Saturday, November 28, 2009

El Cap/ Half Dome link up, 6/09

After a few more runs up the RNWF of Half Dome and the Nose on El Cap, I felt ready to go for the linkup in June. Only problem was I didn't have a partner!
Luckily the most psyked climber on the planet showed up in the valley fresh outta high school. Hayden Kennedy is an awesome partner. Always happy and motivated no matter the circumstances, crucial given how much suffering is involved in the linkup!
We started out at the base of Half Dome in the wee hours of the morning and started out simuling all the way to big sandy ledge, 17 pitches up. In these pitches Hayden placed one cam and often we were climbing, tied together, with no gear between us. Trust in your partner is of utmost importance when climbing in this style. We switched leaders at big sandy and I took over to the top, short fixing as I went. We climbed the route in 3:40 and brought 6 cams, 6 stoppers and 28 quickdraws and no water.
We ran down, running into Ben Van Der Klooster at the base of the cables, and kept running barefoot to the base of the route collecting our shoes and water. We motored down the slabs to our waiting bikes at mirror lake. We rode over to curry parking and Hayden's car to slam a sandwich and more water. We jammed over to el cap meadow listening to Andre Nicatina's "baddest bitches on the planet" and met Hayden's teachers and Spaz. They had lodge burritos for us but we declined as the same food derailed an attempt the year prior.
We started up a very crowded nose and began passing people on the first pitch. All told we passed 16 people on this route alone!!! Hayden led the first block to camp 4 super fast. We took a quick break here and I took over the lead. Almost instantly I got hit with the worst cramps I've ever experienced. As bad as mine were, they paled in comparison with Hayden's cramps. His stomach kept balling up and forcing him to scream and try to bend backwards to cure it. Gnarly and pretty scary 20 pitches up a wall! We topped out in the dark for a nose time of about 12 hrs. And a total time of 19 hrs from the base of HD to the summy of El Cap. What a day!!!

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