Lurking Fear C2F 5.7

  • Currently 4.0/5

El Capitan

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
Two gumbies crawl up Lurking Fear (Oct. 2012)
Saturday October 20, 2012 7:29pm
After many years of wanting to climb the Big Stone, my friend Scott and I finally ticked off our first El Cap route, Lurking Fear:

In October 2010, we made an attempt at Lurking Fear with pretty much zero wall experience and got stormed off after climbing the first three pitches.

Here's us getting ready to bail:

Last season, we climbed the WFLT and SFWC and dialed in our systems and belay changeovers, and by now we were ready to send. We hiked up to the base twice with a few large loads, bivied at the base, and got ready to blast in the morning.

Sorting gear at the base:

There were two other parties starting that morning as well – one ahead of us and one behind us. Since we climbed the first three pitches in 2010, we decided to just jug some fixed lines up to the top of the 3rd to speed up the ascent. Over the course of several hours, the leader of the party ahead of us took a daisy fall and f*#ked up his knee in his aider, so they decided to bail. Then the party behind us decided to bail as well. BAM, we now had the wall all to ourselves.

Hauling the bags at the top of the 3rd:

Tom Evans actually got a shot of me getting ready to follow the 4th:

Under the tutelage of wallmaster Sir David Allfrey, we decided to lead in blocks of two or three. We knew we were going to be slow, so we brought enough food, water and cigarettes for four days.

Me leading up the 6th pitch:

The first night was chill – we hung out on the portaledge at the top of the 6th and yelled enthusiastically into the valley.

Chilling on the portaledge:

The next day, I lead the traverse – which was f*#king awesome – the hooking was almost too easy. Isn’t hooking supposed to be scary?


The next pitch was probably what got me the most gripped – 80’ of perfect #4’s… I leapfrogged the two #4’s, and even though each placement was super-bomb, I was still spooked for sure…

Scott took over and took us to the Pillar of Despair, then a few moves into pitch 10, whipped about 15 feet when he was trying to free-climb a groove:

Here he is looking a little spooked:

He rallied, jumped back up and finished the pitch. I took off after that and we decided to fix the 11th and blast off to Thanksgiving Ledge the next day:

The 12th pitch was by far the best that I lead:

To help psyche myself up for the “reachy” C2+ hook section, I just started screaming at the hooks. “F*#K YOU, YOU LITTLE PIECE OF SH#T, GODDAMNIT YOU BETTER STAY ON THE WALL”

Scott took over for the next two, and the large ledges at the top of 13 and 14 were much appreciated. He got super frustrated by switching between free-climbing and aiding on the 14th, but eventually made it through:

Chilling on the ledge at the top of 14:

I took over at 14 and lead us up to Thanksgiving ledge, where we arrived at about 9PM. Those pitches were super fun as you could free-climb many sections of them and we were able to move much faster than usual.

Thanksgiving Ledge is the cat’s pajamas. The hauling up to the ledge was horrendous, but well worth it, as it is extremely luxurious. We took off our harnesses and ate cans of kippered herring, and drank some whiskey. We decided not to piss on the immaculately clean ledge, so we bottled it up. Kudos to previous parties that have kept this ledge so clean (of both garbage and urine-smell).

The next morning, we drank some more whiskey and compared the color to our piss, which was pretty close in comparison:

We hiked the bags over the ledge, which was awesome to look down the face at the valley floor, and started up the 18th pitch on day four:

We topped out on 19 an hour or two later:

After repacking the bags, we started the long-ass process of hiking down. We definitely fixed a line to get off the boulder that the topo lists as the start of the “400 feet of slabs.” The trail from there was a little bit hard to find, but we eventually got near the summit, where we were graced with an incredible view of the valley and the high country.

Hiking up near the summit:

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and we could see Conness, Cathedral Peak, and some of the peaks in the southern high-country as well. Totally f*#king epic.

The hike down to the east ledges was moderately brutal with all our gear, and we were passed by several parties:

We made it down the raps no prob and were kicking it on the trail below the raps when we heard some voices at the top of the raps, which we recognized as our buddy Dave Allfrey – who was fresh off of breaking a speed record of Lunar Eclipse with Alex Honnold. Literally three minutes later, they passed us (they were flyyying). We congratulated them, and watched them run down the rest of the trail while we hobbled down with our smelly bags. About 30 mins later, we hit the parking lot and chugged cold beers. Salvation.

