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Another **Big Announcement**
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Apr 21, 2003, 10:56 AM
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Registered: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4724

Another **Big Announcement**
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In the spirit of those who have flailed before me...

In order to add a level of commitment to my Yosemite plans in June, I've decide to make public my plans to solo Zodiac. I expect to be held to ridicule if I try to weasel my way out of it, or need to bail because of small-sack syndrome.

It has come together for me like this...I'm heading to Yos for 6/7 - 6/21. I'll have climbing partners the first week and we intend to do something on Washington Column. Hopefully the Prow; possibly S. Face depending on level of committment from my partner.

The second week, everyone has to head home except for one partner. I'd love to do a wall with him; we've climber together for 4 years, and he's at least as competent as I am on the wall. Problem is, he refuses to do El Cap. Won't do it. No way he's going to hang out on a wall with me for more than two days. I understand. I can barely hang out with me on a wall for more than two days. But this is the year I'm going to get up El Cap. I've pissed around on smaller walls and "practice" aid climbs for nearly two years. I'm ready to push my comfort level, and a trip up the big stone is definitely in my reach. So, I got a little pissed about this a couple of months ago and started muttering some threats about, "well F it, I'm just going to solo the damn thing..." So just for the heck of it, I went out to a local crag, dragged all my aid crap out there (including my ledge), and worked out the systems. Know what? I had an absolute BLAST! Solo aiding is the most fun I have EVER had climbing. Since then, I've bumped up the difficulty each time, and last weekend I schleped 115 lbs. of gear up the hill in Sedona to Courthouse Butte to solo a route. I didn't top out, but DAMN I learned a lot (including a hook traverse). And I had an incredible time. Except for the hike in and out (ooouch).

I have all the gear I could possibly need. I've lead and cleaned several roofs and traverses (cleaned the exit pitch on Wet Denim Daydream last year -- WOW). I'm still climbing slow, but am getting faster with every pitch I solo. It's time. The more I've thought about it, the more excited I get. The thought of experiencing my first time on top of El Cap as the result of a successful solo of Zodiac nearly gives me wood. I can't think of anything that would be more gratifying at this point in my climbing experience. So it's time to step to the plate and take a shot. I have three major climbing trips planned between now and then that will be a good measuring stick of my progress on the road to Zodiac (including plans for Space Shot in Zion), so we'll see how it goes.

I must say, without the input from others in this forum about aid systems, solo aiding, and TRs from gumbies like myself who have battled through their own demons to successfully reach a summit, I wouldn't be nearly as ready. I've fumbled through my share of CFs while aiding, but you guys have very much shortened my learning curve by passing along your experience -- at times in painstaking detail -- so that others don't have to go up there and re-invent the damn wheel. I'm very grateful to all of you who contribute in this forum. Thanks for your insight.



Apr 21, 2003, 11:06 AM
Post #2 of 2 (936 views)

Registered: Jul 18, 2002
Posts: 3984

Re: Another **Big Announcement** [In reply to]
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VERY COOL ED! Gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. Good luck to you.

Forums : Climbing Disciplines : Big Wall and Aid Climbing


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