Trip Report
Reticent Wall - June 1999
Friday April 18, 2014 10:14am
Credit: Marco Spataro


Hi,
A new climbing season begins...
I'm back again to share my experience on Reticent Wall climbed in 1999. Many photos and small text...
Enjoy!!!

Val


Reticent Wall May-june 1999
Valerio Folco - Tom McMillan
FA rating

from my notes…

June 12
Ehi Valerio! Wake-up, six in the mornig;
I sat up in a hurry without that my eyes were opened. They were swollen and sticky and I could hardly see the place where I was and the person who talking to me. After e few seconds all things was clear. Tom and I were on top of El Capitan. We had just climbed Reticent Wall.

19 days earlier
Italy…
Beep-beep… beep-beep!!! 4 am… I turn around, still under the covers, hug my wife and give her a kiss, Bye bye My Love… see you soon.
3 hours later I’m in Milan airport sitting on a dirty plastic chair… alone. The flight passes quickly. How amazing the world seen from the plane. I think of all the people who are there… 30.000 feet under me. How many different people that we are… linked all together by a common thing to everyone… existence!!!
San Francisco…
HEY TOM! I'm here… I shake my arms like a crazy and finally Tom McMillan see me… he fast approaching me almost overwhelming a group of Eastern people and with a smile like a Cow-Boy he screams… “Ciao Valerio are you ready for Reticent Wall?”

May 26
Tom is out to get a new job in SF… I'm in her house to check the climbing gear. Tom's wife Linda offer me a delicious breakfast. Around noon Tom is back from SF with a new job and we load the bags on the car. Two hours later we are driving on the "120" to Yosemite.

May 27
Every time I see El Cap it makes me a great impression. I have always a sense of respect and lack of consideration about my chances to succeed on a wall so huge. Finally we get our hands on the granite. Knee pads, harness, several pounds in climbing gear and lots of patience. We begin on the first seven pitches of New Dawn to Lay Lady Ledge where start the fourteen long pitches of Reticent Wall. On this first part the climbing does not exceed the old A3 that seems to us hard enough for start. We climb p1 and p2.

May 28
Load and carry our heavy bags to El Cap base. Tom climb p3 protected only by heads… 100 feet down I enjoy the sun lying on a small ledge in company of small frogs that come out from the wet cracks looking for a meal. I climb p4 in one of those afternoons where everything is perfectly radiant.

May 29
We pull up our bags. Tom climb p5 in the classic upward wind used by the Falcons to be shoot to the top of El Capitan in no time. The weather is perfect.

May 30 to 31
Some video and photo on the route by QT Luong and relax. We spend a lot of time going around in circles with our minds up there on Reticent wall.

June 1
We must leave behind a part of us and without thinking too much we start jumaring up to the portaledge where we spend the first night and where tomorrow we leave. We climb p6 and p7.

June 2
5 am… breakfast… a bit of rain greets us on the p1 of Reticent. At that time our topo marks A2 but the climbing was very hard and technical… a happy entry into Reticent world. After 5 hours I finish the pitch. Tom cleans under a heavy rain. We spend the rest of the day in our rain fly trying to stay dry.

June 3
It rained and snowed all night. Tom exit in the night to waterproof tent’s seams… I love him for that. At 8 in the morning we look out as the situation evolves. Nothing good… the clouds persist even today. Pieces of ice, fall from the wall above us. I have doubts about the success of this climb… my plane leaves june 16, and we are still here with more than 2000 feet of climbing wall. Video and photo cameras are frozen and its doesn’t works… at 1 pm begins to rain again.
Tom is a little sick… he take a few aspirin. At 8 pm we hear by radio that the weather will remain bad.

June 4
Cloudy cold weather. Tom climb p2 (A4) and takes all day to reach the belay. I use more than two hours to clean this pitch due to complicated rope work.
“Good job Tom”… At 9 pm I have my feet on the portaledge… I’m tired, hungry and frozen. At 10 pm the Mexican Chili is hot, steaming and ready.

