2 weeks in Yosemite.. Kelly and I did Nutcracker and After 7 in 5 hours on the first day as a warm up.. Very easy climbing for warming up the body to the granite in the Valley..
Day 2 we did The Surprise, a 4 pitch climb with a 10a crux. 10a sounds insignificant in Singapore, but 10a cracks in Yosemite are pretty hard. I had a big surprise pulling through the crux pitch and it took me longer than usual to climb a route.
Day 3 we decided we should trash our body more and went for Royal Arches.
That took us more than 12 hours after having a hard time doing some serious route finding on some 3rd Class terrain. Kelly was spook after going off route twice. The climbing took us 8 hours but the raps took us more than 4 hours!
3days in Yosemite and our bodies were trashed and we learnt something important. Not getting lost on the approach,climb and descent is the key !
Day 4 was a much needed rest and Day 5 was blasting in Middle Cathedral on the route Central Pillar of Frenzy. Although the route was only 5.9, The first pitch, the chimney pitch was the crux of the route! And as I stay in the Valley more, I realize we shouldn’t underestimate how chimney pitches can turn out to be.. Frenzy is indeed a 5 star climb and i strongly recommend anyone visiting the Valley to do it.
Day 6 we rested and Day 7 we went blasting on Middle Cathedral again.. this time on a full day route, the East Buttress. East Buttress is a 5 star climb, with all kinds of cracks, roofs, off-widths, flaring chimneys, fingers and flakes. Seriously I’m not sure if I have climbed all kinds of cracks yet. Learning to jam your hands, feets, legs is a small deal. Learning to jam your body is a whole different game. The 5.7 -5.8 flaring chimney caught me off guard. I used a special method of climbing called ‘struggling’ to get through the long pitch of almost 60m. The struggling took me at least 3.5hrs. We did not bring any bivy gears with us and we have to descend in the dark. Looking for Rap rings in the dark is the scariest thing during climbing, not mentioning the constant uncertainty that the ledge we were on was actually not the ground!
We took another rest day and went for our 1st big wall attempt on Washington Column, South Face, a 5.8 C1 route. We packed 13l of water and some food to last one night on Dinner Ledge. We also chose a minimalist approach, to use only a thin sleeping pad and just sleeping liners and bivy bags for sleeping. It paid off, as our haul bag was light and the 1.6mile and 3 pitches of hauling didn’t kill us. We fixed to pitch 4 the Kor Roof on the first day and slept on Dinner Ledge. Woke up at 6am the following day and chiong to the top. Aiding on pitch 7 was a killer, the hanging belays were also not fun. The worst was the wind, which constantly blasted at us at 12-15mile/hr. Sunny but cold. Lips felt like they drank a desert. Body felt like an MRT ran over it.
Overall the experience was great and it served as a good training for our El Capitan Mission. But before going to El Capitan, we gona do Half Dome Regular route next week without hauling. Sleeping a night at the base and another at Sandy Mush ledge. Stay tune for more exciting news and photos of us in Yosemite!