The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2

 
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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
NEW NOSE RECORD! Slowest IAD ascent of 2013
Friday May 10, 2013 10:01am
After climbing the Nose for a first time, just a few weeks ago, I was proud of my achievement. Three years after I went on my first scramble in Sierra, I had scaled the most sought-out big wall route on planet Earth. It took my partner and I four days, not fast, but not at all slow for a first attempt. After moving on, my mind wandered off to different heights, those way above my head. Can I possibly do it in a day like some of the people whose skills are far more superior, like those who inspire me, and like that video I find hilarious suggests? Even though I do not climb 'hard,' I sure am stubborn, and like testing my limits. Why the hell not?

Ze big one
Ze big one
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Hamik and I on the Great Roof

El Capitan as seen from Higher Cathedral

Original post:
http://www.vividrea1ity.blogspot.com/2013/05/el-capitan-nose-iapush.html

I got an opportunity to test myself when my friend Hamik and I picked a day to attempt it- April 13th. "I been looking at the Nose for too long driving into the Valley on 140," Hamik said, "It is now time to climb it!" To prepare we did not do Dolt runs, did not practice short fixing, Hamik never climbed the route, and I was going to lead majority of pitches I have not led on my first trip up the Nose. This can sound foolish to most, but not to us. We did not want to work the route like a boulder problem, or cruise it, it was now time to face El Cap, and likely get our asses kicked. Hamik's explanation bellow describes our reasons really well:

"I had done three big walls before attempting the Nose-in-a-day: West Face of Leaning Tower, The Prow, and Southwest Face of Liberty Cap. The latter two were done in a day with Vitaliy without short-fixing. As far as free climbing, I onsight 10d in the valley and can squirm my way up harder routes. Most climbers would agree that this isn't the glittering resume of a NIAD climber, and I agree. Our attempt was premature and overambitious, but it was that which made it romantic and enthralling. It's sterile and spiritless to wait to do something until success is assured; why not do it when success is unsure? When the unsureness will throw your brain into insomnia-inducing loops of unease and apprehension; when it will strain your friendships and romances; when it will push you into the furthest corners of your character and strength? One of our friends told us, “I'm going to wait to do the Nose-in-a-day until I won't flail.” Fine--if the point of climbing is to progress via carefully crafted pyramidal progressions, each step neatly rewarded with MountainProject onsight ticks; or if the point is to spray about running the PDL and really going for it and to collect laudatory comments from sick brahs; or if the point is to woo glitzy sponsors and score Youtube views--maybe then it would make sense to wait. After all, the first ascent of the NIAD was in 1975 and in merely 17 hours, 45 minutes, and we were destined to take much, much longer than that. But like I said, we wanted a bona-fide adventure, and if we waited another year we would cruise the sucker way too fast to claim we really suffered. So voila, we undertook The Nose."

-Hamik


Before we started the route ('After' photo is in the end)

El Cap frogs are brave

Just above the hole

View of Cathedrals in the early morning

After working all week, and not sleeping for couple of nights prior, it was finally Saturday, 2 am - we were psyched to start our journey. High on coffee, I felt pumped and ready to tackle the 'Big Stone' - literally! Yes, it did help that in the dark of night I could not see it towering 3000ft above me. To avoid bailing, we brought a single rope - if we had any desire to quit we wouldn't be able to. By 3am we started on Pine Line. We made ok progress through first four pitches. Since I knew the way through Dolt Hole variation, we went through that section. Free climbing there was very enjoyable after which I reached a bolt ladder, and followed by a wild pendulum into Stove Legs. This was not as fun as King Swing, but had a cool twist - you make a final leap and sink a perfect handjam into Stovelegs crack in a dyno-like motion. Awesome.


Stovelegs

Happy Monkey

Hamik following a pendulum

Starting 9th pitch

It was unreal how perfect Stovelegs crack is, but to be honest it gets a bit boring after 60ft of perfect hands. Hamik took over and was rewarded with great varied climbing all the way to El Cap tower. Part way up one particular wide cracks he overcame a considerable run out after leaving our #4 down low on that pitch. It was easy for me to jug, but hard to imagine self having as much composure, well done!


