Trip Report
SOLOING ZODIAC - JUST LOVED IT
Wednesday June 24, 2015 1:36pm

Hello fellows,
First of all i would like to apologize since English is not my primary language.... sorry for the errors.

Back in 2013 I became one of the first Costa Rican's to climb EL Capitan with my partner Gino....
I remember when we were about to start our climb this guy appeared from nowhere carrying a bunch of haul bags with a tons of water.... He introduced himself and ask us about our climb and we started a conversation at the base of Salathe Wall..... after a couple of minutes I asked him about his partner to which he replied... No, I have no partner I will solo the shield.... I was kind of shocked.... asking myself... how in the world this guy is climbing "solo" on El Cap....

By that moment of course, i didn't know to much about big wall climbing and stuff, the highest thing we have here in our country is 50 meters of sport climbing ""we have discovered recently a wall around 500 meters, but that is a subject of another report"" :) .... the guy's name is Yann Cammus from Canada, a great guy, always laughing... he showed us his "metallic partner" the silent partner and explained us a little be of how it worked and stuff. We all went to our climbs and had a blast since the beginning.

Couple of months later I contacted him by facebook and started to ask him things about soloing since I really wanted to know more about "THE DARK AND FORBIDDEN ART OF ROPE SOLOING" Andy Kirkpatrick....

I started to train seriously on the thing around April 2014, got my porta ledge, hooks and pitons I would needed and started to plan to "SOLO" Zodiac 5.13c/d - 5.7 A3.

All the things got together and the 1st of June 2015 I flew to LAX rented a car and drive to Yosemite.... the second of June I got everything ready, took my haul bags from the bridge to the base of Zodiac with the help of my friend Manuel, we both slept there and the 3rd of June at 5.30am I blasted off for the best 6 days of my live, even though I got up and downs during those days they were definitely a blast.

Going back one day in my report.... I passed by the bridge on the 2do of June to remain Tom Evans I would be on Zodiac, Mark Hudon was there and they both wished me luck.... Tom Evans told me this ""IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG JUST HAVE A BREAK AND RELAX.... DON'T COME DOWN, JUST GO UP"" I treasured those words and had them in my mine during the all climbing.

Tom Evans, Mark Hudon...  What a great guys!!!! thank you guys...
Tom Evans, Mark Hudon... What a great guys!!!! thank you guys...
Credit: Alejo

Belay at the base of Zodiac
Belay at the base of Zodiac
Credit: Alejo

I baptized my silent partner :) i named it "BUMBLEBEE", He was a good friend to be with up there, didn't drink my water or eat my food, didn't snore at all, pretty nice guy.....
having some serious talking to bumblebee on day 6
having some serious talking to bumblebee on day 6
Credit: Alejo

day 1, I climbed 3 pitches, linked the first two, everything was good and things just flowed naturally.
pitch 3....
pitch 3....
Credit: Alejo

Day 2, I started climb around 7.30 after have breakfast and had planed to climb 3 pitches that day but things went kind of slow so at the end of the second day I was on pitch #5. I was enjoying the climb and had no rush since I had water and food for 6 days...
got fixed there :/
got fixed there :/
Credit: Alejo

Day 3, I wake up early that day, 4.30am and started to climb at 6.30, it was a great day even though I climbed just two pitches, I had a "cluster f*#k" that took me 2 hours to solve, had to set up a temporary anchor equalizing 2 pieces and rappelling down to the belay, I was on a C3 section and task was complex but I got it done....

Rain and thunderstorm came into the valley and I was getting to the "el portal" pitch #7 and scape from the rain since the overhang part of the route protected me from that moment on.
Beaks.... Jim Bridwell style.... :)
Beaks.... Jim Bridwell style.... :)
Credit: Alejo

Day 4, another cluster f*#k that took my mind out of the thing.... wind was heavy and some how ropes got out of the rope bags and get trapped underneath
of the pigs, rope ends were tense and was hard to solve it.... couldn't move
down or up.... finally I got things under control.... later on I dropped couple of webbing and one of my aiders (I had a spare in the pig), but from that moment I realized how thin the line between success and the failure is, I mean, just drop another aider or a grigri or an ascender could make things really hard, not that you can´t keep going but definitely harder and longer, with same water and food..... that's a ""what if I get on this position"" thing to think about.... and be prepare... soloing is just you and only you.

