The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2

 
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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
The Nose with a Hacksaw and Rope Gun (King Swing Video as well)
Monday March 18, 2013 1:07pm
Two weeks after Mark Melvin and I climbed The Nose, Sean Leary got me back on the Big Stone. Sean has had The Nose record (see Sender Films Race For The Nose ) so I tried to set his expectations low for our time. To make us go even slower, we were bringing a hack saw to try and remove mangled useless cams as part of the Keep The Nose Clean in 2013.

Chris mcNamara with hack saw for removing cams.
Chris mcNamara with hack saw for removing cams.
Credit: Sean Leary

My plan was to remove a bunch of useless gear/trash and send it to my friend Sarah who does these very cool art projects with retired climbing gear. See the whole thread here.

Vase made of rope. Flower made of retired cams, nuts, webbing and a ha...
Vase made of rope. Flower made of retired cams, nuts, webbing and a harness.
Credit: Sarah

We will then auction off the art and send all the money to the Access Fund and/or other worth climbing non-profits.

Back to the climb. Here is the gear we brought below. Neither Sean or I had a decent rope so I stopped by Berkeley Ironworks on my way up. It took me a little time to select the rope because I have been climbing El Cap so little in the last 5 years I forgot whether 9.8 or 10.4 was the appropriate Nose In A Day rope. Sean laughed at me and explained 9.8 is a SUPER BEEFY nose in a day rope. Luckily I chose a 9.8 x 70m.

Everything needed for a one day I sent of the nose
Everything needed for a one day I sent of the nose
Credit: Chris McNamara

Our nose in a day rack
Our nose in a day rack
Credit: Chris McNamara

We got a super non alpine start of 8:30. Just like last week, it was warm. I started in a t shirt and stayed that way until back at the car.

Sean Leary starts up the first pitch of the nose
Sean Leary starts up the first pitch of the nose
Credit: Chris McNamara

Climbing with Sean is like climbing with a true rope gun: on most pitches, the rope would go from my belay all the way to next belay with only a few pieces clipped. And a few pitches, he clipped 0 pieces. And of course every pitch he led in 5-15 minutes.

On top of Sickle we passed Vitaliy and Alix. It was pretty classic as exactly two weeks before we ran into them on their way to send Lurking Fear. They clearly have the hunger! They sent the Nose in two bivies, what is next guys?

Sean Leary gets ready to swing into the Stovelegs. Vitaliy at the bela...
Sean Leary gets ready to swing into the Stovelegs. Vitaliy at the belay. Alix up and right leading.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Vitaliy above Sickle.
Vitaliy above Sickle.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Right after these photos were taken, I attempted to remove a mangled cam with the hacksaw. It was buried deep in a crack and unusable as the sling was gone. After 10 minutes of effort, the blade stop cutting the cam lobes and hit the rock. Turns out, cutting out cams is way harder than I expected. I needed a nimbler saw and a lot more time.

Despite moving at a snails pace compared to the last time Sean climbed The Nose. He was pretty pumped.

Sean Leary stoked on Dolt Tower
Sean Leary stoked on Dolt Tower
Credit: Chris McNamara

Sean Leary leading off of dolt Tower
Sean Leary leading off of dolt Tower
Credit: Chris McNamara

Sean Leary leading the boot flake
Sean Leary leading the boot flake
Credit: Chris McNamara

Below, Sean shows how to send the King Swing.



Sean got us to the Great Roof in 3 hours even with a long lunch break on Dolt and slow jugging with hacksaw. I took over hoping I would be faster than two weeks ago. Not so much. After my Lobster claw debacle, I tried to going bouldering to build up some free climbing muscles but just could not motivate. I lasted about 4 minutes at my local boulder before throwing in the towell and going mountain boarding. I am psyched to climb el cap these days, and THAT IS IT. Which is a long way of saying, I still had to aid the Pancake Flake... unacceptable!

The upside to my more sluggish leads was that Sean had time to put the hack saw to work. He got out a mangled Alien from the Pancake Flake.

By the time I got us to Camp 6, I had taken us from a sub-6-hour pace to 8+. So I gladly handed the reins back over to Sean.

