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Ask Dr. Piton about ... Lost in America
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Oct 24, 2001, 4:50 PM
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Registered: Oct 9, 2001
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Ask Dr. Piton about ... Lost in America
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Benjo writes,

"Dr. Piton,

I'd like to do a winter solo of Lost in America. [on El Capitan - ed.] I think I read somewhere that you have done that route. Any beta you could give me on gear or anything else would be great.


Dear Ben,

Dr. Piton's resume can be found at:

Go to "Most recent climbs (ascents) to get a list of El Cap route's I've done. I have not yet completed all of the stories, but in this section, you will get a personal story of my ups and downs on each route.

Above that list you will find "Most recent routes". These are routes that I have edited, but in most cases, have done. When you go to that particular route in the El Cap section, you will know that I have done it because it will say "Climbed By: passthepitonspete"

Click on that, at it will get you back to my own account of my ascent. You've come full circle, much like the pig that gets hauled up the Big Stone and returns to the base via Air Express.

This being said, you will note that I have not (yet!) climbed Lost in America. I have climbed BESIDE Lost in America, and watched two Japanese dudes climb it.

Kou Imai was one of them. You could email him and see if he could give you some beta. I don't believe his English is very strong.

If you get any good beta, please share it with Dr. Piton!

What I can tell you, Ben, is that a winter solo ascent of El Cap by ANY route is bitchin', but a solo winter ascent by a hard-ish route like Lost in America would be WAY PROUD!

Now, don't go getting puffed up too soon - you ain't DONE it yet, "k"?

What I CAN tell you is that Lost in America is one of the few El Cap routes with mandatory free climbing. It's 5.10R straightg up above the fifth belay, but only 5.8R if you go WAY right around the bush. You can get some pro in after 20 or 25'. Were Dr. Piton to climb this route, he would have to come out of Free Climbing Retirement!
Dr. Piton is not as familiar with this part of the cliff during bad weather. My recommendation would be to consider a better protected but more difficult route,
Native Son:

You can read about my adventures climbing it during the bad spring weather of El Nino:

If you are going to attempt a winter solo of a medium hard El Cap route, you had better be prepared for the worst! You have to be able to hang in through the worst winter storms without getting cold and dying. Bring plenty of warm socks, a spare stove (since this is an essential item, and you'd always bring a spare hammer when you solo, right?) and a cell phone or radio. You will have to figure out how to keep your beer from freezing (I recommend Julius Kessler whisky) You can probably leave behind the solar-powered shower, though.

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