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#1104522 - 05/14/13 03:57 PM [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013
keenwesh Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/21/09
Posts: 1143
TRs: 20 Photos: 158
Loc: Bozeman
Trip: El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo

Date: 5/14/2013

Trip Report:
The seed for this climb was planted last June when I bailed off the first pitch of the east buttress and then walked the SE face to the nose. I ran into a guy who was starting up Zodiac, by himself. I had never really thought about soloing, and it immediately struck me as something I might like to do some day, but definitely not for awhile, and I'd want to climb the captain with a partner first.

Fast forward to the end of last summer, I knew I wanted to climb El Cap, and that I also had to work/go to school. Fall 2012 was out, as I have class to attend, as do all my prospective partners. MSU is awesome in that I gets out around the first of May, so summer starts really early, but unfortunately everyone else is still in school, so I found myself partnerless for El Cap. The thought of soloing slowly crept into my mind, and once there became firmly lodged. I relentlessly emailed Mark Hudon and Pass the Pitons Pete, asking question after question and getting them to explain everything in minute detail. I went up to practice rock at night and solo aided, to the consternation of my mother. I spent all of my money on wall gear, went up and bivied with my roommate on my new double portaledge at the top of a sport climb next to I-90 (I had the same dream over and over that night that a massive avalanche was bearing down on me, I'd start awake, and realize it was just a train lumbering by on the tracks 50 feet away). Over thanksgiving I went to Index and climbed two pitches of town crier in the rain with Curt Haire (he's down for anything) before realizing how unfun 35 degrees and raining is for living in the vertical environment. The point is, everything I thought about led to the culmination of soloing the captain.

School got out May 1st and I took off the second, driving all day and night and making it into the valley around dawn of the third. I shlepped all my hardwear, ropes and portaledge up to the base of virginia and fixed the first two pitches of Virginia. After that I realized that I wasn't really fully functional, that the lack of rest in the previous two days had left me almost in a drunken state. I met and conversed with quite a few people but I don't really remember any specifics. Before passing out I went and carried my heaviest bag, which weighed well over 100 pounds, and got it to the base. I then proceeded to sleep like shit because I was so afraid of the upcoming climb.

May 4th
I met chris and molly at the bridge and got them to help get the last of my pile of shit up to the base. Super awesome of them! At this point chris needs to break his leg when we're out climbing together so I can drag him back to safely, I'm way in debt to these guys!
Anyway I was so wasted after jugging and hauling the two pitches that I'd fixed all I could do was collapse on my ledge and sleep all afternoon/night. I was certain at that point that I'd bail the next day, but I decided that after all I'd put into the climb already, and sprayed to anyone who'd listen I'd better climb to pitch 4 before tucking tail, as after that point getting back to the ground would be damn near impossible. I wrote in my journal "THIS IS FUN" to reinforce the good vibes and dispel my desire to go down to the valley floor.

May 5th
I zipped up the 3rd and 4th pitches of Virginia. I was feeling good, so I launched off onto the 5th pitch of Virginia (Pete had told me that TT was a pile and I should do the much less traveled route that meets up with TT midway through the 7th pitch) Anyway, Virginia goes right on a fairly long rivet ladder, there's then a string of fixed copperheads, which I didn't clip, and then I placed and backcleaned two peckers before trying to topstep on a camhook. It took me a few seconds to realize I was falling. I thought "oh shit!" and then heard this zzzziiiipppp sound, the screamer I'd placed on the last rivet on the ladder had fully deployed and I was 10 feet away from the wall, even with the anchor. I'd ballpark it at around 50 feet. That was all I needed to bail off of Virginia onto Tangerine Trip. I downaided the rivet ladder, reset my rope bags, and took off to the left on the long and steeeep 5th pitch of TT. There's a long section of shit fixed gear in the middle section that if any of it pops you'd take a long fall, but totally clean, nothing to hit but the treetops 400 feet below. I dispatched the pitch and let out a few squeals of terror rapping my haul line back to the belay. 60 feet from the wall hanging in space. I put up my fly as there are drips under the roof.

May 6th
When I woke up the clouds were closing in and dark. I had a text from my dad saying there was a 60% chance of rain. I had my morning cup of coffee and decided to take a storm day, but after an hour or two I was too restless and knew I had to commit to the wall (once you're at the top of P5 there's no real way off besides over the top). I flagged the ledge, cut the bags, and cleaned the pitch, sleeping at the top of P5. I was roused from my beer lassitude by cheerful yells from below. Chris and Molly along with the OGL crew were sitting on the talus below as it stormed. Every time a clap of thunder boomed they'd whoop and cheer.

