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choosing our first big wall in the cap
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pedrospain


Aug 14, 2003, 9:20 AM
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choosing our first big wall in the cap
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Hello!!
We are two modest climbers of Spain. Early september we are going to climb in yosemite and we are very interested in climb the big stone.
The problem is what route to climb.

A spanish friend recomend us climb lurking fear first and after, do the nose route. ¿what do you think about this, guys?

¿Is really the triple direct a good alternative to the nose or there is a lot of crowds, too?

We have only 2 weeks to stay in Yosemite and we are a bit worried about this, becouse we don´t now if 2 weeks will be enough time for climb a route of the cap(including the training/aclimatation time).

I would like to read your advices
Thank you in advance


passthepitonspete


Aug 14, 2003, 9:30 AM
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Re: choosing our first big wall in the cap [In reply to]
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Buenas dias, amigo!

[Did I say that right? How do you make them thar upside-down question mark thingies]

YES! You can get up El Cap in two weeks on your first visit.

I will be arriving around Sept 15, and if you're still there, I can offer you big wall tips, show you systems and stuff.

Before I recommend some strategies for you guys, would you be so kind as to tell me a bit about your climbing experience?
Have you visited Yosemite before?
Have you aid climbed before?
Do you have a portaledge - enough for everyone?
What level do you free climb [please tell me in the Yosemite Decimal System - 5.10a or whatever - I'm a little slow here in the morning and can't do the Euro conversion]
Do you have aid climbing equipment, and know how to use it?
What other aid have you done?
Would you consider something shorter as a warmup?

Fill me in, amigo. I'm all ears.

I am a modest climber from Oakville


epic_ed


Aug 14, 2003, 9:37 AM
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Re: choosing our first big wall in the cap [In reply to]
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What you attempt to climb will very much depend on how much experience you have at doing aid routes, and how strong of a free climber you are.

Have you been aid climbing enough that you have the basic systems well-honed? Or have you just been reading about it and want to give it a shot? If you're coming to Yosemite to get on your first practice aid climbs, then there are several spots around that Valley that will give you some excellent experience, but you would be insane to get on El Cap to try anything. If you have some multi-pitch aid experience in the bag, and are comfortable leading 5.10 crack climbs, then two weeks will be plenty to give the Nose a shot. But there are other variables involved. Even if you have some solid aid experience, have you ever hauled a heavy load? Have you aided any traversing stuff, or a roof? Have you learned how to do a pendulum? How many days in a row have you climbed before? Be prepared for 3 - 5 days of non-stop suffering if this is your first time doing a grade VI climb. That alone is enough to think long and hard about your aspirations versus your capabilities.

Can you just pop into the Valley and expect to climb El Cap? People do it. Many I'm sure with less experience than you. But that's the exception to the rule. Most people with "modest" climbing ability and limited aid experience crap their pants just sitting in the meadow looking up at El Cap for the first time. I certainly did.

If you're uncertain about your abilities and experience, I'd recommed trying one of the shorter grade IV walls in the Valley first. Try getting on the West Face of Leaning Tower, or hop on the South Face of Washington Column. Both of those routes can be done in 2 - 3 days max. If you do well on those and had a good time, you'll still have plenty of time to head over to look at a route on El Cap.

Good luck, and have a great time!

Ed


lambone


Aug 14, 2003, 9:50 PM
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Re: choosing our first big wall in the cap [In reply to]
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Tripple Direct is fun.

It was my first captain route, and I liked it. The aid is very straight forward, and the exposure gradually increases...

...so by the time you get scared by the steepness, bailing seems much scaryier than going up.

As far as crowds, I think it is hit or miss, depending on the season and the number of climbers on El Cap.

Since you have 2 weeks, doing a grade V warm up would be a smart plan, and give yourself some rest days, and extra days on either end.

Good Luck! Keep it clean please!


pedrospain


Aug 15, 2003, 2:32 AM
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BUENOS DÍAS AMIGOS....
is a good spanish expresión... Your spanish are improving, PETE...

