The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2

 
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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Wag Bag Therapy
Wednesday January 10, 2018 3:22pm
Wag Bag Therapy

Case study subject: Me, Lynn Sanson, 53-year-old climber with a life goal to climb the nose of El Capitan, the greatest rock climb in the world. (It’s in Yosemite. Look it up.)

Self diagnosis: While physically capable of completing this route, previous attempts have me questioning whether I have the mental toughness to follow through.

History: Previous attempts at the nose did not yield a summit. These failed attempts revealed that I am prone to bouts of “poop thoughts” about me as a climber and even a person. It’s amazing what surfaces when I begin to push into new physical and mental space.

October 2015: Second attempt at this route with my son Tobin. He was psyched and prepared for the send, I was overwhelmed and defeated before I left the ground! Somehow Tobin managed to get me a third of the way up the route before I stated I wanted to bail. Descending that day was a low point for me, yet ultimately it became a catalyst for success in the future.

July 2017: Things were different from 2015. Tobin had already completed two El Cap routes, and his wall skills far surpassed mine. He's done the deal twice; I realized I should follow his lead and trust in his strategy. In the past I have overthought every detail to the point of mental exhaustion, so this is a new way of thinking. While challenging, it's freeing.

Credit: LynnS

Of equal importance, I have worked on cleansing those poop thoughts that have dogged me on the wall in the past. My physical preparation surpassed anything previous, and I knew if I could control my mental angst, we would get this done.

Credit: LynnS

Day one, the plan was to climb the first four pitches. We start later than I planned. My angst was rising. I needed to relax and trust Tobin. Ultimately we accomplished our goal for that day. I liked this new way of thinking. I was ready for the real launch tomorrow morning. We planned three days and two nights spent on the wall.

We were up early and things were going well. Nobody else was on all of El Cap. What a treat!

But it was time to face down a couple of inevitable truths.

Credit: LynnS

Lynn's universal wall truth No. 1: At some point on this day, for no legitimate reason, I would want to bail.

For me that was as predictable as:

Lynn's universal wall truth No. 2: What goes in you must eventually come out of you.

Credit: LynnS

Credit: LynnS

Credit: LynnS

Enter the Wag Bag and my discovery of Wag Bag therapy. A wag bag is basically a big Ziploc bag.

Here are the five steps:
1. Remain attached to the wall, move harness leg loops out of the drop zone.
2. Poop into the Wag Bag containing magic "poo powder" crystals for odor control. Wipe and seal the bag tightly (important!).
3. Put the sealed bag into your poop tube and attach this to the bottom of your haul bag.
4. Start climbing for the day.

Yes, I know that’s only four steps. Stick with me for the fifth.

Credit: LynnS

Credit: LynnS

It occurred to me that if I could dispose of my physical poop, why couldn't I metaphorically do the same with the poop thoughts that continued to dog me? Here's where the magic happened for me. As those thoughts of doubt, angst and bailing entered my head, I dumped them into that Wag Bag where they belonged. They were waste products, of no benefit for going upward and forward.

Credit: LynnS

You know how good you feel after depositing a big No. 2 in the bathroom, right? I felt the same way after a big mental No. 2 dump. That poop tube was with us throughout the remainder of the route, an aromatic reminder of what it contained. But that aroma also reminded me of what mentally I had dumped in there. Kind of that “lemonade from lemons” way of looking at things.

Credit: LynnS


Lynn's universal wall truth No. 3: When you keep doing one more pitch, followed by another and keep climbing, you eventually reach the summit with your son and you can take this picture.

Credit: LynnS

That's Wag Bag therapy. You don’t even need an appointment, and after three days and two nights you feel like this!

Credit: LynnS

  Trip Report Views: 1,932
LynnS
About the Author

Comments
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WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
  Jan 10, 2018 - 03:28pm PT
Bravo, Lynn and Tobin!

Way to poopservere!
clode

Trad climber
portland, or
  Jan 10, 2018 - 03:34pm PT
Congratulations! Great pictures and revealing your inner thoughts. TFPU. How did the word "Wag" ever become synonymous with "poop"?

