Trip Report
Zodiac with Chris Mac
Tuesday June 4, 2013 12:22am
First trip report, so here goes nothing. A while ago I bid enough to win a day of climbing with Chris McNamara. This was an incredibly exciting prospect, as I was just crawling out of a long hiatus from the "big stuff". My friends told me I should have him take me up Royal Arches, bivying half way up, wisely I ignored them and we chose Zodiac. A few months and phone calls later, and we were racking gear at the pullout.
We hoped that we would only have Joe the soloist to pass around the 6th pitch; but as we hiked up we found Scott and Cruz on the first pitch. They graciously allowed us to pass on the alternate route, "so long as we moved like ninjas". We had our marching orders. Before I knew it Chris had linked the first 2 pitches and we were off and running.
enjoying the exposure
enjoying the exposure
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Most of the day is kind of a blur to me, so I'll let the pics and videos talk for a bit.

Credit: Tom Evans
Chris heading up the Black Tower.
Chris heading up the Black Tower.
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Joe letting us pass. One day I might be man enough to solo. Until then...
Joe letting us pass. One day I might be man enough to solo. Until then I can at least admire the intestinal fortitude it takes in others...thanks again Joe.
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Me jugging to the top of 8 on Joe's fixed line. Starting to really enj...
Me jugging to the top of 8 on Joe's fixed line. Starting to really enjoy the exposure.
Credit: yo-so-mighty

This is where the climb got a lot more fun and exciting for me. We were far enough ahead of everybody to where Chris felt comfortable letting me lead for awhile. It felt great to know that Chris was confident enough to let me at the most exposed pitch on the route; and I blasted off with a sh%$#-eating grin on my face...only to turn around and see him setting up the porta ledge. Thanks. I know that speed records were not going to be broken, but I'm sure there was a more subtle way of expressing that :)
I gotta say, it felt pretty good to cruise past pin scars with only cam hooks and the occasional small alien. Not bad for a once every 2 month climber. The pitch had no fixed gear, and even though I had discussed this with Chris before I led out, there was a small moment of panic as I looked back to protection I had placed every 12-15 feet. After checking with him a second time, I remembered The Girdle Traverse, and promptly shut up.

He's either happy for me, or happy he didn't have to lead it, (I t...
He's either happy for me, or happy he didn't have to lead it, (I think the former)
Credit: yo-so-mighty
I don't remember too much about the Mask of Zorro Pitch, other than it was very steep.
Credit: yo-so-mighty
we stopped for the night under the Devils Brow.
we stopped for the night under the Devils Brow.
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Chris set up the ledge about 7:30, and I was thinking "great, this is where I get to tell him of all my past exploits, and future aspirations", you know that oh so cool big wall bonding. Nope! He ate a bagel, commented on how tasty it was, and passed out. When you think about it, thats probably how it should be. The last time I was on the Big Stone was 20 years ago when my climbing partner and I did the Nose in a epic 4 day battle. The last time for Chris was 4 days previous (Lurking Fear). What was a relative sleepless night spent trying to grasp the enormity of my situation, was just another day in the office for ol superman. He didn't even eat my Mariposa pizza that I so carefully packed.
Shout out to Runout Customs- beautiful ledge!
Shout out to Runout Customs- beautiful ledge!
Credit: yo-so-mighty

Chris leading the wide pitch. Notice how far he backcleaned. We had 2-...
Chris leading the wide pitch. Notice how far he backcleaned. We had 2-#4's, and 2-#5's. Don't scrimp on the big stuff boys and girls. You will be happy you had them.
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Credit: Tom Evans
I'm smelling the top by this point. Getting ready for a lower-out on t...
I'm smelling the top by this point. Getting ready for a lower-out on the second to last pitch.
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Leading the last pitch.
Leading the last pitch.
Credit: Tom Evans
One of the great things about this climb was knowing that I had a support crew cheering us on from the meadow. My very nervous but excited wife, my twin boys, and my mother who drove from Vegas to watch.
well, at least one boy is interested.
well, at least one boy is interested.
Credit: yo-so-mighty

Beautiful topout at 1:30, 18.5 hrs of climbing. I know I know, I climb...
Beautiful topout at 1:30, 18.5 hrs of climbing. I know I know, I climbed it with Chris McNamara; but I'm still damn proud ;)
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Credit: Tom Evans
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Credit: yo-so-mighty
What an incredible feeling to have my family meet us as we painfully trudged into Manure Pile. My beautiful wife even had a couple of cold beers for us. Chris had some family obligations and had to get out of the Valley pretty quick; but made enough time for the obligatory meadow shot.
A very proud moment
A very proud moment
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Me with my happy, relieved support crew.
Me with my happy, relieved support crew.
Credit: yo-so-mighty
Some final thoughts. Thanks to Tom Evans for all the great pics. Again my sincere apologies for my horrible choice in colors. I will try to do better next time. Sir, yes Sir!!
A final thanks to Chris, who by the wording of the auction, only had to spend 1 day climbing with me but graciously agreed to 2. I would say that this was a once in a lifetime adventure; but I hope there will be many more.

