Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nose Job!

"The Nose is one of the original technical climbing routes up El Capitan. Once considered impossible to climb,[1] El Capitan is now the standard for big-wall climbing. It is recognized in the historic climbing text Fifty Classic Climbs of North America and considered a classic around the world.[2]
"El Cap" has two main faces, the Southwest (on the left when looking directly at the wall) and the Southeast. Between the two faces juts a massive prow. While today there are numerous established routes on both faces, the most popular and historically famous route is The Nose, which follows the massive prow."

A note to non-climbers.
If you are not familiar with El Cap, here's some info that may help put it into perspective.  El Capitan is a huge granite wall in Yosemite Valley, 3000 ft tall, and it takes an average team of climbers about 4 days to ascend.  Climbing it in 'fast and light' style (in a day or less), requires less gear and logistics, and is becoming more and more popular- as are speed climbing records!  However, it also takes a completely different skill set and usually a lot of training.  Our intended route, The Nose, is 31 pitches (~31--100 foot rope lengths) and is the most popular big wall climb in the world.  Breaking a speed climbing record on a wall like this is akin to competing at Ironman Hawaii or the Tour de France.
Map of the Nose, in part....its over 30 pitches

My partner in climb, Jes Meires and I have about 2 weeks in Yosemite Valley to rehearse and attempt this feat.  (A link to Tom Evans webpage with daily reports on the happenings is belos.... scroll through a bit and weed out with your eyes until you see mention of "The Nose"  Usually mid-way down after Zodiac and Mescalito happenings.)
The Nose is packed right now, regular ol' turnpike of climbers, haul bags, NIAD attempts etc.  (NIAD= Nose In A Day).    
Our home off all the wall

Tom usually includes photos and a little bit a words about who's climbing and where.

Jes and I ran to the Stovelegs today, fresh out of our 20 hour drive from Colorado.  Both of us made it to Sickle ledge (top of Pitch 4) in about 1:30.  Need to cut this time to under an hour ...an hour is okay, but under better.  (that is 1/10 of the way through time-wise). 

Heading into the Stovelegs

I had a mess up with the rope on Pitch 3, and a mess up with the climbing as well.  I went left off the anchor instead of right.  Ops.  

Tomorrow I will fix that problem.  

Overall, I felt pretty good.  Some spots went really smoothly, like starting pitch 2.  Ending pitch 2 I felt a little out of gear and slow.  Grabbed my gear back from Jes middle of Pitch 3, after the mess up and began moving more quickly. 
Rappelling ~ 

Jes had a little struggle with wind and following the traverse nearing the top of Pitch 4. 

Pitches 5-8 have some pendulums but great free climbing that I think I can move quickly through, pending Jes following with a tagline and lower-outs.  Pitch 8-11 will also be mine.  A gradually widening hand crack.  Should also go fairly quickly, free climbing and crack jummaring.  (placing a piece of protection and just pulling on it instead of a naturally granite hold).  
I think Jes will take over on pitch 12 through the Great Roof...pending me taking the Boot Flake and King swing for a minute.  
I will take over perhaps 22-?  Maybe to the top?  

We will rehearse the bottom again tomorrow and fix some ropes, intending to jug them and stay to work out the King Swing area thursday, friday and saturday.  Friday's forecast is 90 degrees.  YIKES!  No shade up there!  I have been hesitant to write about this endeavor, failure, skills, doubts and all.  10 hours or less is our goal for this climb.  

Doubts aside, we are in Yosemite, and committed that our attempt on El Cap stand for something bigger than ourselves.  We have partnered with SOS Outreach International, a non-profit based in Avon, CO, that empowers youth through outdoor education and adventure. 

To find out more about SOS, visit www.sosoutreach.org.  By fundraising for this organization, we are making a difference with youth worldwide, regardless of the outcome of our efforts.  In conjunction with that, we are also interested in transforming how rock climbers relate to their objectives.  

My last 'kid' trip in March-- Kain Gultch, Utah.  
Climbing is an inherently selfish sport, and we hope to inspire others who are pushing the limits of the sport to generate fundraising efforts and make their ascents count towards local or global progression, whether it be social, environmental, or educational.  If you have already donated, we send you MANY THANKS! and we hope you follow our journey.
We would love your support in raising money for SOS Outreach.  Our website provides an easy way to donate, and allows us to post pictures and stories from our trip to follow if you wish.  We will be there from May 29 to June 13, spending lots of time on the wall rehearsing pitches and strategy.  On the site there is also an option to donate to us directly to help fund our trip (gas money and LOTS of gear).  If you choose to donate to us directly, please consider a matching donation to SOS Outreach.  

You can visit http://climbforacause.webs.com/, click on Donate Now on the right! 

If it does not work for you to donate money right now, we request that you keep us in your thoughts and send some good climbing juju!
The fundraising campaign will run from now until June 13 when we leave the Valley after our climb.  Of course, every dollar helps, but here are some more creative ideas for donating:
- donate $1 for every pitch on The Nose (31)
- pledge to donate a penny, $.50, or $1 for every pitch we climb while in the Valley (estimated at about 150- we'll keep a log!)
- donate x amount for each climbing party we pass while speed climbing (lots) 
We cannot thank you enough for your support of this objective!!  We are excited and nervous and confident and empowered, and glad to be about to share all of that with the amazing people in our lives.  Please pass this on to anyone you know who might be interested.  THANK YOU!!
~Jes Meiris and Quinn Brett

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Colorado Climbing

Otto's Route climbs the back side to the summit!  
Prairie and I atop the spire!

It is 7 days before my big adventure in California.  While I look forward to another trip home to Yosemite Valley, I am also slightly anxious. 

I know I am fit and can move for 15-20 hours at a time, doubts fill my head.  Did I train enough?  Am I strong enough?  I am even capable of pulling this off?

Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold's recent adventures in Yosemite compounds this doubts, I feel more sheepish and under-prepared.  WOW, they are in shape.     

Prairie Kearney cleaning and climbing in Unaweep!
I recognize that I am not at their level, not even close.  I just love the spirit of their adventure.  I admire their fitness, mental strengths, and positive attitude towards it all.  

They inspire me to try harder, think more positive, and be nice!  

Thanks guys.   

Jes Meires and I on stopping for a breather on the first flatiron.  
Jes doing a little jugging in Eldo!
I am another Trango athlete who joined the P90X video club during my month long stint at the North Cascades Institute in January during my Wilderness EMT.  It was a decent workout given the limited time for training.  Also a little nicer then running through sleet.   A decent substitute although I do prefer Colorado's sunshine, access and elevation a bit more for training.

West Face of Bastille on Easter!
Since my return to Colorado, I have been fortunate enough to train in multiple climbing locations, with some rad new gear alongside a few of my favorite people.  Red Rocks, always a favorite.  Zion, I leave unfulfilled every time!  Lumpy, second pitch of Whiteman is my new favorite.  Eldorado, never not enough.  Monument, wildly impressed---Medicine Man is on my list.   Unaweep, magnificent canyon but a little dirty---cross between Lumpy and Boulder Canyon.   Boulder Canyon, don't climb here enough.     .....gear review to follow shortly.  

Along the way I have done bazillions of pull-ups, climbed, fallen, and jugged.   Yesterday was King Swing "practice" day....I joked all day.   justify leaping into a corridor full of jagged rocks!  Hey, I jugged the line a few times too!!   (funny little video I compiled).