Slym

climber
Merced, CA
  Jan 10, 2018 - 04:19pm PT
WAG = "waste alleviation and gelling"

TFPU -- a nice break for an afternoon "constitutional."
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jan 10, 2018 - 05:40pm PT
YESH! WELL DONE!!!!!!!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jan 10, 2018 - 05:46pm PT
You came to the right place to talk poop! Well done, otherwise. 😊
tradmanclimbs

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Jan 10, 2018 - 05:53pm PT
Great Job!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
  Jan 10, 2018 - 06:27pm PT
You both have identical Noses.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Jan 10, 2018 - 07:13pm PT
I appreciate your metaphor for getting rid of the "poopy" thoughts. That basic concept was one of the most profound learning points for my emotional health- realizing that I can choose which thoughts to keep around and act on, and which thoughts to dismiss without any hand-wringing or angst or shame. Just a little bit of space between stimulus and response is very empowering, to give yourself conscious control of your mental well-being, rather than letting random thoughts or fears control your moods.

Looks like a great experience! I have yet to do any multi-day aid climbing for a single objective- so far I've sampled Yosemite in smaller time chunks and enjoyed all day moderate free climbing adventures instead.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 11, 2018 - 02:47am PT
Way to squeeze one out

You are lucky to have shared that with your son!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Jan 11, 2018 - 03:23am PT
The best part of climbing on El Cap is climbing over all the dried poop that is splattered everywhere. I am sorry to see that you were not contributing to the experience.
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
  Jan 11, 2018 - 04:40am PT
5 pounds lighter and a hell of a lot happier!
Gunkie

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
  Jan 11, 2018 - 04:43am PT
Awesome! Love the trip report. I'd like to do an El Cap route with my kids one day. This was a great way to start my day. Thanks!
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Jan 12, 2018 - 05:59pm PT
^^^Super Jealous here too
I'm still looking, where is there a 53 year old in those pictures?
awesome sauce,
Congrates!


just to link the #2s

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/3050120/El-Cap-Pizza
Mike.

climber
  Jan 11, 2018 - 06:45am PT
Great job, guys. Congratulations to you both, and thanks for the reportage.
troutboy

Trad climber
Newark, DE
  Jan 11, 2018 - 09:01am PT
Nice report and well done on the climb.
Milesthetradgun

Big Wall climber
  Jan 11, 2018 - 12:22pm PT
I LOVE this! Thanks for sharing your story, original, humorous and true. Will have to consider adding some wag bag therapy to my morning wall rituals. Congrats on the send and thanks for this. Excelsior!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jan 11, 2018 - 04:55pm PT
Now That's the real poop!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Jan 11, 2018 - 06:46pm PT
Is that the poop or the scoop? Jaybro???


Nice Job, Lynn and son!
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Jan 11, 2018 - 07:42pm PT
So cool!
John M

climber
  Jan 12, 2018 - 09:15am PT
Way to go!

bumping this because it deserves another day on the front page.
LynnS

climber
Author's Reply  Jan 12, 2018 - 11:23am PT
I highly recommend the Rest Stop 2 for your big wall movement.
madbolter1

Big Wall climber
Denver, CO
  Jan 12, 2018 - 12:06pm PT
Sweet action! TFPU
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Jan 12, 2018 - 09:36pm PT
Awesome! I'm digging the mental number two drop
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Jan 12, 2018 - 09:57pm PT
I didn't realize that your report was about climbing until I saw briham89 posting (he's sitting next to me). Once he told me what he was posting to, I read it all.

Fantastic (and congratulations).
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Jan 13, 2018 - 12:20pm PT
When first scanning the front page topics, I read this title as "wine bag therapy". Personally, I would have enjoyed that TR more, but I'm happy for you that you kept up regular BMs and made it to the top. And with your son, plus 100!
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The Nose—the best rock climb in the world!
Photo: Mark Kroese
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