Since our last ascent, Camp 6 pitch had gotten more wet despite even more warm weather. It's not really wet, just a little wet.

Sean Leary leading off of camp six
Sean Leary leading off of camp six
Credit: Chris McNamara

In under an hour we were on the summit with plenty of sun. our time was 6:39.

Chris McNamara submitting El Capitan (the nose)
Chris McNamara submitting El Capitan (the nose)
Credit: Sean Leary

We only managed to get one cam and some tat. Not enough to make a very exciting art piece. But we agreed to come back soon for more!

Our booty haul
Our booty haul
Credit: Chris McNamara

Sean Leary on the top of The Nose with half dome in the back
Sean Leary on the top of The Nose with half dome in the back
Credit: Chris McNamara

Back with plenty of time to send the El Cap Layback. From left to righ...
Back with plenty of time to send the El Cap Layback. From left to right: Racer 5, Big Stone, Sean Leary.
Credit: Chris McNamara

El capitan in mid march at sunset. Zoom in and you can barely make out...
El capitan in mid march at sunset. Zoom in and you can barely make out Vitaliy and Alix on El Cap Tower.
Credit: Chris McNamara

  Trip Report Views: 5,237
Chris McNamara
About the Author
Climbing Magazine once computed that three percent of Chris McNamara’s life on Earth had been spent on the face of El Capitan – an accomplishment that left friends and family pondering Chris’s sanity. He has climbed El Capitan more than 70 times and holds nine big wall speed climbing records. In 1998 Chris did the first Girdle Traverse of El Capitan, an epic 75-pitch route that begs the question, “Why?”

Outside Magazine called Chris one of “the world’s finest aid climbers.” He is the winner of the 1999 Bates Award from the American Alpine Club and founder of the American Safe Climbing Association, a nonprofit group that has replaced over 5000 dangerous anchor bolts. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and serves on the board of the ASCA and the Rowell Legacy Committee. He has a rarely updated adventure journal, maintains BASEjumpingmovies.com, and also runs a Lake Tahoe home rental business.

Comments
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Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Aurora Colorado
  Mar 18, 2013 - 01:14pm PT
When I did the nose in 1993, the stovelegs were full of cams. Spent some time hanging out there hammering on them to try to score some gear. Our goal was gear, not cleaning anything up. I don't remember what we got out of it. I remember there was all kinds of garbage stuffed into cracks at the bivy ledges. I think people have cleaned that up since then. The party below us ran out of water, picked through the trash in one of those cracks and thought they found some, but it was urine. The didn't drink it but brought it with them to the top of the route in case they needed it.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Mar 18, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
Cool stuff Chris, I applaud your efforts to leave these places better than u found them. Is there a lot of fixed/abandoned gear on the nose these days?? How bad is it?
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Mar 18, 2013 - 01:39pm PT
Wow, too out of shape to go bouldering so you do the Nose in a day, huh? I wish I could make that math work for me.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Mar 18, 2013 - 01:41pm PT
There is really not that much "bad" fixed gear. By bad, i mean nuts with fraying cables that will break soon and cams that buried with decaying slings. But there are probably 20-30 mangled cams that could be removed and a half dozen stoppers.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Mar 18, 2013 - 01:57pm PT
First of all, You suck! for being able to get on El Cap and climb the NAID two weekends in a row.
For two, Excellent work showing that climbing quickly doesn't mean you have to trash the route and can actually take some time to clean it up!

Thank you for setting an awesome example of what climbing should be about!
rnevius

Trad climber
The Range of Light
  Mar 18, 2013 - 02:00pm PT
A "slow" 6:39 ;-)

Great job guys! Thanks for the cleaning!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Mar 18, 2013 - 02:04pm PT
zoom zoom! what good weather!
Scott Welch

Sport climber
Orlando, FL
  Mar 18, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
Outstanding work! I don't know if I'll ever get to climb a big wall, but thanks for keeping them open and accessible for those of us who desire (and drool over every article with photos and video) to send a big one.

