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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
The Shield, Photo Trip Report June 2008
Friday June 20, 2008 4:37pm
Sorry for the delay on this one folks! Hopefully I can still remember the tale...

A version with no embedded photos is posted here for dialup folks http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=618748

So, after our climb of the New Dawn(http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=605831&msg=612013#msg612013); we came down to almost a week of bad weather. Perfect for recuperating, celebrating Memorial Day at Res 4, buying a house in El Portal (Holly) and another El Cap rescue (Lorna-lucky dog). The bad weather broke just in time for SAR Days and Coiler's wedding.

Here's a favorite shot of mine from the wedding...(the careful eye will catch some El Cap legends in this photo)...and Dagen didn't actually eat any cake, but I was worried!


Fresh from our rest and post-climb adventures, we hauled our stuff up to Mammoth one fine morning (after I locked myself out of my car at Camp 4 and had Werner trying valiantly to break in at 6:30 in the morning until I finally called AAA)

Here is Lorna with our bags, ready to go - Monday June 2nd.


Hauling was fun as usual, and we got down for a short day and a day off...Lorna got to do a day of work and I helped my friend George Whitmore with the monthly water collection at Vernal Falls.

We blasted early on Wednesday morning, but not early enough! We had two parties in front of us. Lucho and Andreas were sending proud in the front, and some Belgians were right in front of us and sharing every belay. El Cap and the Freeblast was a big foggy and ominous that morning.


We were anxious to get going, but we knew we would send the Freeblast in quick time even with traffic, so we tried to relax. Lorna was feeling strong and led the entire Freeblast! Nice job Illingworth!! 5.8 grass is fun!


We spent a lot of time being really happy that we were not climbing the Salathe! That thing was packed. I had fun taking pictures of the cluster. These guys are on Lung,waiting for their turn to pray not to be spit out by the Hollow Flake and I am at Mammoth or something like that.


After the familiar Freeblast, we headed up the Muir route towards Grey Ledges, our chosen path to the Shield. Here is me leading C1. C1 is fun!


We made it to Grey Ledges and decided not to fix any pitches that night. We always set pretty high goals for ourselves, and I had been hoping to fix one or two above Grey, but when we got there, we were ready to take a break. So, we set up Camp, had a great dinner and continued to watch the Salathe cluster.


So, the next morning, we were up bright and early. I promptly dropped my sunscreen!! Oops, so much for saying I never drop stuff. I had mostly sunscreened up for the day, so that meant I would have two more days to share Lorna's sunscreen sparingly and try not to fry. Lorna led the first two pitches of the day on Day 2, starting with a French free of the 5.11 pitch.


It seemed like we had just barely gotten on this route, and already we were headed to the Shield Roof!!


I was a little nervous. Years ago when I was selling heads in Camp 4 these Italians told me their story of the Shield and taking a big whipper out of the Shield Roof, ending up even with the belay. Scary! I kept repeating the SuperTopo description of the Shield...."Steep, clean and outrageously exposed, the Shield Headwall may be the most spectacular place on El Capitan", making sure to try to sound like Lober every time I said El Cap-i-TAN.

Here I am leading up to the Shield Roof...



Lorna following the pitches leading up to the Shield roof--looking styly as usual...and as you can see, we have already busted out the pins...



As we look around and down, we can see more people coming up the Freeblast. This was quite the zone of activity those two days, but then it was empty the next day.


Leading the Shield Roof itself was not technically difficult. I wonder what happened to those Italians long ago? Maybe they broke some old tat. The hard part was disengaging my adjustable fi-fi. That was extremely strenuous. Note to self- use a Yates adjustable daisy on this pitch next time.


And, finally, we are around the roof!!


I have gotten a lot of inquiries about what the placements are like when you come around the roof. You can see them all here. I went pin, pin, red/grey alien, tat, ...


At this point, we are really blissed out. The Shield is an amazing place. Fresh off another ascent, I didn't feel any of the normal high-altitude jitters that I might normally feel so high and exposed on El Cap. I just felt totally at home and super happy to be in exactly that place. The old El Cap feeling that I had actually been missing for awhile now was starting to come over me. Pure bliss, almost like my first El Cap ascent. A little challenge to make it feel spicy and a whole lot of appreciation for the beauty and magic of the place around me.


I think Lorna was feeling the bliss too as she fired up the next pitch, leading up to the Groove. We had a great day and we were firmly established on the most spectacular place on El Capitan.


The next day, we woke up extra early, since we had taken an early night the night before. We ate the Groove for breakfast.


These folks on the Salathe enjoyed their beauty rest, even after we had already led and hauled our first pitch, which was by no means a fast and easy one!


The Groove was full of dead rurps, and I tried not to place anything that would get stuck. It was a great rurp and beak crack for placing, but not for cleaning. I used the full bag of tricks.

I looked ahead to the spectacular Triple Cracks.