Anyway I took the aider from the pig and kept climbing during the day, at the end of the day I was at pitch 9.
going well....
going well....
Credit: Alejo


fish portaledge and fly :)
fish portaledge and fly :)
Credit: Alejo


starting the black tower pitch
starting the black tower pitch
Credit: Alejo

Day 5.... just great day, windy, fresh, climbing was great pitches were amazing, a lot of free moves on those 5.8 before peanut ledge, took a fall but bumblebbe was ready to catch me.... Tom Evans was there to shot just the second before I fell and the second after that..... :)
before
before
Credit: Alejo

after :)
after :)
Credit: Alejo

My right hand was worked, it swelled and hurt every night from the day 3 on and started to be numbed from day 4.... (today June 24 is still numb, some nerves pinched on my neck or back y guess, working on that with a therapist).

hooking
hooking
Credit: Alejo


hugging the pigs... so glad to have them close to me... water food clo...
hugging the pigs... so glad to have them close to me... water food clothe.... everything.
Credit: Alejo

camhooking....  THE WAY TO GO!!!!!
camhooking.... THE WAY TO GO!!!!!
Credit: Alejo

the nipple pitch...
the nipple pitch...
Credit: Alejo

some jamming before peanut ledge
some jamming before peanut ledge
Credit: Alejo

sorting gear...
sorting gear...
Credit: Alejo

immortalizing the moment....
immortalizing the moment....
Credit: Alejo

3 pitches left....
3 pitches left....
Credit: Alejo

Day 6 I topped out around 3pm-4pm, hauled pigs to the top, went to the creak for some water, racked everything and spent the night there...

5 meters from the top
5 meters from the top
Credit: Alejo

tired but exited.
tired but exited.
Credit: Alejo

On the day 7 I managed may way down, slow but enjoying it.... I guess most of the climbers who climb El Cap for the first time are well prepare for the climb but not know anything for the way to get down to the valley which is hard by the way. It was my second time up there and I knew the way down well.

Couple of more pictures from Tom Evans, El Cap Reporter.... great pictures...

PITCH #2
PITCH #2
Credit: Alejo

:)
:)
Credit: Alejo

Cleaning the black tower pitch
Cleaning the black tower pitch
Credit: Alejo

Credit: Alejo

The nipple... what a great pitch....
The nipple... what a great pitch....
Credit: Alejo

Shot of the day... El Cap Reporter 06-08-2015 by Tom Evans... <br/>
immort...
Shot of the day... El Cap Reporter 06-08-2015 by Tom Evans...
immortalizing the moment... :)
Credit: Alejo

At the top..... 6 days latter.... YEEEEEAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!
At the top..... 6 days latter.... YEEEEEAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!
Credit: Alejo

Andy Kirkpatrick, the "guru" of rope soloing. He was there climbing Zo...
Andy Kirkpatrick, the "guru" of rope soloing. He was there climbing Zodiac with a partner when I started my soloing, it was such a nice thing for me since during my all training I red 6 books of this guy including "Me Myself and I"
Credit: Alejo

Thanks you all for Read my TR, and thanks to all the people involve on the "bigwalls" climbing world.....

Thank You Yann Cammus for everything you have taught regarding of rope soloing.

Will be climbing El Cap again in 2017 so, see you in two Years.

  Trip Report Views: 5,270
Alejo
About the Author
Alejo is a trad climber from costa rica.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
eKat

climber
  Jun 24, 2015 - 01:39pm PT
Yay, SOLO!

Goin' back and readin' every word!

TFPU!

Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Jun 24, 2015 - 01:45pm PT
Way to go! Great job and nice report!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 24, 2015 - 01:46pm PT
that's the stuff
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jun 24, 2015 - 01:51pm PT
Eres El Vato! Bien escrito, tambien!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Jun 24, 2015 - 02:24pm PT
Well done
Welcome to the big-wall solo club.
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
  Jun 24, 2015 - 02:26pm PT
Good on ya for gittin' 'er done!!! Nice work!!!
Todd Bauck

Trad climber
Denver, co
  Jun 24, 2015 - 03:02pm PT
Well done - Thanks for the trip report!
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Jun 24, 2015 - 03:17pm PT
Proud work, thank you for sharing!
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
  Jun 24, 2015 - 03:30pm PT
Excellent! Great solo photos. Thanks for putting this together. Your English writing is better than many North Americans.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Jun 24, 2015 - 03:35pm PT
Nice report man.

climbski2

Mountain climber
The Ocean
  Jun 24, 2015 - 04:30pm PT
SUPER STOKE!!

Loved the report! Grats!
Capt.

climber
some eastside hovel
  Jun 24, 2015 - 04:52pm PT
Thanks! That was a good read. Good pix to boot! :-D
crankster

Trad climber
No. Tahoe
  Jun 24, 2015 - 04:57pm PT
Nice job!
telemon01

Trad climber
Montana
  Jun 24, 2015 - 04:59pm PT

very nice!
zBrown

Ice climber
  Jun 24, 2015 - 04:59pm PT
Congrats. I've got to hand it to you, especially since your hand was hurting from day three on.

phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Jun 24, 2015 - 05:22pm PT
That was a great trip report to read. I'm happy for you that you made it and had a great time. Congratulations!
Moof

Big Wall climber
Orygun
  Jun 24, 2015 - 05:34pm PT
Very nice!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 24, 2015 - 06:04pm PT
Well done sir!!!
dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
  Jun 24, 2015 - 07:25pm PT
Wow. Great job bro!