Have you thought about using a mini-hacksaw or aluminum shears on your next cleaning? Or if you're ambitious, a battery operated reciprocating saw?
matty

Trad climber
under the sea
  Mar 18, 2013 - 07:39pm PT
So envious of everyone who got out...my shoulder has been holding me back for a few years and I'm itching bad to get on walls now. Nose is on the list of classics I need to do. thanks for fueling the stoke and you bet I'll be cleaning the tat when I go!! great TR!!!

Credit: matty


EDIT: my shoulder is healthy now and my itch will be scratched.
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Mar 18, 2013 - 02:44pm PT
"Inch by inch...it's a cinch!"

I always use this saying when referring to projects that seem big and unattainable. With every lap, and every climber picking up the route will be spick and span in no time!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Mar 18, 2013 - 02:50pm PT
Yeah, you do suck, but a whole lot less than 99.9% of us. It's good to
see your ilk taking the time to smell the trashed cams. But I had a
good laugh when I saw that you weren't joking about a hacksaw. I know
it would really slow you down, to like 8 hours, but might I suggest a
cordless sawzall? One 18v batt would probably remove at least 6-8 cams.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Mar 18, 2013 - 02:50pm PT
Don't forget that my Anti Tat cord is an easy, fast and safe way to lower out from a fixed piece without leaving tat. It's certainly not an "advanced" technique and should be used by everyone, n00b and expert alike.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Mar 18, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
Awesome stuff guys, thanks.
That are done with old gear is really cool, great idea.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Mar 18, 2013 - 02:58pm PT
Awesome report! Next I am hoping for some sleep, since I got only a few hours before getting to work in the morning today. We did get down through the east ledges in the daylight though, and had a great climb overall (will post some pics of you guys after I load them!). I want to do it again actually and free climb more. And do it IAD some time. Tried to free a beautiful pitch after changing corners but made it only to the first rest before switching to aid. :( Noticed your partner Sean was a previous speed record holder for the route, was awesome to see you guys climbing!
You really gonna go again in 2 weeks?
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Mar 18, 2013 - 03:12pm PT
Nice work Vitaliy! yes hope to be back up there soon. El Cap - Never Gunna suck!
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Mar 18, 2013 - 03:23pm PT
Nice send once again! When I saw you with a hacksaw in the meadow I was trying to figure out what the heck you brought it for, I guess that answers my question. Nice work with the continual clean up.

By the time we hiked down from Lurking Fear you guys were already off. Nice job on he sub 7 hour ascent. The wall addiction is strong this year...probably see you again soon
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Mar 18, 2013 - 03:55pm PT
Saturday? We were on the Freeblast and could feel the early season psyche humming in the air with a bunch of strong teams flying up the stone. There was also a Salathé IAD team Saturday, I think? Man were they moving.

Here's a shitty pic of three fixed cams (including two brand new orange link cams) nested in the easy ground a bit past the roof on Freeblast's p3.



Did you cover the blade with something while climbing?

Side note: fixed lines were in 8/10 condition all the way from Mammoth.
10b4me

climber
  Mar 18, 2013 - 04:07pm PT
Great Job Chris. I was wondering how big is that hacksaw blade?
jfs

Trad climber
Upper Leftish
  Mar 18, 2013 - 04:23pm PT
Nice going. I like to see this ethic spreading. Hopefully people take it with them on their own trips.

Is Camp 6 staying clean since the recent cleanup? I hope nobody is dumping their crap in that hole anymore. Incredibly poor style if so.

Once again, thanks for the extra effort and TR.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Mar 18, 2013 - 04:37pm PT
Nice work Chris and Sean!! The monkeys are sending!! I agree with the sawzall comment you could definitely kill more cams that way, and get it into smaller cracks too!!

Edit no wonder those orange link cams are stuck. Why would you use them in such a small crack!?? Asking for trouble..,
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Mar 18, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
Way to rock it Chris and Sean.

Good to shake hands that morning and put a face with a name. We got up the first few pitches of Lurking Fear. (Me, Macronut and Briham89).

We don't exactly qualify as one of the "strong" teams, but when it comes to stoke we're definitely in the mix!

