The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2

 
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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
The Nose in a day -- a multi-year goal
Monday January 9, 2012 9:03pm
Five years ago my brother George and I got the idea to try to onsight the Nose in a day due to an accident. Originally we were planning to climb the Nose as our first El Cap route, but the day before our scheduled departure date I tore some ligaments in the gym during one last finger crack workout and ended my season. By the time I was healed, and partly because we had never bivied on a wall up to that point, we had hatched the plan to hold off on climbing the Nose until we could do it in a day.

Years passed by quickly as we gained experience climbing other routes, but we didn’t pick a specific target date and never felt quite ready for the climb. A June 2008 ascent of the Salathe was eye-opening in that the magnitude of El Capitan was in a completely different league than any other Valley formation we’d climbed, and further postponed any plans to try the NIADO.

This year we finally had enough time and motivation to set a definitive goal. We began training in earnest in early June for a mid-September attempt. Our schedule was somewhat haphazard, basically just doing a lot of stairmaster during the week and going to Yosemite on weekends to climb long routes and practice aiding and short fixing. We had an awesome summer, doing classic routes including the Zodiac, East Face of Washington Column, SW Face of Liberty Cap, RNWF HD, Southern Man, and SFWC.

Finally, we felt ready to go for it on Sept 20th. This video is a summary of our climb. As usual, it has mostly the fun (read: early, sunny) parts of the day overrepresented and doesn't show very well just how worked each of us was at different points in the night. Suffice it to say it was both the hardest and most rewarding day of climbing I've ever had.

Credit: cmclean


(available in HD)

  Trip Report Views: 5,761
cmclean
About the Author
cmclean is a trad climber from San Francisco, CA.

Comments
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nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jan 9, 2012 - 09:28pm PT
Watching that video stuck a perma-grin on my face :)

You really captured the psych well! Throw more fuel on my burning desire to get back to vertical.

Congratulations on the patience and focus and bringing it all together.
Scrubber

climber
Straight outta Squampton
  Jan 9, 2012 - 09:45pm PT
Well done guys! Nice photo and video compilation too with Tom's images from the bridge. Good thing you dressed up bright for him! My partner and I did the same thing a little over a year ago and the NIAD OS was our first ever route on the Capitan. Watching you top out in the dark giddy with excitement brought it all back. Your closing song by the Smashing Pumpkins is very fitting! Congratulations.

Kris
WBraun

climber
  Jan 9, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
On sight and smoked it.

Awesome ...
Brian

climber
California
  Jan 9, 2012 - 10:02pm PT
Good on ya!
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jan 9, 2012 - 10:04pm PT
I knew you guys would send!!!!!

Badass, including all of the other IAD routes you two did.

Proud.
S.Leeper

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Jan 9, 2012 - 10:17pm PT
way to set a goal and GO FOR IT!
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Jan 9, 2012 - 10:27pm PT
Inspiring! Way to go for it.
TLloyd-Davies

Trad climber
Santa Clara, ca
  Jan 9, 2012 - 10:52pm PT
Dude yes! We're were watching at the bridge when you did the swing, congrats!!
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jan 10, 2012 - 05:20am PT
I love the shot of you guys pulling over the summit in the dark! It put a BIG smile on my face.
YoungGun

climber
North
  Jan 10, 2012 - 05:26am PT
NIAD on-sight? Awesome!! Nice video TR! TFPU!
fosburg

climber
  Jan 10, 2012 - 05:44am PT
Very cool, outstanding effort! Great choice of music too. Thanks for sharing your experience.
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  Jan 10, 2012 - 07:06am PT
Awesome send, awesome vid, way to charge it
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jan 10, 2012 - 08:20am PT
Very proud work!
Gene

climber
  Jan 10, 2012 - 09:21am PT
Wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

g
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Jan 10, 2012 - 09:49am PT
A day you will never forget.

Congrats.

John Long
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jan 10, 2012 - 10:55am PT
Proud send. Way to rock and roll and keep the camera shutter clickin'! Thanks!
zip

Trad climber
pacific beach, ca
  Jan 10, 2012 - 11:19am PT
proud.

enjoyed the commentary from down below.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Jan 10, 2012 - 01:34pm PT
Fantastic!!

The top out brought a huge smile to my face!

"We did it!"

"Oh God, that feels good!"

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Jan 10, 2012 - 02:40pm PT
Excellent! Congratulations!
BriGuy

climber
black hills, south dakota
  Jan 10, 2012 - 05:08pm PT
That was really cool. Nice work guys!
bmacd

Trad climber
100% Canadian
  Jan 11, 2012 - 12:25am PT
totally awesome ... will be expecting more great achievments from you two in the future
fivesix

Trad climber
hope, alaska
  Jan 11, 2012 - 03:39am PT
Nice work!
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
  Jan 11, 2012 - 09:41am PT
Strong work guys! Having done NIAD I know exactly what you mean about the hardest most rewarding day of your life. It's a tough one! I'd love to go back and do it again a little quicker and do the King Swing. We had a party bivying over there and went the other way. Thanks for a quality TR!

