Tuesday, November 30, 2010
On August 21, I became the sixth person to solo the Nose of El Capitan in under 24 hrs. Rode the bike from camp 4 and stashed it in El Cap meadow. Roped up for the whole route minus the sickle ledge traverse. Ran into a team of 4 Koreans on the ledge, told them "don't touch me" as a nod to Potter in MoS V and put in an anchor when I reached their leader. This team of 4 would end up being rescued in the gray band's later that week, I'm glad they didn't touch me. Rope soloed the stove legs to Dolt where I took a break and drank tons of gatorade left by a team bailing earlier in the week. Took the Jardine traverse as I was roped up the whole time and would feel kinda dumb jugging the 5.6 from Dolt to the Boot Flake. I took another break at Camp IV and fueled up for the coming darkness. Linked the great roof into the triangle ledge after Pancake flake and rap cleaned the great roof so I could lower out it's whole distance while cleaning. Took a final break at Camp 5 as darkness fell. I could hear all my friends in the meadow cheering me on so I knew I couldn't stop now. I didn't even pause on Camp 6 because it is to tempting to sleep on that late in the game. Finally tagged the tree after 20:43 on the route! I was very happy and very tired on top. Staggered down the east ledges until reaching my bike in the meadow. I drank an IPA as the sun rose and had a very wobbly bike ride back to the lodge!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Our first stop on the trip was the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. We spent 3 days hiking loads into Campamento Torres at the head of the Ascencio Valley. Our main goal was the South African route on the MASSIVE east face of Torre Central. Unfortunately a heavy snow fall winter had formed a massive snow patch covering the intial pitches. Lesson learned-you have to be flexible in Patagonia! Hiked back around to the Silencio Valley for a free attempt on via delle mamma on the shorter but beautiful west face on Torre Central. This line is 20 pitches of SPLITTER cracks on a beautiful golden face. Unfortunately on our only weather window the bottom pitches were covered in rime ice and what should have been 5.6 was more like M-16! Hayden led these pitches in full Gasherbaum conditions, ice tools in hand and approach shoes! We also attempted Ultima Esperanza (V 5.11+) in full conditions! Alpine climbing constantly stresses the fact that it doesn't have to be fun to be fun!We did send Torre Norte by the Monzino route. We ran up the mixed climbing to the col and summitted from there in 56 minutes. What an awesome route and a great day to be in Patagonia.
(photos by Hayden Kennedy)