Andy Kirkpatrick© Andy Kirkpatrick Collection About the Author: Andy Kirkpatrick, Hull's second best climber (after John Redhead), has climbed El Cap twenty five times, including one day ascents, several push ascents (climbing from the bottom to the top with bivy gear) and three solos. In the other case, the leader was already falling when a rock cut his rope and

Called simply El Cap or The Captain, this immense granite wall rises 3,300 feet from the talus slopes to the Valley rim above. parties. Long, aesthetic, and immediately visible upon entering the Valley, it has Keep the weight down as having a heavy pack will waste energy. If you appreciate UKClimbing then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter. The single, thin seam that runs the duration of the Headwall is unbelievable. The other was unable The areas around Camp V and VI and above are particularly vulnerable to run-off. On the Monster Offwidth (a particular section on El Cap) the only way climbers can stay on the wall unaided is their own body weight and strength. The King Swing: The best way to do the King Swing is to get everything up to the top of the Boot Flake, then remove all your rack apart from 2 camalot size 4s, and take off your haul line. This comes in several forms, from having the nerve to start the route in the first place (you or your partner may look for reasons not to begin), to wanting to go down on the first day when things are the hardest, to being intimidated by wind, heat or simply gravity. Plus getting to El Cap Towers on day two means you have the Texas flake for breakfast, ... At some point it's easy to finish up than to bail, ... That afternoon we headed back to meadows to pose in front of El Capitan and revisit the route through binoculars. Brilliant stuff Andy - compulsory reading for anyone thinking of doing it. If you want to keep climbing then fix a rope or two off your bivy. “While someone is flogging you and rubbing sandpaper across your body, telling you to hold the position you’re in until you vomit, knowing if you lose that position you die.”. While the weather forecast might give guidance on whether and when to start an attempt, it shouldn’t be construed as permission to neglect key areas of with these outcomes. • On Oct. 11, 1984, a party on Washington Column was immobilized by hypothermia. The online version of this story (publications. This article is designed to give you a load of info about the Nose, a kind of psyche shopping list, to help mere mortals both jump on the Nose, and more importantly get to the top! This is the reason why most people bail, and no amount of beta will change the hard facts that to climb The Nose is going to take a ton of work - but then again, when it comes to putting a line through one of the greatest climbing ticks there is, would you want it any other way? What you're aiming for is the arete just below (1 metre) a small triangular roof. I've also written an Aid basics book as a download for Kindle or iBooks) and take them to the crag and put them in to practice. Most of the accidents that happen on the Nose are the same types of accidents that happen elsewhere. cams.”, • “He attributes the long fall to having back-cleaned a good piece, thinking he’d need it later.”, • “[He] had placed no protection above the belay station bolts. While a few of the pieces of protection that pulled out were fixed, the majority had been placed while free climbing or aiding.

If climbing in such a team, try climbing in blocks that help suit the leader, and don't be worried about one person doing more leading, as no one gets an easy ride on a wall - in fact leading is generally the easy bit. Your rope skills need to be very good, and an ability to improvise and visualise problems and 'pre-problems' is vital. will have a link to this table. “El Cap is unfathomably huge,” Caldwell says. Bounce testing or simply weighing nuts can see then welded in, so I tend not to use them to aid, and just place them like I would when leading. Dill makes a succinct point about Yosemite Valley weather in his essential essay “Staying Alive” [see box below] by citing two incidents from the same first climbed, the Nose has seen more than its share of accidents. he fell nearly 2,000 feet to the Valley floor. compared with the steeper, blanker aid climbs to either side. In addition to studying the rappel route (and carrying a topo of the descent) in case it’s necessary to bail from the climb, the fundamentals of safe rappelling—knotting Parties should carry ample Never arrive at a bivy in the dark. The official name given to his ludicrous feat is the “first free solo ascent” of Freerider (the specific route he took up El Cap), but that doesn’t even begin to explain just what an achievement it was. So with the basics out of the way how do you feel about your chances on The Nose? Light coloured pants? El Capitan’s iconic granite walls dominate the west end of Yosemite Valley.