May 7th
Climbed pitch 6 and 7. The face was in clouds for much of the day, so that I could only see white and the wall immediately around me, surreal. P6 was a rivet ladder to cams in a expando exfoliating flake and then some hooking on large flakes. I ripped a old head bounce testing and found a placement past it with a tomahawk that I set with a couple light hammer taps. P7 is the Golden Corner, Awkward aiding to start but gets easier as the angle steepens. The skies opened up as I was hauling this pitch but I stayed pretty dry due to the steepness. There's a small ledge here that makes getting the fly on and off much easier.

May 8th
P8 and 9 are both less than vertical. for the first time I had to take the ledge down. Both were fairly straightforward, and had some free climbing. It rained while I was leading P9, for which the belay is totally exposed, by the time I rapped back to it though the rain had stopped, so I dodged getting soaked. resetting the ledge back up at P9 was a fucking pain.

May 9th
Tom Started shooting, so I have pictures (My camera was dead when i pulled it out on the first day)

Leading P10, took a 20 foot fall a few moves higher when a large offset cam popped


Starting to clean P10


May 10th
I linked P12 and 13 because I'd dropped my topo with pitch lengths several days earlier. The supertopo says that these are both 140 feet long, well I strung them together with a 60 and had to use about 10 feet of my haul line. The last part of P13 has free climbing on absolutely rotten rock.

top of P12

Reorganizing before cutting the bags loose and cleaning

May 11th
Rivet ladders. I climbed and hauled 4 pitches because the last few ropelengths are directly in a watercourse, and any precip would mean a really bad time.



I spent my last night here because the roof overhead provides great shelter from any storms. Swifts have taken advantage of this and many live right above where your ledge hangs. Every time one of them would shit on me they'd cackle and chortle with bird laughter, or maybe I was just going insane from being alone for so long.


Cleaning the same pitch


After getting my bags to the top of the wall I let out a pent up scream, stripped off all my vile clothes, and ran around the summit slabs. That night I consumed my remaining beverages (quite a few) and enjoyed a perfect night with all of the top of el cap to myself.

Sunday, May 12th
Horrific. I emptied my bags to find I still had 22 liters of unconsumed water, temps were cool all week, so I rarely drank more than 2 liters a day. I found that all my kit would not fit into one bag, also that it weighed more than 150 lbs. I carried one big bag down to the top of the raps and then went back for the second. brutal. I rapped with all the pigs, using an ascender and a munter mule to switch from fixed rope to fixed rope. the bags fought and bashed me all the way down. I offered a couple friends lunch if they'd meet me at the base of the raps and assist but the directions I gave them were blatantly wrong. they bushwhacked from the top of manure pile to get my smaller bag and ledge while I slowly plodded down the trail with my big bag. I collapsed in the parking lot utterly and totally spent, but very satisfied. That night I pulled out the big wall guide and began planning my next el cap route. Addicted.


Edited by keenwesh (05/14/13 11:48 PM)

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#1104525 - 05/14/13 04:36 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
wayne Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 05/14/01
Posts: 3437
TRs: 61 Photos: 607
Loc: Seattle!
Wow, so cool! Dream trip there Keenan. nice job bro.
_________________________
http://waynewallace.wordpress.com/

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#1104529 - 05/14/13 05:51 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: wayne]
dberdinka Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 11/29/00
Posts: 2102
TRs: 39 Photos: 571
Loc: Bellingham
Fuck yeah! Nice work dude.
_________________________
You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm!

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#1104532 - 05/14/13 06:45 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
ivan Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 15476
TRs: 111 Photos: 1635
Loc: Oceania
s-t-o-k-e!

rawk

but shit...sure sounds like a hell of a lot of work for a vacation! smile
_________________________
Ignorance is Strength
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery

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#1104534 - 05/14/13 07:12 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: ivan]
tvashtarkatena Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 09/25/06
Posts: 19172
TRs: 99 Photos: 19
Loc: ked Down
BALLER
_________________________
All things to all people, all the time.

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#1104537 - 05/14/13 08:15 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
dougd Offline
old hand

Registered: 01/03/07
Posts: 710
TRs: 4 Photos: 99
Loc: Spokane
What a great accomplishment! Time to celebrate with a little Invictus:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


Edited by dougd (05/14/13 08:20 PM)

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#1104540 - 05/14/13 08:39 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: dougd]
ivan Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 15476
TRs: 111 Photos: 1635
Loc: Oceania
Originally Posted By: dougd
What a great accomplishment! Time to celebrate with a little Invictus:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

thanks for that - like most 'mericans, i thought invictus was just a movie smile

gotta solo me an el cap route someday, once i've conqured My Fearz smile
_________________________
Ignorance is Strength
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery

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#1104564 - 05/15/13 08:52 AM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
climbingsolo Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/14/13
Posts: 14
TRs: 1 Photos: 9
Nice work bro.