Lorna cleans the Groove


The Triple Cracks were super- better than the Groove because I could place whatever I wanted and not be afraid that the closing in of the Groove would make it hard to clean. Then, Lorna worked on the next headwall pitch--the last one that was a full pitch of just headwall. We had a small injury on that pitch-cam in the lips, pulled when testing, makes for a fat lip.


Lorna got cleaned up and finished the pitch like a good monkey.



While she did that, I watched these guys on the Nose work unusually hard and long to climb and haul to Camp 4. I tried to talk to them, but they were in their own world.


That night, we did not make it to Chickenhead. A little disappointing, but we did get in one more pitch to bivy just below Chickenhead and do four stiff pitches that day.

In the morning, we blasted to Chickenhead in a proud 22 minutes. I can't believe I didn't take any pictures of the ledge itself. I did take these pics of folks sleeping on NeverNeverLand. (I think)


Lorna led off Chickenhead ledge. We could tell that the summit was close. This climb was just going too fast. We were loving all of it and surprised that it was almost over. But, we were on goal...this was Day 4 and we planned to spend Night 4 on top. Here is Lorna leading off Chickenhead.


Lorna still has a sense of humor even with a fat lip-- posing for the camera...


After all, by now, a little nailing isn't scary, so its fun to pretend to be scared. Its all comfortable fun in the sun now.

I linked the next two pitches which were stellar and came up to the base of an awesome roof. Kind of better than the Shield roof as far as how it loomed over us with long clean cracks.


Next, the unthinkable happened! I put on my freeclimbing shoes! The last time this happened when Lorna and I were climbing El Cap together was a few routes ago or more! I almost stopped bringing them. Anyway, I wore free shoes, half freed the next pitch, and fully freed the pitch to the summit.

It wasn't that great off a top out, but not the worst either. A lot of drag and a real rope stretcher was the worst of it. Once I had the haul setup, it was an easier than horrible summit haul. :)

The next morning, we checked out more climbers on El Cap. It was fun to zoom in on them with my camera. I even talked to the Aurora soloist before he topped out, but never saw him!

Here is the soloist on Mescalito, climbing above the Bismark (the second best ledge on El Cap, after Chickenhead, and my favorite route on El Cap, just BARELY before the Shield!)



And here are some people on the sloping ledge on Mescalito at P 23, close to topping out. They were here FOREVER!


And finally, the girls on top--Team IllingBeck checks off another route on El Cap, one of the best I have ever climbed!!


I would be remiss if I did not mention that on our night on top, we camped with Pass the Piton's Pete at the top of Zodiac. Pete was kind enough to share his feast with us on top and we chowed down like only Pete does on El Cap. Including but not limited to: Smoked Trout, pepper roasted Triskets, Parmesan Cheese crunchy swirls from TJ's and of course BEER!

Stay tuned for our next adventure. I promise to bring a camera, even if its a push!

  Trip Report Views: 1,490
hollyclimber
About the Author
hollyclimber is a big wall climber from Yosemite, CA.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
katiebird

climber
yosemite
  Jun 20, 2008 - 04:48pm PT
Right On!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 20, 2008 - 05:06pm PT
First of all Holly, congrats. Well done.

There were far too many photos to load on dial up, and most just got that thingy, but I did see that one of the triple cracks. What are the scars like?
Maybe some day I'll dig out some slides from the seventh ascent and learn how to post them; could make an interesting comparison.
L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
  Jun 20, 2008 - 05:12pm PT
Daaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng!

This has to be one of the best TRs of the Shield I've ever seen, Holly! Your photos were simply incredible...and from someone actually climbing the route, that's quite an achievement.

Really well done, gals! I keep hearing how difficult the Shield is...didn't look like it with the two of you.

Lorna--lucky you only got a botox lip from that cam...knocking out a couple of teeth along with it would've been a royal pain.

Again--really nice job!
hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
North Rim, AZ
Author's Reply  Jun 20, 2008 - 05:12pm PT
The Triple Cracks take all sizes of pins. They still take small beaks and could take some rurps, but I much prefer beaking. There were still some heads as well. I also placed arrows, knifeblades, and many sawed angles. Big beaks were also a favorite. There was definitely "virgin crack" available, and I might have used it once or twice with beaks.

I posted another non-photo report version with links to the photos, so that you can read on dialup, just for you Ron!

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=618748
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 20, 2008 - 05:48pm PT
great photos! thx for the share.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 20, 2008 - 05:58pm PT
Don't want to piss in the punchbowl, but how long can they last?
Glad to hear they are resilient and all, but I sure wish somebody would come out with a pocket cam that equals or even exceeds the confidence people get from whacking stuff in. Its a cool place (did it twice), but I wouldn't want to have the karma of knowingly degrading it now that it has been done clean.

Maybe we have the technology.
It would be nice if a millennia from now people are still climbing it.

Just my $.02. Hope you had a blast.
dougs510

Social climber
down south
  Jun 20, 2008 - 06:00pm PT
WOW. Awesome.
yo

climber
Mudcat Spire
  Jun 20, 2008 - 06:09pm PT
Alright Ronaldo, I got a big problem with you and your mouth.

And the problem this time is...


...I agree with you.





Great TR!
Captain...or Skully

climber
  Jun 20, 2008 - 06:13pm PT
The Shield, nice....damn cool tr.
hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
North Rim, AZ
Author's Reply  Jun 20, 2008 - 06:16pm PT
After being up there, I really don't believe this has gone "clean". I don't think it is possible, AT ALL. I know that one particular "clean" ascent was pre fixed. I am all for preserving it. I think that it is sad enough that it isn't the same now as it was in the beginning. But, I don't buy it for one second that it goes clean.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 20, 2008 - 06:25pm PT
Maybe we need to define terms in order to understand each other.

By clean I mean without further hammering.
Sure it uses scars, fixed gear even.
But isn't that a small price to pay to make this beauty last?

The REAL problem is that now that the bar has been raised (and it HAS. Please don't call my dead friend a liar.) other people don't want to climb at that level and so continue to subtly alter the route.
What is more, much of our culture validates such actions, while at the same time hypcritically proclaiming a conservative ethic.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 20, 2008 - 06:36pm PT
Yo,
sorry about the coupons.
Fact is, I already designed such a pocket cam but Trango wasn't interested.

Malcolm????
Handjam Belay

Gym climber
expat from the truth
  Jun 20, 2008 - 06:50pm PT
Sick TR!

Some really great photos. Y'all make it look like so much fun.

Doesn't Duece troll these waters? Wasnt he involved with Charlie's clean film project?
elcap-pics

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
  Jun 20, 2008 - 08:04pm PT
Yo Holly.. another great report! I just love your photos! Just like being there! Thanks for writing it and posting the photos, I know that it takes some serious time and effort to do such a good job.... not to mention doing a great job on the climbing!
Tom
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 20, 2008 - 08:14pm PT
Holly,

Thanks for sharing your great photos and report.

I admire your confidence in sharing the photos of the places where you had to nail. Many people would have tried to sweep that under the rug. I think it can be a positive thing for climbing the route as clean as possible - people can in some cases see exactly where you had to nail, and then see if they can do it clean. (They can also see where you did not nail, and the fixed gear you used). More information gives people a more detailed standard of performance to judge their own climbing. The beaking sounds like a good way to minimize impact.

I wonder if Deuce's trip up there with Charlie for the video has some similar photos or detailed records of what gear was fixed, including what gear was placed and left fixed by the party leading ahead of Charlie.

When I did Dorn Direct to Shield in spring 1987, the Dorn bypassed the standard p17 to the base of the Shield Roof. On the parallel Dorn p16 I placed a long knifeblade and a couple of #0 heads to connect to the base of the Shield Roof. I used my hammer to reset a couple of loose "fixed" heads on the Groove pitch; the crux move on that pitch was threading a fixed RURP with a thin cable from an RP. My partner nailed quite a bit on the Triple Cracks. We bivvied there. The next day on the second long A2 pitch (p23), I lowered to backclean twice, but ran out of gear a third time and used a pin or two to speed things up when I could have lowered and done it clean.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Jun 20, 2008 - 08:17pm PT
great report, and really inspirational...
...makes me want to get up there!
Shack

Big Wall climber
Reno NV
  Jun 20, 2008 - 08:26pm PT
Wow. great job and really nice TR, Thanks.

As my daughter would say...
"Girls Rule, Boys Drool!"
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jun 20, 2008 - 08:56pm PT
Nice work, "Hottieclimber". [Hee-hee, just kidding!] So how many hours did it take you to produce that en-tahr thang? Remind me not to take a leak on the wall if I know you and your long-ass lens are lurking nearby - sheesh. And what's with this getting up early stuff, and taking pictures of people still dossed out in their ledges? Trying to make the rest of us look bad??? [I climbed before noon ... once]

Ron - I have a *REALLY* hard time with alleged so-called "clean" ascents of proud aid routes like The Shield. For the most part, I consider such claims to be a heap of choss, for they are ENTIRELY dependent on the fixed gear that happens to be in place.

How do you climb a nailing route "clean"? What are the possibilities?

1. You get incredibly lucky. All the fixed RURPs and heads happen to be in place, and they hold your weight.

2. You climb the route beforehand, and fix the nailed gear that needs to be in place so that you can claim your "clean" ascent.

3. You cheat. Cheatsticks are great tools for claiming clean ascents of nailing routes - the longer the better!

4. You lie. This method is particularly effective.

Now, this is not to say you should not minimize your impact on the rock, and refrain from nailing whenever possible. I have not yet climbed The Shield, and I understand that the motivated and brave can hand-place sawed-offs which will actually work, although personally I would be tempted to tap the things a bit. And I suppose if you are prepared to fiddle-fart with cam hooks and micro-stoppers and micro-cams you might be able to avoid a few nailing placements, but how worthwhile is this to do on a nailing route? Should we purposely risk long and potentially dangerous falls to climb clean? Perhaps we should, which doesn't mean that I would, because I am old and smart and I don't want to get hurt. Maybe that makes me a pussy, I don't know. [I don't much care, either]

But I have a REAL problem with claims of climbing nailing routes clean, because of the dependence of fixed gear. Cuz if it ain't there, and you need it, then you ain't climbing it clean.

[And what about those bolt ladders, eh?]

Thanks for another great report, Holly! And a very special thanks for returning Wee-Wee to me - he is pretty psyched to be getting back on the wall.

Cheers,
Pete
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jun 20, 2008 - 09:25pm PT
A freakin' superb TR!!!!
Fluoride

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA/Joshua Tree
  Jun 20, 2008 - 09:27pm PT
Right on Holly, way to go!!!

I remember you talking about doing the Shield while we were at Coilers. I figured you'd do it sometime this month but when Tom posted that you guys were up there the very next week, I was like DAMN!! That girl doesn't waste any time!!

You're coming up on about 20 El Cap ascents by now, right? Way to bring the female pride to Monkeyland!
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 20, 2008 - 09:31pm PT
Well, Pete, I have I real problem with people that use rationalizations like: "if it required a hammer then its not clean so even if it HAS been done without hammering then I get to beat on it".


Fer chrissakes just document the minimal number of fixed anchors required to do it hammerless, maintain them, and save the route.

It used to be "traditional" to shoot at buffalo from trains.
Where are they now?
up2top

climber
Phoenix, AZ
  Jun 20, 2008 - 10:28pm PT
Excellent TR!! You ladies are mighty impressive, and I really enjoyed getting to tag along for the ride -- if only vicariously. That photo you took looking down at Lorna just about the Shield roof is one of the most dramatic I've seen. Congrats on the climb and thanks for posting up.

Oh, and Ron, the buffalo are on the grill...right where they're supposed to be.

Ed
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jun 20, 2008 - 10:39pm PT
"Fer chrissakes just document the minimal number of fixed anchors required to do it hammerless, maintain them, and save the route."

Concur. Good idea.

Incidentally, for one who has taken offense to anti-Jewish stuff on line, you might want to watch your use of anti-Christian wording, eh?

Cheers,
PTL and PTPP
T2

climber
Cardiff by the sea
  Jun 20, 2008 - 10:40pm PT
Nice work ladies! Fantastic trip report Holly. That headwall is a special and fabulous place to visit.

We watched you climb on the headwall from the meadow. It is cool to find out what happend up there with the whole fat lip thing. We couldn't figure out what was going on up there that afternoon. It is fun to read first hand and see pictures of that event and the whole climb for that matter.

Best Regards
T2
captain chaos

climber
  Jun 20, 2008 - 11:33pm PT
Two back to back, cool... good job girls-
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Jun 21, 2008 - 12:54am PT
Rad ascent, good job! Gives me goosebumps... Can't wait to get on it (soon!)






-as far as the other stuff goes-

The ladies were up front and honest about hammer placements, that seems leaps and bounds ahead of others. I think as long as you are honest about what you do and climb clean to the best of your ability thats more than enough. After spending time in Zion I saw first hand what nailing does to routes, albeit in an accelerated bubble. It sucks. Theres a lot of rock out there that doesn't get the traffic, so I guess if it really bugs you head to a route thats not a trade route, or something. Just my measly 2 cents as a wall n00b.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 21, 2008 - 06:02am PT
My apologies to Pete (and others offended), but note the misspelling which was deliberately done.
(for Jahweh's sake just doesn't seem to trip off the tongue quite as well, lol)

GD,
I'm not trying to escape the scarring, but rather trying to rein it in.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Jun 21, 2008 - 06:05am PT
I agree Ron, and I'm glad it was you who brought it up... always been at the forefront of route preservation, so its good input. (and the shield might be the best example)
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 21, 2008 - 06:08am PT
Shit!

THAT was fast.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Jun 21, 2008 - 09:50am PT
Great TR ladies and a proud send.

Did that route in the mid-70s when there were no pin scars and I remember thinking, this thing might get pinned out some day but the exposure will always be here. Get's my blood flowing just looking at those pics . . .

JL
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 21, 2008 - 10:03am PT
Thank you John. That was all I was really trying to say, didn't really want to get into another squabble.
But that route is so special, such a definitive aid climb, that it would speak well of climbers if we made the effort to make it last.

I think that Charlie Porter may have ushered in a whole new take on more subtle routefinding that helped others run with the ball, a watermark ascent.
apogee

climber
Technically expert, safe belayer, can lead if easy
  Jun 21, 2008 - 10:13am PT
Well done! Looks like good fun was had by both of you, which really is the point, eh?

I did the Shield about 10 years ago, around the time of the first 'clean' ascent, and after returning, got lots of questions about whether I did it 'clean', too, since that was now the standard for the Shield. Yeah, right. Now that the Nose has been freed, it should only be done free, too. Umm, yeah.

There is Ideal, then there is Real. Routes that are done at higher standards give us all higher aspirations, and those who bring those standards truly amaze me. I will probably never do the Shield truly clean (however that is defined), or free the Nose, but if I do it again, I will try hard as hell to aspire to the newer, higher standard.

Kudos to you both for your success, your honesty, and the smiles on your faces throughout (even with a fat lip). This gives us all something to aspire to!


Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Jun 21, 2008 - 10:18am PT
Nice one Holly.

But what about this: "so much for saying I never drop stuff."

Shoe / NA?

Congrats on the new house and another lap on the Capt.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Jun 21, 2008 - 10:42am PT
Lol, its ok Ron. I woke up at 530 am to go to work in Idyllwild. but i am fast.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 21, 2008 - 11:16am PT
Blew me away!




I only wish more climbers understood the difference between "style" and "ethics".
But I'm tired of harping; my views are known. Cool climb ladies, catcha later.
jenren

Trad climber
Sac, CA
  Jun 21, 2008 - 11:28am PT
THANK YOU HOLLY!!
We are grounded by injury this week..your TR brightened our day!
Thanks so much for sharing..your efforts are so appreciated and enjoyed! : )
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
  Jun 21, 2008 - 11:29am PT
What a great report! Your photos are just too great!
Thank you for sharing... Loved it!
Dr. Rock

Ice climber
  Jun 21, 2008 - 11:40am PT
I got the biggest kick out of the people caught sleeping.
Not once, but twice!
High elevation voyerism.
Never seen that before. Being caught going to the bathroom would be a real nightmare, but what are you going to do, traverse over and steal the camera?
At least you did not post the names to the lazy climbers, shame on them!


Good editing, smooth story line.

Interesting, part of the lyrics for The Shield, for which I am guessing the climb was named:

"Mama plays a queen on the hill built on a dream
While the children play in the field
Papa smokes the pipe of a sweet and better life
But how strong is the shield?
Can peace be found on the carpet above ground
Where sky is forever blue
So let it pass baby now, the slow and riding cloud
Which may take me from you"


Question 1: How did you traverse from crack to crack at the Triple Cracks?
I am guessing a small swing?

Question 2:

Where do I buy these heavy duty quick draws:
I like the bigger straps.


Question 3:

What would be a good way to handle s a slippery bottle of sunscreen while hanging out at 2000 feet?

Thanks!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 21, 2008 - 12:17pm PT
Dr. Rock,

> I got the biggest kick out of the people caught sleeping.
> Not once, but twice! High elevation voyerism. Never seen that before.

Then you haven't seen Pete up there?

A year ago, my partner and I were sleeping at the Alcove on the Salathe' (same spot in Holly's photo) until around noon. There were several good reasons for it. We were behind 2 parties, waiting to do the long p19 above the Ear. We didn't get to start p19 until around 2am! Being tired due to the late hour, my partner took an occasional rest on lead which may have been naps. I was napping even more at the belay. Dawn broke as I started to follow. After we did p20 to the Alcove, we settled in for some sleep. We realized we wouldn't be able to go to the Block that night anyway, because I didn't think there was room for 4. So we caught up on sleep, fixed 2 above the Spire, and had the nice bivvy on the Spire that night.

> Question 1: How did you traverse from crack to crack at the Triple Cracks?
I am guessing a small swing?

There are bolts between the cracks. See the topo or other Shield photos.



> Question 2:

Where do I buy these heavy duty quick draws:
I like the bigger straps.

Petzl and others make those.



http://www.mountaintools.com/cat/rclimb/biners/petzlspiritcarabiners.html

http://www.mountaingear.com/pages/product/product.asp/imanf/Petzl/idesc/Spirit+Quickdraw++%2D+17cm/Store/MG/item/111390/N/1030
Dr. Rock

Ice climber
  Jun 21, 2008 - 01:15pm PT
Unreal photo.

We were pulling a boulder with a sling made out of 1/2 in webbing.
Please do not ask why.
Anyway, the webbing snapped like a dry twig in a stiff desert wind.
So I was after a Quck Draw with the heaviest webbing possible after seeing the stuff wimp out like that.
If you notice, that one in the small pic is different than the rest, larger webbing.

How is this for an alarm clock.
This happened on The Shield:

"At 5:15 AM the next morning, I thought a huge block was going to hit us. E-man and I instinctively rolled towards the wall as we heard the whistling of something big coming down. "Wooosh, wooosh." Two objects jetted past and became smaller and smaller. Just as I said, "They're gonna deck," two chutes deployed and floated towards the meadow. Damn, what a way to wake up! "
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Jun 21, 2008 - 01:47pm PT
Thanks for a nice report and pictures!
F10 Climber F11 Drinker

Trad climber
e350
  Jun 21, 2008 - 02:43pm PT
Nice TR, keep on rockin'
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 21, 2008 - 03:25pm PT
Dr. Rock,

> We were pulling a boulder with a sling made out of 1/2 in webbing.
Please do not ask why.
Anyway, the webbing snapped like a dry twig in a stiff desert wind.

The thin 1/2" tie-off type webbing is not so strong, mostly because it can be cut over the edge of the piton if you fall onto that piton.
The thick 9/16" tie-off slings are plenty strong. I've towed a car using them.

I don't know how big your boulder was, or if the webbing was cut in the process of pulling.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
  Jun 21, 2008 - 03:42pm PT
ladies, you ROCK!

great thread, proud climb, killer pics.

Thanks for posting!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jun 23, 2008 - 01:28pm PT
Very cool report. Thanks for sharing. Took me far from the desk I'm spreading behind and back to '91 when I climbed it.

I also give you props for being so open about nailing. When we climbed it, it was around the time that Charlie Fowler did it clean. We did nail a fair bit but, even back then, especially on the Triple Cracks pitch, whenever I reached for a sawed off, I typically grabbed a TCU and monkeyed with it first. More time than not, I was able to get an OK placement.

Given that experience, I do think it may have been possible, even back then, to have done it clean. I clearly remember a photo of Charlie leading the Triple Cracks, gripping after placing a string of hand placed sawed offs. I'd be gripping too. If I recall, he rated it C4, which sounds about right.

Someone raised the very relevant issue of such an ascent being completely dependent on the fixed gear then in place. When we climbed it in early May, Tucker Tech told us that ours would be the first ascent of the season. It was a wet year and there was LOTS of water running from the pitch above the Roof. Anyways, after a long, wet winter, lots of bomber looking heads on the Groove Pitch popped out in our hands. That right there would have prevented any aspirations of a clean ascent.

del cross

climber
  Jun 23, 2008 - 01:57pm PT
Great photos. I climbed the Shield last year and your pictures took me back. Your TR was really fun to read. Quite a surprise though to come across a picture of myself! You didn't catch us at our best, that's for sure. I remember hearing you guys yelling up there that afternoon. We thought at first it sounded like trouble but quickly realized you guys were climbing late into the day because you were having fun. Pretty funny that you were trying to talk to us.

I recognized Lorna -- she was behind us on the LA Direct last month. We were slow and kinda in her way but she was super cool about it all. One of the nicest people I've met.
hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
North Rim, AZ
Author's Reply  Jun 23, 2008 - 03:53pm PT
Hi Friends!

Thanks for reading my report and for the kind comments. It is amazing to see a ST topic with almost no mean comments in it, and none towards me! So, I will keep doing them. We have plans for a good time with our buddy the Captain this week.

So, first, I don't know about Charlie Fowler's clean ascent, so I was not referring to that. I am still greatly saddened by losing him and Chris and would not trash his memory.

I would say that the hand placed sawed offs are not the part (Scary while that might be) that I think does not go clean. Rather, the rurps, beaks and heads are the issue. Not having climbed it before, I would call the route "moderately" fixed. There were SO MANY dead beaks in the Groove. If they had cord or cable on them, that would have made a huge difference. They did not and were mostly completely unusable.

Also, I have a rule. Never nail without trying multiple other placements. I force myself to try things even when I think its nailing, because if nothing else, it is fast and efficient for the team. We want to be fast and efficient, so I try not to nail. I am also going to make sure I make the SMART decision and not over risk my life/abilities to prove a point. Offset aliens eliminate A LOT of angle placements, but they don't replace Rurps!

Also to get from triple crack 1 to triple crack 2, there is no bolt. I had to do one good beak to one body weight only beak which I removed by hand after I successful docked myself into the manky copperhead starting triple crack 2. :)

And finally, OK, I DID DROP MY SHOE ON THE NA. But, who really needs shoes? Thanks for helping me get it back Will!

Holly
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jun 23, 2008 - 05:55pm PT
" The Shield is an amazing place."
-pretty much says it all, though you said it much better. It put me back there, thanks, and congrats!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 23, 2008 - 07:04pm PT
Holly,

> There were SO MANY dead beaks in the Groove. If they had cord or cable on them, that would have made a huge difference. They did not and were mostly completely unusable.

Maybe somebody should take a small swager up there and put some good cable onto them (if the body of the beak is still intact; if by "dead" you mean just the broken-off tip is left, probably no way to get them out without trashing the crack). Maybe remove a couple, too, lest it become a "boring clip-up"? Or are they too hard to remove without major damage?

> Also, I have a rule. Never nail without trying multiple other placements. I force myself to try things even when I think its nailing, because if nothing else, it is fast and efficient for the team.

Good work.

