Sunday, September 23, 2018

An endurance climbing week.

(I wrote this August 2017 but didn't post until 9/2018)  .....


































Dudes have climbed some link-ups.  I desired to do something similar but different.  While I do have some first female ascents and female speed records, the media perceives these accomplishments differently.  They do.
So, I wanted to run around because I fucking love running around and because I kind of enjoy the meticulous nature of scheming and planning.  In 2015, I schemed a valley run around.  Inspired by many before me.  Bill Wright, Hans Florine, Chris Reveley, Harry Kent, Timmy O'Neil and Alex Honnold....to name a few, dudes.  

Summit of Washington Column
I asked a friend, she said yes.  She also became injured and tried to pull through....it wasn't worth it.  I begged Libby, she travels too much.  So I put it on the back burner.  I could find a dude to do it with, or find multiple partners but I really just wanted one female partner.  I asked a few but was hesitant.  This mission requires a level of boldness and competency.  Big walls shenanigans, efficient 5.10 climbing and confident 5.11 climbing.   In addition, you gotta hike efficiently with heavy packs after already big days in your week, and you have to laugh and be a bit strong headed....complaints are for later.
Great Roof!



I asked Josie Mckee.  She said yes.  

Alex Honnold and Dave Allfrey climbed 7 El Cap routes in 7 Days....a spin on this sounded fantastic!  The old Yosemite Big Wall book lists 8 BigWalls in the valley; El Capitan, Half Dome, Watkins, Lost Arrow, Leaning Tower, Liberty Cap, Ribbon Falls Wall and Washington Column.  Since I had planned this mission for May of 2015, when Lost Arrow is closed, I had my weeks worth, 7 walls.  When I mentioned it to Josie we both agreed that Ribbon Falls Wall, although fun, seemed a little out of the loop and I had always wanted climb Lost Arrow spire.  So we swapped the two and loosely made plans.   

I arrived to Yosemite Valley on October 2nd.  The weather was glorious, emotions we positive.  Josie and I didn't know each other very well, but have many mutual friends and a one outing in the mountains of Patagonia together.  I have struggled with partners in the past, and sometimes still do.  I am not the strongest of free climbers but I do consider myself to be lung oriented.  I almost would rather ski uphill and feel the iron blood taste in my mouth, then I would ski down hill, thighs burning.  I work in Rocky Mountain National Park in the summer months, ie, I run around at altitude all summer long.  I also have a pension for long-long days of movement.  I grew up swimming, running, biking, focusing on endurance and splits.  Climbing hard came second (which I have a growing fondness for).

Half Dome...diving board above
I digress.  I don't sit still, endurance sports are neat.  Running around the Valley sounded awesome.  Josie agreed and I believed she was a good match.  Some partners climb really hard but aren't as much into pushing their lungs.  Some are great at running around but don't have the big wall experience to swing around or confidence to cam hook, heel hook, into free moves.  Some like to suffer a little bit, then complain a lot a bit.   I like to giggle and snort but I also can be serious and lack confidence.  The perfect partner was someone who pushed me but allowed me to push them too.  You know those two teachers in school that were total contrast of one another?  One you just didn't connect to, despite their best efforts in praise or scolding or whatever it was.  Their delivery just didn't work.  Opposing, there was a teacher who you did connect with, pushed you, praised you and you were receptive.  Climbing partners work like that.  Mostly, to be honest.  I am a spaz and wish everyone would move faster hiking, on simul-climbing terrain (under 5.10) and at transitions.  They all wish I climbed harder and quit freeking out about our perceived pace.  

It was a fabulous adventure.  We were both tired on day 4, but I thrive sometimes in that perfect balance of tired but someone needs my support more then I need rest AND we have this awesome objective, so lets be supportive of one another!!  

By day 7 the rhythm was set.  I honestly felt I could have kept climbing.  Tired yes, but I wasn't maxed out.    Granted we joked about climbing the 8th big wall, Ribbon Falls, but opted to drink and hang with our friends by the campfire.  We hadn't hung out in a week.  We were so focused.  Climb.  Sort the rack, take care of personal hygiene (super important); soak feet and hands in river, shower, wash feet, wash face etc.  Then it was pack for the next day, drink a beer, make or eat dinner (the dudes were super helpful in this regard), go to bed, do it again.  



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