Zodiac A2 5.7

 
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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Zodiac 2011
Saturday January 5, 2013 10:26pm
So this trip report is a bit out of order. I did a TR of my trip up Mescalito in 2012 before I put up these pictures from the Zodiac but its winter and Iím jonesin for some wall climbing and I found myself looking through the Zodiac pictures and got inspired to write it up. Hope you enjoy and let the heckling begin. Here goes. . .
The promised land beckons
The promised land beckons
Credit: Spanky
I moved in with a random climber in the spring of 2011. I needed a place to live and my buddy Tom said he had a good friend who had an empty bedroom in South Boulder. The guyís name was Clayton Laramie and my friend told me he was not only a great guy but a great climber as well. I got to know Clayton a bit but he was about to take off on a 2 month spring/summer road trip and he left Colorado only 2 weeks after I moved in. While we hung out we talked a lot about climbing of course and we both expressed a desire to climb the Captain. We had both done the triple direct (with different partners) and were psyched to give something on the right side a go. We casually talked about getting on the Zodiac but it wasnít a firm plan and when he left Colorado we werenít sure about the timing and we had not managed to climb together yet. Clayton went off on his extended road trip and ended up in the valley in early June. I wasnít free to climb until the middle of June so he was just hanging out trying to maintain the psych. I left Boulder on June 16 heading for Tioga hoping it would open in time for me to pass through on Saturday. I was about the 40th car in line on Saturday morning as the NPS website claimed the pass would open. I sat there for about 40 minutes waiting for the pass to open watching people going backcountry skiing in the high country. Finally the pass opened and by 10:30 in the morning I was in el cap meadow. I met Clayton and we found Tom who said that the zodiac was empty except for a Korean party up high and that we should get our asses up there. We decided to try and fix that day and within an hour or so we were hiking up to the base with rope and rack. On the way up we passed this guy who was bailing off a solo on the trip. His name was Karsten and it turned out we had a couple of mutual friends. He was still psyched to climb and had all his sh#t at the base. We talked to him for a while and Clayton invited him to join us. He had already done the Zodiac so we thought he might be a rope gun if things got tough. We decided to continue up and fix while he got his kit dialed. When we got to the base there wasnít anyone on the route but there was a random nut/draw and one etrier hanging midway up the first pitch. At first I thought, sweet booty, but then I started to wonder why it was there. In the end I decided it didnít matter and started to lead the first pitch.
Me leading the first pitch
Me leading the first pitch
Credit: Spanky
I was a bit nervous because I had heard the 1st pitch is a bit spicy and I donít like hard climbing when Iím close to the ground. Never the less I got on it and had soon passed the gear which I clipped as I passed. I was about 2/3 of the way up when a dude walks by and tells me to be careful not to back clean because a climber had decked on that pitch the week before and that was his gear I had passed. Thankfully I had clipped everything and got to the anchor without incident. Clayton cleaned the pitch and then lead the second and we fixed our rope and rapped to the ground. While we were climbing another soloist showed up to get on the shortest straw. Him and Karsten started talking and since Karsten had already done the zodiac he teamed up with the solist (Brian Sadowsky)) and now we were a team of 2 again. I was fine with that because adding a person meant we got to lead fewer pitches and it would be more of an adventure since neither Clayton or I had done the route. We left the ropes and rack in place and hiked down for pizza. Clayton had kinda limited time and was psyched to blast the next day. I knew we had a lot to do but the longer you stay on the ground the harder it is to leave so I agreed to try and blast the next day. We got up before dawn and hiked 2 more loads to the base. It was mid morning before we had all our crap to the base, repacked the bags, and were ready to jug and haul. It was only 1 haul to the top of 2 and since Clayton was leading first I went up to do the first haul. The hauling was a pleasant surprise, the right side and the zodiac especially is so much steeper than what we climbed on the triple direct.
Me hauling from the top of 2. The water drop are dripping off the uppe...
Me hauling from the top of 2. The water drop are dripping off the upper wall but I'm not getting wet.
Credit: Spanky
They were heavy but since they never touched the wall space hauling was pretty easy. Clayton started off on the third pitch which had a short bolt ladder to a couple hook and then what the topo called a slightly expanding flake.
Clayton getting started on pitch 3 with Brian and Karsten in the backg...
Clayton getting started on pitch 3 with Brian and Karsten in the background
Credit: Spanky

