Friday, October 24, 2008

Yosemite beat down

Jason Kruk and I made an attempt to free a route on the right side of El Cap. Many days of preparation were followed by a serious wall attempt which included some hauling and 5.10+ X sketchiness. At our highpoint, I found myself staring into a sea of death blocks (or perhaps safe blocks...) pasted in a roof. I just couldn't muster the courage to send, despite the fact that I badly wanted to free that route. On tough scary routes, success hangs in precarious balance. Once that balance was tipped, and the decision to bail was made, we rapped with the bitch haul bags. I was pissed at myself. Basically I knew those blocks were going to make us or break us. I just thought I had the cajones to bust through. But I didn't. And we rapped.

After calling the route off, my motivation has hit rock bottom. It takes alot of psyche to crank up for a route like that. And when it all comes apart, I find myself back at square one, looking for new inspiration.

It's easy to get wrapped up in these climbing projects. It is good to take a step back and realize that Yosemite in the fall is truly beautiful. The leaves are all falling off the trees and in the evenings the walls are ablaze with orange glow. Yesterday I found myself walking around pissed off, head down and brooding. I had to remind myself to lighten up and take climbing for what it is: a chance to do wild things in wild places.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

El CAP-i-tan

Nico Favresse, Belgian bad-ass, has freed a new route on El Cap somewhere in the vicinity of 'Bad to the Bone' and 'Eagles Way.' His partner Sean Villaneauva accompanied him on the adventure and freed alot of it as well.

Nico just related to me how touch and go the climbing was. Apparently, he had no idea if the route would go free as he slowly inched his way up the wall. The guys took enormous whippers along the way, and pulled off big blocks.

Mentally, Nico is one of the toughest climbers out there. Anybody who can free dicey 5.13 on knifeblades gets my full respect. Nico did that day after day without knowing whether his efforts would even amount to a free route. He just tried really hard and hoped for the best. For some reason, I think that luck favors those who push the absolute hardest.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


Empty cans of King Cobra, enormous squirrels, enormous tourists, a dozen languages spoken underneath Midnight Lightning, pots clanging at 5AM in Camp 4, battered haulbags, bears, bitter coffee in the cafeteria.... Big walls, very big walls.

No place quite like Yosemite....