Triple Direct C2 5.8

 
  • Currently 4.0/5
Search
Go

El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Triple Direct, El Capitan, Trip Report in December
Friday December 16, 2005 10:55am
I’ve always thought the best time to climb in Yosemite is a warm November. The temperatures on south-facing climbs are perfect. The sun casts a softer light on everything. And you feel like you own the Valley because there is nobody around.

Since this December has been as dry as your average November (or October, for that matter) Hans Florine and I decided an El Cap ascent had to go down. We hadn’t climbed together in 9 years since we did the first one day ascent of the Muir Wall.

I left the Valley for El Cap meadow at 6:30 just as daylight was creeping into the Valley. I took this shot of Half Dome.


I realized I didn’t have any food and that there was nothing open. So I can proudly say that this speed ascent was fueled by the vending machine behind the Yosemite lodge:


1 bag Famous Amos cookies
2 Mothers oatmeal cookies
2 snickers bars



I met Hans at 7am. El Cap Meadow was arctic. Ice covered everything and it felt like the forecasted low of 18 degrees. Since we were doing the route in free shoes only, we got to walk to the base with just 5mm of sticky rubber between our feet and the frozen tundra-like ground. For clothes, I just had a t-shirt and a thin polypro top. Two minutes into the approach Hans jokingly suggested turning around and going back to the car for more clothes. But I told him about the phenomenon where the cold sinks to the valley floor and its actually 20 degrees warmer once you get 50 vertical feet up to the base of the route.

“Yeah,” he replied “That is true. But its about 8 degrees warmer, not 20.”

He was right. But I was used to climbing with numb hands from my last week in zion. No biggy.

I started leading and Hans would yell up “That pitch took 8 minutes, at this rate we will have a time of…” Every so often he would call up and recalculate our projected top-out time. “Well, its now taking you about 10 minutes a pitch…” Hans clearly earns his title as being one of the best and most enthusiastic speed climbers in the world.

At pitch 3 we climbed into the sun. It would be T-shirt temps to the top.

Here I am on pitch 4:

On Mammoth Terrace, a team called down from about two thirds the way up Sunkist. “What’s the weather look like for the next few days?” I was really hoping that we would have El Cap to ourselves. But if we had to share it with someone, then it at least it was cool that these guys were doing such a demanding route. I couldn’t even imagine the sub-freezing temperatures they had to endure between 5pm and 7am. “Good weather for at least two days” I screamed back up. We were the personal el cap weather service for the day. There was a purpose to our climb after all.

I led the first 16 pitches in a little over 2 and half hours and then Hans took over. He got the crux aid pitch, a long and sustained C2 corner. I was going to give him the two bigger and more comfy aiders, but he insisted on taking just one of the smallest ones. “The more uncomfortable you are in the aiders the faster you move. The ideal might be to just have 4mm cord… but that could cut through your arch.”

While I still was still in a two aider world, I had to admit that he moved FAST. Two and a half hours later, we were on Camp VI on The Nose.

Here is Hans on the traverse into The Nose
Hans Florine tension traversing from the Muir Wall to The Nose during ...
Hans Florine tension traversing from the Muir Wall to The Nose during an ascent of Triple Direct on El Capitan.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Here is Hans leading the great roof:

Hans on the Pancake Flake

I took back over the lead. I now have that last part of the nose pretty wired, so I only took half the rack and made it last for four pitches. This meant that I topped out with three micro-cams and no extra biners. Hans had to jug with it all of it… which is not fun on the severely overhanging last pitch. Sorry hans.

Me leading the last pitch


We topped out in 6:27 which was a new fastest time for the route. On top, we stuffed 2 x 2 inch pieces of foam pad in the heels of our climbing shoes. This is a trick Peter Croft gave Hans. It made a big difference on the descent.

Team Primary Colors on top.

The view from the top. Its winter up there in the high country!

  Trip Report Views: 3,483
Chris McNamara
About the Author
Climbing Magazine once computed that three percent of Chris McNamara’s life on earth has been spent on the face of El Capitan—an accomplishment that has left friends and family pondering Chris’ sanity. He’s climbed El Capitan over 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 has called Chris one of “the world’s finest aid climbers.” He’s 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 Rowell Legacy Committee. He has a rarely updated adventure journal, maintains BASEjumpingmovies.com, and also runs a Lake Tahoe home rental business.

Comments
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
  Dec 16, 2005 - 11:11am PT
Hard to imagine...!

Amazing what we can adapt and acclimatize to as humans. That we can hone ourselves against what is relentlessly at hand to the point where vertical sprinting becomes not just possible, but a "new normal" state of being. Kudos, not just on the climb, but on fashioning a life that makes it possible...
pc

climber
  Dec 16, 2005 - 11:11am PT
Great photo report Chris. Thanks for the nice start to my day.
pc
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Dec 16, 2005 - 11:15am PT
Holy frig! It's [url="http://www.speedclimb.com/yosemite/Elcap.htm#sk"]another El Cap speed record![/url] The previous record for the route was 8:20 by Rolo. Looks like stellar climbing conditions. I can't believe how free the Valley is of snow! Man, that rubber must be sticky on that cold rock, eh?

