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Going UP and DOWN The Prow: Success and Failure
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evanwish


Jul 30, 2010, 1:59 PM
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Going UP and DOWN The Prow: Success and Failure
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Final aid climbing training trip for the Prow:


We had been on a streak of trying to find routes that we could practice aid (NO FREEING), preferably with harder variations. We decided on Dominion, its a 5.10c if you stay in the crack, and probably C3 if you go off right on hooks over a seam as opposed to staying in the crack for that last section of the crux. Halfway through i really wished i had just stuck with the C1 crack... so my first experience on stepping off the C1 went like this: "solid" wide cam hook left as pro before leaving the crack, shitty narrow hook placed semi-pasively, move on a Grapling hook to reach and set equalized micro and narrow camhook (which i though was horribly shitty, until it caught my daisy chain fall.. noob...), intimidating ball nut that kept popping, then two good cams and then 20 feet of cliffhanger hooking! FUN!
Pictures taken from 30 feet below the anchor. And you can see the seam on clmber's right of the main crack



Matt jugging:



We saw this dude leading the second pitch of Morticia (5.9?), he's 20 feet off the belay with no pro. Wow,





The Prow— Trip Report:

Caution Beta Alert!!!!!

Our trip started off on Friday, June 11th with a full day of class III white water rafting on the American River. At about 4pm we started our drive to Yosemite and arrived at the Awhanee at sundown. We distributed the weight between the two of us using an extra backpack. It took some faith and lots of second-guessing before we realized we were on the right path. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the base of a big wall. My headlamp didn’t go very far so I figured it was just another big boulder. When Matt shined his light up it was obvious we were at the base of the Column. Now which route? We had no idea! All we did know in the dark was that there was a fixed rope right up this lower angle dirty rock; we figured it might be coming down from Dinner Ledge. It had been a very very long day rafting, driving, and night hiking so we decided to call it a night and dropped off the gear and slept our first night in a portaledge hanging at the base the Column.

I was awake at first light, packed up the bag and went out in search for the base of The Prow. It turned out it was just a ten-minute walk above. After I dropped off the contents of both bags I went back down to wake up the sleepy head. We still had the load of 62 pounds of water left over at the car and hiked back to get it. On a fresh day we could have carried it all in from the car in one go without problem, but we were tired and had nowhere to camp in the valley. Worked out GREAT! No extra energy wasted. We repacked the bag at the ledge and I started leading at about 11 or 12pm.

The top 8 out of 12 pitches
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)

The route is the white streak going up the steep side in the shade
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)



---Pitch 1: This pitch seemed really long. The first section in the Dihedral is an easy and quick aid with gear mostly between .25 and 1”. The 5.6 free climbing section above was easy climbing, but made tougher with the aiders getting caught because of the lower angle. About halfway up the free section I decided to fix the problem… about time. I felt the transfer off the slab was the most nerve wracking of the pitch. After that it’s short hand crack that’s too bad its not any longer. A fixed piton marks the beginning of the thinner crack. This takes cam hooks, micro cams, and micro nuts well.

We're on the second pitch in this picture,
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)


---Pitch 2: I’ve heard of the “traverse” over to the dihedral being called 5.6, but it seemed more of just a walk with exposure. The last 3 feet were seeping water and were really slippery. A solid green/yellow hybrid alien gets you off the ledge with full security. I’d suggest placing a #2 on the ledge in case you pop that first piece off the ledge—it’d be a BIG swing! I thought the dihedral was supposed to be the crux of the pitch, but actually it was pretty easy. The top half of the dihedral was laced with fixed pitons, some solid, some 50/50. Finally as the crack dies out the copperheads begin. While it was the first copperhead I ever weighted, and was the biggest reach i had to do on the whole climb (even more than the "reachy" bolts). At this point, my high stepping was ok and I could get to the second step of the Yates Ladder with some extra effort. Well, no matter how hard I tried; I couldn’t reach the next copperhead. So instead I ended up going up and right a bit to a rivet (off route?) and then felt solid reaching left for the second copperhead. A few more copperheads lead to the C1 crack to the belay.

Me just after the pitons and onto the copperheads.
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)

Me hauling, Matt jugging
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)


---Pitch 3: Going out over the roof was simple; just make sure to extend your pieces to keep them out of the crack. There’s an old rope stuck in there where somebody had to cut it. Don’t let that happen to you! Haha. If the lip of the roof isn’t taped, you might want to. Luckily for me, it was already well protected with tape. I recall a few more copperheads on this awkward bulge. About five feet short of the Anchorage Ledge the crack was swarming with ants. We set up the ledge, I grabbed my headlamp and I headed off to fix pitch 4. Anchorage was spacious and lots of room to stretch out and move around off of the portaledge.

