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[TR] Yosemite - The Nose 5.9 A2 6/3/2014

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Trip: Yosemite - The Nose 5.9 A2


Date: 6/3/2014


Trip Report:

How does one celebrate 50 years of stumbling around on this planet? I could go to Hawaii and sit in the sand like a beached whale, but I felt like something more was needed. A couple of years ago my good friend Joe and I started thinking that doing The Nose would be a fitting way to tell ourselves we were holding off the Depends and whacking the grandkids over the head with our canes.


Joe decided to fend off old age by having a kid, so he seemed to have his youth maintained by chasing a toddler around Portland. I still needed to feed my delusion. What I needed was somebody younger and better at climbing to help me get up the biggest and best rock climb in the world. Well I knew John(Telemarker) was obsessed with The Nose. John knows The Nose, John sleeps The Nose, John wanted The Nose, again. Last year he and a partner did it in a single 36 hour push, which I now know was a very impressive feat. I emailed and told him I had some time in early June and would he be interested in giving it a go with a gumby like me. After all, I had aided the first 2 pitches of Green Dragon and the Monkey Face, so how much harder could it be? He quickly and maybe foolishly agreed and got valuable time off from work to head to the Valley.


The plan was ambitious. Climb it in 3 days with no fixing beforehand. A pretty quick schedule when hauling a pig, but what I lack in skill I make up for in work ethic and counterweight. We drove the 16 hours to the Valley and arrived at 1am in the Yosemite Lodge parking lot. I was cooked after doing the drive and working the previous 48 hours, so a quick cat nap of 3 hours in the car was all I needed. Well guess who’s flashlight was shining into our eyes at 2:30am? Larry told us to get out, and now. I gave him my thoughts on world peace and we pirate camped in The Pines for another 2 hours. A look at the route first thing in the morning and it is almost completely clear of people! No lines and the weather looks perfect. Sort gear and go was decided quickly.




John’s plan was to treat the route like a hard free route. Direct aiding everything takes way too much time, so french free and free climbing was done the majority of the time. John made good time to Sickle ledge and the hauling went well. I was learning the system on the fly, so a few minor rope management snafu’s, but overall no major problems. My first lead was up Sickle. Only 5.9! A quick slap in the face followed. I’ve done lots of Yosemite 5.9. This was harder. After thrutching and grabbing gear I made it to the belay. This was going to be hard. We made our way to Dolt Tower where we met our first party of 2 which included big wall legend Steve Schneider(Shipoopi).


Shipoopi - over 90 El Cap ascents



They had started jugging fixed lines at the same time we left the ground. Steve and Jeff were set up to party on Dolt and they kept up very entertained while we set up to continue to El Cap Tower for the night.

El Cap tower bivy heaven





Some Tom Evans photos of us









Steve told us about Alex Honnold’s project of climbing 7 El Cap routes in 7 days he was doing this week. Mind boggling how hard that seems. The next day was long and we arrived at Camp 5 around 12am? Not the best ledge and I woke up about 6am watching the valley wake up.


Camp 5 burnouts



Suddenly a big woosh above and a base jumper flies by about 100ft from us! Scared the crap out of me, then another 2 go flying by. Our Good Morning America TV was spent the next hour watching them hit the meadow, fold up their chutes in record time and scramble into the woods before Larry could catch them.


The first pitch the last day was The Glowering Spot. I let thin aid up to the belay and John asked if somebody was coming because he could hear voices. I look down and see a dude with no shirt about 2 pitches below cruising up the Pancake Flake like it was 5.5. “Uh, John, maybe we should step aside?” Alex Honnold and Dave Allfrey arrive at camp 5 and take a 10 minute break and tell us to keep going, they can work around us. John comes up and Alex frees almost all of the thin aid pitch I just led. He almost had a bead of sweat on his forehead when he arrived at our belay. Dave said they were on day 4 and were doing The Nose as a “rest day climb at the recreational speed of around 5 hours”. Dave starts running up the fixed line while Alex free solo’s(basically since there’s about 100+ft of slack in his line) the next 5.11+ pitch. Super nice guys and incredible to see Honnold climb like that.


Mr Honnold breathing easy



The top pitches were the most spectacular of the whole route. Changing corners is overhanging steep. The last pitch involves a bolt ladder over roofs and 3000’ of air straight down between your legs. We top out at dusk and flop down for a memorable summit bivy on nice flat ground.


Top out



Next morning we meet Dave Hunon, who had done a hard aid climb on the west wall. Dave kindly gives us his extra water and we pack the pig and head down to the valley. On the way down we see a soloist on the last pitch of Zodiac and take pictures of him finishing. We arrive at the bear box which still has our cold beer and sit on the bags and start drinking. The soloist Ken comes down shortly and we all sit around and tell stories of our climbs and drink many beers until we head down to the meadow and get some photos from Tom Evans and talk to the tourists. A great ending to a great climb. Pretty rare to have a whole trip as big as this go on schedule and turns out better than you could have imagined.




This climb is all you can ask for. The climbing was hard the whole time. I think there was maybe 100ft total of less than 5.9 terrain for 30+ pitches. It was truly unbelievably steep the whole time. The last pitch involves a bolt ladder roof where you are looking at a 3000’ plumb line to the ground between your legs...Awesome!!




Boot flake tiptoe



Great roof fun






Caution, big wall climbing may cause this!







El Cap layback performed by creaky old man




After 3 quiet days on the wall, reality hit and we watched the lines of climbers from the crowded meadows starting up The Nose with thunderclouds looming and the cluster began. I can't believe how lucky we were to hit it without anybody ahead and perfect weather.


Thanks go to John for trusting me enough to go with him on a route like this. He is truly one of the strongest climbers I have roped up with. Not just technically good but the stamina to go on forever. Also thanks to Gene and Jim who lent a few key pieces of gear.


If you go to do this climb, be prepared. It is bigger and steeper than you can fathom. Also, it's called the biggest sandbag in the valley for a reason!


Next year, the beach...maybe..



Gear Notes:

No portaledge, 2 ropes, lots of cams, water.


Approach Notes:

Brutal 10 minutes

Edited by cfire

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Congrats Chris--what an accomplishment for your first big wall! It's such an exhausting route physically and mentally.

Nice work John too! It's a plus to see world class athletes like Honnold and Schneider comfortable in their element in such an unforgiving vertical world.

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Damn. I've got no excuses.



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The best climb in the world. Thanks Chris!


A few photos to add:


Chris staying connected on El Cap Tower




Traverse to Pitch 8 (Tom Evans pic)



The View up to Chris on Texas Flake



Chris rapping off the Boot Flake to me on Eagle




Chris staying out on the Great Roof



East Ledges descent. The raps are just below the web seen above Chris



My own El Cap layback


Edited by telemarker

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awesome climbing, funny re-telling, celebrity sightings, and great pics

(...except for this umbilical cord(alette) one. wtf?)



what an awesome report!

happy birthday!!




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awesome climbing, funny re-telling, celebrity sightings, and great pics

(...except for this umbilical cord(alette) one. wtf?)




You question the Rock Wren?? The Rock Wren cannot be stopped. :grin:

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nice work you two! It would've been fun to shoot the shit with some CC'ers but unfortunately I was on the captain for the entire duration of your trip. A slower pace lets you swill beer on the wall as well as the bridge. The 3 jumpers woke us up that morning but we quickly went back to sleep until the much more persuasive sun started blazing down.



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