Micronut, Briham and Macronut on the second pitch
Micronut, Briham and Macronut on the second pitch
Credit: micronut

Me on my first hook on lead
Me on my first hook on lead
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
JLP

Social climber
The internet
  Mar 18, 2013 - 05:05pm PT
Nice TR. However, your hacksaw is a joke. Look into a battery powered saws-all, 12" bi-metal blade. Someone you know certainly has one to borrow, then buy some fresh blades.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Mar 18, 2013 - 05:06pm PT
nicely down promoting the booty clean up!!!!

And your artsy friend Sarah, her whole upcycle scene is wonderful. Looking forward to some more pieces.

I too was wondering if they covered the blade while climbing?
Tobia

Social climber
Denial
  Mar 18, 2013 - 05:25pm PT
fatdad,
we think a lot alike.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Mar 18, 2013 - 11:00pm PT
Great to run into Micro, Macro and Briham89. The Friday El Cap club is running strong!

Yes bigger and badder tools would get the job done... but remember we are trying to also climb the thing fast. So weight is an issue.

Just bought this bad boy for the next ascent which i think is a better tool. (Sean "Stanley" Leary found this Stanley blade. Coincidence? I think...)



To answer the question that came up a few times upstairs: Nope, we sure did not cover the blade while jugging. What, are you guys implying that an uncovered saw blade and climbing ropes don't play well together?!
mmelvin

Trad climber
san francisco
  Mar 18, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
Awesome guys. Amazing time. Wish I could keep up. I'm super glad that a week ago when I followed Chris, I pulled out an almost new #1 BD cam and a fixable .3. It would have been a real pity to have seen the hacksaw touch those. For obvious reasons, I didn't add it to my trash list.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Mar 18, 2013 - 11:25pm PT
Weight may be an issue, but I'm thinking time saved cutting would equal weight no?? What's a sawzall weigh? Five pounds? Would it really slow you down that much??
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Mar 18, 2013 - 11:47pm PT
Chris and Sean on their morning jog..
Chris and Sean on their morning jog..
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Chris in the stovelegs
Chris in the stovelegs
Credit: Vitaliy M.

How did you guys transfer into Stovelegs? It looked really smooth and probably a better way than what we took. We took var A from topo. As I understand you guys took C?
King Swing in your video looked too easy. Took us forever to figure out where to swing, and even than was pretty hard.

Some gear I took out, in addition to actual trash that isn't in the photo...it is a good idea to take some at a time and keep the routes as trash free as our NPs look.
trash
trash
Credit: Vitaliy M.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Mar 19, 2013 - 12:07am PT
Great photos, thank you! Where is the bolt in the photo ? I see the hanger nut and washer? Yes we went the very lowest way in the topo... i dont have it in front of me. That is the best for speed climbing but not necessarily the best for hauling. They are all fun.

mmelvin is still the best at pulling out usuable cams. You keep telling me your secret and I always forget. I need a demo next time so I can work on getting the non-trashed and usable cams while you blast the stovelegs.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Mar 19, 2013 - 12:44am PT
Chris, I don't know if you're pulling our legs, or knott. But if you're gonna take that lame toy hacksaw up with you next time you'd better bring along a ledge too. :-)
bhilden

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
  Mar 19, 2013 - 05:31am PT
Not to be a buzzkill, because I would love to use a Sawzall for some really stubborn bolts when rebolting, but doesn't a cordless Sawzall qualify as something "motorized" so it would be illegal in YNP (and the Pinnacles, sigh).

Chris,

I have tried to use the hacksaw you are considering bringing on your next trip, but the problem with that tool is out at the tip where you want to do all your work, the blade is totally flexible and it doesn't work very well unless you are very careful and very patient.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Author's Reply  Mar 19, 2013 - 09:39am PT
Yeah, pretty sure Wilderness (which in the valley is everything above 4200 feet which includes all the big climbs) and Sawzall not so compatible.

Bhilden.... other ideas?

Vitaliy, can i have your broken cam and tat for the art project/auction?
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Mar 19, 2013 - 09:48am PT
I have tried removeing fixed cams with the little hacksaw and it is very very dificult and often impossible due to its limited reach. The cordless sawzal with lithium Ion works but eats batteries. I would think that getting some kind of permit for clean up that allowed the sawzal would be key?
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Mar 19, 2013 - 10:22am PT
At the very worse, you could tape up the end of a hacksaw blade to eliminate the handle and gain more reach. And yes, it does take a lot of time and patience.
Still though, i.e., if ten people spend a half hour each removing ten trashed cams, that would be a big improvement.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
  Mar 19, 2013 - 12:58pm PT
Your proposed replacement saw is even worse. The blade will collapse in just a few strokes, that is if the entire saw doesn't snap in half first. Suggest you test it to confirm. The problem is the blades are too thin - they are designed to be stretched in order to work.

