Muir Wall A2 5.9

 
  • Currently 4.0/5
Search
Go

El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
the long journey up the Muir Wall, El Cap. Another long[er] TR.
Thursday February 17, 2011 5:09pm
[August 2010]

2 weeks later...

Back on the base of El Cap. It looms above me. The Shield Headwall looks like it is miles away. I don't want to lead today. My dad and William take care of most of the carrying and the first two pitches on Moby Dick. I am so tired... the Evolution Traverse was about the coolest thing I'd ever done, and also the most tiring, especially mentally. Because I'd wanted to do it for so long, and it came together so well, I fell in a sort of hole, that caused me to get scared while seconding the great white book.(my dad traded carrying 2 loads to the base of the Muir Wall for me following the thing).
It's strange how tired I was compared to my three partners on the traverse.

I jug to the big ledge, and lie down. I get a mildly uncomfortable feeling. It is high, and we are far from the ground.
William does the next pitch, and I can't see him belaying. He backcleans wildly on the C1, and as clean, I realize that nothing will be the way it was on Never Never Land.

The next day I fell a little better, and lead two of the three pitches to the sixth anchor, from where we fix to the ground.
William and the pigs on the 6th anchor
William and the pigs on the 6th anchor
Credit: freerider

We could've fixed to Heart too, but feel that it is not the best way to do it, especially considering the outstanding style of the first ascentionists. Of course, we can never come close to them, but fixing only our climbing rope and haul line seems like an acceptable compromise.

Since I am so tired, and William had only climbed 3 days in Smith Rock sine last year, we plan to go slow, and take lots of cookies, chips and some beer. We have really heavy bags for our standards and want to take 7 days. That way I would get some rest, and William could lead as much as he fancies.
Credit: freerider
We are both super excited to do a more camping-ish trip!

The next day, we jug up an haul. As I arrive to the 6th anchor, William has already finished the hauling. He does not do 2-1 or any tricks. I help hauling as a counterweight for the last 20 feet... He passed the knot and hauled quicker than I could jug. He's animal in a good way.
The climbing on the lower pitches is mostly easy, but awkward. The first mishap on the climb happens before we even start.
"Ben, are your climbing shoes on your harness"
"Nah, in the haulbag."
"umm... no..."
"Sh#t, Did you take yours?"
"Yeah, size 45"
So much for that idea...

I regret being so uncareful for the first time on pitch 8 or so, where the top says C2+ or 5.9+. I decide to go for the 5.9+, and am pretty challenged. I am wasting some power I could use higher up, but I am not thinking all too clearly it seems.
On the pitch to Heart Ledge, the absence of climbing shoes is a problem for the second time. My trashed approach shoes, combined with my mental crapness make the slab feel heart. I hope I went the wrong way.
getting to Mammoth
getting to Mammoth
Credit: freerider
After we get to Mammoth, I fix another pitch, and William moves the bags across Mammoth. We did some nice progress this day , but are very thirsty. The chips were a sh#t idea.
trying to get some shade... in vain.
trying to get some shade... in vain.
Credit: freerider

The temperatures today were 96. Tomorrow will be 102, then it will cool down to 98 and stay about there for the rest of the week. 96 already drained us, as the gallon of Gatorade we each had was too little. William doesn't want his beer because it dehydrates him, he says. It takes me about a minute to make the haulbag 2 Budweisers lighter. The canned fruit is what dreams are made of on Mammoth, and we wish we had brought some more.
Canned Peaches. mmmmmh
Canned Peaches. mmmmmh
Credit: freerider

William climbs the first pitch the next day. We slept a little longer, and with my dad's linking beta I quickly find myself stuck in the 5.8 flare getting to Gray Ledges. The sun is coming as I near the end of the flare, and with my last meter of rope I reach the anchor bolts, very beat up. Did I mention that I forgot my climbing shoes?

On Grey Ledges, we debate whether or not it is smart to take a rest until the sun hits us less hard, and continue later. Already a little bit affected by the summited fever, we decide not to. William climbs to the base of the first awesome dihedral of the route, and I climb the long pitch as quickly as I can. How amazing would it be to free that pitch?
Credit: freerider

With plenty of time left we decide to keep going. Just as I belay William huge rockfall occurs on the Nose. We have no clue what is going on. Our idea of bailing into the Triple direct, which we discussed while William did the bolt ladder is discussed to an end.

