The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2

 
  • Currently 5.0/5
Search
Go

El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Retro Climbing Report: the Nose in 1990. by mynameismud

by Mei
Monday April 27, 2015 9:48pm
What I'm about to post is not my own report. It was written by another infrequent SuperTopo user mynameismud a couple of years ago when we shared among friends how we all learned "the ropes" in the early days. His story made me laugh and made me cringe. With his permission, I'm posting it here (unedited) to share with more people. We met climbing 10 years ago, but soon took many years off and got into other activities (mostly mountain biking). He's been nursing injuries lately, but somehow the climbing bug got us again -- we started talking about climbing more. I came back to visit SuperTopo and saw that a good climbing report is always appreciated here. I also hope that seeing his report posted here will also help fan his stoke to work on his rehab more for a speedy recovery. So, here it is...



My first wall was the Nose on El Cap and a true adventure in every way. We had the official Hall Bag From Hell that a friend of mine sewed up the week before. It was made of black cordura with red 1" tubular webbing. The 1" webbing shoulder straps were pure mind numbing agony after 100 yards. The haul bag was so flimsy that it would wrap up and hang on every tiny little over hang. It was heiness, slow, maddening, epic fun (for me anyway). Fortunately we brought a full roll of duct tape because at least half a roll was used to tape up the holes in the haul bag at the end of each pitch. By the time we topped out it was mostly duct tape and beginning to actually hold its own. The haul rope was my lead rope which was some cheap ass 45 meter thing that came up short on a couple of occasions. Food, Powerbars had been out a few years and I was still psyched on these things so I insisted we buy half a case and go with that. Water, well I had read some story of Harding doing a wall with 1 liter of water a day or something, so that was it ( My partner snuck in some extra so we ended up having about a liter and a half of water per person per day). Weather, absolutely fantastic 100+ degree heat wave. It was so frigging hot the Devil himself turned on the AC. After lift off we actually had The Nose to ourselves. The start, we had no idea about leading the first four pitches then hauling. We lead and hauled the first four pitches then bivied on Sickle. The rack, lot's of stoppers and a little over one set of cams. I dropped about a quarter of the rack, on the second day, when the webbing came untied on my Alpine my harness (remember the self ties gear slings on those, they stretched).

Toward the end of the second day we were moving a bit slow as we approached Dolt Tower. I was trying to figure out what to do as I did not have enough rope to get to the anchors and I had spun around mid pitch so the haul rope and lead rope were all messed up. A rescue helicopter flys by and is hovering around behind us. I finally turn around and look and they are signaling if we need help and my partner is obviously saying yes. I flip them the bird and wave them off for a few minutes before they go away. After way to long we get to Dolt, my partner, well this is a good opportunity to introduce my partner.

He came up from Mexico and spoke very little English and really struggles to comprehend what I have always tried to pass off as Englis. In some ways it was really bad and in others we were blessed. The thing is he was running out of time on his VISA and really wanted to climb El Cap before he went home and finished his degree. He was really struggling to find someone that wanted to go up there with him since no one understood what he was saying. We climbed together for a couple of days before I figured out he wanted to climb El Cap. My time was running out as well so we were co-dependent partners. For a warm up we went down to the Cookie and climbed the Nabisco Wall. That is when I found out his longest route until then had been a short two pitch climb and he was some what scared of heights. With short climbs the lack of communication was not to bad. On El Cap we would just yell at each other until we got frustrated then do what ever seemed right.

Well back to day two. We made it to El Cap Tower, he was to tired to talk me down at Dolt and even from Dolt the nice size and comfort of El Cap Tower is obvious. Once on that big ledge we were both to tired and hungry to argue so we ate and dropped of to exhaustion. I was up at first light it took no time to rack up since we did not have much. He wanted to go down but we continued. I really think he was just to parched to talk all that much. The heat was unreal. The walls were mostly empty. In later years I was shocked to see people all over the place. The were two guys over in the middle, somewhere by South Seas. They were easy to pick out since one guy had a big sombrero. I still remember throughout the wall hearing gals laughing and splashing down in the Merced. Back then you could park right next to the river below El Cap and there was a rope swing. We could see that big splash, here the gals laugh. Somehow we made it to Camp 5.

I remember him splitting a liter of water. Trying to make sure we both got half. A couple of drops back and forth. Like some kind of life altering experience. The problem for me was I had decided to eat my one can of tuna fish. I was so parched I could barely talk. Anyone with half a brain would have realized the dire outcome of such an action. That tuna fish stuck to the inside of my mouth and went no where. Out of desperation I tried to swallow. This compounded my predicament by gluing my sarcophagus closed. I was watching in a slow agonizing death spiral as my partner meticulously divided the water. I was gagging and trying to ask for water, I could not breath, my eyes were starting to water over. A final act of desperation I snatched a bottle from him. It was all in slow motion. I can still see the shock and anger on his face because a single drop of water missed the bottle I grabbed.

