The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2
Trip ReportTwo Confused Sport Climbers: A Trip Report
After dropping one camera at Dolt Tower, and the other off the last pitch, I have been forced to compile this trip report using other photo sources. Sorry for the inconvenience.
(Although I may be considered a butterfingers, BP dropped 2 of our 3 topos.)
It was a bad idea right off the bat. I was fishing for partners while not really sure if I could get my ass up the big stone alive. Then Brendan went and said “yes” when I asked him if he wanted to do the Nose.
Although he had only been trad climbing for a year he seemed like a good candidate. Capable of climbing 5.14 sport and with a strong desire to suffer Brendan complimented my ability to climb 5.10 sport and knack for epics.
We found ourselves sneaking through the gates of Yosemite at 5am on September 3 with little idea what we were up against. The sight of the Big Stone made us both slightly ill and we came to the conclusion that we needed a bit of a warm-up. We dispensed with the Rostrum in about 5 hours, with BP (Brendan Perkins) leading the crux and yours truly (Brendan Nicholson) getting the spicy 5.10b offwidth last pitch.
Waking up early we sprinted through the pre-dawn darkness to find ourselves behind a pair of Californians getting ready to aid the route. 3-pitches and 11 hours later we found ourselves franticly hauling our bag up our fixed lines from Sickle Ledge. Working late into the night after being sun-baked at the belays all day behind the Californians was nasty work and we were not psyched about blasting off with four hours of sleep.
We swing leads through the Stovelegs and I beached-whale myself onto Dolt Tower. With an hour of sunlight left and 3 more pitches to go till El Cap Tower we decide to sleep on Dolt. We are really bummed to already be 3-pitches behind and I tell BP we should probably fold this hand and head down, but we decide to wake early and then decide. Right as I am getting into my sleeping bag a B.A.S.E. jumper comes over the top of us at 200 MPH. Pretty cool.
BP fires the Jardine Traverse and we make up some time skipping the King Swing. I find myself speed-aiding the Great Roof under a beautiful sunset.
BP gets to the belay right as darkness falls and without pause leads the Pancake Flake (5.10) in the dark, free. We are now 1 pitch short of our bivy at Camp 5. As I lead the nasty flaring offwidth BP spends his time at the belay counting the minutes until he can ask “are you at the belay?” again. As I near Camp 5, bleeding, runout and tired, it starts to rain. I take a moment to look around for the clouds we must have missed during the day and I find the night sky to be clear. Then I realize I am being pissed on. Now I’m not averse to a Golden Shower now and again but this guy was pissing on the 5.5 unprotected slab finish! We get into our sleeping bags at 1 am and decide to sleep in until 7am. What a treat!
BP French-frees the Glowering Spot, a 5.12+ crux of the free route and I take us up to Camp 6 where we find Beth and Tommy Caldwell working the Changing Corners pitch (the crux of the free route). BP French-frees the Changing Corners, I swing a sweet 5.10 overhanging hand-crack and BP takes us to a wild stance below the final, overhanging, bolt ladder.
BP gets his introduction to aid climbing as I turn over the aiders to him and he chases the sunset, wildly skipping bolts in order to keep rope-drag down for the 5.7 slab finish. I wait in the dark at the belay and when I get the “rope-fixed” command I weight the rope and my daisy comes taught with the anchor. As I unclip my daisy and slowly drift away from the wall, spinning in the void, I consider how sweet life is. I jug the pitch and help BP haul the bag over the nasty roofs.
We collapse on the summit and sleep in until 8am when it is too hot to be in a sleeping bag.
The descent takes us about 8 hours of constant toil with the haul bag slowly becoming the most hated of all objects.
One beer in Camp 4 and we are buzzing, I guess four days of dehydration and malnutrition make for a cheap date. Showers, pizza, sundaes and more beer later we are dead asleep in Camp 4.
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