Great advice from Tom! and the essence of success. "Have a break and relax. Don't come down, just go up."
kunlun_shan

Mountain climber
SF, CA
  Jun 24, 2015 - 11:17pm PT
Great report, with so many good photos.
Admirable climbing.
Thanks for posting!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Jun 24, 2015 - 09:17pm PT
A proud effort!
Thanks for sharing the stoke,
Tad
johnboy

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
  Jun 24, 2015 - 09:20pm PT
Your english is good enough to convey your stoke. Great job sticking to it.
Thanks for the TR and pics.
PotatoHead

Trad climber
Nunya,ID
  Jun 24, 2015 - 09:27pm PT
Nice report! I loved your solo pics. Really conveyed the essence of the ElCap sitch. Well done ;-) !!!!!
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jun 24, 2015 - 10:44pm PT


Bien hecho Tico!!!!!! y gracias.

Hey even though they didn't get far, I loved the way las Ticas played in the women's WC. Cool and intense manager, too.

Really good TR
Prod

Trad climber
  Jun 25, 2015 - 05:24am PT
Bad Ass!!!

Prod.
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Jun 25, 2015 - 05:38am PT
Excellent!
johntp

Trad climber
socal
  Jun 25, 2015 - 07:20am PT
Wonderful TR. Nice photos and captures the experience well. TFPU!
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
  Jun 25, 2015 - 09:03am PT
Good stuff!!! Solo is the full on commitment. Way to get it together and go for it!
Texplorer

Trad climber
Sacramento
  Jun 25, 2015 - 09:30am PT
Heck Yeah, a helmetless ascent!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jun 25, 2015 - 10:34am PT
Selfie-stick to the Trip Report rescue! Fantastic report man. Your English is better than half of the Americans on this site. Congrats on a proud send and some great photos to keep us all excited for the summer!

Scott
Morgan

Trad climber
East Coast
  Jun 25, 2015 - 10:55am PT
Great climb, Alejo. Congratulations! It seems you had good luck or good strategy to deal with bears at the start as a solo climber.
If

Trad climber
UK
  Jun 25, 2015 - 11:44am PT
Great report! Great read! :)
Marlow

Sport climber
OSLO
  Jun 25, 2015 - 12:22pm PT

A pretty nice ascent by Alejo and BUMBLEBEE...
Ed H

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
  Jun 25, 2015 - 12:58pm PT
Big Wall stoke - thanks! Congrats on the send!
Chugach

Trad climber
Vermont
  Jun 25, 2015 - 01:29pm PT
Great work
youri

climber
  Jun 27, 2015 - 07:33pm PT
Nice TR Alejo! It is full of good vibes, I like it :-)
Digits

Trad climber
Ca
  Jun 27, 2015 - 07:43pm PT
Super motivated from your great report! Thanks for sharing
Brian

climber
California
  Jun 27, 2015 - 08:56pm PT
Well done! Congratulations.

Good luck with the therapy for your hand.
Febs

Trad climber
Northern Italy
  Aug 6, 2015 - 02:51am PT
thanks for sharing, very inspiring.

I am practicing my solo aid climbing at a crag and I keep messing with all the gear. Especially daisies strangling the rope around the silent partner, not nice.

I hope the book "me myself and I" could help me but I cannot find it in sale, crap :D
jmacrosoft

Sport climber
Atlanta, GA
  Aug 6, 2015 - 05:34am PT
This is GREAT! Congrats!
johntp

Trad climber
socal
  Aug 6, 2015 - 08:11am PT
Another El Cap climbing TR. Where is this site headed?
Morgan

Trad climber
East Coast
  Dec 7, 2015 - 09:47am PT
Supercool!!
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Dec 7, 2015 - 09:56am PT
Great pics! Well done!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Dec 8, 2015 - 05:33pm PT
Nice send!

Man, that is one W - Y - D - E A - S - S camera lens!
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
  Dec 8, 2015 - 05:39pm PT
Right on! Thanks for the read.

Los Ticos estan escalando!
Radish

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Dec 9, 2015 - 08:16am PT
Very Nice Ascent! Bravo! Nice inspiration to read, Thanks!
Batrock

Trad climber
Burbank
  Feb 23, 2016 - 04:37pm PT
bump
brian benedon

Trad climber
tucson
  Feb 24, 2016 - 02:44pm PT
right on bro

You need a cervical traction device for the numbness, it took me about 4months to get over it.
Killer K

Boulder climber
Sacramento, CA
  Feb 26, 2016 - 01:50pm PT
^^^^^^^

I don't think his cervix has anything to do with the numbness....;)
Valerio

climber
  Feb 28, 2016 - 04:29am PT
Very nice report...
the top out is a moment that you want to repeat many time... isn't it?

Thanks

Valerio
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
  Feb 28, 2016 - 09:12pm PT
Way to go! Excellent Trip Report!
philip leng

Trad climber
Solihull, UK
  May 13, 2016 - 01:38am PT
Great report, thanks. Helping to build my psyche.
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