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Messages - Didder

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Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Atlantic Ocean Wall photos
« on: November 22, 2013, 11:36:34 pm »
Awesome pics Mark!

Big Wall Forum / Re: Nose or Zod?
« on: January 26, 2013, 10:01:39 am »
Just climb it! Zodiac lower pitches in full conditions this last Thanksgiving... we climbed through 4 storms over 5 days

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Virginia to T Trip Solo 6/21/12-6/28/112
« on: July 11, 2012, 08:22:17 pm »
Glad you enjoyed the vid. Yeah it's super steep up there.

I wasn't going to include the "disco boogie" but it had me laughing so hard when I watched it that I had to throw it in there...

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Virginia to T Trip Solo 6/21/12-6/28/112
« on: July 08, 2012, 08:14:28 pm »
Yeah he and Kait came up right below me on Aurora... I got some sick shots!

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Virginia to T Trip Solo 6/21/12-6/28/112
« on: July 08, 2012, 12:27:39 pm »
Cheers Mark... I'll see what I can do about the sound but honestly you probably don't want to hear me talking anyway!

Big Wall Trip Reports / Virginia to T Trip Solo 6/21/12-6/28/112
« on: July 08, 2012, 09:29:06 am »
Video link:

This was much harder and way more involved than the Zodiac solo that I did last Summer but also a break through for me in so many ways.... Kind of a goofy video but since we are so starved for content on this site I thought it worth posting.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Winter Walls...anybody do'in em?
« on: February 15, 2012, 12:06:09 pm »
Yeah he is classic. I went out free diving and he took tanks a couple weeks ago under the full moon. I had a piping hot lobster burrito already waiting for him when he came out.. hoping to hang with him some more... good guy that one.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Winter Walls...anybody do'in em?
« on: February 15, 2012, 11:45:12 am »
Did you bring your hand saw to further ease that arduous approach and descent? Blast in a few more bolts for noob friendliness?

ha ha ha....Bwahhhh!..ha..ha..ha..Bwaahhh ha ha ha ha ha...

When are you two going to team up to do a route... you know we would all love to see it!

Big Wall Forum / Weather is kickin'
« on: February 12, 2012, 03:07:15 am »
Just got back from the valley and the weather was INSANE!!! Is this really Winter? Climbing in a t-shirt in the sun on Thurs & Fri. Full moon rise over Half Dome was the icing on the cake. No one on the Column save for one other dude who went up around towards dinner ledge Fri morning assuming to solo either the South Face or Skull Queen. So stoked to have rapped down just in time to bump into Jamie and Jason heading down with empty packs for another carry. They stoked me out by carrying down my ropes....THANK YOU GUYS!

If you have ever wanted to bust a wall in Winter (even though our Winters are not true Winters), now is the time so get up there and get after it before you wake up and it's March 22nd and you tell yourself "Doh! another Winter with no ascent!! There was a party about 3/4'ers of the way up the Trip.... Right on whoever you are, the only team on the entire right side of El Cap... stoked for you!! Wish I had had more time to spend up there.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Winter Walls...anybody do'in em?
« on: February 07, 2012, 09:21:42 pm »
Headed up to do a route on the column this weekend... Time permitting. Solo training mission for EC  ascent next month if all the cards fall in to place.

Big Wall Forum / Re: El Cap Panos is UP and Running!
« on: January 16, 2012, 12:36:15 am »
Great stuff Mark. I can definitely say that having the route blown up on the wall to look at every day before our climb did increase the psych-up  factor. That and I would have felt like a real poser if I had put the photo up and then bailed. Of course I had smaller topos taped to the mirror in the bathroom, my steering wheel, my computer, my dog... It's a sickness for sure.

Now that's what I'm talking about... great job!!! Awesome!

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Leaning Tower late season solo.
« on: December 17, 2011, 05:35:17 pm »
Yes Marc IMovie.. it's pretty easy once you get the hang of it...