I quickly gulped some water to free up the tuna fish and the result was an explosion. The coughing fit was the size of the route we were on as I sucked in oxygen, water, and mashed up tuna. After sometime I regained my composure and looked over at my partner. He had not moved since I grabbed the bottle. Same expression, still holding his hand out. Just looking at me like, why on God's good Earth did I come up here with this guy. I pleaded for more water but that went no where. I finally settled back picked tuna out of my nostrils and tried to look like I was a real wall climber. Little did I know at the time that being in the state that I was, I looked the part. We both did. Totally dysfunctional, filthy, hungry, thirsty, tired, pissed off, and at that moment just happy to be where we were, on a big ass wall, in the middle of the adventure of my life.

We finally topped out and made it down. We got lost coming out of the woods and I swear ended up half way to Camp 4. On the seemingly endless trek back to my truck taking turns with that hideous hall bag, a car came by and my partner put out his thumb. I figured I had to be hallucinating since it pulled over. A little tiny compact that was half full of crap. My partner started talking to the passenger and the driver of the car, the passenger and myself just stared. None of us had any idea what he was saying. But it was obvious he was happy and grateful. After a bit my brain kicked in and I said thank you can you give us a lift to El Cap Meadow. They kind of understood me, we were both kind of babbling. After there initial shock of hearing "English" they hurried us in. We got in the back and the passenger pilled our gear in on top of us. Soon all the windows were hurriedly being rolled down as even I, in the back seat, realized the the stench of the two of us was of another world. Soon at my truck they kicked us out babbling and gleefully extolling our exploits and begging for water.

We quickly drove over to Degnans. Knowing it was late and that they would most likely closed I drove took every chance and drove fast. When we got to Degnans they were closed. So we just stared. We should have left since the place was deserted escept for two lone guys cleaning up. But we could not bring ourselves to leave. After a bit one employee notices us and starts talking to the other. One guy cracks the door open and asks if we were looking for food and we both respond with a loud raucous yes, my partner is was trying to claw his way in. After a bit of "No Really we are Closed" the guy in the back asks if we just climbed El Cap. I square my shoulders just a bit and answer yes. He then asks "Did you guys just get off the Nose"?. I straighten up a bit more puff up and grow in stature by at least 4 inches and 20 pounds and very proudly answer yes. The guy looks me square in the eye and says, "You guys were slow", SAR has been watching you. I shrank down in my squalor and dehydration and looked at the ground. He must have seen the rebuff cuz they let us in, at which point we bought every thing we could afford including a quart of Gatorade.

I drank a ton of water but did not piss for close to two days. We were both broke, but happy. We pulled off the impossible, conquered daemons, cheated the devil, amused the Fates, proved ourselves right, and others wrong. I was thinking of going back to work and he was thinking of how he could get back to Mexico. I do not know if he realizes just how thankful I was to have him as a partner. He pulled of an amazing feat by climbing El Cap with untested gear, with a half crazed, rabid, temperamental, white trash redneck. I screamed, yelled, threw temper tantrums, dropped his cherished hand made Made in Mexico cams, cursed all Gods real and imagined, and ran sh#t out way more than any person with my abilities had any right to do. He put up with it all, I may have been the motivational force but he was the Rock of Gabralter. I did receive a couple of stern lectures. I do not know a quarter of what he said, but 25 years later I think I have an idea. But, we topped out. It was an experience that will last us both a life time.

//mynameismud

P.S.

Mr. Mud with El Cap in the back, in 2008.
Mr. Mud with El Cap in the back, in 2008.
Credit: Mei

  Trip Report Views: 3,384
Mei
About the Author
Trying to get back...

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

climber
The Good Places
  Apr 27, 2015 - 11:25pm PT
so good. tuna-fish nose chunks and all.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Apr 28, 2015 - 12:12am PT
Great epic!! Mr. Mud has told me this story in the past, but I had forgotten much of it. Great laughs in there, and amazing they pulled it off.

Mei,
I remember seeing photos of when you and Mr. Mud did A-man on back-to-back weekends and I was very jealous. Then you got that finger injury.
Is your finger OK to climb on now?
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Apr 28, 2015 - 05:33am PT
Outstanding.

DMT
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Apr 28, 2015 - 07:05am PT
Crazy and absurdly good story.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Apr 28, 2015 - 07:29am PT
This is a classic :)

Hi Mei, I hope all is well with you! One upon a time I was a climberweenie.
rincon

climber
Coarsegold
  Apr 28, 2015 - 07:38am PT
That's a good story. TFPU!
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Apr 28, 2015 - 08:23am PT


...but, we topped out.


Why Mr. Mud has often been my go-to partner for the really stupid stuff :) :)



Mei

Trad climber
mxi2000.net
Author's Reply  Apr 28, 2015 - 10:09pm PT
Glad that you guys like the report as well.

Is your finger OK to climb on now?
Clint, thanks for asking. Right, that finger, which was smashed by a big hunk (CRT) TV... Yes, it recovered nicely so much so that I can never use it as an excuse when I cannot make a move.

Hi Mei, I hope all is well with you! One upon a time I was a climberweenie.
Hi NutAgain, thank you. All is indeed well. Hope the same with you. Ha... the memory of the first day I climbed with you brought smiles to my face. Reading my owner report from that trip, I can't help but thinking wow, we were kinda nutty. :)
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Apr 28, 2015 - 03:18pm PT
a classic the likes of which Melville would have been jealous of.