Matt enjoying his favorite part of the wall (morning of on Anchorage Ledge)



---Pitch 4: I headed up the pitch at around 7:30pm. It starts off with eleven closely spaced bolts. Just clip a few..duh. Most of the details of this pitch are a wash because I did the top half with a headlamp. I was tired and the pitch just never seemed to end! I was placing a lot more protection to play it safe in the dark. I recall the top being the hardest part, but that might have just been how late it was. It was awesome rappelling off into the dark abyss, while looking down and seeing a headlamp lighting up the portaledge a hundred and ten feet below. When I got down Matt had dinner all ready for me.

Here's looking up at pitch 4 as the route got darker, the anchor is about 30 feet above the small roof in the middle of the picture


Here's looking down the pitch in the morning


Looking out from pitch 4


looking at the anchor after jugging the fixed line



---Pitch 5: This pitch was a speedy one. The first thirty feet was fun C2. Once the bolts are reached you can just charge. By this point in the trip I had perfected my top stepping to where I could stand on the top step of the Yates Ladders with no problem. I’m 5’10” and most bolts were easily reachable from the third step (the fourth step on those ladders puts the placement ‘biner at my waste). Only a few required the second step. The last bolt is the biggest reach. There was a two-foot chord on it to assist the shorter people, but I was able to easily clip it with the top step. Shorter people might want to bring a cheater stick of some sort because my partner accidentally cleaned it when he left the belay. By this time I had sped up my hauling to about four times faster than when I started up the wall. By now, hauling was only taking about 15 minutes for the average pitch. In the meantime, I was having some fun conversation with the guys next to us on Ten Days After.

Me on pitch 5 below the white streak
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)

I really like this picture since you can see the bolts and slings. Also, you can see Zac and Kyle on Ten Days After (on the right) WOW.
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)

zoomed out
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)

hauling
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)



---Pitch 6: I don’t really remember much of this pitch, except for the fact it’s in this eight inch mini dihedral, kind of like a thick flake. Most of the heads were pretty good. There were more bolts than I expected. Most were good, and those that were old, had a good one following it a few moves later. About twenty feet short of the belay the climbing got real exciting on mostly copperheads, some were really janky!!

Starting pitch 6, its the white, stripe in the middle
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)

Top of pitch 6 viewed from valley
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)

Same picture but zoomed out
(Photo by Kyle/Zac)

This is my favorite picture ever!! me on pitch 6, Thanks Kyle and Zac!!

(Photo by Kyle/Zac)



---Pitch 7: The Strange Dihedral pitch was fun! There are some awkward sections, but most of it is easy. I didn’t know about the tension traverse and stared up at a micro seam with a tiny copperhead way out of reach thinking how the hell am I supposed to do that? I’m lucky I looked right before I wasted any more time! Haha. The tension traverse was easy, and the pro afterward was very straightforward. The belay consists of four pitons in a vertical crack and a bolt on the right. Make sure to lower out the pig or it could find its way out of the strange dihedral and cutting across that arête.

The belay on the start of pitch 8. The sling on the right is Kyle's pro as he linked pitches where the two routes collide.


Looking down at the Strange Dihedral.. i placed a lot of gear at the end!



Looking out from the belay, you can see Zac and Kyle's haul line just a few feet away



---Pitch 8: As i hauled pitch 7, I look up and see Kyle--who was right above me--take a fall when his cam hook popped. I ducked my head as his cam hook flew towards the ground, only to be stopped by getting caught harness! Anybody who has carried a full set of hooks knows that they get caught on EVERYTHING; well yeah they still catch everything on your harness after being dropped forty feet! After he got back on the rock he realized he had placed the hook right next to a hidden piton in a chunk of grass! Ha! This was a weird pitch. Go up to a piton with plenty of slings and then walk across the ledge till you get to the arch. As of 6/13/10 it was loaded with fixed gear. I recall an old manky copperhead that had the clip in loop broken off, and had a sling girth hitched around the swage.. JANKY!!! Luckily though there was a bomber micro nut right above it. You can back clean for a while, but be careful cause if you fall you’d probably land on the ledge. Before you can reach the bolts, find the hidden piton. I didn’t really like the free climbing section… I ended up always keeping two to three pieces at my waist and back-cleaning everything. However, that made the final moves really tough. Either way, don’t fall right here. We slept on the leftward bolts of Tapir Terrace at the base of Pitch 9. There was lots of room and six bolts.

Matt making dinner on the portaledge

dinner!! mmmmm!




