The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2

  • Currently 5.0/5

El Capitan

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
The Nose in a Day -- a part-year goal
Wednesday October 24, 2012 12:54pm
Credit: bcamp
This past weekend, we (Blair - 22, and Ben - 24) did the Nose in 14 hours. We started off at 10pm Friday night and topped out at noon on Saturday. In doing so, we crushed our 20+ hour expectations; all of which is clearly explainable in lieu of Honnald's blessing of our climb the night before. I take the time to write this brief and bland report on what is an insignificant achievement in the climbing world with the intention of instilling the audacity in others to do the same. For in the end, it seems to me that audacity is what made this thing happen. After all, even though Ben had climbed the route once before in wall style, I had not. In fact, I climbed for the first time a year and a half ago at the Balls in Ansel Adams and went on to put up my first trad lead at Swans Slab last Thanksgiving (2011). Needless to say, we had no good reason to think we could actually pull the NIAD off. Nevertheless we crushed it, with Ben leading two more pitches than myself, and we firmly believe we could move significantly faster next time. Maybe the NIAD isn't all its cracked up to be. Or maybe our perception of our own climbing abilities is dishonestly low. Whatever the case may be, don't let the NIAD remain an idea framed on your internal shelves. Be audacious and go for it. Who knows, maybe you too will find yourself writing the same report, humbled and moved to love others better by what could be one of the greatest expressions of your life.

  Trip Report Views: 2,803
About the Author
bcamp is a trad climber from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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Trad climber
  Oct 24, 2012 - 02:00pm PT
Amazing! Great job and thanks for the inspiration.

Trad climber
Stockholm, Sweden
  Oct 24, 2012 - 02:11pm PT
That is awesome! Way to get after it!

Just curious, what did you guys bring?

Ice climber
  Oct 24, 2012 - 02:24pm PT
Awesome job guys. Very inspiring.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Oct 24, 2012 - 02:31pm PT
Hardest thing is to get the ball rolling I guess. Well done, and congratufakilations! Great achievement, especially for someone who had their first trad lead just a year ago.

Social climber
Mill Valley, CA
  Oct 24, 2012 - 02:37pm PT
Climbing for a year and a half and did a 14 hour Nose run? You guys MUST be on Lance's team.

Trad climber
London, UK
  Oct 24, 2012 - 02:48pm PT
Im curious how you guys practiced lower outs and rope management considering your experience level? Apparently you learn quick. Proud accomplishment.

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Oct 24, 2012 - 03:25pm PT
Is that Ben Donnelly?

Oakland, CA
  Oct 24, 2012 - 04:02pm PT
NIAD is an elite level achievement in my mind. Congrats to you guys.

Interesting to note that on the TR tab's front page right now we have two Nose reports: one showing a negative outcome of being bold/extremely confident, and this one showing the positive.

Good stuff guys. I'd also like to hear what you brought with you (rack, clothes, water, food, yada yada)
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Oct 24, 2012 - 04:05pm PT

If you believe you can do it, and then go give it 100%, you can probably do it!

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Oct 24, 2012 - 04:41pm PT
WOW! Very impressive! I agree with Mikemcee....I call for a doping test!

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Oct 24, 2012 - 06:00pm PT
Sweet! Nice job. Sometimes you just gotta send I guess

Trad climber
The fake McCoy from nevernever land.
  Oct 24, 2012 - 06:26pm PT
its good to be young eh? nice work.

Gym climber
  Oct 24, 2012 - 06:35pm PT
10 hrs?

I'd chalk it up to bi-colored flip flops, 5-Hour Energy drinks instead of water, or the fact that you were way off route.

Seriously, that is sick.

Social climber
granada hills
  Oct 24, 2012 - 06:50pm PT
Congratulations! Nice send. :)

T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Oct 24, 2012 - 07:43pm PT
Must have been in too big of a hurry to take some pics huh? LOL
Way to F-in send it!

  Oct 25, 2012 - 04:06am PT
So rad!

Trad climber
Fort Wayne
Author's Reply  Oct 25, 2012 - 12:26pm PT
1 Purple C3
1 Green C3
2 Red C3s
2 Yellow C3s
1 #.4 Camalot
2 #.5- #3 Camalots
1 #4 Camalot
Offset HB Brassies
2 Offset DMM Alloys
6 Quickdraws
6 Alpine Draws
2 Double Runners
5 Lockers
4 Non-Lockers

 We ran off of Cliff Bar Shot Blocks, Hammer Gel, Odwalla Bars, and Snickers.
 As for water, we both consumed 1.5-2 liters to Dolt, where we had stashed 8 liters. Climbing in the cool of the night, and shade after sunrise until the last pitch kept us super hydrated.

