Tangerine Trip A2 5.8
Trip ReportTangerine Trip - 3 guys seen slowly crawling up El Cap
May 1-6 2011 I got sidetracked by an unplanned work trip to Mississippi the day I got home, so here it is a bit late:
After a long and rainy winter in the NW I was beginning to itch for some good stone and the local forecast continued to look soggy. I tried heading to Zion for some sunshine and rock but only made it halfway up Moonlight Buttress before we got rained on. Maybe an early trip to El Cap?
Moof and I had a good time on WA Column last fall so I gave him a call and found out that plans were already brewing with his friend John but they wouldn’t mind a third. I’d never climbed in a team of three but I though perhaps it would be a good excuse to take extra beer and only have to lead a third of the route. We settled on Zodiac as a nice moderate choice and headed out early in the morning on April 30th from Portland.
Moof snagged a cancelation from the campground for the first night and we managed to get there and hump a load of water and stuff to the base that evening before dark. We couldn’t get anywhere near the base of Zodiac without getting wet from the falls at the early date but we were hoping it might dry out some in the morning.
After a pleasant nights sleep we hauled the rest of our gear up and found the wall still looking rather soggy. We made a last minute decision to head for Tangerine Trip instead which fortunately we had made an emergency topo copy of. Moof went down for a final food carry while John and I started up Pitch 1. I managed the 5.9 start in my aid boots and slowly got into the rhythm of things. John joined me and too P2 and then I headed out to link P3 and 4. The C3F section wasn’t bad with a clean fall and some newish looking cables on some of the old fixed beaks. Some silly pendulum shenanigans under the roof got me to the belay and our planned bivy anchor. We had all earlier agreed that it would be way more fun to camp instead of fixing so we tied together two lines for a long haul and for Moof to jug up to join us.
Some how our plans of two small bags and a sub bag turned into two medium bags and my giant haul bag plus a train of two portaledges and other misc stuff. Even with the 2:1 hauling was a bit of a pain at the hanging stance but sometime after dark we managed to get the bags (and Moof) to the anchor. Water was copious for the first 4.5 pitches of this route as well but we found a mostly dry place for the double ledge and put the fly up for the single. We unanimously agreed that sleeping in sounded like more fun than getting up early.
Eventually the sun roused us from our slumber and we began the slow process of packing up. John called “no lead” and volunteered for cleaning duty so Moof headed out on P5 up the drippy C3F jungle. The hammer was used to gently reset a couple of the loosened pins and then dragged uselessly up the rest of the route. I got to have the longest lower out of my life with nothing but air underneath.
I headed up P6 with a little bit of fun hooking and easy rivets and then Moof led P7 which ended us at a small (1 ft) ledge and the impending sunset so we camped there. Who’s in a hurry when you’ve still got plenty of beer and water?
We slowly gained speed the next day as we grew more comfortable in our tasks and as a team. I headed out P8 and avoided both nailing and cam hooks with some interesting offset alien placements and then some good hooking higher. This was somehow one of my favorite pitches to lead. John was feeling a bit better so he headed up P9 which ended on top of a flake where we found some stashed water and mystery items that we let be although probably should have hauled up (what we would later learn was from the rescued party in December). Moof headed up P10 to our next bivy site where we enjoyed an even earlier bed time and barely needed the headlamps. Looking up at P11 we pondered why there was so much gear in it and what sort of interesting moves might be required to bridge the blank looking section before the rivet ladder.
In the morning I headed up marveling at our good booty luck until I got to the second bolt where the booty gear ended and wondered what the heck to do next to reach the bottom of the rivet ladder still a good 8-10 feet away. The rock looked fairly clean but clearly never nailed with only thin cracks straight up. I placed a #2 ball nut, a small brass offset, and then a black alien to reach the bolt and from there it was smooth sailing up the rivets (Holly says it was expando). We would later learn this was where a flake a pulled in December removing what had been a precarious but easy cam placement. The rivets above are no longer scary at all and I was even able to top step in my Russian aiders and skip every other one. Moof climbed the thin corner and then easier ground on P 12 and I got the “C1 and 5.7 loose” of P13. At the top of 13 we decided to camp again but psyched John up to fix the next pitch. We still had time to enjoy a plastic mug of wine in the evening.
This time the birds woke us up, wanting back into their nests which we may have been blocking with our hanging encampment. We got everything up the next pitch and Moof enjoyed the tricky bits of P14. The wind picked up here and I got to struggle to jug through the bags while spinning in space with much exposure below. Some kind words drifted over on the wind from the Nose, something to the effect of “yer gonna die!” and I was encouraged. Rivets again greeted me on P15 until I realized what I thought was a foot traverse was a hand traverse through a blank spot and then some fun big flake pulling up the 5.7 R to the C1 corner and our first taste of flat ground in many days near the belay. John and Moof both helped nudge the bags past the flakes and John proudly led the final bit of 5.6 to the top.
We got everyone and everything up by mid-afternoon and celebrated by lazily feasting on all the extra food, 4 beers, and 2 liters of wine we still had left. It was a beautiful evening. The D5 even came out one more time to bask in the glory of flattening my empty cans.
The next morning we slept in and packed up our three bags, still entirely too heavy and trudged down the east ledges . Another first for all three of us as John went the long way the last time, but armed with the Supertopo and PTPPs beta it was relatively uneventful (but still soul crushing under our heavy bags). Pizza and beer for all!
Afterthoughts: Moof posted some beta on the route page. We climbed the route clean without anything too tricky (not counting the taps on loosened fixed pins). This does rely on some fixed gear especially P4 and P5 but 5-6 pins, a few med-lrg heads, and a light hammer should be plenty for this route. Lots of rivet hangers! The newly cleaned P11 takes thin gear and may be a bit expanding, good ballnut there and over a nice bolt but don’t pull a flake off. An extra #0.75, #1 and #2 camalot size would have been handy since we only had 2 of each having racked for Zodiac. Fun route with some cool spots, but a lot of rivets, great camping once you get past the wet bits although I’ll note that we felt drops from the falls at least once or twice at every bivy (including the one on the summit ABOVE the falls).
More pictures can be found here: https://picasaweb.google.com/matthiesen/YosemiteTangerineTrip
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