I tend to keep so well covered that I don't really ever use sun screen. All three of these pendulum accidents involved a climber following the pitch, after the leader had successfully made the pendulum. when the situation became critical, they did not have the confidence to negotiate a retreat. Climbers may lighten their Having a long haul line allows you to simply secure the haul line mid way along the line, and lower it out using the rope itself, rather than a second lower out line. The National Park Service does not require registration for climbing in Yosemite, so we are unable to say what percentage of all climbs of El Capitan end One climb that will appear on the list of just about any climber with blood flowing through their veins is The Nose on El Cap, which perhaps - when all things are considered, such as location, quality, steepness and difficulty - is the greatest rock route on the planet. Here Andy sets his up whilst it is still daylight.© Andy Kirkpatrick The bottom pitches of the Nose up to Sickle, then up to Dolt are a sponge for failed ascents, tire kickers and people training for speed ascents, meaning you may find yourself jostling with 3 teams on pitch one (I'd recommend a 4am start for the 1st pitch, having already scoped out the 4th class sub first pitch beforehand, so you can climb it in the dark). They get tired, overestimate their abilities, or make mistakes. To avoid it falling back up the Fifi, stacking your rope in a rope bag clipped to your bag (also learn to tie a slippery hitch as a back up). (The exception was a fatal incident in 1977 in which a climber temporarily clipped climbers on the Nose from appearing in these pages, More than 40 percent of the incidents on the Nose reported in the pages of Accidents have involved leader falls. In other cases, climbers had adequate gear and shelter Honnold may have tamed it, but the jewel in Yosemite’s crown remains the most difficult climb on the planet for good reason. There are rock faces both steeper and larger, but nothing approaches the heady mix of height, steepness and sheer slipperiness of El Cap. The best way to get this toughness is by having some background in alpine climbing, and very often those who endure and succeed have already endured and succeeded on other climbs. You can help us by becoming a UKC Supporter. To climb hard long walls as free as possible you need to be both toughened up by constant climbing, as well as just fit enough to keep going. Remember that in the dark speed is quartered and stress and anxiety are magnified. Everyone who has made free soloing a big part of their life has died.”, Then there is Honnold, who has completed over 1,000 free solo climbs. If crowds are not your thing (they do add a great deal of danger to The Nose), then climb the Triple Direct instead (1st part of the the Salathe, mid section of the Muir and top of the Nose), a quieter alternative that unfortunately misses out the King Swing and Boot Flake. In the nearly 60 years since it was lower himself out from the anchor he’s leaving before starting a swing. The American Alpine Club is the nation’s leading organization for climbers.

portaledges behind in favor of bivy sacks or tarps. However, what makes The Nose a classic is not how hard it is, but how it is, by and large, relatively moderate, with ingenious route finding (like the Eiger's 38 route) weaving a line up one of the most impressive lumps of rock you'll ever find. In addition to the “ick factor” of Haul up the haul bag so the second has as much haul line as possible to work with. At 5.9 C2, the Nose is considered to be the easiest full-length route on El Capitan, which makes it extremely popular and draws relatively inexperienced big-wall climbers. To cruise routes at your normal grade I think you need a month just cragging out in America, probably hitting the desert cracks first to get your crack skills up, then ticking off all the classic lines in the valley.

It’s easy to underestimate the amount one needs to lower before making a safe Culture Trip stands with Black Lives Matter. 2 x Link Cams size 4 (these will save you a ton of time, as their massive range means you can leap frog them endlessly, leaving your other cams for pro). ascending fixed lines to Sickle Ledge was sent to the medical clinic with head lacerations after being beaned with rocks dropped by other climbers Nearly 3,000 feet (900 meters) high, this California summit attracts climbers from all over the world, but few can say they’ve truly tamed it. ARTICLE: Andy Kirkpatrick on Alpine Style Cooking, 10 Tips on Staying Warm in Winter by Andy Kirkpatrick, 10 Tips for Climbing El Cap by Andy Kirkpatrick, GUEST EDITORIAL: Everest - Sucking on the barrel, REVIEW: Fiva - An Adventure That Went Wrong, Andy Kirkpatrick - Exclusive excerpt from Cold Wars, Making The Jump From Scottish III and IV to V and VI. storm systems can quickly and unexpectedly develop during the four to five days most parties spend on the Nose, especially (but not exclusively) during Flights to San Francisco or L.A can be picked up cheaply, and car hire can be shared amongst a team making it cheaper than using trains and buses to get there.

the extra rope they have available—or, quite likely, use a second rope to ensure an adequate lower-out. Don't forget to check out videos on Youtube for extra beta about pitches and check the forums for current conditions. There is also a big psychological factor here, as I've met many strong climbers (cranking E7 and hard sport) who just crumble on the wall due to exposure. Various El Capitan climbers have run into trouble on the standard East Ledges descent route from the summit, including one fatal accident. The number of people can damage your psyche, but just relax and let those who need to pass, pass, and show the rest who wish to, that you're better than them by being fast and efficient yourself. All the more so because retreat is likely happening when climbers are tired or stressed by poor weather. Get to day three and everything will be great. Among the reports involving Take a thin peaked cap with built in neck guard to keep off the sun. Show your support UKC Supporter badge on your profile and forum posts. “I’ve thought about climbing [free soloing] El Cap each year since 2009. One climber required assistance after a knot became stuck when rappelling, and another had a close call when an attempt to cut a T-shirt free from In addition, when possible, belayers should consider an anchor set-up that gives them a little freedom to dodge falling objects, as long as the set-up Use of this website is restricted to RouteOne and its authorized users. These lists come in many categories, such as local routes to do (with these we may grasp how well we develop as climbers), classic routes around the UK we hope to tick off on weekend trips and holidays, then those that require an extra special effort to tick, saved for a big trip away.

All of the incidents on this pitch occurred when an aid piece pulled out, suggesting the need for more practice with aid placements

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