Big Wall Trip Reports / Leaning Tower late season solo.
« on: December 17, 2011, 07:07:05 am »
Well Wet Denim did not go. I got up on the 5.7R above Ahwahnee and had a strange sensation that something bad was brewing. I must have gone up and started the exposed run out moves 7 or 8 times. Each time I got ready to commit I kept seeing my kids faces and I eventually decided it just wasn't worth it. I even tried aiding up where the 5.11 variation goes and just could not make it happen. So after a seemingly endless stretch of psychological self criticism I decided fuck it... To the West Face!

Clouds were brewing, temps were plummeting  and I was whooped but there was no way I was bailing. I re-focused and pushed on.

I don't know where all the trip reports are given the massive amount of walling that went on this season one point in Oct I think I counted over 20 teams on the captain ....

So in an effort to not have everyone starving for content through the rest of 2011.... Here you go.... Now post up you slackers....

No water as of a few weeks ago.

Big Wall Forum / Re: High mileage guys on South Seas > PO
« on: October 28, 2011, 08:50:54 am »
Great work Mark ... Looks like you had a great climb... love the videos.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Zion Routes - Suggestions?
« on: October 18, 2011, 07:38:08 pm »
The Lowe Route on Angel's Landing

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: NEW DAWN
« on: October 08, 2011, 09:26:56 am »
Overall the route was not nearly as sustained as Mescalito but did have some really memorable pitches. I thought this route rarely got done and now all of a sudden it will have seen like 5 ascents over a two month period... 4 more since ours... That upper section of El Cap is soo frickin' awesome... to be there and know that few people travel through there I thought was pretty cool. We did have to garden many placements even a #2 cam placement appeared out of nowhere after some big time excavation and several mouthfuls of dirt. Having 20 frogs pour out of a .75 placement down low and having the original bolts on the traverse pitches was pretty cool. It did have the feeling of being off the beaten path. If I had to choose for overall quality of climbing I would choose Mescalito but in terms of a higher adventure factor New Dawn would be my pick. Maybe 5.7 A2+?

Big Wall Forum / Re: I can porter on this upcoming friday
« on: October 05, 2011, 09:52:59 pm »
Wish I could be there to help shlep... I'd do it for free

Big Wall Forum / Re: Thanks for the wall tunes, Steve
« on: October 05, 2011, 09:48:49 pm »
I Now carry three shuffles fully charged on every mission .,., thanks Steve!!!

Big Wall Forum / Re: What's your worst bivy?
« on: October 05, 2011, 09:46:31 pm »
Couldn't have been that bad... You had a sleeping bag... Even if it might have been down ... Congrats on the successful ascent!

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: NEW DAWN
« on: September 28, 2011, 10:16:59 am »
The poster is awesome!!! Totally kept me shirking all work responsibilities the entire week before the climb.... It holds an even higher status on the wall now that we have climbed the route. Everyone who comes in the office is floored when I show it to them.... You must be getting super psyched for SS/ PO

Big Wall Trip Reports / NEW DAWN
« on: September 28, 2011, 09:53:49 am »
Steve and I had an awesome climb up this classic route last week. It was amazing to only have a few other parties on the whole right side. Here is the video from our climb... Enjoy!

Big Wall Forum / Re: What's your worst bivy?
« on: September 14, 2011, 08:22:10 am »
Hmmm... let's see....

my second bivy on El Cap ever, CHECK
cotton painter's pants, CHECK
Down jacket, CHECK,
2x5 foot ledge for two guys, CHECK
Rain, snow, ice falling off the Shield, CHECK
"you're gonna die" floating up from the Valley out of the clouds, CHECK

So classic Mark....

I remember the first time I heard someone yelling up "Yer all gonna die" from the meadow.... It was my first El Cap route the Salathe... and I truly believed it .... Now I laugh every time I hear that... and of course I have thrown out a few of my own "Yer all gonna die"'s since then from time to time :).... That and "climbers on El Cap... do you need a rescue?" are two of my most memorable ...