As it gets dark I finish the first more tricky pitch, to a not so nice bivy anchor. The climbers on the Nose scream a lot during the night. We do not understand them, as they don't speak english. Also we cannot see what's up with them exactly. Down in the meadows, the SAR guys ask them questions in circles because their responses probably don't make any sense. They announce to rap in in the morning. The next morning we decide to try to go quicker, and drink more. Especially get more fruit!
feeling good.
feeling good.
Credit: freerider
The only rest we take that day is to watch the incredible efficiency of the rescuers and helicopter crew. Good thing to know those guys know what they're doing. ;)
This day we climb the two hardest, and the one of the best free pitches I have ever seen. I almost lose my shoe on the 5.10 squeeze pitch, when it gets stuck as I move my foot up. I almost suffer a stroke, but slide down a few precious inches to get my shoe back. Whew.
The next pitch is so good that I will climb this route again just to free it instead of jugging it. It is an ultra clean, 1 inch splitter dihedral. Golden granit, and one good rest in the middle. Awesome.
The next pitch is pretty hard. I try to climb it clean and cam hook for a while after the penji, but my first piece other than a cam hoof pops and I land pretty close to William. I place 2 or 3 LA's (all we brought, dumb idea!) and it goes okay, until the heidious ropedrag makes the finish incredibly hard. I fix the rope, haul 10 feet, and fall asleep.
As William gets to the anchor I wake up and feel very sick. I say that I would rather take a rest, and resume climbing tomorrow. He offers leading the next pitch, which I really appreciate. We set up the ledges, and wait until the sun is almost gone. He then place micronut after micronut to a fixed black alien, and comes back to the anchor.
William on the scariest pitch of the route
William on the scariest pitch of the route
Credit: freerider
I says he'll get back up the next day to finish it. I don't know how well he sleeps. My ledge is set up really badly on the slab and wake up several times during the night because of the silverfish on my face and because I slide from the ledge...
The next day William finishes his lead, and I tackle the so called 2nd crux pitch, which is alright with some free climbing where the flakes are expanding and aiding would be hard. We climb two more pitches and bivy on the ledge at 26, with a pitch fixed.
I am tired of the portaledge and sleep on the small ledge. Williams ledge collapses... We really want to get to the summit, and down the next day. We set the alarm for 4 am... but unfortunately both alarms we have run out of batteries that night and I only wake up at 7.30 or so. We quickly jug, and then I start climbing as quickly as I still can. The extra water we now have is useful!
The dihedral is the most beautiful feature I have ever climbed.
Credit: freerider

Our quickest strategy is for me to wait after climbing, while William cleans the pitch, and rest and drink some water while he hauls, than keep going climbing. We fall onto the summit at 1.30pm. I can't remember being so relieved after a climb. We dance to exhaustion, haul the bags from 30, and reorganize our stuff. We eat our last tins of fruit... happiness!
30 seconds after summiting
30 seconds after summiting
Credit: freerider
On the descent I hurt my bag and I don't know what would have happened if William hadn't carried 3/4 of our crap down there... thanks man.
good bye shitbag!
good bye shitbag!
Credit: freerider
Credit: freerider

Psyched for the next one.






  Trip Report Views: 3,618
freerider
About the Author
Ben is climber from Luxembourg

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

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Feb 17, 2011 - 05:26pm PT
Awesome. You boys are bad to the bone. Well done. Proud suffering. Thanks for sharing.
Captain...or Skully

climber
  Feb 17, 2011 - 06:37pm PT
Right on. The Muir is a sweet line, huh?
TFPU. Good stuff.
Buju

Big Wall climber
the range of light
  Feb 17, 2011 - 09:15pm PT
What a summer! You boys kick mega ass!
Moof

Big Wall climber
Orygun
  Feb 17, 2011 - 10:09pm PT
Kickass!
freerider

climber
Author's Reply  Feb 18, 2011 - 01:09am PT
I don't know about kick ass. Kick ass were Chouinard and Herbert. I can not fathom what they must have experienced up there...

the first free ascent of the Muir Wall will also be quite kick ass, I reckon.

Thanks for the nice comments!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Feb 18, 2011 - 02:53pm PT
Good stuff, Freerider. So the sequence was wall, Evolution, wall? Damn.

I remember on the walk down the east ledges that I couldn't wait to throw away the sh#t bag, same as yours but yellow, which was stinking in the hot sun and generally saturating everything with its foulness. A couple of E Butt guys didn't even want to get near us, waited a good hour before coming down after us on the raps.

But once we got to the dumpster I started to think 'Well we could wash it, then it wouldn't be a waste of a perfectly good bag, and we'd save some cash...' My partner gave me one look as I stood there at the trash going back and forth in my mind, seemingly reading my thoughts, and I knew I had to chuck it. We'd driven up from the bay in his car.

