Lost Arrow Spire

Tuesday morning, 9 am. Nurse Janet says: “Clinton, you are dehydrated, sunburnt, have secondary infections under your scabs on your hands, your toe infection could spread and lead to amputation of the leg. Take some vitamins. Eat well. Drink some juice. Take a bath with Epsom salts. Scrub the wounds, really hard and deep. You should keep your leg elevated. You should definitely not be climbing today.“ Janet leaves.

“Robert, I need to quickly move camp sites. Let’s leave in 15 minutes”.

It’s a brutal 2 1/2 hour hike up. It’s absolutely cooking. We are huffing and puffing up the switchbacks. My toe is throbbing but still attached. We didn’t bring enough water. I am thinking of Janet. A school group of 10 kids and teachers comes past us. Robert hits them up for some water. We are back in business, the day is saved.

30 minutes later we are at the Spire. We are all alone. Not a soul in sight. Great!

We abseil down into the notch. Two minor problems. I forgot to bring down the third rope. Plus our 2nd rope has gotten jammed. While I jumar up to get rope #3 Robert retrieves the stuck rope. Back in business again.

We start the climb. It’s pretty straightforward, this is an aid climb. I am climbing in my Evolv approach shoes as my toe is too sore to handle my Pontas. (Grade of the route is 5.12b or 5.7C2). There are pitons, bolt hangers, bolts, fixed nuts, plus I place the occasional cam or nut in a pin scar to get to the top. By accident I do what Robert now calls the “Ningo variation”. We were supposed to go up this horrible, daunting 5.9 offwidth, instead I climbed around it. All good. 2 hours and 3 pure aid pitches later we arrive at the top. Sandwiches, grilled Chicken, Cliff Bars. Yummie.

Now we have to figure out how to get across on the "Tyrolean Traverse" that this climb is so well-known for. We each had our own theories on how to do this. On the way up Robert trailed the 2 connected abseil ropes fixed to the rim abseil anchor. We eventually decide on a rigging method that should work. Off we go, traversing across the divide. Yihaa! Nice and airy. An hour later both of us are standing safely back on Yosemite mainland. We manage to pull all our ropes, and are on our way down. It’s two hours down, half of it in the dark. We get back to Camp 4 at about 8:30 pm. It’s been a long day. Tomorrow might just be Janet’s rest day.

No comments: