Tribal Rite A4 5.5
Trip ReportTribal Rite with my dad. A family trip up El Cap.
After reading Mark Hudon's South Seas TR
I felt like writing a longer TR. Sure enough, my writing skills can't be compared to Mark's. On the other hand, writing in luxembourgish may not be a good idea either. So here we go. You take what you get.
You know, I've always climbed with my dad. Always . My first memories are from when I was about 5 or so, and I know that climbing was on my mind a lot back then already. I started climbing because my dad took me to the rocks. He does not remember when he did that first. My mom does not know it either. My best guess is that it was shortly after I was comfortable enough with walking to get to the crag. I wish i had a book showing pics of all my climbs like Hayden's parents Michael and Julie did for him. That would be rad!
Those first years were dangerous I guess. My dad essentially soloed those routes so I could toprope them. We've climbed together for more than 15 years now, and I've yet to see him take a fall. I remember not being allowed until I was 12, but when I was able to toprope my first 12a three times without rest, he agreed I could lead it. I was psyched.
We went climbing on most weekends, but I actually preferred skiing, and sometimes soccer. That changed soon enough.
The day I climbed in the Alps for the first time, I must have been 12 or so, up a bigger wall to a real summit, I was hooked! This was more adventurous than what we had done on the crags, and I enjoyed the entire process of looking for the right way to climb, set up anchors, rappelling, and so forth. My dad taught me everything, and soon enough I was able to climb many routes in the Dolomites on my own.
By the time I was 17, I had climbed in virtually every classic area in Europe. In the Verdon Gorge, the Dolomites, Chamonix, the Swiss Alps, the Pfalz, Paklenica, the Wilder Kaiser and many more. My dad had always wanted to take me to many different areas instead of trying to make me a super sport climber, which made me more motivated with every holiday we spent climbing.
The climb I wanted to do the most all those years was the Nose though. My dad had climbed in 1999 when I was 8. I was extremey depressed back than that he had not taken me along on that route, but when I saw a picture that showed El Cap, I knew that this was what I wanted to climb more than anything else.
I climbed a bunch in crags of course, and had climbed up to 5.13 by the time I could go to Yosemite the first time in 2008, when I turned 18. I climbed the Nose with an American friend, as I recounted here .
After climbing two other El Cap routes in 2010, once with my dad, my dad and I were back in Yosemite on August 10 this year. It had been a rather frustrating summer until then, and I was looking forward to the comfort and fun that climbing El Cap with my dad meant.
I wanted to do something hard, and learn how to do more tricky aid than the Muir or NNL had required.
I had been scared on theMuir , but that was mostly because of external factors, and not because of the climbing.
I'd read all these accounts of hardcore nailing and 10-hour-pitches, and hoped that the Tribal Rite would be an introduction to nailing and more timeconsuming pitches.
Now I've written that I was looking forward to the comfort, and that I wished it to be tough. That's because even when it's tough, climbing with my dad is always comfortable. With the right partner, the worst situations are mere inconveniences.
Rolling into the Valley together one night, we were extremely psyched. I had wanted to finish my quest on Lost in America, but we finally decided to stick to the Tribal Rite. My dad wanted to do something around the middle of El Cap.
We fixed three pitches and carried all our stuff to the base. We would be the only people on the wall virtually the entire time.
I really don't like fixing and the hanging out in the valley that goes with it before a wall climb. I get annoyed by the crowds in curry village a lot more when i know i could be up on the wall already. We bought pizza and jugged our two lines in the evening after 2 or 3 days of organizing.
The next day, my dad started up a really sweet pitch that goes from rivets to easy cams.
I was happy to be up there with him.
The rest of the New Dawn part was uneventful. The hauling up Lay Lady and the next 4 pitches was extremely annoying, but we somehow got our stuff to the Boot Flake, where we bivied for the third time.
This was the first time I was absolutely comfortable on a wall. It just all seemed relaxed, no stress, just fun and enjoyment. The communication about organization is reduced to almost zilch with my dad. We know what the other person is going to do in most any given situation and can talk about more fun things than where to hang what.
On the Tribal Rite, some anchors have perfect ledges, which means that you want to stop there, no matter how early you get there. The aidclimbing was more difficult than on Never Never Land, but still felt straightforward. I had done so many much harder pitches in my mind, that these seemed easy. This may sound weird, but if you dream hard enough about some things, it feels like you trained for them your entire life when you get there.The first pitch off of the boot flake didn't even take an hour. A couple rivets to hooks, beaks and small cams, to a bit of freeclimbing, and it was done. The next pitch was called A4 in our topo, but what also really mellow, more like A2+. The next two pitches were mostly A0 on fixed heads, and with clean fall terrain and lots of falling routine from sportdogging, these went in 40 mintues or so each. We arrived on the bivy ledge very early and we decided to the carrot after a late lunch.
After clipping fixed heads up to the bottom of the carrot I had the opportunity of applying all i had read about expanding flakes. For some reason I neglected to place a big pin under it to expand it. Stupid idea! I climbed the lower part on cams and nuts until i decided it was time for a good protection and wanted to place an LA. As I hammered it in, the stopper I stood in slid down the crack for about 1mm or 2, but fortunately didn't pop.
Whoo. Nopants pisspants. It was easy after that, and I cleaned the pitch on the way down to dinner.
we had been on the wall for 3 days now. every day, things had felt lighter and better than before.
I felt like I had finally arrived on El Cap. My previous ascents had been fights where I caught summit fever a few pitches from the top. This time it was purely good.
The pitch above the carrot was the best pitch of the climb. The exposure and the position on the wall blend together to make it perfect on this pitch.
The hauling became a lot easier on the upper part and was not an issue any more. We enjoyed big meals every night. Sardines, Beer, Fruits, sausages...
The climbing stayed as awesome as it was. Perfect Lost Arrows on pitch 7.
Dad cleans pitch 7. Some missing rivets make a bit of a pain.
Amazing hooking and again arrows and cams on pitch 8. All of it was interesting without being scary. It demanded some attention, kept you thinking, but it all went real quick. Pitch 9 felt like the crux. There were a lot of beaks, and some bigger pro. It was also the best and longest pitch, taking almost 2 hours. My dad took this awesome picture: (as well as all the others.)
It had turned out that above the Boot Flake I had just kept leading. I thought this was great on one had, because I had all the fun, but a bummer on the other hand. My dad insisted that it was what he preferred, but on pitch 10 he wanted to lead. It's the same for me. If I feel like my partner has less trouble than I would have, I often prefer following so the team is able to move faster. He would've had no trouble with those pitches.
Central srutinizer can be seen some times on the route, and looks amazing.
As my dad went around the corner on pith 10, i grew really anxious. I found myself worried about what was happening above. My dad has belaying family members way more wired than I have.
I was noon when we arrived on the ledge below the second to last pitch. We decided to climb to the summit. I would've enjoyed another bivy, but we agreed that summit beers would be nice. We finished without incident on the beat-out pitches of WEML.
our legs hurt for a couple days, but that was worth the quick descent.
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