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Tangerine Trip Sans Portaledge


 

by Christopher White

June 15, 2005

Note: This is just a report not really for entertaining purposes. The dates may or may not be exact.

Also note: this trip report has not been edited.

I arrived in the Valley on Memorial Day. I go to Camp4 parking lot and rack up. Next day June 1, I find a few friends and borrow a few pulleys (I thought i would have to 2:1 haul, but 1:1 hauling was easy)and buy some rivet hangers. Later in the day, I drive to El Cap meadow and hike all my Hardware up to the base of the Trip. Come back down and reload with another haulbag of 6 gallons of water and some software and bivy gear....NO Food yet. I believe Bear number 48 is being extremely aggresive this year. It's a girl, Brown in color and weighs in at about 500lbs. I had to scare it away a few times and throw rocks at it. I hope it chills out so she doesn't get shot by the rangers. 3 strikes and u are out for "Park" bears. That night I bivy in the cave on top of the 3rd class terrian where the trip begins. Very splendid night indeed.

June 2, I hike down go get breakfest at the cafeteria and take a rest day. I again Bivy on top of the 3rd class terrian. I feel i am not breaking the rules since i gotta tie in to keep from falling down the 3rd class terrian. Sweet Bivy, but sleeping on the ground would be more comfortable.

Next day June 3, i once again hike down and eat at the Caf. After that i go to the Mountain shop and buy 4 pins, the only ones i bring on the route. (1 pecker, 1 small knife blade thin, 1 stubby 1/2 inch angle, 1 rurp oh yeah and a medium short Lost Arrow...I bootyied the knife blade). I hike back up to the base of the Trip and find out that the Bear drank a gallon of my water..oh well. Two years ago it use to just bite into the bottles now it actually twists the tops off and drinks the water. It gets smarter and more effeicent every year. This trip i bring all the food and anything else i forgot the last 2 trips. I elevate my bag off the ground not really getting it high enough (I still could touch the bags standing on my tippy toes) but i got lucky and the bear didn't touch my bags, Probably because i maked the area really good with my piss. I think he kind of liked my and respected my stuff. That's what i like to think anyways. I am using 2 grade IV bags. One Black diamond, One Moab (Pagan) haulbag.

I think it's June 5 now...time warp.....in the Valley???? I go up and fix and haul the first pitch of Lost in America...A very fine moderate pitch. I nail a lost arrow 20 feet off the ground. The only pin i nail while on El Cap this time around. Don't have to worry about the clean accent anymore. Hauling is easy. 1:1 hauling works great. The bags probably weigh in at maybe 60 or 70 lbs. No lighter then 50lbs. The pitch ends on a beautiful 21/2 X 6 foot, perfectly flat ledge. I rap and clean. My ideal ground up solo no fixing still applys since a soloist has to rap to the ground once to clean the pitch. Ok i rap to the ground twice, but will accept the style anyways.

Is it now June 7??? I am out of shape so i am trying to recover much as possible..so i don't have to fix anymore and i can just blast without having to come down again. June 7, i jug my lines and continue. I make a few free moves left off of the ledge and up a right facing diehdral to join the second pitch of Virgina. I continue past the anchors all the way to the top of the 3rd pitch of Virgina for one long 160++ foot pitch. This lead does not go all so well. The actual climbing is not hard but managing the ropes and always wondering whats going on at the anchor really worries me. What really killed me is 20 feet from the top of the pitch and my rope gets stuck in the fucking rope bag. I have to equalize 3 fixed #2 and #3 heads and repell to get the rope unstucked. The rope knoted in the fabric of the rope bag. Make sure u use a thick stiff kind of fabric rope bag while soloing. Then i have to jug a over hanging line back to the fixed heads. I am bounce testing the hell out of these heads while juging. If they blow i am going for a long ride. Below the equalized heads is 2 hook moves, a small offset rp, and a C3 red alien placement. I finish the jugging get back on lead and make it to the anchor. I am COOKED!!! And Frazzled...I make the worst anchor of my life and reppel back to the top of lost in america. I have a portaledge, but all i can do is lie down on the nice ledge and fall asleep.

I wake up the next morning and clean the pitch. Hey i actually feel ok now. But i look down and see my pigs still anchored. My orginal plan was to clean, fix, and go back to the ground and regroup. So, i stick to the orginal plan.