I give you some information about our climbing experience before you could advice us abour our first route in the cap (or Yosemite)

We have about 8 years of experience in trad climbing. We can climb 400 mts routes of 5.10 in a day.

We can climb comfortable 5.9 in cracks (no o.w.)

In aid climbing we are a bit news, but after these year we can do with security A2+ or C2+ (Mcnamara scale) (perhaps a bit slow, our current grade could be A2 or C2)

We have been traning big wall technics all these year (hauling, pendulums.etc) For two times we climb routes including a bivouac.

We don´t have portaledge ¿is necesary useful for the routes I tell you in my first post?

PETE, We return to Spain in 15 of September. We are a bit sad for no meet you. I think your postes are very interesting for learning new things about aid climbing. Here in Spain, most of people are "big wall theorist" as you say, and resist to learn new thecnics, like the better way to clean a pitch (with a gri-gri)
I would like to discuss this topic with you in other post becouse I (and spanish climbing teachers, too) have interesting questions about the gri-gri system.

Thank you at all in advance. I expect these information could be enogh to enlight our minds of modest climbers...

I expect your answers. I SEE YOU...

ADIOS.


passthepitonspete


Aug 15, 2003, 8:52 AM
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Re: choosing our first big wall in the cap [In reply to]
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Ola, muchachos! Que pasa?

Dr. Piton is delighted that he is being read by the Spanish-speaking contingent, and it is his wish that all Big Wall Theorists eventually reach the summit!

You certainly have enough experience to climb El Cap, but without a portaledge your options are much more limited. If you are to climb big walls, one day soon you must buy a portaledge. Dr. Piton highly recommends that when you do, you buy a double portaledge. It is only slightly heavier and more expensive, but is hugely more comfortable. [Any]fool can be uncomfortable....] It also gives you the option of bringing a partner. Hopefully your partner will also be a hottie.....

If you want to climb Yosemite big walls without a ledge, two very popular "warmup" Grade V's come to mind: South Face of Washington Column, and West Face of Leaning Tower. Both of these routes you can climb in two days without a ledge. I have done The Prow [which is supposed to be a better route than South Face], and I can tell you that the Leaning Tower is a much better experience. Steep, high, long - you get a much better "big wall feeling" on the Tower.

The Leaning Tower route is very busy. You will have to wait in a queue. You may not have enough time to do this! Then again, you might. If you are very fast at the approach - by this I mean go up, start climbing, and get off fast, you can do it in two days.

In 1983, I climbed the Leaning Tower in two days. Approach and climb to Ahwahnee on Day 1, summit and descend on Day 2. This was pretty fast, especially when you consider that we were clipping Warren Harding's ancient hangerless bolts, and we had no Aliens, or even cams smaller than 1 1/2"! [Having just climbed the route over three days and through crowds last year - though with a hottie, I wondered how we managed to climb so quickly in 1983 without all the new-fangled gear!]

Dr. Piton suggests that you go straight to El Capitan! You have "paid your dues" - this means that you have practised your techniques on other walls, so you probably do not require a "warmup" on a Grade V. I predict you will be able to accomplish your goal of climbing an El Cap Grade VI within your two week period.

Here are your options, from left to right, on El Cap without a ledge:


    [*:83c398d447]Lurking Fear - I climbed this route with a ledge and two nights on the wall. We climbed [and] only eight hours per day. Another group did it in a continuous push of 24 hours, and followed us over the last pitches. This is one strategy whereby you won't need a ledge - superlightweight and fast!

    The McTopo shows "poor bivi for 1" at 9, "poor sloping bivi for 3+" at 13, "great bivi for 4" at 14, and "great bivi for 100" on Thanksgiving Ledge at 17. Above this are difficult to haul slabs to finish around 19. So lots of options. Most likely there are others here who can tell you more about the specific bivis and how good or bad they are.

    If you are not going superlightweight and want to save your haul line, a Far End Haul up to Thanksgiving could be the Better Way.

