Now Playing Tracks

Half Dome: Regular NW Face Part II

 image

Regular Northwest Face (8,842’)
Grade VI, 5.9 C1
1,800 feet, 23 pitches
August 31-September 1, 2012

(Did you read Part I?)


The pins and needles of numbness in my left leg pulled me from sleep in the middle of the night. I was wedged between rocks on three sides and a person on the other. I pushed myself up to a sitting position, stretched my legs and turned my headlamp on, but the feeble beam of light did nothing. Stars punctuated the sky above and an infinite blackness stretched out below. For a moment it felt like the world had fallen away while we slept and we clung to the crumbling edge. “What am I doing up here?” I thought.

Read More

Half Dome: Regular NW Face Part I

image

Regular Northwest Face (8,842’)
Grade VI, 5.9 C1
1,800 feet, 23 pitches
August 31-September 1, 2012

"You’re getting passed!" Joe yelled down to me.

Thirty feet up a steep cliff, I clung to a fixed line for dear life. With no harness to catch me and a forty-pound pack threatening to topple me over, I hesitated to break my death-grip on the rope. I glanced up the remaining fifteen feet and clearly saw the frayed rope above; my lifeline had a core shot and someone wanted to pass.  

Read More

Third Pillar of Dana

image

Regular Route (11,500’)
Grade III 5.10b
600 feet, 5 pitches
August 20th, 2012

I ran fast, picking out patches of alpine meadow between the boulders, quickly adjusting my stride to avoid obstacles and tiny heather flowers. With adrenaline, my pack became light, my legs energized, my breathing deep and even. The sky ahead slowly evolved from yellow streaks to a soft pink glow, which the boulders reflected. As I ran, I recalled all the reasons I love climbing: the excitement, the freedom, the beautiful sights few eyes get to see. I felt strong, agile, confident that I’m doing the right thing and fully at peace with the world.

Read More

Fairview Dome

image

Regular Route, North Face (9,731’)
Grade III 5.9
900 feet, 12 pitches
August 19th, 2012

"Do you think we have time?"

Joe and I were driving up to Tuolumne from the Valley and were stuck behind a slow car. I’d asked him the same question three times already.

"I don’t know, but we should just commit to it."

He was right. I didn’t want to see all our weekend climbing plans disintegrate. We should just commit.

Read More

Solo fun

image

"What are you doing?"

"I’m aiding."

Sigh. I came to the gym late, after a long day. I lugged a ton of gear all the way over here, then spent a few minutes setting it all up. It’s crowded, hot, and almost all the ropes are taken. People are standing around, cheering each other on, sharing beta. I’m hanging at the second bolt off my daisy chain, and I just realized I forgot my fifi hook. Getting past this bulge has proven harder than it was six months ago. I’ve pulled myself up to reach the next bolt three times, each time a few inches short. Without the fifi, each time I need to descend five feet to rest.

Now this guy is bugging me, asking what I’m doing. What am I doing? Flailing on this route? Tying up a rope in a crowded gym? Demonstrating the wrong way to aid climb?

Read More

Return to Index

Index Town Walls
Godzilla, 5.9, 100’
July 5th, 2012


Godzilla is infamous. Tall, intimidating, a worthy opponent. Years ago I bragged about it to friends in the gym after I had followed it; now I stood below it wanting to lead it. It’s an Index sandbag: the first placement is super high, the route is long, the flake is overhung. Standing beneath it, I try to squash vague memories of an unprotected mantel. But I’m a different climber now, stronger, more confident, faster on the draw with my gear. And I have a bigger rack. I argue with myself, recalling red points at higher ratings, telling myself the route is now within my ability. Still the memory looms like a ferocious monster. Can I reduce it to something more like a fuzzy stuffed dinosaur? “Let’s come back to this one” I say to Kevin.

Read More

We make Tumblr themes