I go to the Valley floor and find a partner. I find out maybe i am not much of a bigwall soloist. And i find Holly. Holly is kind of trying to solo a bigwall to. So, Hey we make a perfect team. The next day Holly and I hike up to the Trip and jug to one pitch below the roof. Holly sees my horrific anchor and takes along time to figure stuff out. She yells down to me and says she might not continue climbing with me. I suck up my Ego and 16 years of experience and just listen to what she has to say and agree to listen and make anchors exactlly the way she likes them. Anchors are not a issue the rest of the climb. I take off and lead the last short pitch of Virgina to the roof where the classic pitch 5 of the Trip begins. Holly takes pitch 5. A very heads up and exciting lead for Holly. I believe this pitch to be the crux. She even got to do some nailing, damn her! (She brought some of her pins with her..I don't remember what she placed but it was all small and maybe 3 or 5 placements max. I took over pitch 6...easy climbing. Holly cleaned. And then something happens that will make the trip up EL Cap very special or very not special.

I DROP the Portaledge.

I have a diasy gith hitched to the top of my bag running to the portaledge wich is attached to the bottom of the haulbag. so normally i reach under the haulbag unclip the portaledge, let it hang from the daisy, climb back up from under the haulbags and pull up the portaledge with the daisy chain. Some how the biner came unclip from the diasy chain and i watched my dreams of climbing the Trip go down the toilet. Maybe next time i will use a locking biner. Well good thing the Trip is so overhanging and its a process to bail from once u get past pitch 5. You definitley have to down nail half of the traversing pitch 5 to a intermediate anchor and then repeal into space from there. With a 8 foot or longer cheat stick we could easly retreat. But, Hey will don't carry no friggin cheat stick.

So, we look at eachother, after i say Fuck for the 5th time and smile. After that, I knew we where going to Send with a ledge or without a ledge. We look at the topo and see that it reads "Ledge" top of pitch 7. This is where Virgina runs into the Trip and ends. So, I take off and lead easy C1 terrian to the top of 7. This ledge is more of a stance then an actually ledge. Luckly the Moab haul bag i borrowed from my boss in Boulder comes with a belay seat!!! Holly uses this and puts her legs in the haulbag for support. And i just deal with what i have. That night we emptied half of our water and half of the food. I think i had enough water for a 2 person 8 day send for how cold it was. Looks like we will have to speed up our climb from a very leisure pace of 5 days...perfect for my fat out of shape ass...to a normal 3 day pace.

We wake up the next day and i take off on pitch 8. (After this bivy is my toe on my right leg is still numb!) I woke up couple times that night and my whole lower extremites where numb to the point of not being able to move my legs. Pitch 8 was fun with a little penji to a easy hook move, to a couple of free moves, to a C2 travese with a few hook moves. Alot of rope drag...long slings work here. Holly leads pitch 9. Pitch 9 is kind of weird and loose and u don't wanna fall to far if u fuck up because u will hit a ramp. There's a some free climbing on this pitch and what looks like a exciting finish to our next "Bivy ledge". Never been so psyched for such a small ledge before! We haul and dock the pigs here. I lead pitch 10. Pitch 10 is a closed right facing dihedral. It requires good technique or some thrashing. I did the later. I would have to call it C2 since i didn;t back clean. I always back clean C1. It pulls over a steep roof and requires that u trust some not so good fixed heads. C3F. Becareful here!!! There's more then one way to go but there's a loose block on the left. (Hope i am not giving to much beta.) i finish the pitch and Holly cleans. This is where Holly steps up to the plate and hits a home run by fixing and linking pitches 11 and 12 together. I clean these pitches in style. Holly is happy she only had to wait 15 minutes for me to clean these pitches. We reppell avoiding the death flake which would easlly give us the big Chop, back to our little bivy hotel. This night is better...kind of....I wake up with sore knees.

We both seem to have very short memories and the next day of climbing seems normal and there's nothing weird about our whole situation of not having a portaledges. So, the next morning, Holly jugs first and I ride the pigs and jug. Holly hauls and i sit there being useless. I jug the next pitch and haul. Holly follows. I lead pitch 13. Holly leads pitch 14....I am losing a pitch some where here???? Anyways, Holly leads another crux pitch which does a crecent moon, arching left which is seeping wet. She is glad we have sooo many Hybrid aliens for this pitch. I guess this pitch would be the pitch after the mother of all bolt ladders up the headwall. I lead pitch 17. A very fun pitch!!!! I wont give any beta for this pitch but use long slings at the beginnig so u don't have rope drag for the free moves and last C1 section. We are rewarded with a nice place where we can untie take off our harness. We crack open the celebration, 64oz of tasty King Cobra and eat a very nice meal.

The next morning we wake up 7am to some snow flakes. I scramble up the last slab to the top. We haul and finish the route to some ominous looking weather.

I think i consumed more Vitamin I on this wall then all the walls i have climbed in the pass. I just might have to come back in Setember without a belly and climb Mescalito.


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