Trip Report
Mt. Wilson, Red Rocks
Friday March 21, 2014 12:26pm
I had decided to climb Mt. Wilson two years before when I was climbing in Red Rocks, and after looking at it for several trips, things finally came together.

Me (Nick Zmyewski) on the left, and Owen Murphy on the right
Me (Nick Zmyewski) on the left, and Owen Murphy on the right
Credit: Nick Zmyewski

We hiking in the night before and camped behind the Wilson Pimple. The alarm buzzed at 4:30 in the morning and we were moving, stashing gear behind some boulders and finishing the approach to Pink Tornado Left (5.9). We got a little lost along the way, but were at the base of the climb maybe an hour after sunrise. Not bad we were thinking.
DON'T GO RIGHT!
DON'T GO RIGHT!
Credit: Nick Zmyewski

DON'T GO RIGHT AT THE END OF THE FIRST PITCH!!!

After going the wrong way, I had to lead a 5.9 death pitch, complete with crap gear, hollow flakes, sandy breaking edges, and a section with loose microwave size blocks that I really didn't want to kick onto my belayer. This was not going well.

But Owen saved the day with a mellow traverse to get us to the top of pitch two where we were supposed to be. We fired off the rest of Pink Tornado pretty well, no more losing the route and soon we were up in Sherwood Forest, and after snacking we were gearing up for Gwondonna Land Boogie. It was getting later, maybe around 5ish, but we were committed, and ready to bivi if we must.

Credit: Nick Zmyewski
One of the bolts at the second anchor
One of the bolts at the second anchor
Credit: Nick Zmyewski

I led off on the first 5.9 pitch of Gwondonna, and it was immediately 30ft off the ground before I could get a first piece (I chose the more secure face, instead of the "awkward, difficult to protect" crack). Then Owen finished off the second 5.8 pitch, and belayed me up as the sun set. Cue the night climbing.

The bivi ledge was at the top of pitch 5, so we had to keep going. I led the cruz 5.10 pitch in the dark, and with the addition of the most bolts I'd seen on the route the whole day, I really enjoyed it. We swapped two more pitches and finally reached our sleeping spot for the night. What a piece of sh*t! The ledge was not that big, sloped towards the edge, and was covered in thistles. We kicked a small plot of ground clean and proceeded to pass out in our emergency bivi bags.

Two hours later I woke up, shivering and wet. D@%*it, these things don't breathe at all. I once had a friend tell me that it is only an epic if you are spooning your partner. Well, this was an epic. We shivered through the night, and then sat up as the sky slowly brightened, and watched the sun rise over Las Vegas. We worshiped the sun as the ancients did, soaking in as much warmth as we could.
The bivi ledge the next morning
The bivi ledge the next morning
Credit: Nick Zmyewski

We finished the ledge traverse, then I led the f#%*ing chimney. I hate chimneys. Owen led a corner pitch, and then I led off on what was to be the last technical pitch. And totally screwed it up. Mentally exhausted, I traversed left around the chossy corner to find better gear. I found more gear, although the climbing was still chossy. But now I had traversed left when at the end of the pitch, it went right. So after climbing further up and fighting rope drag, I eventually went back into the corner where I found a stance. Pretty certain that I saw the end of the pitch, I pulled up 30 feet of rope, because at this point the drag was horrendous. Then I led off to the finish, with the slack looping below me. I measured it just right and yelled as loud as I could as I clipped the anchors. A scramble and we were on top, yelling and hugging, amazed that we had finished the climb.

Credit: Nick Zmyewski
Credit: Nick Zmyewski

In conclusion, over 36 hours we split 5 liters of water, ~2500 calories worth of food, 18 pitches, a frozen bivi, and 9 or 10 miles of hiking.

P.S. Oh yeah, I twisted my ankle on the hike out and subsequently missed my flight, which cost me $300. Most expensive twisted ankle yet.


  Trip Report Views: 1,242
Nick Zmyewski
About the Author
Nick Zmyewski is a trad climber from Delaware.

Comments
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philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Mar 21, 2014 - 12:32pm PT
Very nice effort. Thanks for posting up. How did you like my little route?


No one ever asked my opinion on the retro bolting but as long as people are going on the route then all's good.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Mar 21, 2014 - 12:36pm PT
Nice report Nick!