---Pitch 9: The first pitch for day three on the wall. About fifteen or so feet up I started having trouble getting a cam to stick in this pod and actually had to try a few cams till one felt solid and passed testing (my first cam I placed didn’t pass my aider test… first piece I’ve ever had fail) So after that I got a yellow/green alien to stick and pass testing just fine. I had the placement ‘biner at about thigh level, and reached up to place a nut. I had a though run through my mind, “you know what, I’m going to chicken out and place a piece face level…” so I clipped the biner full of offsets to the rack and then my piece popped sending me down that section of slab, my upper thigh bounced off a small ledge, and then my fall was stopped about three feet later. I instantly knew it was broken.
The rescue: Back at the belay I directed Matt how to support my leg. Because of how the route goes left from the bolts (the newer bolts on the right, not the older bolts on the left) it was too difficult and painful with the dangling leg to get me fully onto the Tapir Terrace. We put the belay seat under me, and supported/stabilized my leg with two adjustable daisies; one in the arch of my foot and one girth hitched by the toes. Basically I could get the pain down to around a 10 out of 10 for a little while and then it’d spike up to a 15 out of 10 (anyone who’s seen the pain chart with the illustrated faces understands). We’d tighten the daisy chain about a millimeter (literally a millimeter) and the pain would go back down to a full 10. I focused on my head a lot by trying to control the pain by distracting myself from the pain and situation. Five hours of that and I was finally dragging myself into the rescue litter. Thank you so much YOSAR! That would have been a hell of a rappel with a five inch all-the-way-through spiral fracture underneath my leg loop, and the broken off ball of the hip. Without YOSAR, I’m pretty sure I would have made it. Apparently, in those six hours till I got to the hospital I lost over three units of blood into the leg. Another ten feet of being lowered surely would have resulted in unconsciousness. Doctor’s said “the best decision [I’ve] ever made, was to not self rescue” and I couldn’t agree more.

Yosar set an anchor above and lowered down with the litter basket (haha which makes sense because I felt like a piece of trash by that point). Pulling myself into the basket was the most painful experience of my life; definitely 20 out of 10 on that inaccurate pain scale the doctors like to use. The official pain scale calls a 10 “the worst pain possible.” But everything’s a 10 until you experience something worse. If you tell them it’s a 10 because it’s the worst pain of your life, then you experience even more pain which you didn’t even know was at all possible, you can’t continue telling them it’s a 10 because then the doctors say “oh ok so the pain HASN’T gone up… Good!” Also if you say a 10 is being unconscious, then how do you relate your pain to being unconscious? So YES, a 20 out of 10 is highly possible!

Being lowered in the basket actually had some amazing views of the rock and the routes east of the Prow. All I could think about was, “what route is THAT?! Oh man I’d love to climb that!” Once at the base I was surrounded by probably ten SAR volunteers. At that point I started to feel like shit… not because of my leg hurting, but because I felt guilty for getting all these people to take care of my sorry ass. At this point I started feeling even more guilty and felt as if I just didn’t want to be rescued anymore. However, that might have just been the morphine affecting my thought process. Soon the helicopter was above and was hoisting me away towards the meadow. I think I had the best views in Yosemite while flying through the valley, but trust me; It’s a sight best left unseen.
Once in the valley there were dozens of personnel there from the YOSAR helicopter, NPS, an ambulance, and the Modesto med helicopter and more. Man, that one cam popping really caused a huge disturbance. Shit. In surgery I had a rod placed down the center of my entire femur, with two screws by the knee, and two massive screws going through the upper femur and into the ball of the hip (which I had broken off as well).

"Enjoying" the hospital


Top half of the x-ray


As of the writing of this (exactly one month after the incident) they say my healing is going very fast. However, for another month I need to be in a wheel chair to reduce the impact on my leg. From there I’ll be on crutches through October (five months). Furthermore they say no sports or climbing until the hardware is removed, so that sets my climbing back two years. But hey, it could be worse!


panacea82


Jul 30, 2010, 2:59 PM
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Very nice trip report! I work in Yosemite and remember seeing you landing in the medow that day, I even made the comment to my friend that you looked all smiles even for the situation you were in.
You should post this on Supertopo im sure they would give you more respect than the n00bs here.


evanwish


Jul 30, 2010, 4:07 PM
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panacea82 wrote:
Very nice trip report! I work in Yosemite and remember seeing you landing in the medow that day, I even made the comment to my friend that you looked all smiles even for the situation you were in.
You should post this on Supertopo im sure they would give you more respect than the n00bs here.