Here’s a quick breakdown of notable gear for those who are wondering/curious or who want any beta for the route:

Gear: we brought triples from purple Metolius to red C4 (that included offset cams), doubles of yellow C4 to purple C4 (the purple C4’s were super useful). I don’t think we used a single nut for forward-progress, although I left one once and a while as pro after back-cleaning pieces (offsets extremely useful).

We brought a portaledge and bivied at the top of 6, 10 and Thanksgiving Ledge.

Holy sh#t that route was awesome – if I could free-climb 5.12, I’d love to come back and climb some of those sweet cracks. It makes sense that folks often do LF in a day because there is so much potential for free climbing…

Overall, we had such a blast. I’m still riding on that high of climbing my first El Cap route. Next up, we’re going to give a harder route a shot....

The western face of El Cap
The western face of El Cap
Credit: jfailing

  Trip Report Views: 2,994
About the Author
jfailing is a trad climber on the road

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  Oct 20, 2012 - 07:31pm PT


Trad climber
  Oct 20, 2012 - 07:41pm PT

Nice piss shot.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Oct 20, 2012 - 07:47pm PT
Absolutely classic trip report. I loved the smiles! Stoked....all over those expressions. Good wishes on your next wall adventure. Yep those ledges are brutal


  Oct 20, 2012 - 07:49pm PT

Nice bourbon shot.


(lottsa climbing on the front page today - whoohoo for TRs!)

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
  Oct 20, 2012 - 07:57pm PT
Hope your whiskey wasn't recycled.

The climb and TR, well done.

Random Nobody
  Oct 20, 2012 - 07:59pm PT
Great TR!!!


Social climber
boulder co
  Oct 20, 2012 - 08:03pm PT
Nice work, it looks like you guys had a lot of fun.

Mountain climber
  Oct 20, 2012 - 08:11pm PT
glad you got it done

Kennewick wa
  Oct 20, 2012 - 08:13pm PT
the hooking was almost too easy. Isn’t hooking supposed to be scary?

I smell a third ascent of Wings of Steel.

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Oct 21, 2012 - 11:25am PT
Congrats! Nice report & photos on a great adventure!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Oct 21, 2012 - 12:54pm PT
Way to go fellas!!

What a great route. It's been a long time but I remember loving it.

Trad climber
West Slope of Powell Butte, Portland, Oregon, USA
  Oct 21, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
Right on dudes!! Great job!
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Oct 21, 2012 - 02:00pm PT

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Oct 21, 2012 - 03:24pm PT

good stuff
Andrew Barnes

Ice climber
Albany, NY
  Oct 21, 2012 - 04:44pm PT
Great job, congratulations on your first El Cap ascent.
Great trip report.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Oct 21, 2012 - 05:14pm PT
Love the Jim Beam and Pee comparison,
Thanks and good job!!!

Trad climber
  Oct 21, 2012 - 07:05pm PT
Pretty good for a Ginger

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Oct 21, 2012 - 09:51pm PT
Thanks again for a great report

This needs to be on the front page for a few days!


  Oct 21, 2012 - 10:29pm PT

Great job, and TR - looks like you guys had a fun time, which is what it's all about!!


portland, Oregon
  Oct 21, 2012 - 10:35pm PT
Nice job Josiah! Excellent trip report.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Oct 21, 2012 - 10:42pm PT
great stoke coming through!
congrats on you accomplishment
Andrew Barnes

Ice climber
Albany, NY
  Oct 22, 2012 - 02:16am PT
Great job, great trip report. You are definitely not Gumbies - you climbed a grade VI El Cap big wall!

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Oct 22, 2012 - 02:40am PT
Proud. Much respect. Way to get up there and style it. You're in proud company now. El Cap is the big leagues fellas. Well done. Thanks for the great report.

Social climber
  Oct 22, 2012 - 12:09pm PT
Great Scott and J can't Fail. Way to go. Nice peepee in the bottle. I know you've wanted this for a while, so well done.
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El Capitan - Lurking Fear C2F 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
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Photo: Tom Frost
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