By Jim Herson
The Valley as viewed dangling upside down 20' below your partner and 2500' off the deck has an altogether different feel about it. To gain this prospective I simply zippered the last Headwall pitch landing with a full fall factor of two onto Derek's arm and leg. How Derek placed himself in harms way is a sad story involving an unseasonably cool weather forecast.
Other than a few blood sucking Texas energy brokers I have few rivals when it comes to monitoring California's weather forecasts. Thus when a cold front rolled through last week with an amazing forecast of 75 I was almost forced to break my partner-needs-a-pulse doctrine. Fortunately Derek did have a pulse although not much else after being bed ridden for the last four months, knocked out with a vicious bacterial infection which worked its way into pneumonia and a lung abscess. With a good 1-3/4 lungs and his doctor's blessing for 'moderate' exercise Derek and I headed to the Valley only three days too late to catch the precious cold front. How we were three days late is too painful to recall but it involved me finishing up "one or two" things at work. By the time we rolled into the Valley the forecast was a scorching 95.
We hauled a bag to pitch 16 [of the Salathe of course!] and rapped to the ground completely parched and depleted. Allow me to rant about just how awful it is to haul. Haulbag manufactures should be prosecuted into oblivion for marketing these instruments of torture! Anyway after a good rest, chow down, and a full night sleep(!!!) we headed up the Freeblast two hours late. Why we chose to miss the two coolest hours of the day is a mystery to us since the poached Salmon, eggs Benedict breakfast barely took an hour. Needless to say we arrived at the crux, P19, after it had been baking in full sun for two hours. Darn! We weren't excessively slow but the bag did slow us down. Did I mention that I hate hauling? There are five hard slab moves getting to P19: P3(11b), P5(11b?), P6(10c?), P13(11c), and P14(12a). Interestingly the actual difficulty of these five moves are a perfect inverse of their ratings? Back at P19 the sun had baked the granite into a lovely greased pig texture. But having hauled the bag up this high [hauling is so not fun] we had to give it a go. Plus I needed to try out the beta master's newest trick. Most, nay all, of you have long ago tuned out my whining, in this case whining about rope drag on P19. However Clint, a father of three, quickly realized the persistent nature of my whining and took proactive steps to shut me up. The problem was keeping the rope from getting wedged in the crack in the lower roof section. Clint suggested a BigBro at the lip so I pillaged Hal's Philistine era rack and came away with a 5" tube chock. The key to the tube chock is to bury it deep inside your pack so you're not caught using such a silly piece of gear. After fiddling with it while hanging off a slimy fest jam I finally got it placed and it did the trick. Thanks Clint! The rope ran smooth but I still squirted out of the upper section twice. In those conditions there was no reason to try again and so for the third time this season I was shutdown with a worthless "red circle".
As an aside I should mention that the hauling was very difficult and tiring.
All went well, except for the hauling, until the Headwall. Almost pulled the opening moves of the first headwall but not quite which was just as well since half way up we had a major rope snafu involving a frozen locker holding the rope loops. I clipped in while Derek untied and sorted out the mess. Felt OK on the 2nd Headwall moving slow but steady getting into the pod. And then, although I never saw it coming, my foot skated and three very loud, distinctive shotgun pops of gear ripping gave me a fairly good idea of what was going on as I sailed upside down past a very shaken Derek. Redpointing was then suspended for the day.
Program note: at the next reasonably cool forecast I will be frantically pacing the base of the Freeblast. I mention this for those of you who are worried that my dance card is filled. It's not. This isn't a problem but it would be a nice gesture if one of you were to give Pete-man the day off...
For Sale: one slightly used haul bag. Name your price -- I'll pay it!
Home / Trip Reports
From: Annie Yikes. Hope you are OK. maybe fishing would be a good change of pace. If Kara catches any fish, don't tell peter. he will be very jealous. maybe he could go with you???? -A.
From: Allen Hey Jim, Thanks for a painfully sunburned giggle. You should get rid of some of that junk on your rack and pick up some gear that stays stuck (see below). CCH Aliens Camming Devices Colorado Custom Hardware might not be a household name, but their flagship product, Aliens, has legions of thin-crack and aid-climbing supporters...
From: Sidney Jim, My resting pulse is 110, how about it? There's still 3 weeks left before Ian's sister is expected. Sidney
From: T Yikes Jim! Thank you for your thoughtfulness of taking Peter off your list of climbing partners. T.
From: Sam Hearse, awesome! i want to do el cap next year, i'll practice hauling. i'd be out there now, but the woman has made ohter plans: we're chasing the Tour de France by bike from Barcelona to Paris she's hoping for some magic in Paris Sam
From: Hal > Clint suggested a BigBro at the lip so I pillaged Hal's Philistine era > rack and came away with a 5" tube chock. Hi Jim, Your normally erudite trip report is less than precise in this case. The adjective Philistine implies a lack of or indifference to culture and aesthetic values whereas a collection of tube chocks indicates an owner with at least an open (empty?) mind. My hardware may be Paleolithic but it's not Philistine. Besides, I thought you borrowed a #4 tube chock. Hal
From: Clint Dear Jim, Thanks for another fun trip report! I'm glad to hear the tube chock from Hal's rack seemed to do the trick on the rope drag! Too bad about the heat, and cool that you gave P19 some hard tries anyway. Wild about zippering the 2nd Headwall pitch, too. >Did I mention that I hate hauling? Yes, you have been missing out on the hauling with all those speed ascents. I have always thought it would be fun to do a wall in a day so I wouldn't have to haul, but of course I don't have enough speed to make it (or the will to climb in the dark when I'm dog-tired). I guess the Hubers have all that time, and stash food/water along the route, so they don't have to haul on their "one push" ascent. >There are five hard slab >moves getting to P19: P3(11b), P5(11b?), P6(10c?), P13(11c), and >P14(12a). Interestingly the actual difficulty of these five moves are a >perfect inverse of their ratings? Fortunately, you are familiar with this situation from Mud Flats! Sincerely, Clint