Stovelegs

Hamik on pitch 10

5.8 just past dolt tower

Looking down from top of Texas

At the top of El Cap tower we were reaching an end to our high. I led a fun chimney in the back of Texas Flake and we caught up to another IAD team that passed us earlier, unfortunately for the last time - they put their foot on gas after this pitch. After the bolt ladder I free climbed, and aided to the top of Boot Flake - one of the most iconic pitches of the Nose. I threaded the rope through the rings, back cleaned my gear as Hamik lowered me, and performed the coolest pendulum I have done - the King Swing.


Video of me doing the King Swing

King Swing is accomplished by running back, than forward, jumping across a large gap, sprinting some more and lunging for a hold - 1500ft above the Valley floor. This time I surprised myself and got it on second try. It was much less epic than few weeks prior, but still exciting. Hamik rocked the swing as well, even in his approach shoes. This is where it went down-hill for us. I took longer than I would want leading the next two pitches. After which our rope got stuck behind a flake when we pulled it. This screwed us for about an hour and delivered a blow to my psyche.


Me leading 17th

View across the Valley - Cathedrals

Hamik leading the Great Roof

Incredible

When we got the rope unstuck and started aiding we moved at a slow pace. After I followed Hamik on The Great Roof he started Pancake flake as the sun was going down. I got up to the next belay after the darkness has settled. We tried to do our best and keep moving, but lack of short fixing on aid intensive terrain really hurt us. I took over leading from pitch after Glowering Slot to the top of 28. Few of these pitches were covered with water, which made 5.8 free climbing before Changing Corners real tricky. That belay station was running with water and constant drops were coming down at me as Hamik cleaned. I was really happy to get away from that belay ledge. I tried my best to make good progress, but pace I set was slowed to a crawl when I changed the corners a bit too quickly. Instead of going to the end of the bolt ladder I transitioned at the first bolt. Immediately I found tiny insecure placements - after a whole day on the move I was faced with difficult problem solving. Some of the micro cams held my body weight on two lobes, and it was a miracle they didn't pop. Somehow I managed to get up this section to a fixed cam (where you are supposed to transition from the bolts), after wasting what had to be 20 minutes clusterf*$&#g up 20 ft, if that.


The Great Roof

Hamik leading pancake flake

Still having fun with my shadow

"40 GU packets and a liter of water"

At least it felt good running up a short pitch after in good time. Hamik took next two pitches and I finished our climb with the final pitch. Highlight from that section was when just before 30th pitch we realized it was actually getting light - sun was coming up. Prior to our climb I was kind of disappointed we were not going to experience all the exposure from the top - turned out I worried for no reason. When you are climbing something in a day and see the sun rise twice, you know you are not setting a speed record!


Changing Corners were filthy wet and dripping (Beginning of April 2013)

Looking down from the top of last pitch, as sun is coming up

Cathedral Spires

29 hours after

29 hours after we started our climb we both collapsed on top - two tired bodies bathing in the sun. We took a 40 minute nap before deciding it was time to get down. I was thirsty, hungry, filthy, sleep deprived, sore all over the place, but in the same time happy about picking a climb that challenged me in so many ways.

  Trip Report Views: 4,644
Vitaliy M.
About the Author
Vitaliy M. is annoying gym climber from San Francisco.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  May 10, 2013 - 10:27am PT
Some days are longer than others...
Powder

Trad climber
the Flower Box
  May 10, 2013 - 10:29am PT
When you are climbing something in a day and see the sun rise twice, you know you are not setting a speed record!

That cracked me up. haha


Good job regardless!! One step forward and great achievement. ...can see you're so close to NIAD and it's a sure thing you'll get it done this year. :)


Thanks for the awesome TR - 've always enjoyed reading about your trips, climbs, and adventures.



Happy climbs! ~_~y


kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  May 10, 2013 - 10:43am PT
dude! i love your guys attitude. great, honest tr with some cool pics. i gotta say, getting THAT view of the entire captain at first light would be pretty f*#king awesome. cheers.
Spanky

Social climber
boulder co
  May 10, 2013 - 10:39am PT
Damn Vitality, you're killing it! looks like its time for you to head to the right side. TFPU!
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
  May 10, 2013 - 10:52am PT
Well done.
enjoimx

Trad climber
SLO
  May 10, 2013 - 10:55am PT
Real cool TR! Good job.

