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West Face Leaning Tower with missing car!
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retired


Sep 10, 2003, 4:51 PM
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Registered: Dec 29, 2002
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West Face Leaning Tower with missing car!
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Here is a trip report straight from my climbing log..there is a lesson to be learned here: Jim



8/24/03 Picked up Cody at 6 a.m. in Eugene for a non eventful 11 hour drive to Yosemite. We check out the leaning tower from the tunnel view and see no climbers, we’re on! Drive to camp 4 to fill Cody’s water bottles then back to Bridalveil parking area for a quick pack up of the pig. We leave the parking area around 7p.m. and struggle under the heavy loads up the trail, I decide to stash the car keys under a rotten log and get stung by hornets 4 times in the process, amazing how fast you can run with a huge haul bag on your back. At least the keys should be safe with the plague of hornets on guard. The sting on my eye lid throbs all night but doesn’t swell. We sweat & stagger up the talus and reach the fine bivy in the forest at the start of the traverse just as darkness sets in. Time for a little dinner and a short yoga sesh before the normal fretful sleep at the base of a climb.
8/25/03 Up early for breakfast and repacking the pig. Cody solos across the 4th class as I arrive with the pig. He hauls and I struggle & grunt the sow across to the start of pitch 1. At 8:30 I begin climbing the first 4 pitches up to Ahwahnee ledge which we reach around noon. I lead the pitches in a block arriving at the belays tying off the climbing rope, hauling, then starting up the next pitch solo before Cody arrives. He finishes the haul, sends up gear he’s cleaned then puts me back on belay…very efficient. The climbing on the first 4 pitches is quite steep but mostly bolts ladders and fixed gear with maybe only a dozen placements needed for the block. I did use about 7 hook moves, all bomber and all a normal sky hook. We have a leisurely lunch at Ahwahnee before Cody starts pitch 5 off guano ledge after 1 p.m. It’s a complicated traversing pitch and maybe the crux of the climb. Cody does a great job and then starts soloing up pitch 6 while I clean 5. When I’m finished cleaning, Cody is out of rope & gear I send up draws and put him back on belay. He quickly scampers across the bolt ladder to the top of pitch 6. Rapping back down to Ahwahnee we arriving around 4, it’s hot. We have now been in the direct sun for a couple hours and and the intensity is wilting! I rig a sun shelter from my thermarest and Cody does the same with his bivy sack, we stay hidden like this till 7 when the sun goes behind a bank of clouds to the west. We eat and rest and enjoy our perch. Just before dark another party which we have been hearing sporadically arrives at Guano. We invite them over and I even loan one my headlamp to set up their bivy on the far edge of Ahwahnee ledge where we freed up some space for them. Nice boys but it would have been nicer to have the whole ledge to ourselves. We do a little yoga, without the standing knee balance. A pleasant night is passed watching nearly constant but distant (no thunder heard) lightning to the west.

8/26/03 Up early, we have breakfast, pack up and test out the new hasmat container…it works! Cody jugs up the 140’ and hauls I arrive and set up a comfy hanging belay. The next pitch is 140 feet and is probably the least fixed, Cody is once again up to the task and moves the team efficently to the top of pitch 7. While Cody leads the sky darkens. I’m not aware it’s raining until looking out at the curtain of water 50 feet away…it pours but we each feel maybe two drops, the leaning tower does indeed lean. A beautiful rainbow wraps around the base of the tower below us, a memorable finish to the unexpected shower. I lead the next 3 pitches in a block (meant to tie off the rope at the top of pitch 8 but missed the belay) in about an hour and a half arriving at the big ledge atop pitch 10 at noon. The final move of the climb required a thoughtful tiny cam placement when I couldn’t seem to free to the tantalizingly close ledge. Cody scrambled up the final 40 foot slab and we were on the exposed narrow summit. The descent is tedious but safe. I see it could be done with a single 60 meter but would require doing it previously to know exactly where all the anchors are. It feels great to take off the harness and dump our gear but too soon we hoist pig & pack to hike out. 30 minutes later the bridal veil lot comes into view but Not our car! To make an anxious, expensive, frustrating, unhappy but not to horrible story short… my subaru was in jail and it took a bit of hoop jumping and 90 bucks to spring him. Seems we didn’t hide the food left in the car well enough, bears didn’t see it but the rangers did, lesson learned the subby won’t be a repeat offender. Great climb, great partner, would love to do the route again in a day with a single 60 meter rope. My revised gear list would be…Cams to #3 camalot with doubles to #2 singles in the small cams but include hybred aliens. Double set of nuts with HB offsets being one of the two. No micro teeny nuts needed. I used one small cam hook somewhere and the standard skyhook 7 times but only on the first 4 pitches.

8/27/03 Cody whips up a good eggy breakfast then a bit of lounging, sorting, etc. Yoga sesh on an island in the merced behing el-cap meadow, where we eye our afternoon objective. Central pillar of frenzy 5.9 I lead 1,3,5, almost as much elevation gain in a couple hours as we did in a couple days on leaning tower. Wish I had brought all the big cams we didn’t use on the tower for pitch 3. started driving home in the evening, night at castle crags, we talked but not enough energy…


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Sep 10, 2003, 6:36 PM
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Registered: Jun 17, 2002
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Re: West Face Leaning Tower with missing car! [In reply to]
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Nice TR, 'tired. Still hot in the Valley, huh? How did you guys do on water?

Ed


retired


Sep 10, 2003, 7:24 PM
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Registered: Dec 29, 2002
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Re: West Face Leaning Tower with missing car! [In reply to]
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We each took two gallons and dumped about 1/2 gallon out on top (there was plenty of spare water left on the ledge atop pitch 10) We never climbed at all in the sun the 2nd day.


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