  Trip Report Views: 2,222
yo-so-mighty
About the Author
yo-so-mighty is a big wall climber from salinas, ca.

Comments
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Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 4, 2013 - 12:40am PT
How cool is that to have 1 day of climbing with Chris turn into an ascent of Zodiac! That's just awesome! Congrats!
philo

Trad climber
Is that the light at the end of the tunnel or a tr
  Jun 4, 2013 - 12:45am PT
Wah Hoo good on ya! Looks like a great trip.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jun 4, 2013 - 01:26am PT
Now that's killer!
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jun 4, 2013 - 01:44am PT
So Cool!

Man, The Mac Is BACK!
Fluoride

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA/Joshua Tree
  Jun 4, 2013 - 03:57am PT
Very awesome TR! Thanks for sharing. Read in Tom's report about CMac taking a raffle winner up there....nice to see the backstory.

I'm sure Chris was far happier with your choice of Zodiac than Royal Arches! Great job.
tahoe523

Trad climber
Station Wagon, USA
  Jun 4, 2013 - 11:12am PT
Awesome! You had me giggling. Thanks for sharing and ultimately, for donating funds toward making routes safer.
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jun 4, 2013 - 12:10pm PT
That's cool you got to lead what is the best part of the route. Congrats.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jun 4, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
Awesome. Proud route, proud send. Supercool. Thanks for sharing the journey.

Scott
Joe Shultz

Gym climber
Pennsylvania
  Jun 4, 2013 - 06:26pm PT
Nice write up Caleb. Pleasure meeting the two of you up there. I agree with what you said about pitch 14. I also only had 2x#4s, a #5, and big bro... needless to say that part of the climb was pant filling.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Jun 4, 2013 - 06:40pm PT
Yo DOOOD!
That's taking life by the horns.
well done!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 4, 2013 - 06:51pm PT
hate that top out block. It's just sitting there. I think it can be avoided, IIRC, when I saw Didder top it.


TFPU
Johnny K.

climber
  Jun 4, 2013 - 06:54pm PT
Awesome,fun stuff,thanks!
Norton

Social climber
quitcherbellyachin
  Jun 4, 2013 - 07:11pm PT
great report

I am jealous, well done!
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
  Jun 4, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
Way to step up and carry CMac through the tough stuff... Pretty clear that guy is weak sauce..... ;)
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Jun 4, 2013 - 08:12pm PT
Congrats Yo So, way to send.

lars
David Nelson

climber
San Francisco
  Jun 4, 2013 - 11:12pm PT
Chris is a great guy and you were lucky to spend time with him. 11 years ago he was kind enough to spend a couple of days with me at a local crag and the gym, tuning me up for a climb with Ken Yeager on the Nose. I will always remember his kindness teaching an old climber some tricks (Friends had it even been invented the last time I did a big wall, and at that time my rack included 4" and 6" bongs.) thanks, Chris!
Rudder

Trad climber
Costa Mesa, CA
  Jun 5, 2013 - 01:11am PT
Sounds like a blast! Does Chris guide normally, or just for the fund raiser?
yo-so-mighty

Big Wall climber
salinas, ca
Author's Reply  Jun 5, 2013 - 11:32am PT
Rudder,
I can't speak for Chris; but I don't think he guides, unless its for his charity auctions.
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Jun 5, 2013 - 12:24pm PT
Nice to be on the rope when there is a Chris mac attack!
msiddens

Trad climber
  Jun 5, 2013 - 04:24pm PT
MAN, what a GREAT way to spend the day. Good company, good views, good climbing!
Clinkjon

Trad climber
,CorralitosCA
  Jun 5, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
Congrats! Amazing that you made it considering you hardly climb. Who knew scratching your ass all day at work could develope such strength and stamina. now set aside time to drag me up crescent arch.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Jun 5, 2013 - 10:12pm PT
Nice work, and thank you for sending the steepest pitches. It was pretty cool to see the whole family when we got back down. Great support crew and reminded me of when my parents met me at the bottom of Zodiac 18 years before.
yo-so-mighty

Big Wall climber
salinas, ca
Author's Reply  Jun 5, 2013 - 10:32pm PT
Thanks again Chris. I still think we should have pushed on and done the first 1 day ascent with a pig ;) By the way, what route did you just do?
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  Jun 5, 2013 - 10:51pm PT
Thank you for posting!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Jun 5, 2013 - 11:00pm PT
Cool pics! Wonderful!!

But climbing and helmet cams don't mix. I got dizzy and threw up all over my new keyboard.
Jeremy Hadland

Trad climber
aptos
  Jun 8, 2013 - 11:40am PT
I still think bivying on Arches on a portaledge and not letting anyone pass for 2 days would have been far more memorable and epic!! No, seriously good job on Zodiac and great TR also.
eKat

Trad climber
  Nov 11, 2013 - 08:08pm PT
BBST!
10b4me

climber
  Mar 12, 2014 - 03:46pm PT
bump
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Mar 12, 2014 - 04:15pm PT
"BBST?" Clue me in, please....I'm still at TPFU.
Good TR, anyway.
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