chasing piggies!
chasing piggies!
Credit: Spanky
Clayton lead the 4th pitch too which started off with some free-climbing and then some C2.
Clayton on pitch 4
Clayton on pitch 4
Credit: Spanky
Brian and Kartsen had blasted too and it was super cool having another group on the wall nearby. At one point I was scared they were too close.
Karsten lounging/belaying
Karsten lounging/belaying
Credit: Spanky
As I lowered the bag off the anchor I was worried that our bags might swing over towards them and that would have been down right shitty to hit a man with a haulbag while heís leading something hard. Thankfully they did not swing that far and Clayton hauled the bags up. At this point it was late afternoon but we really wanted to get to the top of 5 that day.
Starting up the fifth
Starting up the fifth
Credit: Spanky
My block was next and so I hooked left to a rivet/bolt ladder that went up the face. The pitch wanders a bit at the end so I placed some gear and ended up with bad rope drag. I had wanted to link 5 and 6 but with the drag I knew I wouldnít make it and by this time it was close to dark. So I decided to rap from the top of five and clean the gear that was giving me drag and then go up in the morning and climb to the top of six before hauling the bags. As I got back down to the anchor we noticed a drip and set up the fly to avoid it.
1st bivy, you can just see the drips on the ledge but the sunset was f...
1st bivy, you can just see the drips on the ledge but the sunset was fantastic
Credit: Spanky
I remember being really annoyed at the drip because the weather was beautiful and I love the hang out time on the ledge watching the stars. But regardless we were on el cap and we were having fun. We got up the next morning and I jugged the rope and then continued to the top of pitch 6. Right before the anchor there appeared to have been a recent rockfall. It looked like a large block had slid off the ledge and there was a lot of dirt and ball bearings on the ledge. I think some one posted a trip report about pulling the block off. Damn that would have been scary.
Credit: Spanky
I brushed it off as well as I could and did a couple of scary free moves to get to the anchor. The black tower pitch was next and I had volunteered to lead it. I had heard it was one of the scarier pitches on the route because if you blow the C3 section after the tower youíll hit the tower and this has caused a few injuries.
Nearing the top of the black tower
Nearing the top of the black tower
Credit: Spanky
I got up to the top of the tower without too much trouble and then off the top of the tower it looked thin. I tried for a while to figure something out and then tapped in a beak to at least have the rope clipped to something. After that it was a high step to a small hb out right and then I was on my way. The pitch ended on a nice ledge and I hauled the bags as Clayton cleaned.
chilling on the ledge enjoying the view
chilling on the ledge enjoying the view
Credit: Spanky
Clayton led the pitch into the white circle and at this point Brian and Karsten were even with us at a belay about 40 left on the shortest straw. When Clayton finished the pitch into the circle I had to go under ther portaledge to clean the pitch which was pretty wild. Clayton lead the long corner pitch up to the base of the nipple.
Clayton startin up the 9th up to the nipple <br/>
Clayton startin up the 9th up to the nipple

Credit: Spanky
Since I was sitting there belaying it was sweet to have the chance to watch Brian leading from above. I got some great photos as he lead a pitch of rivets and hooks. The position I was in was perfect for photos and I got a bunch of pictures from above.
Brian Sadowsky on the Shortest Straw
Brian Sadowsky on the Shortest Straw
Credit: Spanky

Bian Sadowsky leading on the shortest straw
Bian Sadowsky leading on the shortest straw
Credit: Spanky

Brian Sadowsky on the Shortest Straw
Brian Sadowsky on the Shortest Straw
Credit: Spanky
Looking up at Clayton leading was awesome and at one point I could see a member of the Korean party above us swinging out in space as he jugged.
Korean Team above Clayton swingin out in space
Korean Team above Clayton swingin out in space
Credit: Spanky
We bivied that night below the nipple and it was exciting to look at that amazing feature I was going to lead in the morning.
Clayton loving life on the ledge
Clayton loving life on the ledge
Credit: Spanky

Credit: Spanky
The next morning we were up early and I was psyched to lead the nipple pitch. There wasnít much fixed gear in it (one fixed wild country zero) but I still hoped to do it clean. I was able to lead it without the hammer and I was amazed at how useful those camhooks were.
On the Nipple Pitch
On the Nipple Pitch
Credit: Spanky