Who's the team on Sunkist, Chris? And why the hell don't you have Sunkist in your newest McTopo??
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Dec 16, 2005 - 11:25am PT
Congrats Chris but, not to interrupt the flow, how about some input over at Pages in the Court of King Mac?
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Dec 16, 2005 - 12:22pm PT
Hey Chris,

I'm getting so tired of your Superman sh#t...... every couple of days ticking a wall here and there, in record time, posting a great report and then going off to tick another one..... WTF man.... You're even making the "real" climbers look bad. I swear to biscuit that after I finish this donut I'm going to start training and try to grab some of that magic for myself. Watch your back dude... revenge of the fossils is at hand.
darod

Big Wall climber
South Side Billburg
  Dec 16, 2005 - 12:52pm PT
congratulations guys, simply fantastic!
ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
  Dec 16, 2005 - 01:07pm PT
.. .inspiring bro!
Shack

Big Wall climber
Reno NV
  Dec 16, 2005 - 04:17pm PT
Ditto what Russ said...except I have a whole box of donuts I need to finish first.
John Galt

Big Wall climber
puerta Natales, Chile
  Dec 16, 2005 - 05:20pm PT
I had a buttermilk donut and BP coffee in Groveland one hour before Chris and I went up the triple direct. I know the good wall food.
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Dec 16, 2005 - 05:22pm PT
so cool! thanks for the inspiration Chris.
elcap-pics

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
  Dec 16, 2005 - 08:46pm PT
Sweet Chris.... looks like you are a climber again...
regards Tom
dave

climber
Earth
  Dec 16, 2005 - 09:17pm PT
Wow! Congrats. I hope that I can eventually do a selct El Cap route in 23:59, that would make me happy.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Oct 24, 2006 - 08:03am PT
I'm digging around and found this great trip report. It's worth giving another look at! Great report and photos. And it makes me want some donuts.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
  Oct 24, 2006 - 06:47pm PT
Fun to read this report, Chris. Man, things really have changesd! In 1971 I made an early climb of the triple direct, with Harry Frishman, a fellow Outward Bound instructor. We made it with one bivy at Camp 6 and about 22 hours' climbing time. We thought we were really cruisin' ...NOT! Unfortunately, Harry died in the late '70's when he fell while soloing ice in the northwest couloir of the Middle Teton. He really was a great natural athlete and a wonderful guy. One of the many unsung characters of American climbing history. That was the only real climb we ever did together.

EDIT: Thanks for giving this a bump, Crimpie - I hadn't seen it before.










Standing Strong

Trad climber
snowshoe thompson history trail
  Oct 24, 2006 - 06:54pm PT
jello you were an o.b. instructor back in the day?! rad! did you meet peter hahn? man i so wish i had a scanner so i could show some of the pics from my wls in 2000. i graduated from highschool a semester early, worked full time for a year, saved saved saved & got a scholarship from OB and did the course then went to work in yosemite. it was rad. met great kids on course who touched my life. we're still friends, i love it. someday, someday, someday, i'd love to teach for them.

edit: it was the southwest semester w/COBS - Collegiates, Cochise, mt. lemmon, canyonlands... i'd backpacked and hiked around tahoe and yosemite but had never been to the southwest or climbing or paddling or skiing. the trip turned my humble little world upside down. i just went back for the first time last spring, with my ecology class, over spring break. (another excellent experience)
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
  Oct 24, 2006 - 07:02pm PT
No, Standing, I never met Peter Hahn, but I supported myself from 1970 to '73 instructing for Colorado Outward Bound. I would work 3 winter courses each year, then climb the rest of the year on that small amount of money, suplemented by occasionally pounding nails. I, too, made many friends among staff and students, quite a few have remained close through the years. Glad you got turned on to the ol' outdoor lifestyle. Hope you realize your dream of passing it on.

-Jeff
Standing Strong

Trad climber
snowshoe thompson history trail
  Oct 24, 2006 - 07:06pm PT
:)

thank you!
john hansen

climber
  Oct 24, 2006 - 11:08pm PT
Good bump crimpie.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jan 25, 2012 - 12:36pm PT
Fantastic. What most blows me away is the mention of a 1-day ascent of the Muir, in 1996 I guess? Had never heard about that. Wonder if there's a writeup anywhere online. A Google session for later.

Of all of those towering and classic El Cap routes put up in the 60's, the Muir - given the line and the style in which it was sent - is the one that ignites my imagination most.

Also amazing that C-Mac and Florine hadn't climbed together in nearly a decade before this TR, and then had no problem sending a record-breaking time.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 25, 2012 - 02:02pm PT
Nice Job Chris!
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jan 25, 2012 - 05:23pm PT
Eeey gads man. Way to go. TFPU!
mwatsonphoto

Trad climber
Culver City, CA
  Jan 25, 2012 - 05:39pm PT
Fantastic!
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Jan 2, 2013 - 05:18pm PT
Inspiring! I love the warm winter sun, low in the sky, when you stick to everything. Especially when the daylight lasts all the way back to the car.
Rankin

Social climber
Greensboro, North Carolina
  Jan 2, 2013 - 06:33pm PT
STPU Chris! That's the stuff man.
jstn

Trad climber
monrovia, ca
  Jan 2, 2013 - 07:49pm PT
You guys are phenonminal! Congrats on a great trip!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jan 2, 2013 - 09:53pm PT
Sick report, sounds like a nice casual day haha!


Foam in the heels= hot tip.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Jan 4, 2013 - 09:24pm PT
Sweet!
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go
El Capitan - Triple Direct C2 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Triple Direct is route number 9.
Photo: Tom Frost
Other Routes on El Capitan
El Capitan - The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
The Nose, 5.14a or 5.9 C2
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Nose—the best rock climb in the world!
El Capitan - Zodiac A2 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Zodiac, A2 5.7
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

1800' of fantastic climbing.
El Capitan - Salathe Wall 5.13b or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Salathe Wall, 5.13b or 5.9 C2
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Salathé Wall ascends the most natural line up El Cap.
El Capitan - Lurking Fear C2F 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Lurking Fear, C2F 5.7
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Lurking Fear is route number 1.
El Capitan - East Buttress 5.10b - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
East Buttress, 5.10b
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

East Buttress with top of The Nose on left.
More routes on El Capitan