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: My Gumby Adventure (and big fall)
« on: August 25, 2011, 10:30:31 pm »
Gnarly... That pitch always has my attention. Sounds like a good learning experience and worth the bit of pain... I bet the rack on your next wall will not be lackIng. Nice effort on back to back walls.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Eagle's Way...
« on: August 25, 2011, 10:23:42 pm »
I did this route maybe 12 years ago and after getting through the lower pitches thought it was
pretty enjoyable. I seem to remember there were like 5 parties on the Zodiac so we
opted for Eagle's Way. It's a lot of climbing for a few fun pitches but it's nice to get off the
beaten path every now and again.... Plus how many people do you know who can say they
climbed Eagle's Way...

Big Wall Forum / Re: Didder firing it
« on: August 21, 2011, 12:23:16 am »
Cool shot thanks Munge.

Yes Pete this was my El Cap solo cherry bust...  thanks again everyone for the congrats... hope to keep it rolling.

Big Wall Trip Reports / Zodiac Solo Aug 9-13
« on: August 16, 2011, 11:27:51 pm »
I have put together a 10 min or so video of the climb which you can view at the following link, I have also included a trip report below...

Zodiac Solo:

First seeing El Cap as a climber years ago I thought there was no way that I would ever climb it .Then after a few ascents I remember thinking there is no way in hell I would ever try soloing it. Then after 10 or so ascents I started to get a weird twisted sort of itch... It was three years ago that I got the idea that I would like to solo a route on El Cap. The Zodiac seemed the logical choice for many reasons. I actually bought 2 #5 camalots for the pitch above Peanut ledge and they have basically been sitting there waiting for this climb ever since. After many schedule conflicts, weather shut downs, shoulder issues and simple life getting in the way type stuff I decided earlier this year that it was now or never.

I had been washed off low on the route on a solo attempt earlier this year and decided summer would be a good time to go as there would most likely be no other parties on the wall and I could use my night climbing fetish to help battle the high day time temps. As it turned out this is one of the mildest summers on record temperature-wise so I was able to climb day or not or both at my discretion.

I had been packed for a month or more and made a last minute schedule change a few weeks ago to coordinate topping out on the full moon. Full moon climbing has always been a favorite of mine and the days before a full moon always give such great nighttime illumination with those amazing moon rays.

Originally I told my wife I would leave Tuesday night and be off Saturday and home Sunday. But Tuesday morning at 4am I rolled over in bed and sheepishly told her ?I think I?ll just get a little head start?. I gave my wife a quick kiss, grabbed my keys and slipped out the door.

I was in the valley by 10am and started fixing just after noon. By evening I had fixed the first two pitches and with some help had all my gear to the base and was blasting off? My first El Cap solo mission? I was fully amped. By around 10pm I had climbed and hauled all my gear to the top of pitch 3 and was officially on the wall to stay.

Wed morning I woke up early and was climbing by 6am and got a couple pitches done before the heat really slowed me down. It ended up being around 11pm by the time I had cleaned and hauled all my gear to the ledge above the Black Tower pitch which had been my goal for the day. There was a fire burning off the Glacier Point road and the valley was filled with smoke casting an eerie haze across the valley. Not only the haze but also the fact that I was the only climber on the entire right side of El Cap, the lack of sleep and minimal food and water intake gave the whole scene a very ominous feeling. I began feeling some serious anxiety and wasn?t 100% sure I should continue.

By 6 am Thursday morning I could feel my whole body starting to shut down. I needed sleep, I needed to eat more food, I needed to drink more water and I also needed to get my head sorted out so that I felt confident enough to continue. Basically the physical drain was causing me mental drain as well and the feeling really rattled me.  I called Steve ?Habanero? Canavero, I called my wife and they both talked me through my mental funk that had me questioning whether or not I should continue. My wife really was amazing and when I asked her if she thought I should bail she told me ?don?t bail you can do this ? you ARE doing this?. For the rest of the morning I just lounged around, ate, drank and slept and by 11 am had decided I had come too far to turn around and whatever it took I was going to keep going. I had to get moving again though because I wanted to make it to the top of the Nipple pitch this day and I was now in the ?business? section of the route. The next 3 pitches are pretty much a blur since at this point I was just totally focused on the task at hand. Somehow the day wore on in a haze and it was getting dark as I started leading the nipple pitch.