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#1104565 - 05/15/13 08:55 AM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: climbingsolo]
Riley81 Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 06/25/07
Posts: 205
TRs: 14 Photos: 522
Loc: Seattle, WA
Way to go. That is a lot of work physically and mentally. tup
_________________________
"Pound a pin save some skin" TA

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#1104569 - 05/15/13 10:10 AM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
stevetimetravlr Offline
veteran

Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 1589
TRs: 2 Photos: 216
Loc: Washington
Burrrrly dude! Right on.

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#1104587 - 05/15/13 02:40 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
OlympicMtnBoy Offline
Marilyn Monroe

Registered: 09/23/03
Posts: 1148
TRs: 38 Photos: 73
Loc: Georgetown (Seattle)
Nice job! Here I thought it was a lot of work to solo the much shorter Leaning Tower as a first Yosemite wall (with a similar practice schedule in the rain at Index).

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#1104619 - 05/15/13 11:45 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
keenwesh Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/21/09
Posts: 1143
TRs: 20 Photos: 158
Loc: Bozeman
I climbed the NW face of HD last year, so I can't quite claim first yosemite wall for this one.

A note on gear, I had a single set of offsets, which was alright, I backcleaned A LOT, however never felt that runout or near death, the wall is super steep and I think I'm pretty good at turning off my brain to potential fall length. I also pulled out the hammer much more than I probably should have. I sunk (and left) a long KB about 15 feet off the belay on pitch 12, as it's thin nutting right off the belay for a long ways, and I was really trying to avoid a factor 2. With my pin there it's C1+, without it it'd be kinda sketchy, like potential for a 40 footer right onto the belay. The pitch with fresh rockfall ( not sure exact #, but it's right before the first long rivet ladder and starts with a bathook on a old RURP) I nailed. it could go clean with ball nuts (probably pretty easily) but I don't have any. I placed 2 LA's in the expando cracks (fortunately they're separate) and was anticipating a fall, bounce test gently. I had 1 #2 tomahawk that was a great confidence booster, place it, tap it once or twice with the hammer, and you're good to go.

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#1104712 - 05/17/13 12:17 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
Pete_H Offline
spray'prentice

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 2544
TRs: 7 Photos: 186
Loc: Der
Nice work dude! soloing el cap is no small accomplishment. Just don't become one of those big wall loner weirdos.

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#1104727 - 05/17/13 04:50 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: stevetimetravlr]
Sol Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 01/24/03
Posts: 1639
TRs: 30 Photos: 401
Loc: leavenworth
rocken

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#1106033 - 06/05/13 05:43 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
Giles Offline
n00b

Registered: 02/27/11
Posts: 44
TRs: 0 Photos: 14
YEAH! Molly and I were so stoked for you buddy! i came and checked on you after the first big storm rolled in. you looked cozy up there. driest campsite in the valley most likely.

Still slingin milkshakes?

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#1106034 - 06/05/13 05:43 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
Giles Offline
n00b

Registered: 02/27/11
Posts: 44
TRs: 0 Photos: 14
YEAH! Molly and I were so stoked for you buddy! i came and checked on you after the first big storm rolled in. you looked cozy up there. driest campsite in the valley most likely.

Still slingin milkshakes?

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#1106059 - 06/06/13 05:20 AM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
keenwesh Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/21/09
Posts: 1143
TRs: 20 Photos: 158
Loc: Bozeman
nope, emptying garbage cans and reassuring tourons that squirrels don't carry hanta seems to be my main job description. I also spread misinformation about the names of geologic features in the valley whenever I can. This place is a nuthouse.

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#1106091 - 06/06/13 12:49 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
ivan Offline
Sick Spray Bird

Registered: 03/12/02
Posts: 15476
TRs: 111 Photos: 1635
Loc: Oceania
like disneyland, only the rides are more likely to kill you smile
_________________________
Ignorance is Strength
War is Peace
Freedom is Slavery

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#1106253 - 06/08/13 03:37 PM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: ivan]
Off_White Offline
Capricious Warlord

Registered: 04/04/02
Posts: 9196
TRs: 22 Photos: 353
Loc: Tenino
Wow, that's an impressive first El Cap route, nicely done Keenan. Have a great summer up there, send us some more photos and stories too.
_________________________
Don't believe everything you think

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#1107569 - 06/29/13 09:24 AM Re: [TR] El Cap - Tangerine Trip-Solo 5/14/2013 [Re: keenwesh]
stevetimetravlr Offline
veteran

Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 1589
TRs: 2 Photos: 216
Loc: Washington
Great to meet ya Keenan. Keep the stoke up dude. Doing it while you're young is way better then trying to do it when you are old and creaky. Keep on firing!

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