28 hours my first time. Not fun being on the stone that long.
patrick compton

Trad climber
van
  May 10, 2013 - 11:11am PT
"To avoid bailing, we brought a single rope - if we had any desire to quit we wouldn't be able to."

...unless you are forced to call YOSAR because you don't have a second rope.

Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  May 10, 2013 - 11:14am PT
Good job regardless!! One step forward and great achievement. ...can see you're so close to NIAD and it's a sure thing you'll get it done this year. :)

We did not care about getting it under 24 hours as much as we cared about giving ourselves an ass kicking. I think when we will think the Nose is doable under 13-14 hours (for us), we will try a link up with HD or something that would destroy us. :)

And thank you. Glad you actually read, Powder.

THAT view of the entire captain at first light would be pretty f*#king awesome.

That was a cool experience for sure.
Burch3y

Mountain climber
I offer nothing to the discussion
  May 10, 2013 - 11:21am PT
Bringin the stoke, Bringin the Lulz! Thanks for taking time to write all this up!

No PDL? Porque NO?

On a serious note - thanks for doing double-duty. I know this must take a while on your personal site, and we appreciate you also putting it up here.

Also, stop spraying so much!
jaaan

Trad climber
Chamonix, France
  May 10, 2013 - 11:36am PT
That's great - you both look like Borat! Before more than after...
golsen

Social climber
kennewick, wa
  May 10, 2013 - 11:38am PT
OUTSTANDING JOB!!!! Your enthusiasm is outrageous.

"To avoid bailing, we brought a single rope - if we had any desire to quit we wouldn't be able to."

However, I would not recommend this strategy at all. If one of you got hurt, dropped the rack, whatever...You are signing up to a potentially not required rescue deserving massive ridicule.

But hey, since you made it, great job!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  May 10, 2013 - 11:42am PT
Just a guess, but i dont think VM as "worried" about making it.. Following his TRs of late- it would certainly seem like that anyhoo.. Great Job VM!
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  May 10, 2013 - 12:11pm PT
Pretty cool to see what a little dedication and commitment can do! Nice job Vitaliy and Hamik. The last pic looking down the nose at sunrise is especially nice.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  May 10, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
Nice write-up, Vitya; entertaining and succinct! Nice pics, too!
But I too must take issue with you taking only one rope - youthful hubris!
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  May 10, 2013 - 12:43pm PT
Some of the stupidest mistakes I have every made climbing were when I was dehydrated. Be careful with that!

Good TR.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
  May 10, 2013 - 01:16pm PT
Great job, something you will remember the rest of your life.
Zoo

climber
Fremont, CA
  May 10, 2013 - 01:32pm PT
I'm truly inspired. Thanks for the report.

MikeZ
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  May 10, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
However, I would not recommend this strategy at all. If one of you got hurt, dropped the rack, whatever...You are signing up to a potentially not required rescue deserving massive ridicule.

HA! To avoid SAR calls, we skipped taking a cell phone!

jk

Well, maybe that would be the next big thing to get blog hits and attention, after erasing the 'lightning bolt' of course lol. Hope I did not give anyone wrong ideas...and getting a rescue would be very embarrassing, I agree with that.

Nose has anchors almost every 100ft, with some fixed gear half way up pitches too. If we really had to get down, we would. With losing some gear, and down aiding some spots. It would not be that tricky, but would take much longer. So more motivation to avoid bailing. Even though I would not recommend it to others if someone asked my opinion.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  May 10, 2013 - 02:09pm PT
My grandma read this and didn't say anything about the one rope.

They sent. Save your tut-tutting for the people who deserve it!
Johnny K.

climber
  May 10, 2013 - 02:40pm PT
Great stuff
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  May 10, 2013 - 02:40pm PT
Vitaliy!!!!!!!!!! Very nice.

Amen, Rhodo.

pvalchev

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  May 10, 2013 - 03:15pm PT
What a trip! Keep up the energy and enthusiasm! :)
brodracula

Trad climber
hawaii
  May 10, 2013 - 03:20pm PT
remember it's how much fun you have while climbing and how much of your ego you leave on the ground.not how fast or hard.jmo
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  May 10, 2013 - 03:43pm PT
Very nice!

