Me and Andrew woke up at about 9am and made some breakfast. The new plan was to head over to the El Cap base and do some short aid routes and practice hauling and things like that. We drove over to the El Cap meadow and unpacked the gear. Andrew thought about things for a bit and figured that with the remaining time he had, he needed to start working on the Zodiac right away if he wanted to get it done. I was not comfortable with just hopping on a 5 day route today with no training. So he packed up enough gear to start working the first pitch and headed out.
Me and John went over to the Swan Slabs and I found a nice 5.6 for him to do as his first lead. He did wonderfully. We also did the 5.9 but I was tired from the hike yesterday and I did really bad on it and almost popped off. We then toproped a 10a and 10c next to it. I’m very surprised I did the 10c onsite and clean. John managed to get it after a few goes.
We headed back to camp at about 5 and started up on dinner. John brought some crushed tomato from home and an onion and garlic, so we made a nifty sauce and cooked up some pasta. He also had with him some Italian bread and mozzarella cheese… yum yum, good camp food.
Andrew was supposed to stop by early this morning so we can get up to the Leaning Tower to start doing the first few pitches. He finally stopped by at 12pm. We spread out all our gear on a tarp, looked at the book and figured out what we needed and packed two haul bags. At 3pm we were done and headed to the Bridwell Fall to start the approach. The guidebook says the approach is an hour and a half but I carried my 50 pound load up in 45 minutes. It took Andrew 2 hours. I enjoyed the “backpacking”, it was quite the approach… carrying up a haulbag full of gear up more than 500 feet of talus.
We got to the base of the route at 6pm and talked to two guys who were lounging around. Apparently there is an incredibly slow party that’s been on pitch 3 for the past 2 hours and hasn’t moved. The guys at the base are waiting to get started. At the minimum we would be able to start up not tomorrow (since the guys at the base are starting tomorrow), but the next day. We would have to leave our gear up there, and come back later to start. Andrew decided we should rather not wait and do something else. So we lugged the bags back down the talus and I got back to the car at 9pm. I unloaded and went back up the trail and met up with Andrew to take some of his load.
Lesson learned: Next time hike up with just a minimum load (maybe 20-30 pounds) and check out the start of the route.
My ankle was waaaaay better, but today was another rest day. I wanted my ankle to fully recover so there wouldn’t be a potential for re injury. My plan was to go to the lodge and get some internut and update the bloggio. I got up late, around 10am, and took my sweet time cooking up some eggs for breakfast. I added some powdered milk, some cheese, and some basil and parsley. Yum yum. I layed in my tent for a bit reading. After a while I moved out of the tent and sat on a log. A very familiar person walked up and said “Ummm, hi”. It was the John Holio! Apparently it took him 3 days to get here from New York. The flight was fairly straightforward to San Francisco but he got stuck in SF since their trains stopped running at that time and then he got stuck in Merced since the bus stopped running by the time he got there. Me and John lounged around a bit and then another familiar person waked up and said “Hi”. It was Andrew! He finally arrived. I asked if he was all ready to do a wall and he said sure. We made plans to do one tomorrow.
I went back to the house that he is staying at and he gave us some cooked and stuffed bell peppers for dinner. A Russian meal made by Natasha his wife. Apparently Beth Rodden and Tommy Caldwell are staying in the same house. Andrew met Beth in the bathroom while he was trying to figure out how the shower worked, she helped him get the shower going.
My ankle felt considerably better.Â Today was a planned rest day since my ankle was still beat up and it was a bit swollen.Â I just lounged around camp 4 and looked through the guidebook for routes to do.Â I also read a chapter in the novel I’m reading and I read through one of the climbing books I brought and popped two ibuprofen every 4 or 5 hours or so.
Me and Jesse went over to the Manure Pile Buttress.Â The plan was to do The Nutcracker.Â There was a slow party on the regular start and a fast party on the 5.9 alternative start.Â It didn’t look to bad, so I started up.Â it was a slabby start up to a ledge, then the 5.9 part kicked in.Â The first few moves were using two pin scar pockets and pretty much no good feet.Â I was going good for a bit and then popped off and slid down to the ledge and hyper extended my foot.Â My ankle now hurt quite a bit so I sat down and waited to see the result.Â After a few minutes I didn’t see any swelling and my ankle felt much better so I continued up and did the first pitch.
There was a traffic jam on the start of pitch 2 of the regular route.Â This was the start of pitch 3 for us.Â After a while we started up and did an uneventful climb until the last pitch where I noticed a menacing set of storm clouds headed our way.Â Soon after starting up the last pitch I was getting drizzled on and the wind picked up.Â I was trying to move quickly but my ankle was acting up and I was quite tired from being on the route for 5 hours so far.Â I finished the pitch and Jesse followed up and the hike back down was brutalizing on my ankle.Â I was able to walk flat ground just fine but certain motions when going down were quite painful.