Good job Ahab!
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Apr 28, 2015 - 05:33pm PT
Biong !
I see bumping in this terrorific write ups' future!
Mei

Trad climber
mxi2000.net
Author's Reply  Apr 30, 2015 - 10:12am PT
Thanks guys. I'll send him the link to this TR in the next couple of days. Mr. Mud gave me the permission to post his story, but he didn't know when and where I would post. He's been working his butt off (maybe even out of his job) and I hope this thread will put a smile on his face. I sometimes chuckle at my own old trip reports. Silly I know, but sometimes we all forget how stupid we once were and how much fun we had doing the stupid things.


cragnshag

Social climber
san joser
  Apr 29, 2015 - 12:36pm PT
TFPU!
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Apr 29, 2015 - 01:23pm PT
Wow, so badass.

Mr. Mud knows how to suffer with the best.

DIE!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Apr 29, 2015 - 06:58pm PT
DIE

with yer boots on
Spanky

Social climber
boulder co
  Apr 29, 2015 - 07:34pm PT
Cool Story, thanks for the stoke! TFPU
Mei

Trad climber
mxi2000.net
Author's Reply  Apr 30, 2015 - 11:39pm PT
I wanted to say something smart and funny, but I can't think of any. So, I'll just bump.

But talk about suffer... He's suffered kidney stones in the last couple of years (still feeling a couple of small ones currently). Now, reading this story, I wonder if they had anything to do with days like these on the Nose (and many more in his later life) when he got through days of extreme exertion with very little water. We'd never know the answer of course.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  May 1, 2015 - 02:09am PT
Hilarious report. Thanks for the tale. I can only imagine the terror of the mexican dude dealing with this crazy loco american.. ;)

I drank a ton of water but did not piss for close to two days.

Something tells me this is not good for your kidneys.. Lol
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  May 1, 2015 - 09:00am PT
1" shoulder straps? Oh my gawd that would be truly nerve damaging!


Reminds me of one of my old Master Sergeants in the military telling us about "the long walk" when his shoulder straps "Cut into my shoulders like twin bullwhips."


Ouch.
msiddens

Trad climber
  May 1, 2015 - 12:12pm PT
two crazy kids
mynameismud

climber
backseat
  May 5, 2015 - 08:49am PT
Thanks for posting this, I most likely would not have ever done it. When I think back on the route the memories that really stand out were of how hot it was. Thirst and hunger. After two days ( we spent five days on the route ) of minimal water those Powerbars became un-edible. Take one bite and it would turn into an infernal paste. I would take about an hour or so per bite to get one of those things down. Still cringe when I see a Powerbar.

Thanks for all the positive feedback.

I had a trip report from where I got chased down the Y Lodge parking lot by a bear and was literally saved by the mustard. Was trying to find that.

Here’s to sweat in your eye
Mynameismud

And yeah. DIE
steven Curtis

Trad climber
Petaluma
  May 15, 2015 - 05:08pm PT
Mud and Mei: Thanks. Now I've heard the correct version of the tuna story. Made me laugh again.

My time with Mud. Spooning above Ribbon Candy because we only took one 60 Meter rope and no extra clothes and couldn't find the way down. Forgotten shoes and water on Astroman leading to a dehydration epic. Rostrum 10 AM, wedding (Mud's) 4 PM. The extraordinarily clear view of a fatality (complete with sound) below the Crucifix. Finally, the 7 hour go on Half Dome, then the nose in a day, where Mud smiled and took the lead when my arms cramped.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  May 15, 2015 - 05:24pm PT
Sounds like more stories Steve. Post em up!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 29, 2015 - 08:54am PT
Cool stuff, thanks for the post BUMP
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Sep 29, 2015 - 09:42am PT
That's awesome. The key phrase next time is going to be De acuerdo, compadre. That way you're just agreeing to everything said, best in such scenarios.

Would be rad to hear his telling of this trip, too.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 29, 2015 - 11:42am PT
Fantastic share. I love the "survival stories" of old. Thanks for sharing some stoke on a slow Tuesday here at work. May your once dying flame for climbing burn brightly again in the days to come.

Scott
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go
El Capitan - The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The Nose—the best rock climb in the world!
Photo: Mark Kroese
Other Routes on El Capitan
El Capitan - Zodiac A2 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Zodiac, A2 5.7
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

1800' of fantastic climbing.
El Capitan - Salathe Wall 5.13b or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Salathe Wall, 5.13b or 5.9 C2
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Salathé Wall ascends the most natural line up El Cap.
El Capitan - Lurking Fear C2F 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Lurking Fear, C2F 5.7
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Lurking Fear is route number 1.
El Capitan - East Buttress 5.10b - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
East Buttress, 5.10b
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

East Buttress with top of The Nose on left.
El Capitan - Freerider 5.12D - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Freerider, 5.12D
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Salathé Wall ascends the most natural line up El Cap.
More routes on El Capitan