    Finally to finish, you do NOT want to haul the slabs. The Better Way to complete your hauling is to first tie your two ropes together using your Dr. Piton Climbing Magazine Big Wall Tip of the Month. Then you "shuttle" partial loads - unpack your pig, and drag stuff across the slab. Use the second rope to pull the first rope back down to you. Make sure the stuff in your pig is compartmentalized so it's easy to clip on here.

    One drawback to Lurking Fear is its long approach. You would think this would cut back a bit on the crowds, but that is not necessarily true!



    [*:83c398d447]Salathe Wall - Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Don't like offwidths, eh? The Hollow Flake pitch keeps away the riff-raff, people like me, who either got themselves a 'rope gun', or buy themselves a pair of nine-inch Valley Giant Cams. If you own a couple of these Big Frickin' Cams, then you can cheat your way up wide cracks, the very same way Dr. Piton cheats!

    Rockclimbing.com's own apollodorus manufactures these, and he could courier them to you to pick up at the Yosemite post office. You could contact him, or visit the Valley Giant website.

    You can use the same strategy I used to climb Salathe. On Day 1 you climb Free Blast to Mammoth Terraces, rap down the fixed ropes, walk to the Meadows, have beer and ice cream for lunch, walk back up, jug and haul the fixed lines, climb the Hollow Flake, and bivi on Hollow Flake Ledge.

    If you want to skip the beer and ice cream, you could jug and haul your pig to Heart Ledges a day or two before, thus saving you time and effort.

    Day 2 is of course spent on El Cap Spire.

    Day 3 would be on The Block, or if you're fast like we were, on Long Ledge.

    Day 4 on Long, or else the Summit.



    [*:83c398d447]The Nose - probably your best bet. Useable bivi ledges at Sickle, Dolt, El Cap Towers, Camp 4, Camp 5 and Camp 6.

    Recommended strategy is to climb and haul to Sickle on Day 1.

    Get up early to beat the crowds jugging up their fixed ropes to Sickle, and get ahead of the queue! [Tricky, eh? It worked for me! You can click here to read about how to beat the crowds on The Nose, and live to tell the tale.

    You should be able to reach El Cap Towers if you're fast, and then Camp 5. We were slow, in which case you could use Dolt, Camp 4 and Camp 6. Doesn't matter - they all work. I suggest you pray it isn't too busy! Sometimes it is, and sometimes it ain't.



    [*:83c398d447]Triple Direct - a viable option to The Nose. I would employ the strategy of pre-hauling your pig, but this time haul your pig to Mammoth. Under NO circumstance should you attempt to haul Free Blast! [Even Royal Robbins didn't do that - sheesh.]

    You can Bivi at Mammoth, Grey, 18, Camp 4, Camp 5, and Camp 6. Probably the Better Way if The Nose is crowded. The Nose is the more classic line, however.



That's about it, amigos, for stuff you can climb on El Cap without a ledge.

Now before you travel to Yosemite, here is your Dr. Piton Homework Assignment:

Think about this - think about how much time, effort and money you are about to invest for this trip. If you have never been to Yosemite before, this could well be your climbing trip of a lifetime!

Next think about this - just how bitchin' are you? If you think that you are in fact pretty bitchin', then Dr. Piton suggests you climb two El Cap routes in two weeks! This is well within your ability, assuming you're bitchin' enough......

While you are in Yosemite, be sure to look up Dr. Piton's Wall Doctor, who is Chongo. Not only can Chongo teach you big wall tips, but he also speaks excellent Spanish!

You can click here to learn the Better Way of cleaning an aid pitch - with a jug and a Grigri. If you would like to ask me questions about this system, will you please put a reply on this post, thus bringing it to the top of the forum where I can find it?

However, you probably don't want to look at pictures of me doing it, when you can instead see the system demonstrated by the shagadelic Climbchick!

¡La buena suerte, los compañeros!