Time sort of stood still but was also flying by. The traverse section to the Nipple took me FOREVER as it was getting dark and three days of climbing were starting to wear on me. Eventually I surmounted the Nipple and was in the very thin section above about 30 feet or so from the anchor when all of a sudden I went to pull lead rope and the thing would just not budge. A wave of sheer and utter defeat washed across me as I thought I had somehow forgot to unclip the end of the lead line before I left the anchor or made some stupid mistake that was now going to leave me stranded on one of the most exposed and difficult to reach spots on the entire route. I calmly thought about how I would or even if I could get back to the anchor from where I was and I was just going to have to hang there until it got light to figure out what the hell I was going to do.

I ran through everything I had done at the anchor before leading off on the pitch in my head and convinced myself that there was nothing I had done wrong but something just wasn?t right. For all intensive purposes I should have been able to pull more rope but it simply would not budge. As I started to get slightly desperate I decided I just had to get the rope, there simply was no other option. I began yanking as hard as I could for almost a full minute. Then just as I was about to give into defeat and start trying to figure out a plan I gave one more hard pull and the rope began feeding out. IT WAS A MIRACLE! I have no idea what had happened to prevent the rope from feeding and it didn?t really matter? all I knew is I had rope and I was going to make it to the anchor. It was after 2 am by the time I had fixed the pitch, lowered, cleaned the pitch, hauled and had the portaledge set up. Even though I was exhausted I was filled with a feeling of deep commitment and satisfaction.

The next morning I slept in and decided even if I only did two pitches this day it was fine and so spent the first part of the morning getting things sorted, napping, eating and drinking. By 10 am I was moving again and made it through the Mark of Zorro pitch in good time and stopped for lunch. Again time sort of slipped away and it was dark by the time I lead, cleaned and hauled the Devil?s Brow pitch. Even though I REALLY had wanted to make peanut ledge I knew it would be better to stop, get some rest and fire to the top the next day. The moonrise was insane as it had been the previous three nights.

I enjoyed a beer, plenty of food and just really soaked up the whole setting. I felt a bit like Major Tom completely enclosed in my own little space pod just drifting through deep space. The entire right side of El Cap was my playground and it was one of those magical moments where I felt I was  exactly where I was supposed to be in the universe. It made me smile thinking of how only a few people knew about where I was and no one in the world except me knew exactly how I felt at that exact moment in time? it was a very powerful experience, one that I found myself wishing would continue for another 5 days.

The next morning I was up and moving early as it was top out day no matter what and even though it was just three pitches to the top I knew it was going to be a full day. Around 8am while in the middle of the next pitch I saw something out of the corner of my eye that I thought might be a hawk, when I turned and looked out away from the wall I saw a hang glider cruising maybe 300 yds. out off the wall and almost at eye level. I couldn?t believe my eyes it was such a surreal scene. I gave a holler and a wave, the pilot tilted his wings twice banked a turn and headed east. I have never seen a hang glider so far up so far west from Glacier Point?. The thermals must have been amazing that day!? It was awesome seeing a human flying around up there and just such a cool thing to experience. About a half an hour later a Peregrine Falcon landed on a ledge about 50 feet below me and maybe 100 feet to the East. He just sat there squawking at me and we talked back and forth for a good 3 minutes before he stepped off the ledge folded his wings and was out of sight... The wall gods were definitely smiling on me this day. The falcon came back on and off all day checking me out and chatting it up.

I made Peanut Ledge in good time and could not help but stop and enjoy a full hour of lunching, lounging and laughter. I got out the video camera and shot some silly footage and basically just had a blast. The El Cap wind was blowing and I was soaring. At that moment I felt I could have gone on for another week no problem.

