Shooed off El Cap.
We have been thinking about it for days. Over a cup of tea at 9 pm the green light decision was made. (there was a whisky involved as well). We are going to do The Nose in a day. It's a 3 am start at the house. We are roping up when we hear this huge rock fall. Not on top of us, but still terrifying. It lasts for 15 seconds, but seems to last forever. By 6 am we are climbing. Pitch 1 and 2 flew by. We pass the Norwegians. It’s getting light now. Then we pass the Americans. There is a roped soloist ahead of us. He knows what he is doing because he is motoring. He is climbing it all twice and still we are unable to catch him. We free a lot of it, with the odd french free moves inbetween to maintain speed. We swing leads. And then we did some swinging. We are climbing with Snort’s superskinny 8.1 dental floss ropes, where you have one to top rope/swing off and second rope is for hauling our haul bag (15 kg: 8 liter of water, 4 frozen cokes, duvet jacket for forced bivvy, potato salad, lots of sweets, Clif Bars, lots of Ibuprofen and local anesthetic). I am really psyched when it’s my turn to lead the Stoveleg pitch (Pitch 8/Grade 5.8), it’s an awesome-looking handcrack in a Sea of Granite. I do a full 60m, running it out about 10m because the hand jams are so good and because we were carrying a very light rack so there wasn’t more gear. Snort leads Pitch 9. The American party leader, Zak that we passed catches up to me while I am belaying. I had met Zak in Camp 4 before. He had lead all the pitches up to this point, so he is tired and now it’s his partners turn. Zak is planning on spending three to four days on the wall. We better hurry. Snort finishes his pitch, all the rope gets pulled, Snort shouts “On Belay”. I take my right shoe off the biner and put the shoe on. I then have to sort out some ropes for the hauling. That’s done. Now I reach for my left shoe. It was there. It’s not there. I look on the left side. It’s not there either. I look at Zak. “Can you see my shoe anywhere? I seem to have misplaced it. Are you playing a prank on me?”. Zak now does a hanging belay body search.. He confirms that it is gone. At that point we both simultaneously look down 300m. We both realize in an instant that we not going to see a single lonely climbing shoe at the base of El Cap. With a slightly higher note, Snort now shouts “On belay, you can climb now”. We don’t even have walking shoes so we both realize it’s game over for us. We did a lot of hard work getting to this point and I feel really terrible about this. We abseil off and waiting at the base patiently on top of a nice rock is my left foot Evolv Pontas lace shoe. Somebody saw it falling it out of the sky and didn’t think it was useful booty. All in all a rather embarrassing moment on The Nose.
at 7:46 PM