> Also to get from triple crack 1 to triple crack 2, there is no bolt. I had to do one good beak to one body weight only beak which I removed by hand after I successful docked myself into the manky copperhead starting triple crack 2. :)

Yikes. I swear there used to be 2 bolts there (in the photo I included, and in the Meyers topo). Did the bolts get removed at some point? Are we talking about the same place?
[Edit for del cross/Jim:] Oops, location shown in photo is between 2nd & 3rd triple cracks - I should have known because it's so close to the belay/photographer! Doh!

Here is another photo of Kristoffer Szilas, from October 2007 - it seems pretty clear there is at least one bolt hanger - is this the same place we are talking about (between first and second triple cracks?



http://www.bivuak.dk/szilas/foto/07_yose/album/slides/R0010926.html
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 23, 2008 - 07:13pm PT
I remember two also, but they were one and a quarter inch by a quarter inch split shank Rawls with nuts and Leeper hangers; bad stuff.
hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
North Rim, AZ
Author's Reply  Jun 23, 2008 - 10:40pm PT
I will have to check with Lorna. However, I did zoom in on my own picture and see one bolt between crack one and crack two. I do know that we had some issues moving from crack one to crack two and perhaps I had to go above the bolt in crack one to move to crack two. Anyway, for beta purposes, I will doublecheck with Lorna.

And, I should have said RURPS dead in the groove, not beaks. I think they are pretty deep and I don't know if I could get cord through them, but maybe wire. Someone had obviously climbed the route recently and on the two pitches after the groove had fixed up a lot of fixed gear with some nice 3 or 4 mill accessory cord. But, in the groove, the RURPS were empty and unclippable.

hgb
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jun 23, 2008 - 10:58pm PT
I never noticed that Holly G. Beck and Alfred G. Latham have the same middle initial.

Please, complete this sentence: "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAALF...."
Michael Hjorth

Trad climber
Copenhagen, Denmark
  Jun 23, 2008 - 11:37pm PT
Thanks for a fine and inspiring TR.

Allow me a slight drift: Nice to see the pictures from a fellow dane, Kristoffr Szilas. He has had a fantastic climbing year: Pink Panter-M9, Eiger-1938, Shield, Compressor, Fitzroy, Denali-Cassin (last week).

Michael

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 24, 2008 - 12:41am PT
Holly,

Thanks for the additional details. There is that crack switch on the Groove pitch as well, so maybe with all those walls/pitches you've been firing, the exact location might be slightly off - or maybe not. It sounds like the beak moves were not easily forgotten!
[Edit for del cross/Jim:] My bad, the photo above is not between cracks 1 and 2.

Dead RURPs on the Groove - that sounds right (same as back in the day). It should be possible to thread them with cable and swage it, but not easy. Maybe set up some cables which taper to a few strands with some solder to hold the other strands in place while pulling through the RURP hole?

Maybe we can get Steve Grossman on the job to make a tool to extract the surplus RURPs. Something like a ground-down Leeper pointed hook should fit that central hole on the RURP, then to a gear-puller plate? But would the hook shear before the RURP budges?
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 24, 2008 - 04:57am PT
A few bolts next to blown placements isn't going to ruin the experience of being up there.
Fixed is fixed. Might as well be reliable.
Zander

climber
  Jun 24, 2008 - 07:41am PT
Hey Holly,
Geat trip report. Thanks for posting it.
Wow, is it exposed up there! Beautiful pics.
Zander
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jun 24, 2008 - 07:59am PT
Ron, I disagree with you that bolts should be added to the Shield. And, I don't understand how you can rag on someone placing a pin yet condone adding new bolts to a route.




Nice job Ladies! Reprezent!
del cross

climber
  Jun 24, 2008 - 08:02am PT
I looked at my pictures from last year and there's definately a bolt between triple cracks 1 & 2 and then two bolts between cracks 2 & 3. I remember big solid bolts. Actually getting into crack #2 there was a dead head that I hooked with a pecker.

edit: The picture Clint posted shows the bolts between cracks 2/3.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 24, 2008 - 08:24am PT
There is MUCH that you don't understand bone.



You can start by abandoning the mindset of bolts being evil and pins being "good" or at least better.

They aren't.
They cause REPEATED degradation whereas the damage of bolting is one time.
In the end pins cause more damage, more rock removal.

I'm talking about making it last. A fixed clip is a fixed clip. They should be minimized and made to last.



Yes, iron paved the way, but lets look a little farther down the road.
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jun 24, 2008 - 09:37am PT
Whatever Ron, why do you gotta take personal shots on me or anyone else when talking about this stuff? Yeah if you mean that it's you I don't understand then you are correct.

You are right all nailing cracks should be bolted, to save the rock.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Jun 24, 2008 - 10:27am PT
Touchy, touchy. lol


(do you like words put in YOUR mouth?)
atchafalaya

Boulder climber
  Jun 24, 2008 - 10:42am PT
Great TR Holly. Super inspiring. The Shield Headwall is so unique, and your photos caught alot of that. We did it a few year after C. Fowler's clean ascent, and placed less than 3 pins. Probably placed around 5 heads (memory's fading). Still remember the groove as one of the scariest pitches I have lead on the captain, because of all the fixed junk and dead rurps and heads. Lots of tiny parachute cord had been tied thru some of em, but was fraying and looked like shyte. F%$#, I could see myself zippering the whole line and going past the shield roof if I peeled near the anchors! Spooky.