We made it down before it stormed.Â It actually didn’t storm much, just about 10 minutes of rain and high winds.Â Back at camp a guy looked at my ankle and said that it’s just a ruptured antaries ligament and I should be fine in a bit.Â The girls and Jesse are planning on leaving tomorrow :(.
I was walking back to camp from the parking lot after having gone and taken my second shower of the trip and a girl said “Hey crazy guy”.Â I’m thinking what the heck, and I said “how am I crazy, what did I do?”Â She said “ooooh just some crazy night hike in Canyonlands.Â Holy crap it’s Ela.Â She’s staying for a few days and I got her new email.Â She said she stayed in Europe for the winter, mostly France.Â We talked for a while and then I clicked out.
Me, Jesse, and the girls went over to the Swan Slabs.Â It’s a pretty nifty area with lots of short routes of various difficulties.Â I started up a 5.7 and there was a 5.6 next to it that Megan toproped.Â Carolyn wasn’t feeling so great and she didn’t climb.Â Me and Jessee climbed the 6 and 7 another time and this girl Leslie walked by.Â She lives in LA and she was taking a walk.Â We all talked to her for a bit and she was interested in climbing.Â She had never been climbing before.Â It was quite amazing.Â And every so often as she climbed she asked “so is this how I should go?”Â She was asking with a confused tone but she was climbing great.Â Completely and totally a natural at climbing.Â She ran up the 5.6 and 5.7 with relative ease.Â Me and Jesse mentioned how we took Megan and Carolyn climbing a few days ago and they made us dinner.Â Leslie said she would go and get us some lunch food from her car but we said not to bother, but she insisted.Â We broke down the toprope and moved over to a 5.9 and Leslie went to her car.Â Me, Jesse, and Megan all did the 9; I lead it.Â Leslie came back with ice cream bars and cookies, quite nice.
Today me and Jesse climbed over at the Five Open Books. We did Munginella and a new route The Caverns which is a 5 pitch 5.8. it was quite the cool route. That night we cooked up leftovers from the party and the girls had given us left over ribs and potatoes. Yet again we had an awesome dinner.
We busted out to the party and it was quite amazing.Â Some of Jesse’s family is Chinese and some of his family is Russian.Â We are homemade gourmet Chinese food for the entire day plus tons more for dinner.Â The family didn’t mind at all that I attended and were quite interested in my travels.Â I took a shower before we busted out, that was quite nice.Â We then hit a grocery store that’s similar to Andi and then busted out back to camp.Â We got in about 12am.
We headed over to the Church Bowl and I fif a new 5.7 sqeeze chimney. It was quite awkward. I set a toprope and the girls and Jessee climbed it. I then did Church Bowl Lieback and then Andy stopped by and asked if I wanted to go toprope the 10a that’s over a but. I went and climbed that and after I went back to the lieback and belayed Carolyn. The girls gave us some chicken/lettuce/tomato sandwhiches for lunch… quite good. They then busted out since they wanted to hike. We busted out back to camp.
That night when the girls got back from their hike they made dinner for me and Jesse. I contributed some canned corn. They made a rice/corn concoction and cooked up some chicken and mushrooms and cooked cucumber and some other stuff, damn good. Jesse asked me if I wanted to go to Merced for his Aunts birthday. I asked if his family would mind if some random person like me showed up to the party and he said nah don’t worry about it. He said we’ll have great family food. That sounded quite good and I wanted to go food shopping and I could use more gas as well.
John had to leave to get a flight for the wedding that he did’t want to go to.Â We renewed our Camp 4 permits for another week and John got a 10am bus out of Yosemite to Merced.
I went and aided my favorite aid route.Â I saw a crew on the route the other day… they must have failed since I noticed a biner high on the route.Â I aided the route uneventfully.Â I looked at the piece they left and it was a small nut.Â I figured I would get it when I went back up again when cleaning.Â I did the route in 2 hours.
I started up cleaning and about 4 pieces up I couldn’t get a nut out, dang.Â I left it and figured I’ll just futz with it later.Â I got another few feet up and couldn’t get out another nut… this this wasn’t good.Â I got to another nut and I couldn’t get that one out either.Â So annoying, thats three nuts stuck now.Â I got to the nut that was the one left there by the other guys.Â I couldn’t get that one out either.Â Arghhhh.Â I finished cleaning amnd thought about what I needed to do.Â I needed a wall hammer.Â I went to the mountain shop and got one.Â I then went back to the cliff and re-aided more than half the route and tapped each nut out including the one that was left by the other guys.Â Phew, it turned out to be not such a bad day afterall.
I headed back to camp and hung out with Andy and Karen.Â Andy wanted to climb at the Church Bowl tomorrow.Â I figured since John was away, climbing with Andy would work out nice.Â Later that night Andy introduced me to this kid Jesse.Â He seemed like a good guy so we made plans to climb tomorrow.Â Jessee told me about these two girls whose cooking is quite good so we went over and I met them.Â They were quite nifty.Â Megan is from South Africa but she’s living in Laguna Beach and Carolyn is from LA.Â We included the girls in our climbing plans for tomorrow.
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