June 5
Very good weather. The two blind hooks moves on p3 (A3) have been hard. I don’t see how the hook works and I can’t feel the feature with my finger. The uncertainty is very high. If I do something wrong I’ll have a long fall. Load the hook and I get up gently on my aiders ... now I can’t go back and I don’t know if the hook will hold me. After 5 hours I finish this 190 feet pitch on an amazing granite wall.
At 1 pm Tom start p4 (A4) and he climb it like a proud. He finished in the dark with a headlamp. On my jumar I take a look at the ridiculous features that Tom hooked and I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. At 11:30 pm after solving a problem of a stucked bag 90 feet below us, we throw inside our sleeping bags with just one desire… cook a dinner and go to sleep quickly.


June 6
5 am as usual… nice breakfast and we are still ready for our climbing day on Reticent.
I climb p5 (A3).The flake in the middle pitch is very thin and partial detached… it "sounds" really bad… and must be climbed with hooks.
5 pm Tom start p6 (A2) and ends as usual with headlamp after some troubles with
an expanding flake just before the belay. He come back down where I am. Tonight the menu is meat stew with potatoes.

June 7
Sixth Day on the wall. We are on Wino Tower. We find an empty wine bottle stuck in a crack. Today I crushed a finger and now it's swollen and it makes me a terrible pain.
Tom climb p8 the first crux pitch (A4) and ends as usual in the dark. “Hey Tom I think you like climbing in the dark”. I lost my headlamp. We bivy at wino tower.

June 8
"The Hawk" radio and thoughts are the only mates for those who remain all day at the bealy. The alarm clock is at 5 am… I start to hate it… the wake up is happy and we laughs a lot but I don’t remember why. I cleans p8 and continue for p9 (A3), which turns out to be very difficult and very long (200 feet). Ten hours of hard climbing with expanding heads, bad flakes and potential bad falls.

June 9
A terrible scream end my brief moment of relax... I take off from my portaledge and landing hard against the rock ... I look up and I see Tom hanging upside down in the middle of a small dust cloud. Shit! Tom fell at least 50 feet and tries to regain control of the situation… without losing heart he climbs the rope with his jumars to the rivet that miraculously stopped his fall. A “TV” size block that had hooked blow up and he fell down and the block cutting off part of his rope. When reach the belay I find Tom still a little shaked... he's fine, but this fall will weigh on his following days.
I'm leaving for the p11 (A3)… after a few hours and 90 feet of climbing comes the dark. I climb a little more with the headlamp but after an hour I decide that I've seen enough for today… connect between four unsafe blades and rappel down into a completely black void. Tom waiting me with dinner already hot... we eat in silence. We bivy on “The Irie”.

June 10
A typical day: wake up… breakfast… finish p11 climbing on very poor protections and on a very hard section on small heads just before the belay… pull the bags…Tom cleans the pitch.
Tom on p12 (A2) climb on a hooks section saying all the Italian bad words that I taught him… after a small pendulum he reaches the belay.

June 11
I start the A5 pitch… I'm worried. QT Luong shoot pictures and video hanging on a static line from the top.
After 10 hours of hard moves I’m at the end of these 180 feet. Hanging to the belay I have no emotions… I just scream out my tension… in a few days I'm going to enjoy my small magical moment… not now. Now I have to organize the belay, pull the bags and keep climbing.
The exit on the top as always in the dark, but finally… this is no longer a problem.


Most photos are by Quang Tuan Luong


Reticent Wall video:

Reticent part 1

Reticent part 2


Cheers

Valerio


New Dawn
New Dawn
Credit: QT Luong

New Dawn
New Dawn
Credit: QT Luong

New Dawn
New Dawn
Credit: QT Luong

new dawn
new dawn
Credit: QT Luong

new dawn
new dawn
Credit: QT Luong

new dawn
new dawn
Credit: QT Luong

p1
p1
Credit: Tom

Tom cleaning p1
Tom cleaning p1
Credit: Valerio

Credit: Valerio

p3
p3
Credit: Valerio

p3 - note the pile of rivet hangers comes out from the old New Dawn ri...
p3 - note the pile of rivet hangers comes out from the old New Dawn rivets
Credit: Valerio

p4 - expanding section
p4 - expanding section
Credit: Valerio

p5 - just before the thin flake
p5 - just before the thin flake
Credit: Valerio

p5
p5
Credit: Valerio

p6 - Val cleaning
p6 - Val cleaning
Credit: Tom

p8 - wino tower - Tom start one of the crux pitch
p8 - wino tower - Tom start one of the crux pitch
Credit: Valerio

