This April I finally convinced my boss that If I didn't get some time off I'd snap. I've been working way too much in the last while and needed a break. Work for me usually looks something like this:
Maybe some of this:
There was a lot of this:
And way too much of this:
What better place to blow off some steam than Yosemite? I packed the Red Rocket, my trusty 1990 Mazda 323, and hit the road.
It's been 15 years since the last time I was in the valley, and at the time I just bouldered. That trip was cut short when I jumped off the mantle on Midnight Lightning and missed the pad with one foot, bruising my heel.
My partner for this trip was Tony "The Swoop" Mclane. A Squamish climber who's spent a lot of time in the Valley earning his nickname by helping clear trays at the cafeteria.
Here we are plotting and scheming:
First stop was Separate Reality for a warm up.
The next day it was time for the intro to big walling in Yosemite, The Nose.
We started early to ensure a good spot in line and I was surprised to arrive at the base and find it empty.
The Nose took us 12 hours camp to camp. We did it in 2 blocks. Tony led to just after King Swing and I led the rest. Could have been faster but the upper pitches were pretty wet. The amazing thing was that we not only had the route to ourselves, we had all of El Cap to ourselves. Magical.
After the Nose it was time for a rest day so we went and checked out some huge trees.
The next objective was the RNWF of Half Dome.
We had one bike so we doubled from the Curry Village parking to Mirror Lake, crossed the river, and headed up the death slabs.
Tony fell in the river and did the death slabs in his boxers.
Tony decided not to try Honnolding.
The crux was the very last pitch which was soaking wet and covered in snow.
We topped out just as the sun was dissapearing over the horizon. After a summit celebration we made quick work hand over handing down the cables, bouncing down the stairs, and post holing through snow to get back to the base. Then back down the Death Slabs, back over the river (we both fell in), and a quick double on the bike back to the Red Rocket. It took us 17 hours camp to camp. We were tired.
Tony and I did some cragging in the next couple days and decided to have a go at Golden Gate. I'd really wanted to try my luck at free climbing on the big stone.
I had been doing some bouldering in the evenings, working my way through the Camp 4 circuit with my mind on Midnight Lightning. The evening before we were going to start on Golden Gate I decided to have a few goes. I set up my pads and was quietly sessioning the problem alone, getting to the mantle, not quite feeling good, and jumping. On my last go of the evening I hopped on and started up the problem. Two guys who had been watching from about 20 feet away decided that this time I needed a spot and they ran up saying "we got you, we got you". I got up to the mantle and again didn't feel quite right so I jumped. This time instead of landing softly on my pads, my right foot hit the hole in the pads that my "spotters" had created. Crunch. Pain. Nausea. Sweat. I pulled off my shoe to see it quickly ballooning in size. Party's over.
All though they were trying to help I can't help but feel a little bitter.
The hospital in Modesto confirmed that I had broken my heel and should see a orthopaedic surgeon.
My last few days in the valley were spent trying to figure out how to get home and generally taking it easy.
There is no direct flights to Vancouver from Sacramento or San Francisco. We opted to stuff the Red Rocket and beeline back to Squamish.
It's been 2 months since I broke the heel and about 7 weeks since I had surgery to put it all back together.
By all accounts my recovery is going quickly and I should be back on the rock in a few weeks, likely top roping.
On the up side my vacation got extended from the original 1 month to 4 months. I've been making lot's of music in my home studio and been able to achieve a lot that I wouldn't have been able to without the extra time off.
So yeah, 0 for 2 on Midnight Lightning. Next time I'm bringing more pads and maybe a dedicated spotter to make sure that random people don't move my pads.