19 September 2011

Ups and downs

Category: Climbing

Will keep this short as my back killing me (carrying to much gear) plus my cup of tea is getting cold in the jetfoil (wish I’d brought a cup as having cuscus floating in your tea just
Isn’t nice).

Had a bad night as the tarp was flapping, so ended up having to get out of my sleeping bag to put it away (of course I only did having been kept awake for several hours trying to ignore it).

Today was my big day - hauling all my gear on the wall. Didn’t quite turn out like that.

Hauled gear to pitch 2 belay, then set off to climb the 5th pitch that would put me on a sheltered bivy (wall is super steep above). 

I’m thinking the topo was written by someone who ‘d never climbed the route, and so I spent all day climbing one bloody pitch (last ascent took 10 days and I can see why!). Ended up going off route (scary) and finally got into the right groove system (I discounted it as it looked two grim and loose (and it was).

Big scare of the day was getting onto an almost tipped out camalot 4 only for one side of the crack start prising off the wall. Lucky as soon as the cam opened up the flake stopped, and the cam held long enough for me to climb back down onto my last piece. I don’t think I’ve been that scared for a long time.

In the topo it says ‘lost’ which I was wondering about, until 60 metres later I ran out of rope five metres from the top. I’m guessing it means ‘long’.

I still had a lot f work to do, but timing was running out and didn’t want to bivy below pitch 5, so fixed the ropes and rapped back down to pitch 2 to lower my bag down (I doubt I thank myself for it in the morning).

Worse thing was when I got to pitch 2 I role played getting the bags down (2 rope lengths - meaning knot passing), then coming back and realised I’d left my bloody jumars at my high point in my tag bag.

Luckily for me I’ve learned never to be caught out with a rope climbing system, and I used two tiblocs - and went twice as fast to punish my stupid self.

And so I’m back in my usual haunt. Not sure if it’ll rain tomorrow, but I’m a 3rd there at least.


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Andy Kirkpatrick

Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.

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