It was day one of a trip my buddy and I took to Yosemite last June so naturally we had been required to wait out in the typical camp 4 queue to gain a camping spot that morning. From what I have since learned, our dossing skills are undeveloped. Because of this it was quite the opposite of an alpine start. Upon encountering friends of my buddy in the parking lot of the Awahnee and conversing for a while, our arrival to the route of our choice was much later in the day than we had planned. No matter, it was day one and we only wanted to see how far we could get up super slide anyways. We had heard it is a nice progression of difficulty as the pitches go along and it sounded like the best way to start our trip.
We arrived at the base of superslide sometime in the mid afternoon and proceeded to rack up to climb. We decided to rope up for the first two "warmup" pitches even though they looked easy, we figured this was the best way to get our climbing legs under us, as it were, for this trip. Did i also mention we are self taught noobs?
I took a slight variation on pitch 2 for us, doing this clean looking but rather short layback corner before mantling up and seeing the easier way onto the big ledge. No matter, the layback was fun.
My buddy fired off pitch 3 for us and fortunately found the tree to be free of red ants.
heres a better picture of the entirety of pitch 3.
We moved our belay up and over assuming I would be able to lead up and over from there onto the big flake and crack system on the true "slide" part of the superslide. At about this point it was very easy to see why this climb was so highly regarded by a friend. The upper 3 pitches of the climb looked amazing.
Here is a cool picture i got midway through pitch 4 looking up at the upper pitches. I didn't realize at the time the lens was partially covered in sweat; it had gotten rather warm on the wall that afternoon.
Vanity is indeed one of my strong sins.
Good view of the apron. Several hours after we got off our climb someone killed themselves by jumping off the top of glacier point apron. there was a lot of helicopter work in the heart of the valley the next day to watch. sad stuff.
My buddy fired off the next pitch right quick. I got some quick banter in with this attractive female who was rapping the route with her friend while i followed up the next pitch. They had some rope shenanigans at the top during their rappel and we got to watch the show.
At this point I stopped for a quick breather for a little water and a close look at the last and crux pitch before i tried to lead it. We had been gassing it pretty hard up the entire route due to our late start. I originally did not expect us to get this high this quickly and therefore had originally been unsure we would even need to lead the 5.9 part. Upon inspection though the upper pitch, especially the second half is a bit steeper than the rest of the route, and it is damn near vertical. I asked my buddy if he wanted to lead the last pitch instead but he denied. Because of the extra steepness and the super clean splitter that should have good gear the whole way I felt comfortable pushing it. It was not that I had never lead that grade before in yosemite, i was just starting to feel a little gassed and was sweating damn near like i was in a sauna.
I climbed the first 2/3 to 3/4 of the pitch perfect. I got to a rest right as the crack traversed right into the corner more towards the top, and got in some good gear. At this point, even after trying to rest as well as i could i could tell i was just slowly losing my endurance and i decided that i needed to move rather quickly the last 20 feet or so to the top. At this point the crack pinches down and there is a section for about 8 feet where the crack is between finger and offhand size for me and very akward. I tried to get some stemming going in the corner more since the other wall was now available but i couldnt get it to work. At this point I was pretty maxed and unable to rest at all and just trying to brute force my way through the crux. I slipped once here and took a nice fall. I was really quite maxed here and asked down if my partner wanted to give leading the pitch a try. He said no, and that "you got this bro, you looked fine". I knew i did not have the energy to re lead the entire pitch. I was afraid i might not have the energy to even finish up leading what was left to the top as i was hanging there looking at the moves and trying to massage my forearms.
I tend to be a rather impatient person so after a few breaths and a little chalk i tried it again. I got a few feet further, was unable to place gear due to my fatigue and the difficulty there, and thus took a slightly larger fall. After that i knew i was being impatient so i sat there for a second and focused really hard on my breathing and relaxing. i waited an extra minute or two and decided to give it another go. This time i got through almost the entire crux section and into the easier part at the top and i was just leaving the thin crack with my feet when my foot slipped. I guess they dont call it Superslide for no reason eh? hehehe sorry. At this point i had been just punching it to the top and not placing anymore gear because i didnt believe i had the energy to. Because of all this i took a fairly larger whipper this time and made noise enough to be heard over on Serenity or perhaps down in the Awahnee. Oops.
Feeling like a total idiot at this point, especially after noticing after my fall that the two girls i was chatting with previously were not that far down on the rappel route and watched the entire show, I decided to french free my way through the crux and finish up the route.
here is a pic of my partner following the last pitch which i think gives a decent idea to the increased angle on the last pitch.
I was pretty damn thirsty and very excited when my buddy came up after with the water, which lead to me finishing up all the rest of my water, drinking down a fairly large portion probably too quickly. Preparing for the rappel i suddenly began to feel really sick to my stomach. It didnt take me long to start vomiting all over the ledge at the top of the route, and quite unfortunately, all over our lead rope as well. Some of our two ropes were draped down on the rock below us, showing my needed improvement in ropework, and in this case it really bit me in the butt. I frantically tried to pull the ropes out of my extra watery vomit as it poured down the rock. I was, however, not successful.
My buddy seemed a little spooked but immediately after i felt 1000x better and i assured him of as much. Now I had no water left and no food left and had just vomited up the last of my water, so i was beginning to feel rather thirsty and ready to descend.
Random shitty pic but i liked the way the ropes looked on the undulating granite here during the rappel.
Several Shenanigans and several hours later, including a stuck rope on rappel, a forgotten knot in the end of a rappel rope, a pendulum shortroped to retrieve it, a totally stuck carabiner attached to a belay device attached to my parners harness ( has anyone really experienced this before? i assume a cross loaded biner on the twist lock or something but it seems HIGHLY unlikely to me? ) and a really poor alternative to my partners rappel device and we finally reached the ground for beers and bowls. All things considered, a great day. The end of my runout sentence and TR.