p8 - Val cleaning this dangerous pitch
p8 - Val cleaning this dangerous pitch
Credit: Valerio

p9 - 200 feet... very long pitch
p9 - 200 feet... very long pitch
Credit: Valerio

p9
p9
Credit: Valerio

p9 - from the belay
p9 - from the belay
Credit: Valerio

p10
p10
Credit: Valerio

p10
p10
Credit: Valerio

p10
p10
Credit: Valerio

p11 - jumaring to finish the pitch
p11 - jumaring to finish the pitch
Credit: Valerio

p11 - The Irie
p11 - The Irie
Credit: Valerio

p11 - Tom cleaning the very marginal #1 heads section
p11 - Tom cleaning the very marginal #1 heads section
Credit: Valerio

p13
p13
Credit: Valerio

p13
p13
Credit: Valerio

p13 - end of heads groove and start of thin expanding flake
p13 - end of heads groove and start of thin expanding flake
Credit: Valerio

p13
p13
Credit: QT Luong

p13 - close up - two hard hook moves there <br/>
 <br/>
p13 - close up - two hard hook moves there


Credit: QT Luong

p13
p13
Credit: QT Luong

p13 - close the belay
p13 - close the belay
Credit: QT Luong

p13 - clipping belay's bolts
p13 - clipping belay's bolts
Credit: QT Luong

p13
p13
Credit: QT Luong

p13
p13
Credit: QT Luong

p14 - last pitch
p14 - last pitch
Credit: QT Luong

p14 - Tom leading
p14 - Tom leading
Credit: Valerio

p14 - close to the Top
p14 - close to the Top
Credit: QT Luong

Top
Top
Credit: QT Luong

back to home
back to home
Credit: QT Luong

Credit: Marco Spataro

Credit: Valerio












  Trip Report Views: 787
Valerio
About the Author
I am myself ... or at least I try to be

Valerio

Comments
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
eKat

Trad climber
  Apr 18, 2014 - 10:27am PT
WOW. . . quite a story. . . now I'm goin' back and checkin' out the links!

TFPU!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Apr 18, 2014 - 11:23am PT
Valerio- Thanks for sharing your adventure with us!

The route looks sweet and QT Luong took some fabulous pictures. Thanks to him for the effort there as you rarely get good perspective shots on cutting edge routes otherwise. It would be fun to get his thoughts about shooting this climb.

Proud effort all around guys!
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
  Apr 18, 2014 - 02:27pm PT
first TR of this route that makes me want to actually climb it.

Great Trip Report. So few words with so much experience packed into them.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Apr 18, 2014 - 03:05pm PT
Thanks V!

Great look at an early ascent of the route.

Your TR's never fail to bring up the psych from below.

boulder-rope-fall-cut rope = SHudder.

Cheers!
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Apr 18, 2014 - 05:33pm PT
That is fantastic! Thank you so much for posting.
fluffy

Trad climber
Colorado
  Apr 18, 2014 - 05:56pm PT
Unbelievable pics 8-0

What a badass route. Well DONE!
Avery

climber
NZ
  Apr 18, 2014 - 06:30pm PT
Truly great and comprehensive photo coverage.
westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
  Apr 18, 2014 - 06:32pm PT
WOW. Awesome achievement! Congratulations on your climb. But more importantly thanks for this excellent trip report. I loved it. The video, the words, the pics were so cool. QT Luong's pics and video are a real treat as well. You guys looked calm cool and collected on this route. I was sweatting bullets watching.



Sick!



Wes
overwatch

climber
  Apr 18, 2014 - 08:45pm PT
I haven't finished the videos yet but this is excellent.
telemon01

Trad climber
Montana
  Apr 18, 2014 - 09:38pm PT
so good! grazie!
Valerio

climber
Author's Reply  Apr 19, 2014 - 01:14am PT
Hi thanks to all,
I'm very happy to share my experiences with you...
QT luong is a very nice person and a professional photographer too...

I'm finishing to scan photos of Tempest ...
at that time also Jerry Dodrill has take great pictures and video...
see you soon!!!

Cheers

Val

Tom is holding the piece of rope damaged during the fall... will keep ...
Tom is holding the piece of rope damaged during the fall... will keep it as a souvenir
Credit: Valerio

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