Then I was on my way to the Merced to rinse off the wall grime and the smell, and the bag was forgotten. Your pic brought back the memory.

Being a sh#t bag is thankless work, then you're tossed :( / :)
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Feb 18, 2011 - 02:55pm PT
I hereby present you the ST Trip report writer of the year award.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Feb 18, 2011 - 03:12pm PT
soopa doopa!
this just in

climber
north fork
  Feb 18, 2011 - 03:17pm PT
Great story and photos, thanks.
freerider

climber
Author's Reply  Feb 18, 2011 - 04:45pm PT
Thanks for the nice comments. We did not think about washing the bag... it was unthinkable, I guess!
Me and Neil had a big sh#t issue on the Leaning Tower... maybe I will write a TR about that climb one of these days.
Jim, you should write a long Evolution Traverse TR!
TKeller

climber
  Feb 24, 2011 - 09:21am PT
excellent!
telemon01

Trad climber
Montana
  Feb 24, 2011 - 09:33am PT

bump for another great TR
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
  Feb 24, 2011 - 11:16am PT
Awesome TR and thanks for the photos -- those upper dihedrals are so beautiful. brings back good memories.

I accidentally dropped the sh*tbag from high up on the Muir. I swear it was an accident (normally clipped in with 2 lockers, this time one was already unclipped...OOOPS). Never found it at the base.

Brutus's "burrito" method for wall dumps, really helped contain the smell:
1. "dump" into ziplock, sprinkle with porta-potty dry chemical
2. burp out the extra air, roll up and double-ziploc bag
3. Stash "burrito" inside heavy-duty aluminum turkey-roasting bag, roll it shut. Aluminum foil blocks the stink better than any plastic.
4. stash inside a heavy-duty river bag with roll-top. Hang it beneath the pig*

* and good grief, lock both 'biners!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Feb 24, 2011 - 03:33pm PT
Man, I got thirsty just reading that! What time of year were you guys up there? How many nights on the wall, and how much water total did you bring? Cuz down low, one gallon per person per day in hot weather isn't enough. Those cans of fruit are the bomb on hot walls, but when the weather gets cool I find I don't even want to touch 'em.

Yes, a few extra LA's are handy up high on the Muir, for sure.

Nice job!
freerider

climber
Author's Reply  Feb 25, 2011 - 02:40am PT
that's some good beta to keep the stinking at bay!

PTPP, we spend 4 nights on the Wall, after fixing to P6, and didn't sleep on the summit.(bivied on p11,p18,p23,p26,walked down).
we planned to spend 6 nights on the wall, and sleep on the summit. I think we had approximately 56 l of water, which was a gallon per day per person, plus a beer a night ea.

we drank all of that during the 5 days we were up there.during the first 3 days we drank a gallon a day, then we went to "drink as much as you can" ;-). I think William didn't piss for 4 days or so after we came down... haha.

we up there in August, around the 25th. in the beginning of August it was pretty cool, around 83 or so.

survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Mar 23, 2011 - 10:29am PT
Well done gents!!
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Mar 23, 2011 - 10:46am PT
Excellent TR. Nice job. I was actually studying the ST topo of the Muir last night, but didn't come accross this until this morning. Now I need to try to keep my mind on work!

Thanks.

John
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 23, 2011 - 02:57pm PT
Way to Go Boys, very impressive in 100 degree heat!
freerider

climber
Author's Reply  Mar 25, 2011 - 09:53am PT
thanks..!
Neil Chelton

climber
Bouldering your girlfriend
  Mar 25, 2011 - 09:25pm PT
Great trip report Ben! If you write a TR about the leaning tower be sure to go into detail about the sh1t bottle explosion. Fully opening the back windows on the hitch-hike back up the valley was essential.

Psyched for Sunkist!

Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go
El Capitan - Muir Wall A2 5.9 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The Muir Wall is one of El Cap's greatest natural lines.
Photo: Tom Frost
Other Routes on El Capitan
El Capitan - The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
The Nose, 5.14a or 5.9 C2
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Nose—the best rock climb in the world!
El Capitan - Zodiac A2 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Zodiac, A2 5.7
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

1800' of fantastic climbing.
El Capitan - Salathe Wall 5.13b or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Salathe Wall, 5.13b or 5.9 C2
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The Salathé Wall ascends the most natural line up El Cap.
El Capitan - Lurking Fear C2F 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Lurking Fear, C2F 5.7
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Lurking Fear is route number 1.
El Capitan - East Buttress 5.10b - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
East Buttress, 5.10b
El Capitan
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

East Buttress with top of The Nose on left.
More routes on El Capitan