LEsson #1, move to the west coast so you do not have to take flights to go climbing :)

Hope to see you in Yosemite this summer!
Nick Zmyewski

Trad climber
Glasgow
Author's Reply  Mar 21, 2014 - 12:36pm PT
The route was really fun for the most part. I actually would have been ok with less bolts on the 5.10 pitch, it wasn't over bolted, they were mostly about 10 or 15 feet apart, it was just uncharacteristic with the rest of the route. I can't believe you guys did it back in the day with so much less gear/bolts.
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Mar 21, 2014 - 08:41pm PT
Do you have any more pics?
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  Mar 21, 2014 - 09:37pm PT
Did the woman run off during the night(pictured in opening photo)? She is not mentioned in the report.....
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Mar 21, 2014 - 09:39pm PT
And yet she is way hotter than the two monkeys.
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Mar 21, 2014 - 10:36pm PT
Nice TR . . . you should have named the hawtie too! She has the large cam it would appear.
Nick Zmyewski

Trad climber
Glasgow
Author's Reply  Mar 22, 2014 - 01:42am PT
Caitlin was just climbing with us for the first 3 days of our trip. We took her up her first longer multipitch, a fun romp up Community Pillar. Philo, what is the best way to post up more pictures?
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Mar 22, 2014 - 09:39am PT
What's the best way to post more pic?
Quickly man, quickly. You whetted the appetite of a feeding frenzy.

Some posters use photobucket. I just post directly from my pooter to CMac's.
Looking forward to seeing more pics of my old friend Mt Wilson.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 22, 2014 - 09:53am PT
Nice job!!!
Those space blankets suck!!!!
Nick Zmyewski

Trad climber
Glasgow
Author's Reply  Mar 23, 2014 - 02:04am PT
Here are some more pictures from Mount Wilson. We didn't take too many pictures, we were too busy trying to climb and not die.

http://s54.photobucket.com/user/Nick_Zmyewski/library/

P.S. What is a better lightweight alternative over the space blankets? Looking for something to replace them, preferably slightly warmed and breathable
The Alpine

climber
  Mar 23, 2014 - 01:38pm PT
The space blankets work well, but you gotta take yer clothes off in them or else you get soaked. Tanks for the tr
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Mar 23, 2014 - 11:24pm PT
Which descent route did you take? So how is the ankle?
Nick Zmyewski

Trad climber
Glasgow
Author's Reply  Mar 23, 2014 - 11:13pm PT
We took Oak Creek Canyon. It wasn't too hard to find. And clothes off in the space blankets? How would that help, it seems like they would still collect condensation.

Oh, and the ankle is doing well. No problems on flat ground
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Mar 23, 2014 - 11:23pm PT
So were these just standard space blankets or the space blanket/emergency bivy sacs?
Nick Zmyewski

Trad climber
Glasgow
Author's Reply  Mar 24, 2014 - 01:13pm PT
The emergency bivis
Ljohnson

Social climber
The land of ice, snow and rocks
  Mar 24, 2014 - 02:51pm PT

Nice work man.

Sorry to hijack your TR- Philo, you got any links to your Mt. Wilson shenanigans? I will never forget the story about lighting yourself on fire bivying on Sherwood.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Mar 24, 2014 - 04:36pm PT
an awesome adventure indeed!!


cheers!
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Mar 24, 2014 - 07:46pm PT
WELL DONE MEN!!


Credit: survival
Nick Zmyewski

Trad climber
Glasgow
Author's Reply  Mar 24, 2014 - 09:38pm PT
That's next. Rainbow Wall
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Mar 27, 2014 - 10:51pm PT
Just out of curiosity what made you choose this ppparticular route?
Nick Zmyewski

Trad climber
Glasgow
Author's Reply  Mar 28, 2014 - 11:24am PT
I looked at Inti and Gwondonna, but I wanted more of an adventure and from the description of it, linking Pink Tornado with Gwondonna seemed a bit more out there. Also, its a ton of pitches, which appealed to me. I hadn't had a good "don't know what will happen" adventure in a while, and this was everything I hoped it would be, and more. Some serious type 2 fun (the bivi was type 3).
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