I am Dr. Piton

and I am here to help




[I figured out the upside-down exclamation point thingy the same way I climb offwidths - I cheated. Now if only I can figure out how to cheat the dirty-word filter here at RC.com like the ooze has done! Now wouldn't that just be The Sh|t?]


pedrospain


Aug 21, 2003, 9:45 AM
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HOLA AMIGOS:

Thank you at all for giving all these advices, specially for you Dr.Piton.

We are thinking about make some warm up (doing the first 10 pitches of Salathe or doing something else ) and go directly to the nose route
If it´s very crowded, we will try Triple direct.

Only one thing we will do sure:
"Learn more things and thecnics about big wall climbing" I think is the most important

Muchas gracias
Pedro


addiroids


Aug 21, 2003, 10:07 AM
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Tengo solo un cosa para decir:
Buena Suerte escaladores!!

Y tiene una mamacita en el piso de el Valley para metelo despues de El Capitan. Pregunta Pete que eso!

TRADitionally yours,

El Suciobolsa de California


rollingstone


Aug 21, 2003, 2:05 PM
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Re: choosing our first big wall in the cap [In reply to]
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Hola, Pedro, me llamo Mick. Es cierto lo que dice Pete, el Medico de los Paredes, pero tambien es importante saber las posibilidades en Yosemite. Me imagino que si ustedes escalen al nivel de 5.10, y que pueden escakar casi 400 m asi, entonces seria posible continuar en el Salathe para completar la ruta. Yo la escale hace casi 20 anos ahora, pero recuerdo que la fisura Hollw Flake no era muy dificil, no mas que 5.8 o 5.9. Y Pete dice la verdad, que puede protegerse con los "Valley Giants" de su amigo, Tom.

Ojala que tu y tu amigo tengan buena suerte, y buen tiempo en Yosemite. Es una locacion magica.

Mick


iamthewallress


Aug 21, 2003, 2:23 PM
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Re: choosing our first big wall in the cap [In reply to]
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In reply to:
Lurking Fear - I climbed this route with a ledge and two nights on the wall. We climbed [and] only eight hours per day. Another group did it in a continuous push of 24 hours, and followed us over the last pitches. This is one strategy whereby you won't need a ledge - superlightweight and fast!

The McTopo shows "poor bivi for 1" at 9, "poor sloping bivi for 3+" at 13, "great bivi for 4" at 14, and "great bivi for 100" on Thanksgiving Ledge at 17. Above this are difficult to haul slabs to finish around 19. So lots of options. Most likely there are others here who can tell you more about the specific bivis and how good or bad they are.

I did this route as my first wall and first El Cap route. My partner had done two other walls (the Nose and Salathe) and was able to free climb the 5.10 pitches including the ow and some of the 5.11 french free. If you can't free the ow, you'll have to do nearly a whole pitch walking your two biggest cams (a 4 camalot and 5 friend for us) or bring several big things. It took us two nights on the wall and one on top after fixing 3 pitches. The first night on the wall was spent on the "Poor Bivy for One" known as the "Pillar of Despair". It is NOT a bivy. It is smaller than the seat of a chair. There is a real bivy to the right of the 10th belay. The supertopo beta has been updated to reflect this. The Pillar of Despair is the only stance that we encountererd the entire day. I might bring an emergency hammock if you take this one on as your first Yosemite Wall.

As Pete mentioned the slabs at the top are really difficult to haul. For that reason, it wouldn't be much fun to have a portaledge on this route in my opinion.


flamer


Aug 21, 2003, 4:08 PM
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Wallress is right on about Lurking fear! Although we did take a port-a-ledge, and it was nice. I have a very large haul bag and we did not bring to much crap, So we just put the port-a-ledge in the bag the whole time...this worked very well.
josh


pastoremilius


Sep 24, 2003, 5:14 AM
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Hola compay!
Que tal?
Mi primo escalar a El Cap fui "Sea of Dreams" - "Mare de Sonar" el ano pasado. Me ha gustado esto pisto muchissimo. "Hook or book" es mas dificil.
Adios Pit!
Adios Los Espanoles Amigos
En Junio voy a escalar "Reticent wall"
Hasta Luego (en Junio) en campo quatro
Maciek


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