The Wide Open Granite Wilderness of Reticent Wall
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This is page 12 of my presentation.
In 1998, Sean Easton, Chris Geisler and I made the eighth ascent of Reticent Wall. This new wave A5 death route gave us everything we could have hoped for - fun, excitement, danger, and fear.
Midway up the wall, we were terrified to see a man come hurtling towards us, then suddenly jerk to a stop in an explosion of chalk three thousand feet off the deck after an intentional Factor 1 two-hundred-foot screamer!
Turns out it was merely Leo Houlding, out for a little "fun". Fortunately, he didn't get hurt like he got hurt in THIS fall.
Leo made two more of those horrific whippers, and when I asked him how he could make such an epic fall, and yet do so in complete silence, he replied,
"What did you expect? I'm British."
In that same Millennium Edition of Climbing Magazine, Leo was considered to be the World's Greatest Trad Climber, for his death-defying gritstone horror shows, and his second ascent of El Nino.
This photo looks like that Monty Python sketch where the guy is "climbing" the sidewalk. It is a vertical wall - honest! This is one of the "easier" pitches - "only" new wave A2+, the ultimate sandbag rating. Please click here to read my attempt to explain new wave aid ratings.
I imagine the following telephone conversation where the Yosemite Ranger calls my mother. [Spoken in deadpan Joe Friday Dragnet voice]
"Hello, Mrs. Zabrok? This is Ranger Danger calling from Yosemite National Park. It's about your son....
"Is he hurt? Uh, no ma'am, not exactly...he's dead.
"Yes ma'am, we're sure. Fortunately, ma'am, there's some good news. He died on Reticent Wall - one of El Cap's hardest.
"Yes ma'am, that IS good news.
"No ma'am, it wasn't the A5 crux pitch....I'm sorry.
"What was the rating?
[Ranger appears nervous, loosens collar on shirt]
"Uh, er, it was - [ranger clears throat] - it was only rated A2+, ma'am.
[Ranger grimaces and holds telephone away from ear as string of expletives is heard coming from receiver]
"Please ma'am, don't be upset - it was NEW WAVE A2+...."
Please click here to continue, and to see more cool photos of my ascent of Reticent Wall.
|Photo Location:||North_America: United_States: California: Yosemite_National_Park: Yosemite_Valley: El_Capitan: Southeast_Face__El_Capitan|