Yosemite continues to amaze, as does the Prophet. Its climbing although often loose, is exceptional. It’s exposure is brilliant. It’s challenges are constant. From where I left off last time, Will and I decided to start climbing from the ground up, the way Leo had. The only difference between our attempts and Leo’s is that we have some idea of where we are going, we also know that someone (not an aid climber) has been there before, and succeeded, so the experience is quite a bit different, but no doubt exhilarating. We were on the wall by 7am on Tues, I lead the first two opening pitches of 5.12b, R. Then Will pushed past his high point on the 3rd pitch, 5.11d X, which if you’re in Eldorado, Colorado translates to very, very serious. After that, I had a 5.13a R pitch. I made it halfway until I hit the “marginal” belay. A large skinny flake with three knifeblades stuffed behind it and a mashy, all tied off and equalized. From here, under the blinding mid-afternoon sun, I literally had no idea which way to go, there were 3 options, all of them runout, and I was not about to cast off into an ocean of questionable possibilities (not to mention rock quality) with this so called “anchor” as my only gear. I am no longer 21, I am 31, and married. ha ha ha. I very happily retreated and will continue up another day, hopefully under less intense skies and cooler temps.
After one rest day we hiked back up to the top to try the A1 Beauty pitch. One of the best I have EVER seen. We each tried it twice and made some great progress. I reckon I’ll try leading it pretty soon. Will has an easier time at the beginning which is a burly fingery crack climbing boulder problem equal to a hard V8 in the buttermilks – and I seem to have an easier time with the ending, which is not as powerful but very sustained. I am feeling more and more confident with the ending section, so all’s I really have to do now is get ultra fierce with the opening sequence, I can do it, but it’s not easy. All in all, we are having a BLAST. The very last pitch is wicked hard as well, solid 5.13b R. We have yet to link that either. Tim Emmett came up one night to lift our spirits and pour us a drink of Jim Bean. It was sad to see him leave, but like everything Tim does, he always leaves with style.
Well, that’s all I have to report for now, progress on a rock this big is usually measured in tiny increments and we are enjoying every step along the way. All’s I can say is that we are climbing safely (relatively) and getting stronger every day. Happy Rocktober.
Uncle Willy on the east ledges.
Glorious half dome from Curry Village.
Base camp in the SKY.
Peeking through the bushes where the Prophet tops out.
A changing of the seasons, places and faces.
A splash of light.
Half Dome’s cheeky backside.
Rapping in on A1 Beauty Pitch pre-dawn.
A book, a dream and a therm-a-rest.