Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NIAD Trip Report

Jes' and her shadow.  Pitch 13--Tom Evans Photo
"Oh, you want to hear something with beats?" Bill Wright says to me as he fiddles with the car stereo. Four twenty seven on Sunday, June 10th, Jes and I were carpooling all of 500 yards---from the Manure Pile pull out to El Capitan Meadow with Bill Wright and Hans Florine.  After climbing the Nose and descending the East Ledges we new we would be pretty excited to have an extra car stashed --shortening our hike.

Roughly 10 hours and 19 minutes later, "I got the moves like Jagger" floated-- fully orchestrated-- back into my head as I clipped up the bolt ladder on the last pitch of the Nose.  "Yes, yes I do" I thought, as I stomped on a bolt for a foot hold.  Aid climbing!!

Jes reached the top anchors minutes after me.  Simultaneous with her finish and clicking stop on the timer, she was handed a Murphy's Stout.  Strange order of events.
Swollen Fingers

Instead of yelling on and off belay, we often yell this phrase.  

Piton Pete, a valley legend, cracked and passed one in our direction.  He, his partner, and another gal from Joshua tree (whose 2 partners were still down below) were all at the last anchor of the Nose.  The giant gong show included but was not limited to; 2 strewn single portaledges--both fully inflated, 5 ropes all in full use, wafts and visuals of well traveled poop bags, and a lottery winnings worth of climbing hardware.   It was like a where's waldo game of climbing paraphernalia.

Tom Evans Photo, Quinn leading above Eagle Ledge
Aside from the over populated top pitch, the climbing day went pretty much without a hitch.  I started climbing slowly, reaching the top of the first pitch in 18 minutes.  I gradually increased my pace, finding a nice solid rhythm and reached Dolt Tower (top of Pitch 11) in 2 hours 40 minutes.  Jes and I switched leads here.  She took off up to El Cap Tower.  We simul-climbed up through the bolt ladder and the Boot Flake.  A party of 3 young men from Michigan let us pass, seeing us coming from a few pitches off.  Thanks boys!
Jes stuck the King Swing first try, pulled me over with our short tag line and I took over the lead again off of Eagle Ledge.  The last time we were here on a practice run Piton Pete was living on Eagle Ledge.  We had to crawl through his nest after the King Swing.  He even offered and made Jes coffee!

Eagle Ledge on first go around, Jes finishing the King Swing
At Camp 4, Jes and I swapped leads once more.  She approached the Great Roof quickly, as well as another party of two.

These gentleman were awesome, full of enthusiasm given their previous epic evening.  They didn't sleep much, having to work well into the night trying to free their haul bag, it snagged somewhere along the grey bands.  Dave, from Colorado, was hollering with excitement the whole time Jes and I approached and passed!  Thanks guys!

From there Jes and I just kept plugging and chugging.  Somewhere around Camp V I realized that if we were off in less than 3 hours we would break the record.  Somehow we had cut 4 hours off our previous attempt and were still feeling strong.

Last pitch madness.  
"Lets GO!" I hollered at Jes, "we can do this!"  We traded leads for one last time at the base of pitch 27.  I free climbed the bottom section of the Changing Corners, short-cut up the bolt ladder and crack jummared my way up to the last pitch.

 I arrived to find the other 2 Joshua Tree girls (Bernadette, Mitzi, and Beth are their names), at the anchor starting the last pitch.  "Do you mind if we pass?" I gasped.  Jes and I had passed the girls on Sickle Ledge days before on our first run on Wednesday and they were quite friendly.  This time I was met with a few F-bombs--- directed mostly at their predicament, not entirely me.

The Nose essentially follows the sun/shade line
Apparently, the girls had been chilling at 'the wild stance' for 2 hours, waiting for Piton Pete and his cluster to get out of the way.  I explained that we were really close to breaking the record, I wouldn't be a bother...its a bolt ladder easy to work around, and I don't leave anything behind really anyway.  I looked at my watch to make sure it was worth it.  It was 3:09, we started climbing at 5:22.  We were close.  We chatted for a few more minutes, waited for their leader to get a little further along, and then I made my moves, like Jagger.

Sorry, no leather pants!  

1 comment:

Chris & Heather Bechard said...

An adventure beyond the realm of mere mortals. Thanks for sharing, Queens of the Vertical World....

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