Seems a special permit for a sawsall to do some good would be easy to get, no?

Suggest you google:

BrassCraft Close Quarters Hacksaw - this stretches a thin blade

also:

Milwaukee 6 in. Folding Jab Saw - this uses a normal, thicker sawsall blade designed to work attached at only one end, and has a more realistic handle. Might require more strokes for a thicker kerf, but less likely to take a crap on you.

They're cheap, maybe bring both...

Awesome community service - thanks,

Good luck,
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Aurora Colorado
  Mar 19, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
Hey has anyone ever done an instructional video on how to remove a stuck cam?

Step 1. connect a runner between the stuck cam and your mouth so you can pull on it without using your hands.

Step 2. Nut tool used to try to get any of the cam lobes to move. If any will move, try to move the cam with the sling in your mouth while loosening the lobes.

Step 3. If this doens't work then next is the funkness/wire and hammer. If you try this from different directions and it doesnt move, proceed to step 4.

Step 4. Hammer on it using a piton or chisel, maybe drive the cam into the crack further, but make sure you're heading towards a wider section of the crack. Remember the cam got into its current position without any kind of forces like these and you can make it much worse.

Step 5. I've never gotten as far as step 5 but it probably involves a saw of come kind.

Seems like a good idea to me, get NPS to give you a permit then bring a gas powered tool of some kind. Some kind of chainsaw that can cut aluminum.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Mar 19, 2013 - 01:34pm PT
Chris, of course. Sent you a FB message.
Matt's

climber
  Mar 19, 2013 - 03:29pm PT
i think a key piece of beta for removing cams (in a useable state) is to do it when temperatures are cold (minimizing contraction of the crack due to rock expansion)

If you just want to remove it at all costs-- I am thinking that bringing a hammer and chisel and physically destroying the cam might be a better way of removing it than trying to saw it out

best
matt
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Mar 19, 2013 - 05:16pm PT
Hey has anyone ever done an instructional video on how to remove a stuck cam?

To remove a cam without destroying it, see my suggestions and photos here:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=1903416&tn=40
The tire iron didn't work on the #3 on Bishop's Terrace, but it is the best tool I've ever used for removing stuck cams (I've gotten 2 #6 Camalots with it and one #3). I've also gotten quite a few with just a nut pick. A hammer doesn't really work.

A hacksaw is good if you have given up and the crack is at least 2".
For thin cracks, the specialized saw suggestions from JLP sound good.
LilaBiene

Trad climber
Technically...the spawning grounds of Yosemite
  Mar 24, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
Cool. Cool. Cool. (Would have written "awesome", but figured you guys would start making fun of me at some point...)

ESPECIALLY psyched to see the pics of Vitaliy on the Nose. Truly inspirational guy!

This is probably a really dumb, neophyte question, but don't cams have some kind of fail point you could target with a small chisel & hammer (worst case scenario)?

I'm not going to admit publicly how many hours I've spent studying my first two cam acquisitions, completely and utterly unconvinced they're anything but dangerous (however mechanically intriguing). I'll get there - not to worry - it just may take a while...

;D
Jaysen

Big Wall climber
NYC
  Sep 5, 2013 - 05:24pm PT
Good to see you made it to the top this time dudes! Was that your original mission when Mickey and I ran into you on our way up the Shield?
septikus

Trad climber
Bay Area, CA
  Sep 5, 2013 - 06:39pm PT
Hey Jaysen, I think you're referring to this TR: http://www.supertopo.com/tr/A-Day-on-the-Nose/t12116n.html

We're not quite as fast as CMac and SLeary :D

Yeah this was our objective that we were getting ready for when we ran into you! Your guys' beta on the descent helped again our 2nd time down (in the fading light). Hope you can get out here again sometime!
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