Thank you very much. Yeah I was happy to be in good hands, and despite the accident, still enjoying the views! Haa.

I posted an old version in a thread (thats now buried), so yeah i'll put it in the TR section, Thanks!


Gmburns2000


Jul 30, 2010, 5:09 PM
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Nice TR, and sorry to hear how it finished. Good luck with the recovery!


losbill


Jul 30, 2010, 7:52 PM
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EW -- Sitting here really enjoying your TR. Thinking "Man, aid is a lot of work but it takes you to really pretty places." Then I get to the fall part. Bad luck guy. Best wishes for a full, speedy and complete recovery! --- Bill


onceahardman


Jul 30, 2010, 7:57 PM
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Man, I'm sorry about the accident, but glad you are OK. Ask the surgeon about avascular necrosis of the ball of the hip joint. It's pretty common in fractures of the type you had, and may require a hip replacement. It ended Bo Jackson's football career.


evanwish


Jul 30, 2010, 8:18 PM
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losbill wrote:
EW -- Sitting here really enjoying your TR. Thinking "Man, aid is a lot of work but it takes you to really pretty places." Then I get to the fall part. Bad luck guy. Best wishes for a full, speedy and complete recovery! --- Bill

Haa! Thats exactly how it felt when i was like "Wow i can't believe I just fell! Bummer." thinking everything was ok, then... "FUCK! My leg's broken! WTF?!"

and onceahardman , thanks I'll look into that. My doctor's main concern is that the screws in the ball might work their way into the actual join and rub on the cartilage in the socket, which i think would lead to what you are talking about. Because of that threat i've been told I cannot move the hip (also cause the tendons attach to where one of the breaks is), everything from the knee down is ok to move though.


dugl33


Jul 30, 2010, 8:58 PM
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Great trip report, but, man, what a bummer. Best of luck with the recovery.


boymeetsrock


Aug 2, 2010, 10:05 AM
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I did not... see that coming.

Excellent write up Evan. Major bummer about the leg. Way to enjoy every minute of the experience though !!

Hope that the healing process goes well and your back to 100% in good time. Thanks for sharing that!








Oh, and I love the rainbow aiders!!


scottb


Aug 2, 2010, 10:52 AM
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Wow! Great TR! The surprise ending was enough to drag me out of lurker-dom to make a comment. :)

Just did that route last fall and remember that pitch seeming like a bit of a sand bag at C1.

Way to keep your spirits up. Hope yer back at it soon...

Big props to the Yosar guys for being the best at what they do!


Partner j_ung


Aug 2, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Wow! Helluva TR! Heal quickly!


Partner j_ung


Aug 2, 2010, 11:10 AM
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panacea82 wrote:
You should post this on Supertopo im sure they would give you more respect than the n00bs here.

Well, that's not a crappy thing to say at all. Wink


charley


Aug 2, 2010, 1:39 PM
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Great tr. Sucks about the leg. Hope you heal well and fast.


evanwish


Aug 3, 2010, 1:53 PM
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scottb wrote:
Wow! Great TR! The surprise ending was enough to drag me out of lurker-dom to make a comment. :)

Just did that route last fall and remember that pitch seeming like a bit of a sand bag at C1.

I'm glad i could add some entertainment haaaa. And yeah it was just that one placement was my most insecure placement on the whole climb. It was right above that mini slab thing and at the base of that short headwall. The guys who led it the day before popped the same piece. He was just saved by accidentally taking a daisy chain fall! I wish i forgot to unclip my daisy :/

scottb wrote:
Big props to the Yosar guys for being the best at what they do!
Yep!!!!!!! They planned out a great rescue, and i just feel sorry for having to make them all come get me.. Lame...


evanwish


Aug 3, 2010, 2:47 PM
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I just found this quote from another TR of the Prow,
http://climberonline.com/COLtripreports/tr062601b.shtml wrote:
It's either C2, C1 or 5.9 depending on where we get the information. We decide that it is C1 before Greg gets to the second placement. Greg struggles mightily with flared and bottoming placements that he cusses at trying to make them better. He gets at least 30 feet of placements to stick. Then while relaxing on the nice ledge I hear the familiar, "Pink, tinkle, woosh..." I quickly mention to Nancy "He's off" without looking up. Nancy is slammed to the left while the Gri-Gri locks up. Greg is 10 feet above the ledge and close to 20 feet below his high point. A litany of curses fill the air. First fall of the trip, on a C1 pitch.

Its seems the majority of falls on this route are right there! haa i think that one placement was my crux.

I remember seeing a picture that shows the spot, but i just can't find it. I thought it was on supertopo but don't see it there.


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