Credit: Spanky

Pigs in space!
Pigs in space!
Credit: Spanky
I clipped gear when I could but I remember using multiple camhooks in a row which was pretty exciting. As I got closer to the tit the crack widened and at the end I top stepped off my 4.5 camalot to clip the bolt. After that it was more camhooks and small gear to the anchor . In the supertopos it said Porter laybacked it when it got too wide to nail at hard 5.9. Having been there itís hard to imagine porter doing that with the gear he had but in my opinion it only adds more to his reputation as a badass. Mind boggling! You can really feel the exposure at this point and we were feeling psyched that we were done with most of the hard pitches. I lead the mark of Zorro as well and found it to be pretty cruiser.
mark of zorro
mark of zorro
Credit: Spanky
Lots of fixed gear with a couple spicy moves near the top but overall not too bad. Clayton led the last 2 pitches to Peanut ledge and we settled in for our last night on the wall, psyched to top out the next day.
Clayton heading up towards Peanut ledge
Clayton heading up towards Peanut ledge
Credit: Spanky

Credit: Spanky

wide pitch above peanut
wide pitch above peanut
Credit: Spanky
In the morning I lead the wide pitch above Peanut. We had brought 3 4 camalots and 2 fives and if I did it again I would bring another 5 and one less 4. There was a big rivet mid pitch for some reason and the cams were solid. It was a little scary to only clip a couple pieces on the pitch but the cams were solid and I was always connected to both of them. Clayton led the last 2 to the summit and we were on top by around 3:00 p.m.
Clayton on pitch 15
Clayton on pitch 15
Credit: Spanky

almost there
almost there
Credit: Spanky

Clayton on Top!
Clayton on Top!
Credit: Spanky
We chugged a bunch of water and repacked for the descent. As we stumbled into the manure pile parking lot I was surprised to see a couple of Claytonís buddies with beers and food. We threw the bags into the bed of their truck and we were off. Looking bad the Zodiac was a rad route. Its super steep and clean and almost every pitch is classic. Iím also still amazed that I could do a route like that with someone I hadnít climbed and have everything go so smoothly. Once again Charlie Porter is a visionary and a badass and the Zodiac was a beautiful example of the kind of climber he is. We met up with Brian and Karsten a day or so later after they topped out and drank cobras and talked sh#t in the meadow and basked in the afterglow of a great time on the rock. It was funny, as physically destroyed as I was all I could think of was getting back on the wall for another go and I felt like the Zodiac was great preparation for what we saw on Mescalito last summer. It was really cool to be on the wall and have another party nearby. I had not experienced that before and it was inspiring to watch those guys going for it on a harder route. Iím definitely going to be back in the ditch again this June, havenít picked a route yet. Enjoy the pics and get psyched for 2013!!
Dan

  Trip Report Views: 1,036
Spanky
About the Author
Spanky is a social climber from boulder co.

Comments
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
  Jan 5, 2013 - 11:05pm PT
Very nice! TFPU.
skywalker

climber
  Jan 5, 2013 - 11:16pm PT
Thanks man!

Great TR. Loved the photos and commentary!

S...
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Jan 6, 2013 - 10:09am PT
Great psych!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
  Jan 6, 2013 - 10:22am PT
Thanks for sharing your pictures.
Prod

Trad climber
  Jan 6, 2013 - 10:35am PT
Sweet!

Prod.
moacman

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  Jan 6, 2013 - 10:47am PT
Nice job...Thanx for sharing....

Stevo
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jan 6, 2013 - 11:29am PT
Cool report man, lots of awesome photos!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jan 6, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
Great TR!

Glad you had fun on the Wild Side!

Thanks for the share.
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose and south lake tahoe, ca
  Jan 6, 2013 - 05:34pm PT
Rad! Keep the psych alive!!!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 6, 2013 - 06:46pm PT
Way to go Spanky!
Thanks!
Texplorer

Trad climber
Sacramento
  Jan 7, 2013 - 09:16pm PT
Here are a few more I took of you guys on that trip. Glad to hear you still psyched on the big stone!
Dan starts up pitch one.
Dan starts up pitch one.
Credit: Texplorer
Clayton on Zodiac.
Clayton on Zodiac.
Credit: Texplorer
Triumphant monkeys.
Triumphant monkeys.
Credit: Texplorer
Spanky

Social climber
boulder co
Author's Reply  Jan 9, 2013 - 12:26pm PT
Sweet Pics Karsten tfpu. I hadn't seen those before. It was really cool to have other climbers on the wall to watch and get psyched. How's your elbow doing after the NA? What's the next route for you?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  May 10, 2013 - 10:28pm PT
good timing, heading up soon. thx!
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
  May 11, 2013 - 12:13am PT
So Wild!
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El Capitan - Zodiac A2 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
1800' of fantastic climbing.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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