A friend took a shot of us on the headwall.



Thanks for the TR!
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Peenemunde
  Jun 24, 2008 - 10:55am PT
This sounds like a great way to do the route.

Do fixed lines always exist up to Mammoth?

Haul the gear up. Take a rest day. Then Free Blast it?

Is that how it was done?

Juan
JAK

climber
The Souf
  Jun 24, 2008 - 11:01am PT
Good God the Shield is a badass route.

Awesome TR.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 24, 2008 - 05:45pm PT
OK, here is another photo from Kristoffer Szilas' website, showing the transition between the real 1st and 2nd Triple Cracks (not the 2nd and 3rd!):



I believe it shows exactly what Holly described. The bolt between the cracks is clipped with a silver sling to a red biner on the rope, just above the follower.
Above that, there are two more placements in the 1st crack, before reaching right to the 2nd crack. So the bolt is there, but apparently the bottom of the 2nd crack is too blown out to get a placement, so now people traverse higher (without using the bolt for the traverse move).

http://www.bivuak.dk/szilas/foto/07_yose/album/slides/R0010920.html
del cross

climber
  Jun 24, 2008 - 05:56pm PT
edit: You're right, Clint. I misunderstood your post.
Jimmy Jam

Big Wall climber
Naples, Florida
  Jun 25, 2008 - 05:38am PT

The best El Cap report. Ever! Great photos on the Shield, and the photos of the other routes gave a nice perspective.

Thank you for your time and effort putting together this fine report. And congratulations to you and Lorna for your full-on climbing skills up the Shield.

Schwing!
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jun 25, 2008 - 10:37am PT
Holly,
I know from your previous post that you're certainly no newbie (in fact you've climbed the Captain way more than I have), so I assumed that you would've tried and been able to use other options had they seemed realistic.

To be honest, what bothered me the most when we did it way back when was the proliferation of bolts at every belay, stretching four or five across, even though you could often get great gear in the crack. That's a whole 'nother issue though.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 25, 2008 - 12:57pm PT
Jim,

Your photos were good, too. It looked like maybe you were able to reach from the bolt to the second crack, without placing higher stuff in the first crack?
del cross

climber
  Jun 25, 2008 - 02:36pm PT
Yes. Bolt to dead head (hooked) to fixed head. You can't really see the start of that crack in the Szilas photo, but it wasn't that hard so things must have changed.
clustiere

Trad climber
berkeley ca
  Jun 25, 2008 - 03:21pm PT
Awesome, those pics of the headwall were bliss
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
  Jun 25, 2008 - 08:20pm PT

Hello!
That was the most fun photo show in ages! Thank you for reminding me that guts is enough. And please, is there any funnier picture than the fat lip ?
Yours Jim
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Jun 25, 2008 - 09:10pm PT
A great trip report and really great photos as well.
Very very impressive.
pimp daddy wayne

Gym climber
Manchester, VT
  Jun 25, 2008 - 09:49pm PT
Yeah Holly!!!!!! You are bad ASS. We screamed happy birthday up to Lorna, did you guys hear us? Sweet pictures. BITCHIN!!!!!
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
  Jun 26, 2008 - 01:55pm PT
Bump

Because this is just flippin cool!
BJ

climber
  Jun 30, 2008 - 03:03pm PT
I looked at my pictures from last year and there's definately a bolt between triple cracks 1 & 2 and then two bolts between cracks 2 & 3. I remember big solid bolts. Actually getting into crack #2 there was a dead head that I hooked with a pecker.

I looked at my photographs from 1984, and had the exact same bolt count. But they were smaller
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Sep 30, 2008 - 03:10pm PT
bump for team send it alot
MisterE

climber
  Feb 25, 2009 - 07:39am PT
bump-day bump!
viejoalpinisto

Social climber
Pahrump, NV
  May 13, 2012 - 07:54pm PT
Thanks for the great trip report, Holly. It was thoughtful, well documented and I loved the pictures...as for Piton Ron....not long from now whatever he is doing to preserve the rock ethically will be considered passé, destructive, outdated, horrible...PErhaps when "Alex Honnold the Next" starts free soloing routes on El Cap, the Park Service, in response to the cries of the next generation of "Valley Christians" will ban all roped climbing.
hollyclimber

Big Wall climber
North Rim, AZ
Author's Reply  May 14, 2012 - 12:27am PT
Ironic that you bumped this today, as I just looked this trip report up myself yesterday to refresh myself on the top of the route as we will be climbing that section again soon.
nopantsben

climber
  May 14, 2012 - 04:59am PT
ha you going back on the captain? cool!!
nice report, too. thanks!!
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