Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Southwest Face of Liberty Cap

With 10 days off in between a couple courses I am working, I headed into the Park to play on some big walls. My initial plan was to solo Ten Days After on Washington Column, but some major stuck rope issues forced me down after my second day on the wall.
After a couple days of getting my stuff down and decompressing at the El Cap Bridge, I teamed up with my buddy from El Portal, Andy Esparza, to go climb a route on Liberty Cap that had always captured my interest.

We racked up and hiked up the John Muir Trail, serving as amusement to the parched and dusty tourists who were amazed at the size of our packs (and that they weren't full of beer.) The best part though, was stopping for water along the trail, and several different people, thinking my open haulbag was a garbage can, threw their trash in it!
We made it up to the base, fixed a pitch, and went to hang out at a pool below Nevada Falls to relax and fill up our water bottles.
The next day came quick, and we started taking care of business pretty early. The second pitch featured a bitchin' 5.9 handcrack, and I got to lead the best pitch of the route, a super steep hook and rivet ladder out a steep corner.

The climbing overall was OK- a combination of decent climbing accompanied by some really low quality bush-grovelling. I likened it to Dante's Nine Circles of Hell, as experienced through shrubbery. The mini-epics were plentiful, including me leading a 5.6 chimney/c3 crack when my headlamp suddenly died, and one of Andy's approach shoes taking the plunge off the last pitch, leaving him to hike barefoot back down the trail, but the location was unbeatable.

Getting to look over at Nevada Falls all day long, looking at the tourists getting way to close to the edge and screaming, "YER GONNA DIE!!!" was priceless, and topping out and getting to look up into the Little Yosemite Valley was well worth our arboreal labors.

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