But... you could have had a REAL adventure and rapped it on sight.
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  May 10, 2013 - 04:10pm PT
Mike, absolutely, spectacularly wonderful! The pics are drop dead gorgeous, and The King Swing....very nice footage.
But 40 packs of Gu, oh boy my stomach kinda gets in knots with that.
WOWSA!

Susan
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  May 10, 2013 - 04:29pm PT
man - this is outstanding! Great TR, adventure and accomplishment!

My favorite quote:
It's sterile and spiritless to wait to do something until success is assured
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  May 10, 2013 - 05:47pm PT
huge day!

thx for posting up

I almost feel bad I'm not going to the Valley this weekend.

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  May 10, 2013 - 07:55pm PT
Nice send!
MH2

climber
  May 10, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
I was thirsty, hungry, filthy, sleep deprived, sore all over the place, but in the same time happy


A good way to feel. I like your climbing and writing.

Leggs

Sport climber
Made in California
  May 10, 2013 - 08:02pm PT
SOOOOO good.
J Wells

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
  May 10, 2013 - 08:02pm PT
Flippin RAD!!! You will rememer it for the rest of your life. Great job guys.
sullly

Trad climber
  May 10, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
Such pretty pictures. Amazing you have come so far in just three years.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  May 11, 2013 - 08:00am PT
This TR is so cool on so many levels! So inspiring, hell, it inspires me! Thanks!
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  May 11, 2013 - 08:47am PT
good climb, fellas.
10b4me

climber
  May 11, 2013 - 08:55am PT
Good job, dude
snowhazed

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  May 11, 2013 - 11:33am PT
last pic says it all. thanks :)
roy

Social climber
NZ -> SB,CA -> Zurich
  May 11, 2013 - 12:40pm PT
Great trip and great report. Uncertainty of outcome - definitely one of the major attractions. Cheers, Roy
Bad Climber

climber
  May 11, 2013 - 03:09pm PT
Love your TR's, Vitaly. That view down the Nose at dawn--wow!

BAd
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  May 11, 2013 - 06:41pm PT
Damn Vitaliy, it's been a great year for u already & summer ain't even here yet. U gonna take the rest of the summer off & go sportclimbing & save some for the rest of us or what??

I like your attitude, putting yourself in a situation where you know you will be challenged like that provides great opportunity for learning & I'm sure you brought a lot of new lessons away from this climb. Inspiring for sure, so inspiring that I think I'll wait until I can climb 11+ cracks onsight all day before stepping to NIAD so I can make it down in time to eat pizza, hopefully next spring:-)


Any plans to do NIAD again? Do u think you'd be able to improve your time considerably?? Again great job & great TR as usual.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  May 13, 2013 - 08:37am PT
But 40 packs of Gu, oh boy my stomach kinda gets in knots with that.

That was a joke! I only brought 2 GU packets. I do not enjoy GU as much as real food. My favorite food I brought was a bagel with nutella and honey. A lot of calories and tastes good.

Damn Vitaliy, it's been a great year for u already & summer ain't even here yet. U gonna take the rest of the summer off & go sportclimbing & save some for the rest of us or what??

Any plans to do NIAD again? Do u think you'd be able to improve your time considerably?? Again great job & great TR as usual.

Hey Ryan, it is getting hot and crowded in the valley, so this last weekend was probably my last there. It is possible I will do one more wall or steck salathe...but not really planning anything in the valley. Gonna do more stuff in Sierra since pass is opened, and going to Peru (Cordillera Blanca) June 17-Aug 27.
westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
  May 13, 2013 - 03:33pm PT
So awesome! Inspiring really.

Wes
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose and south lake tahoe, ca
  May 13, 2013 - 09:05pm PT
Nice job man!!! Saw on facebook you jumped on Half Dome IAD recently. You're killing it dude!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 14, 2013 - 01:18pm PT
Nice V, excellent job, way to go!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  May 14, 2013 - 02:04pm PT

Right on!!! Some great photos and a proud send indeed!
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