Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1
Trip ReportNW Regular - Climbed by Knot Swinging
It was fantastic to climb this classic over 3 days (16th-18th Sept) as I had wanted to do it for over a decade and we thought after the rockfall were probably being a bit optimistic even starting.
We nearly ran away after getting to the bottom of the wall and it rained overnight and morning of 15th. But having come this far we dried out our gear and headed up Wednesday morning. We were travelling light without a porta-ledge, but hats off to the two Mexican lads who were also at the bottom (Jose and his mate) who did not even have a sleeping bag, singing in the rain at night under a tree!They walked out as we headed up.
So we headed up, having put a rope on the first two pitches between showers the day before (well done Gav for free climbing the 5.10C pitch). We got across the first pendulum on pitch 9 but could see a wandering shower across the valey and also figured we did not have enough light for the missing pitch so retreated to sleep on the ledge at the bottom of pitch 7.
We headed back up to the Robbin's traverse and the new pendulum with the extra new bolts, which worked really well to take us the the arcing groove before the gap to the hanging chimney. As agreed I would get this fun part trying to bridge the gap. The guys at the gear shop in Curry village had told us that one party had crossed the gap but we had no idea how. So after 2 hours I had tried penduluming, sky hooking both tiny flakes and the hairline crack running down from the chimney but these were just too tiny to make headway without putting any permanent hardware in. As two visiting British climbers we did not feel we had the right to put anything permanent in this American classic. By this time I was as high up as I could get on aid gear, about 6 foot higher than the old bolt on the right wall of the corner to the left of the blank slab. From a 1/2" shallow cam placement I tension traversed around the corner almost level with the bottom of the chimney and about 30ft left of it. I pulled up 40ft of haul bag rope and tied a monkey's fist in the end (remembered from scouts) After a few tries a loop with the knot went into the bottom of the chimney and part of it out of site down a crack on the left. Gavin lowered me down onto the wall as I pulled carefully on the haul rope. It held my weight, hallelujah, I jumared up the haul rope into the chimney.
We then headed up to big sandy for the night then finished at 10.30pm on head torches the following night.
Thanks to our friend Katy Mouritz and the ranger who met us at the top, Katy's guide down saved us about an hour, just as well as our plane left 12 hours after we topped out. Also thanks to our other friends back at camp who packed up our tents and stuff while we were on our extended wall trip.
Trevor Wilson & Gavin Singleton
Peak Climbing Club, Sheffield UK
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