Sacherer Cracker 5.10a
Trip ReportYosemite Valley TR March 20-21
After much fruitless searching for a partner here and on rockclimbing.n00b, Chad (salamanizer on both sites) stepped up to the plate and we decided to meet up and see how my recently healed ankle would do.
A bit of a back story here: I broke my ankle last October when I pitched off of the last move of Selaginella. Literally, the last move. I was reaching up to the top to press out the mantle, shifted my weight onto my higher right foot when the flake I was standing on blew. Next thing I knew I was twenty feet lower and giving myself a once over. Crap, left ankleís already swelling and purple. But the nest of 00 C3 and black/blue Alien in a small flake, more psychological pro than anything, held, thank God! So I tell Shino, my partner, that I hurt my ankle but didnít have pro to build an anchor where I was, so I would self-rescue by topping out. So I aided up with one good leg and no gear, taking a half hour to go 20 feet.
Long story short, it was a nice five-hour hike down the trail, a nice guy named Aaron from Camp 4 ran some crutches up to me (I owe you beers, bro!), X-rays at the clinic, long painful drive home. I then spend the next months fighting with my primary care physician for two months for a referral to the specialist, fighting with the specialist to get the correct MRI taken (they were convinced that the swollen painful ankle was due to a foot injuryÖ I love health insurance!), finally getting the diagnosis right (two fractures in the tibia and a badly bruised talus, with minor ligament tearing and some Achilles tendon damage), then more rehabbing the ankle.
Back to present day, now. I can walk and jog just fine on the ankle, so I figure itís time to get back on the horse and climb again. Which led to my thread asking advice on mellow climbs to get back into the swing of things. I did nothing on the list of recommendations, and still had a blast.
Chad is an awesome climbing partner; he climbs fast, way harder than me, safely, and is a cool guy. We had climbed together last year before I busted my ankle, and I was stoked to climb with him again, thinking I would hopefully push myself a bit. We run into each other while waiting to get in at the 120 entrance, and drive to the Valley on our alpine start, about 10:30 AM Saturday morning. Neither of us can decide what to climb- me mostly because Iím totally unsure of how hard I can climb. Iím thinking maybe 5.8, hopefully. Chad wants to do some stuff on Royal Arches apron, so we decide to head there.
After careful deliberation of the book, we decide to hop on Surf Nazi (10a) and run that into Arches Terrace. Sorry about the boring writing- here are some pictures. The weather was glorious, by the way, for those who couldnít make it to the Promised Land.
Chad leading the first pitch of Surf Nazi. Fun slab moves, well bolted, not scary but spicy enough to make you focus.
The second pitch was kind of weird, Chad had a nice 50-foot runout getting onto the traverse pitch of Arches Terrace, then had ended up belaying at a tree ten feet below the bolted anchors, which gave me my first lead in five months: ten feet of 5.easy. Whoo! The climbing above looked unaesthetic and lame, so we rapped off and decided to climb something else.
Mid Life Crisis (10b) looked nice, and it was on Chadís to-do list. My ankle was doing way better than I expected it to, with no falls and just a little pain on the two pitches of slabs we climbed.
The wind picked up, and it wasnít quite as balmy, but still beautiful weather!
Mid Life Crisis:
The view across the Valley:
Funny thing, as weíre getting to the top of this four-pitch climb, it was getting wet. No runoff earlier, but once the sun dropped behind the Captain, the temperature dropped and the trickle started down, steadily getting stronger. By the time we had rapped off (three double rope raps) we had squeegeed most of the water out, but it still surprised us. We figured that the heat and sun on the slab had evaporated the runoff before it could reach us, and once the sun dropped the evaporation slowed and our ropes got a bath. After rapping at the sunset we decided to meet back up Sunday and decide what to climb then. I drove to my parentsí house in Groveland and had a mom-made dinner with plenty Sierra Nevada, a hot shower, and a warm bed.
After another 11 AM alpine start, Sunday rolls around and my ankle was feeling pretty good, just a little sore from its first real use in forever. We decide to crag at the base of El Capitan, which Chad canít believe Iíve never climbed on before. After a nice conversation with a foreign (possibly Israeli?) lady in El Cap Meadow about big-wall climbing (she even recognized my Hebrew tattoo on my arm), she decides that she may climb the Nose someday. It amazed her that people could climb such a mountain in just a few hours, as long as youíre named Yuji or Hans. I realized at the base that I had left my camera in the car, but luckily Chad had his so we got a couple shots.
We started on Sacherer Cracker (10a). I made it through the crux fingers section just fine, but the jamming took its toll on my bad ankle, and once it had opened into hands I could no longer twist my foot and put weight on it. Instead of being stupid and forcing my way through the pain, I backed off like a pansy.
Me before turning all pansified:
We then moved on to La Cosita, Left (5.7), a fun steep chimney with interesting moves. After that we did La Cosita, Right (5.9) which we both agreed felt way easier than a .9. Maybe our hands just fit the crack perfectly, but even I floated up it with no problems despite a sore ankle. Chad then did the 10c arÍte in fine style, and I fell off the crux and swung a nice 20 feet left, and so gave up hope of getting back onto the rock and lowered off.
We started talking to a couple that was gearing up for La Cosita, Right, when after about three questions she pegged me for my username on here and RC.com. ďYou used to live in Chico, right? Youíre climbinginchico!Ē It was Amy (amy on RC) climbing with her husband. We had been trying to meet up for a couple years and had some mutual friends but had never met in person before. Itís a small world, isnít it?
I then decided I wanted to get in a lead, so we ran over to Pine Line (5.7) where I ran up it, placing three or four pieces in increasing wind before Chad followed in his approach shoes.
As I had a three-hour drive home to Modesto and he had a four-hour trip, we decided to call it a weekend. Iíd call it a success, as I decided I can still climb, and I didnít kill myself or Chad, or injure myself again.
Now that I know I can physically get back on the rock, I just have to deal with knee surgery in mid-April (patellar tendon debridement, I have something in my knee that makes it lock up randomly) and hopefully when the weather gets better I will be fine.
Enjoy the perfect spring weather and stay safe!
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