West Face C2F 5.7
Trip ReportWFLT, Solo
The second wall I climbed last summer was the Leaning Tower. I romped up Serenity and Sons with two friends in the evening and then spontaneously packed my haulbag after eating dinner to solo the west face the next day! I have insomnia and always find it difficult to sleep the night before a big wall from the excitement or nervousness. Deciding to go climb the route the night before curbed a lot of this and having just climbed a route helped me sleep.
Early the next morning I made breakfast and coffee and my friend Madeleine gave me a ride across the valley to the bridalveil lot. I chained my bike up in the lot and said goodbye, humping all of my gear up the steep talus field.
The exposed ledge traverse to the start of the leaning tower is indeed exposed, and makes for an awesome start to the first pitch. I shuttled the rack over and then the rest of my kit, gingerly stepping across the airy gaps. The stoke was high!
Within an hour I was swinging my way up the absurdly steep bolt ladder. I hadn't soloed since the previous season and felt rusty, but the bolt ladder was an excellent warm up. The wall swept away after only a few bolts. The first pitch had a few more thoughtful placements and a hook. Soon I was rapping the haul line way out into space and laughing at the wild position. So awesome!
Swinging the haul bags out into space was SWEET! I wasn't feeling scared or uncertain at all, just having a fantastic time! Linking the second and third pitches was the crux of the route for me. There was a relatively tricky section for me with fiddly offset cams, cam hooks and hooks. I thought the mantle was pretty scary even in good approach shoes. This may have been the trickiest aid I had lead up to this point.
As I got to Ahwahnee ledge I heard someone hollering my name. Turning around I saw my friend Jorge leading up the Fifi Buttress yelling encouragement at me. Woohoo! Rapped down the haul line with a big smile on my face, happy with the comfort of fellow monkeys and having an absolute blast.
I got everything settled onto the AWESOME ledge and started rocking out to the Rolling Stones with my speaker. The leaning tower echoes against the Fifi buttress, creating GREAT sound. I ate some food and sunbathed in the perfect temperature.
A bit later a party of three joined my on the ledge and set up a portaledge. It was a ton of fun hanging out with them as the sun went down. They were some very awesome people.
I got an early start the next morning, slightly nervous to get the first pitch done and summit in daylight. The traverse turned out to be loads of fun! Some really awesome micronutting for breakfast.
Just before the giant roof under the summit I placed an inverted camhook which popped and I ripped an offset cam and fell maybe twenty feet. I was a bit shaken, never having taken a fall while soloing. Camden hollered over to see if I was okay. Having them right next to me on the wall was mentally comforting. Well, now we know my system works! :) Finished the STEEP roof. Ridiculously cool!
The summit of the tower is rad. My friends from the ledge topped out just after me, and we all partied on top and made the horrible descent go easier by trudging down the loose rappels together.
All in all, a smooth ascent and an excellent experience.
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