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Aurora - A4

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Route sequence (left to right): 90
Route Summary | Ascent Notes (2)
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The usual stuff - 3 rurps, 6 KB, 12 LA, angles and sawed-offs, better bring a couple #5 Camalots!
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Not unlike Sunkist on the Southwest Face, Aurora is one of those climbs that just doesn't seem to get the attention it deserves, which is a shame because this is one bitchin' wall! Aurora has a little bit of everything, from the exciting and expanding Gong Flake on pitch 11 to the bombay chimney of the Bat Cave (complete with bats!); from the wide stuff on pitch 6 to the All-Time Copperhead Crack on pitch 11 (wait til you see it - it's awesome!). After you've finagled your way up the intricate aid of the crux seventh pitch and have managed to figure out the rest of the route's tricks, you'll positively fly when you join the Trip to finish, cuz it'll seem so easy after what you've been through. The belay at the top of 9 enjoys the most encompassing vista on the whole of the Southeast Face of El Cap. From this point of convexity you'll find yourself situated in the epicentre of a vast vertical wilderness of granite, with all climbs and climbers spread about you in a 360-degree panorama. They'll all be watching you, too, if you happen to be here in the early spring, wondering if you're still alive, or if you've drowned beneath the deluge of frigid meltwater gushing from the base of the Golden Finger of Fate directly above you.

Submitted by: passthepitonspete on 2006-03-26
Views: 1794
Route ID: 5210

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2 Ascents Recorded

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Red Point Red Point ascent by: b_fost on 2004-08-29 (View Climbing Log)

0 out of 5 stars Ascent Note

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Added: 2004-08-29

Onsight Onsight ascent by: passthepitonspete on 1998-09-15 (View Climbing Log)

0 out of 5 stars Ascent Note

It's late afternoon in the Valley, and at a table outside of Degnan's Deli Tucker Tech and I sit surrounded by a half dozen empty cans of Olde English. It's not an uncommon scene round these parts this time of day. "What was your favourite El Cap route?" I ask him.<br>
<br>"Well," says Tucker between sips, "I've made thirty-five ascents of El Cap, and I think I'd say Aurora was my favourite - great climb, great partners - it was probably the best wall I ever did."<br>
<br>With such a credible endorsement, I mentally advance Aurora towards the top of my tick list before reaching for another can. Life is good.<br>
<br>Some months later, Dave Benton (my partner from Sunkist) and I begin Aurora during an early autumn heat wave. We swelter our way up the first three and a half pitches of the Trip before breaking left at the roof. At the end of the third pitch, don't use the silly hanging belay in the corner - take the nice one on the slab below. You'll still have plenty of rope left regardless of which route you follow. The fourth belay was interesting - after hauling up all our gear and loading the anchors, one of the fixed pins suddenly popped with a loud and disconcerting "ping!" Since everything was equalized with cordalettes, it didn't much matter, but the event was memorable because it was the only time this has ever happened to me.<br>
<br>I led through the bombay chimney of pitch 5 to the Batcave (where we spent the first night), a tactically shrewd gambit which obligated Dave to clean this awkward pitch. The next morning as I carried on conversations with Spaz and friends on Iron Hawk and with Captain Kirk and his team on the ground, Dave remarked in amazement, "Hey, everybody knows each other!" Welcome to El Cap, eh?<br>
<br>Captain Kirk unfortunately had to bail when one of his partners ran out of time, and kindly donated eight of his water bottles to our enterprise. In much the same way as you cause it to rain when you forget your umbrella, hoisting up the extra water guaranteed us an immediate end to the hot weather.<br>
<br>Seven pitches of beautiful and sustained climbing was to follow. The 1' x 6' ledge of The American Zone made a pleasant bivi. Here I composed a little ditty, sung to the tune of The Star Spangled Banner, except in 4/4 time instead of 3/4: "Oh say can you see, we're in the American Zone. Oh America's a wonderful place to live, as long as you are not black. And they don't have medicare, so you'd better not get sick, and everyone can carry a gun, so be careful who you piss off...." and so on.<br>
<br>The next morning I was not in any way amused to watch my sleeping bag plummet to the base when the drawstring on the compression strap failed. Fortunately I had a bivi sack, and slept one night in that until it too took the big plunge when it came unclipped from a bent-gate crab during unpacking. I slept the remainder of the nights wrapped up in my portaledge fly.

Witnessed by: Dave Benton
Added: 1998-09-15