Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lurking Fear

Lurking Fear
aka Fern Gully
aka Seeing a Man about a Horse



Me and Scott met up in early June to redeem ourselves on the Captain after getting spat off the Nose in a storm a couple of weeks prior. In the meantime we had cruised Skull Queen, I had stayed in the Valley and done a bunch of free climbing while Scott went to So-Cal to find a job, and I had also gone through a staff training trip in the Sierra for Outward Bound. With the help of my friends Drew and Mandy, I hiked a bunch of water, my portaledge and gear up to the base of Lurking Fear (VI 5.10 C2+). This was just the carrot I needed to hold in front of Scott! So he drove up, we racked up, and hiked up to the base again with a big load intent on blasting the next day.




While not a gimme-wall, Lurking Fear is one of the more moderate aid intensive routes on El Cap, so Scott and I planned on 3 days and 2 nights on the wall, taking a relaxed pace, and not fixing any pitches. We blasted in the morning, and got through the bolt intensive first pitches quickly. I led pitch 4 and ended up taking a 25 foot winger after blowing a brassy placement above a section I had just backcleaned. Stupid.
Anyway, we keeping cruising and make it to belay 7 right at dusk, set up the ledge, and rock out to Cypress Hill and the Beavis and Butthead soundtrack on Scott's Ipod/speaker combo. All is well...

Until we wake up in the morning, and Scott drops the haulbag for the ledge, AND the poop tube! Shit! Luckily no one is below when it hits and creates instant bio-hazard. There is nothing for us to do except rap down. The route isn't steep enough for us to flag the ledge without destroying it in one haul. So we tie 30 liters of water to the anchor, and bail, fixing ropes down from pitch 3. Scott cleans the BIO-hazard, and I find the bag.
The next day is a rest day, after which we come back up, without the portaledge, and blast. We take the pitches we already have led and know, and make it to pitch 11's natural ledge bivy (cramped for 2) just after dark. We are moving. The next day finds me leading awesome hooking and free climbing pitches, as well as some nasty junk. I yell to Scott that I propose a new route name: LURKING FERN!



After getting to Thanksgiving Ledge, we decided to just hang out and enjoy ourselves instead of pushing for the top. We drank booty water, watched people top out on the Salathe Headwall, and cranked up the tunes in celebration.



Topped out the next day and ran into Pass the Pitons Pete, who had just began burning 15 days worth of poo bags... Less than optimal odors! It seems that there was a common theme here...
Life back on the ground was full of cold beer and ice cream, until the next plans began to get hatched......