Trad climber
Stockholm, Sweden
  Oct 25, 2012 - 02:45pm PT
Very inspiring!! No emergency gear, warm clothes, etc? Did you swing leads? Did the second jug the rope or climb? Did you guys bring one backpack or two? Again, just curious. Proud send!

San Jose, CA
  Oct 25, 2012 - 04:36pm PT
it is amazing accomplishment for time frame less than 1 year from your first trad lead.
What is your free climbing level now? Did you freed most of 5.11 - /5.10 pitches?
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Oct 25, 2012 - 05:20pm PT
WOW!, way to go boys!

Trad climber
Fort Wayne
Author's Reply  Oct 25, 2012 - 09:58pm PT
Our 'emergency' gear included:
-70m tag line for retreat
-2 micro puffy's
-rain shells

Our pack system consisted of a 2L camelback for the leader, and a 20L pack for the follower.

We didn't swing leads but lead in blocks. Block 1 - to Sickle. Block 2 - to P8. Block 3 - to Dolt. Block 4 - to Eagle Ledge. Block 5 - to Camp IV. Block 6 - to Camp V. Block 7 - to Camp IV. Block 8 - to P29. Block 9 - to summit.

The second always jugged (metolius speed aiders w/ approach shoes), except for a few occasions when jugging is non-sensical due to low angle terrain in which case the follower free-climbed. We short fixed often, simul'd through a couple pitches, and practiced the first 14 twice in order to get the transition from sickle to the stovelegs super smooth before going for the whole thing. (On Friday we got to Dolt in 2:30). Many of our logistical tactics were acquired through Hans' detailed account of the speed record with Honnald, as well as Han's speed climbing book. If you're interest in a complete and detailed report let me know.


Trad climber
Berkeley CA
  Oct 26, 2012 - 12:09am PT
I'd love to hear more details about the logistics, etc. nice job!
Jebus H Bomz

Sacramento, CA
  Oct 26, 2012 - 09:15am PT
Very proud! I've been climbing a lot longer and haven't done a big wall at all (too lazy).

Your example will influence my next goals, I also believe you have to go for it.

Trad climber
Stockholm, Sweden
  Oct 26, 2012 - 04:40pm PT
Thanks for getting back to us with the details. I'd love to hear all about it, too, if you feel like writing.

Astonishing feat!

Trad climber
  Oct 27, 2012 - 01:34am PT
Totally rad.

How hard do you guys free climb?

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Oct 27, 2012 - 10:38am PT
I think I met blair in camp4 this spring. Did you guys ever end up sending the salathe? Climbed with that kid Joel a few times and others around camp after my partner got hurt.

Wade Icey

Trad climber
  Oct 27, 2012 - 12:28pm PT
Obviously you guys are spending way too much time on the internet...oh wait. That's me...
Great job...

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Oct 27, 2012 - 12:31pm PT
Fun read... Your energy is contagious!


Trad climber
Fort Wayne
Author's Reply  Oct 28, 2012 - 12:40am PT

No man, we never did the Salathe. Some friends ended up coming in and and out went those plans. (We did, however, get a nice teaser on freeblast) Let me know if you ever need a partner and want to climb anywhere from the valley to moab - I'm living in so cal these days. Hope your doing well - gimp man JB too.

Baby Chicken

Trad climber
  Oct 30, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
Hey all, thanks for reading the post. I typed up our pitch by pitch plan in case anyone else finds it useful. It is largely influenced by Hans' Speed Climbing book and the Nose Record account he posted on Supertopo. It's modified, of course, because neither Blair nor I often lead much harder than 5.10c in the valley. That said, I found it very helpful to practice french freeing overhanging routes as training. On several pitches, rather than crack jugging in the normal style with aiders, I just kept cams in my hands and used normal footholds. I think this helped save energy and speed us up.

I hope the below info is helpful for you.

1-2:When you get to the penji bolt on P2, have belayer simul-climb above the belay ledge to the very beginning of the crack (the leader should have placed his first piece here for him to clip to). The leader shortfixes on the pendulum bolt and continues to the anchors while the follower jugs.

3-4: French-free. Short fix on the P4 anchors and continue. Swing the penjis and short fix again on the bolt on the left side of Sickle Ledge. Scramble across the ledge to the P4 anchors. When the follower gets to sickle ledge, belay him across the ledge to avoid the awkward horizontal jug/walking. Switch gear and shoes.

