a permanent set of light aiders attached. We quadruple tie the Anti-tat cord up and tie it into a Slippery Knot. That, the jugs and aiders are the "cleaning kit".

Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Feb 11, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
Nice TR. Thank you.

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Author's Reply  Feb 11, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
Spanky - you have it. The anti tat is pretty simple.

Mike F - Just being used to climbing I was used to the full body tension climbing requires (aid or free). So at the end of the day I was generally less beat. Shoulders did not ache. Hauling is not much of an issue with Mark's 2:1. I was faster leading but that was just becoming more familiar with gear and getting the piece to match the placement with fewer tries.

One thing that really helps me is hiking up steep hills with weight. Used to do it back in my xc ski racing days. When I need a quick work out and haven't been able to get out climbing, I hike a hill near my home that is 1000' up. I put 40 - 50 lbs of water in a pack - usually takes about half an hour up. Then dump the water so I do not kill my knees and come down. There are some really well watered flowers on the top! Once a week does the trick. The hike to the base this time was a breeze.

this year more climbing I hope and longer routes. And am doing a fairly stout five day a week body weight workout at home so I do not have to spend the summer just getting fit. I have been practicing with aiders in the local gym just to figure out the fastest set up for me on vertical as well as overhanging stuff.

Yes I have a new list - top of that list is less freeze dried food for the hot dinners. And we ate bars for breakfast and I may go back to some kind of granola for breakfast but use a non dairy milk. There are some gear things to tweak. I need a quick draw sleeve to attach to my chest harness for the butter knife. I want to use it more on the lead.

I also need a little tighter connection for my chest harness to my harness. If it is just right I can top step better levering on my adjustable daisy on slightly overhanging rock to reach those crazy rivets.

Thanks for reading and the comments all!

Lake Tahoe, Nevada
  Feb 12, 2013 - 11:42am PT
Way to go guys! Kudos on your excellent style too! Cleaning up the mank...

Trad climber
East Coast
  Feb 12, 2013 - 01:52pm PT
Hey Max,

Awesome TR. I wonder if a Purcell Prusik (5mm or 6mm) would work somehow as a connection between your harness and chest harness. The good thing about it, if it works, is that you can slack it off when you don't need it and tighten it when you do. I've used one as a connection when Frog jugging (above the croll, to the chest harness) and it worked okay.

Mike Friedrichs

Sport climber
City of Salt
  Feb 12, 2013 - 02:20pm PT
Thanks so much Max. I really like training and thinking about these things and I really appreciate your insight. I've never actually thought about hiking with water and then dumping it to save the knees -- great idea. I climb a lot but haven't done a wall in over 20 years. You're getting me interested again!


Trad climber
Mountain View
  Feb 12, 2013 - 03:24pm PT
Rad! Great story, keep it up!

It's a little on the heavy side but I cook some Quinoa and then add dried Cherries, Raisins, Brown Sugar, and whole Almonds for wall breakfast. It's super really nutritious and you can make it before hand if you only want a few days worth. Good stove-free food if cook it on the ground and put it in a a gallon zip lock.

I wouldn't want to eat it every day for a week, since the consistency is a little slimy.


Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Author's Reply  Feb 13, 2013 - 01:00am PT
I'll have to try that for breakfast. Thanks.

I'm also working on fresher dinner ideas. At least for the first few days.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 13, 2013 - 08:56am PT
I was I'd try to up my game with some more creative dinners also, if only more organic, better food dehydrated dinners.

Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Author's Reply  Feb 14, 2013 - 12:54am PT
I wonder if a Purcell Prusik (5mm or 6mm) would work somehow as a connection between your harness and chest harness. The good thing about it, if it works, is that you can slack it off when you don't need it and tighten it when you do.

Morgan - do you tie this directly to the harness and through the chest harness. I use a Yates with the metal ring in the front. I just use a locking carabiner so I can be unclipped quickly when removing the chest harness to haul (to get rid of the weight).

Trad climber
East Coast
  Feb 14, 2013 - 12:41pm PT

Here's how I was running it. The carabiner clipped to the top of the ascender which was attached with a biner or link to both the waist belt and leg loops. While this way of jugging seems less strenuous, I get frustrated with it, because I don't get as much progress as when you have two aiders on the bottom jug and just an ascender on the top daisy. I don't think this is such a great solution for shorter people because the distance between the chest harness and wall harness won't be that great.

I was thinking, in your case, you could do something similar. Maybe replace the blocking knot with a better terminal knot and attach a fifi or small key-lock biner to help with top stepping. (This would not be attached to the sit harness as described above, but would go out to the piece directly from the chest harness).

The other alternative would be to just run a separate daisy from your chest harness for extra balance and leverage on super technical high steps or long reaches on super-sustained steep ground. Brad Jarrett had an article in CLIMBING about doing this a while back.

Social climber
granada hills
  Feb 14, 2013 - 11:17pm PT
WOW Nice pics thanks!!! Congrats on the route, getting back after it, and this awesome TR.


Trad climber
Carson City, NV
Author's Reply  Feb 15, 2013 - 12:13am PT

Hmm - That could work. I just connect the metal ring on my chest harness to the belay loop with a locking biner.

I am going to try attaching my fifi set upto the chest harness on steep stuff. Might reduce the cluster of all the tie ins at the harness.
For cleaning I just jumar regularly - yosemite style. For long overhanging I switch to the frog style like cavers. Two aiders attached to a jumar (top one) and a micro trax attached to my chest harness and harness and held in place with a bungee cord to try to capture all upward progress. Works well.

And thanks everyone for the comments!
I appreciate it.
Spider Savage

Mountain climber
The shaggy fringe of Los Angeles
  Feb 15, 2013 - 12:30am PT
Ah... this made my day. This type of content is what makes this the greatest forum ever!

Big Wall climber
  Sep 4, 2018 - 09:26am PT
Bump for real climbing content!

Social climber
The internet
  Sep 4, 2018 - 09:56am PT
I finally saw the movie of the same name as this route, released in the same year as the FA.


Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Sep 4, 2018 - 11:30am PT
Great shots and story! Go Max and Mark.

Big Wall climber
  Sep 4, 2018 - 01:50pm PT
To the Max & Jones!