Josh
chiindi

Big Wall climber
Lakeview, OR
  Jan 11, 2012 - 09:44am PT
I love climbing at night. ...You don't get concerned about the exposure.
tahoe523

Trad climber
Station Wagon, USA
  Jan 11, 2012 - 10:59am PT
Proud! I'm still eyeing the stairmaster with disdain, but watching this has brought back a little spark of motivation to get back in shape and make this happen. Thanks for putting that together. I liked Tom's commentary. So sweet that you got it taped!
JohnnyG

climber
  Jan 11, 2012 - 12:05pm PT
+1 to what nutjob said "Watching that video stuck a perma-grin on my face :)"

that is a great trip report
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jan 11, 2012 - 12:36pm PT
Hot damn, the NIAD teams are such an inspiration. Well done!

Answer these only if you want:

Rack?
Onsight level before the climb?
Hardest pitch RP'd in the Valley before you fired the Nose?
Anything you'd do differently if you were to do it again?

Idle questions but would love to hear back. Again, killer stuff - ah to have a sibling that were as into the mountains as I am... You two are lucky to have one another.
cmclean

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Author's Reply  Jan 11, 2012 - 08:03pm PT
Thanks everyone for the positive comments!

@Josh - The swing was way harder than I expected! It's definitely a highlight of the route though.

@tahoe523 - It was pretty funny when we got down to realize that while I was doing the swing, I had two cameras rolling on me simultaneously (from George and Tom). What a funny world we're in nowadays.

@le_bruce - I ended up writing some more beta-related thoughts about the climb on my website at http://cs.stanford.edu/people/cmclean/niad.htm, since I'd basically scoured the internet for beta and found very little for teams trying to onsight the route.

"Short" answers: My hardest onsight = hardest redpoint was the Boulder Problem (5.11c) and have done a few other 11s in the valley and Tuolumne. But I'd call us 5.10 climbers--as soon as we get into the 10c and higher range our speed drops dramatically if trying to free! If we did it again there would be two things I'd change: start earlier and have shorter blocks. We wanted to start right around daylight so that all the free climbing down low we could do in the light. Unfortunately it meant we got hammered by the sun all day long, and realistically we probably would not have gotten the NIAD (and maybe not the summit) if we didn't run across free water at both Dolt and Camp 6 (we brought 12 liters of our own, but bootied another 12!). With prior knowledge of the route, I think it would be better to start in the middle of the night so you hit the King Swing right at first light, since the free climbing down low is mainly straightforward enough to be done quickly by headlamp and then in the morning you're climbing in the light but are still shielded from direct sun by the bridge of the nose.
Gene

climber
  Jan 12, 2012 - 08:10am PT
Bump for the Bros!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jan 12, 2012 - 09:46am PT
Thanks for the replies and the link.

Ed:

From your link: "As one example, an effort that matches the Stovelegs (pitches 7-11) would be to link the first two pitches of Reed's Direct three times in a row (each time finishing with the real exit, not the 5.8 escape left)."

That's killer.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 12, 2012 - 07:25pm PT
Frigging Awesome job guys,
Great team work, great send!!!
timmaly

Trad climber
Menlo Park, CA
  Jan 13, 2012 - 07:46am PT
Amazing job, guys! Way to go and thanks for the awesome TR!
tornado

climber
lawrence kansas
  Feb 12, 2012 - 12:09pm PT
awesome! Great video!
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
  Feb 12, 2012 - 12:22pm PT
Beautiful presentation!

YAY!

TFPU!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Feb 12, 2012 - 02:37pm PT
absolutely awesome!!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Feb 12, 2012 - 06:52pm PT
Good show and great attitude, brothers. Thanks for sharing this fun bit of yourselves!!!
Gene

climber
  Sep 10, 2012 - 11:18am PT
Bumping this one upstairs!
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  Sep 10, 2012 - 11:52am PT
oh god, the stoke, its soo contagious...

TFPU
cowpoke

climber
  Sep 12, 2012 - 01:37pm PT
So cool. Such an awesome accomplishment. And the video is great! Thanks for sharing it (and thanks for the bump)
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Sep 12, 2012 - 02:01pm PT
Really cool...great job. I did the Nose in one bivvy way back in 72- fast time for then. We also were the first to free Boot Flake.
My goal is to go back in Fall 13, when I have turned 70, and do it in one day.
Okay, I already did it, but I'll still claim an alzheimers onsight.....provided i get up the damn thing.
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Sep 12, 2012 - 02:34pm PT
Nice job guys!

lars
shipoopoi

Big Wall climber
oakland
  Oct 2, 2012 - 12:02am PT
that's a great trip report. i'm so glad cory is my partner for my next el cap route. we fixed all weekend on el cap, had a great time, and are psyched up for the rest. we had never met in person, but got introduced here on the taco. i'm the lucky first person to do a wall(IF we do it) with cory that is not his brother. ss
Guangzhou

Trad climber
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  Oct 2, 2012 - 04:59am PT
Awesome job guys. Maybe my wife will attempt NIAD with me one day. Never know.

Your vid was spectacular for sure.
Gene

climber
  Jan 23, 2013 - 04:52pm PT
One of the best trip reports ever.

g
Johnny K.

climber
  Jul 16, 2013 - 04:23pm PT
upforclimbing
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The Nose—the best rock climb in the world!
Photo: Mark Kroese
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