5-8: Once the leader gets 2 pieces in, the follower coils the rope on his shoulders and begins simul-climbing thru the 3rd and 4th. The leader clips the P6 anchors and hangs. The follower gets a ride up in order to lower the leader (the follower should keep some pieces to plug in and clip to). When the leader gets to the Dolt cracks he goes back on a normal belay. He passes the “free route bolts” and clips the bolt just below the Dolt hole. He hangs. The follower gets a ride up to P6 anchors as the leader gets lowered down. The follower lowers himself out to the Dolt cracks using the excess rope. When the follower is in the Dolt crack the two simul-climb until the follower is at the penji bolt. The follower clips in and belays the leader up to P8 anchors. The leader fixes the rope at P8. The follower swings over and jugs up to meet him. Switch gear and shoes.

9-11: Lead up to the P9 anchors saving your size 2, 3, and 4 cams. Short fix the rope and continue up (you’ll make it about 50 ft. just past the little roof). When the follower gets the anchors and puts you on belay, continue up to the P10 anchors with a #3 in your left hand and fist jamming with your right (thanks for the tip, Hans! I highly recommend wearing leather gloves for this part). Short fix at P10. Use the #4 to pull through the off-width to Dolt Tower. When the follower gets to Dolt Tower, switch shoes and gear.

12-13: (Note: because we were concerned about our water being thieved, we stashed it on the ledge below and to the right of Dolt Tower rather than on the tower itself.) The follower lowers the leader down the right side of Dolt Tower. He’ll throw in some cams for an anchor. As the follower rappels down to meet him, the leader begins refilling the water bags using the stashed water (don’t leave trash on the Captain). The follower unties and pulls the rope through while belaying the leader up P12. At the P12 anchors, the leader pulls the rope VERY tight (a 60m will barely reach to P13), short fixes on the P12 anchors and continues up using a #3 or #4 in one hand just like in the Stovelegs. The follower jugs up to the P12 anchors and puts the leader on belay. The leader fixes on the P13 anchors. The follower jugs up to meet him. They pass off gear and the leader continues.

14-16: Once the leader has a few pieces in, the follower can begin simul-climbing up P14. When the follower reaches El Cap Tower he can stand there and belay. The leader doesn’t place anything behind Texas Flake so he can flip the rope around the outside of the flake. He short fixes on P15 anchors and continues up the bolt ladder. The follower jugs up the flake and puts the leader on belay. As the leader French-frees (we aided) up the Boot Flake, the follower is both belaying and re-aiding the bolt ladder up to the final bolt. The leader clips into the P16 anchors and back cleans his gear as he is lowered down to meet the follower. Pass off gear and both will swing over to eagle ledge.

17-Optional Belay: The leader French frees as the follower belays and pulls the rope. The leader back cleans his gear as he lowers out and pendulums over to the Optional Belay. The leader jugs the pitch and swings over to the Optional Belay. Pass the gear while the follower unties and pulls the rope through the penji point.

P19: Pitch it out and belay the follower across.

P20: French free it. It mellows out after the bolt. Switch gear and shoes. (this would be a good place to shortfix, but we chose to rest a bit)

P21: Short fix at the optional belay anchor (I think it is better than the actual anchor. The leader shortfixes up to the actual P21 anchor and waits.

P22: Follower jugs up to the Optional Anchor and belays the leader through the first 35 ft of the Great Roof. The leader then aids up to the fixed pendulum point in the corner of the great roof. He backs up the fixed gear with a good piece and shortfixes the rope. The follower begins jugging as the leader shortfixes through the roof making sure to back clean almost all of his gear. The leader shortfixes on the P22 bolt and continues up the pancake flake. The follower lowers himself out from the penji point and jugs up to the P22 anchor.

P23: The follower puts the leader on belay in the Pancake flake then jugs up to P23 after the leader has fixed the rope. Switch gear and shoes here.

P24: The flare isn’t so awkward if you don’t aid it. French free it by jamming your body in the flare. The leader shortfixes on the highest bolts above Camp V, and continues up to the Glowering spot as the follower jugs. At P25 anchors pass the gear.

P25-26: French free or aid up to the bolt at the Optional Belay. Shortfix on the bolt and continue up to Camp VI. The follower jugs up. Switch shoes and gear.

P27: You could shortfix on the bolt ladder, but we chose to pitch it out and short fix on the P27 anchor.

P28: Tag up gear to the leader using the excess rope. He continues up to the P28 and short fixes again.

P29: Jug up to the P28 anchor and tag up gear to the leader again.

P30-Top: French free P30. Short fix on the first bolt and continue up the ladder. Leave bolts clipped on the traverse in order to make it easier to follow. Top out. Call your mom or girlfriend or whomever.

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