I was halfway through the pitch above Peanut when I heard a hoot from above and looked up to see the Mungeclimber who had come up to help me carry my gear down. It was the first close up encounter with another person for almost 5 full days and although it felt great to see him there urging me on it also made me realize that my solo experience would soon be coming to an end. By the time I fixed, cleaned and hauled that flake pitch and was starting the last 2 pitches it was 6:30 and I realized that once again I would be climbing at night. I was tired, I was thirsty, I was hungry but I was not about to rush things and make a mistake on that final pitch. I zigzagged around past the first anchor and got a bit off route. I nailed some shit (a beak and an angle). I cursed, I laughed and was just hell bent to get to the top but again all the while telling myself not to rush. Finally around 11 pm or so I pulled over the top and Rob was there to greet me. The Bud Light Lime he handed me was one of the best beers of my life and I spent a good while fixing everything and getting ready to rap back down to clean the pitch. I offered Rob the opportunity to clean the pitch but he explained that then it wouldn?t count as a solo, he even declined my offer to let him haul my bags.... a true purist. I spent another hour or so cleaning and hauling and pulled my entire junk show over the top some time after midnight.

I was so amped I just couldn?t sleep. Rob and I enjoyed another beer and some saki, we ate a bunch of food and just chatted it up for a while. Then after Rob passed out I stayed up till 3 am sorting gear and bumbling around so as to be able to get an early start the next morning.

The sun rose way too soon, we packed all the gear and started down. It was HOT!!! We rapped the East raps on our own ropes and in the gulley at the bottom of the raps got cooked! I was carrying a bag and dragging a bag. I ran out of water and found a small little spring in the boulders below the Manure Pile and drank out of a little rivlet in the pine needles and when we finally hit the Manure pile parking lot I could not have felt more fulfilled. We ( actually I) drank all of Rob?s beers, we lounged a bit then loaded everything in his truck and headed to the bridge. Even though Rob and I had never met he had answered my call to help carry my gear off the top like a true brother in arms. I can't thank Rob enough for not only his help but his companionship and for being there when I topped out. Soloing can be a lonely experience and to be able to share in my achievement with another climber was really a very cool thing.

Back at the bridge I jumped in the river and felt like I had been re-born. Erik Sloan, Ammon and a few others were milling around and everyone offered sincere congratulations. It felt really good to get props from these guys, especially Ammon. Essentially I was a lightweight.. just a padawan learner next to this Jedi master and he was still super stoked for me. It meant a lot coming from someone who I had never met but so admire.

I spent another ? hour or so hanging out, then I packed up, said goodbye to Rob and hit the road. I had to pull over once to pass out for a bit and rolled into Malibu around 8 pm utterly exhausted. I had to sleep with my hands in a bucket of ice water that night and typing these words is still very painful.

My biggest realization (one I knew already from before but seemed to have forgotten) is try not to do a major climb under any time constraints. Having to be off by Saturday forced me to really push myself much harder than if I had had no time constraints and been able to go at a leisurely pace stopping if I felt tired or exhausted. I did however prove again to myself that if I need to push I can grind it out and as long as I just keep moving I know that eventually I will top out.

It feels good to have accomplished a challenge I set out for myself over three years ago and even though I have now completed this goal I know it is merely one more small step in that journey that will continue far into the future?. Of course there will be another solo? some other route, some other time but of course it will have to be on El Cap.

Big Wall Forum / Re: Didder firing it
« on: August 15, 2011, 05:51:02 pm »
Oh sheesh... no not even close to in a day. It took me 5 long days and because I am so damn slow long days they were. I had no false expectations that I would be up there for at least 5 days but that's cool I just wanted to do the climb for myself and prove that I had what it took. Cheyne recently soloed the route in like 19 hours (unreal). Basically I just kept plowing along and didn't do it for anyone else but myself. It was challenging mentally and physically but my mantra was as long as I keep moving eventually I will get to the top. I really enjoy the wall experience for how deep it can take you and how much you can learn about yourself. I didn't take too many pics or video but I will try and post something up soon. A HUGE THANK YOU TO MUNGE for meeting me on top and helping me carry all my kit down.

Big Wall Trip Reports / Re: Early Season Prow Solo
« on: April 07, 2011, 08:50:53 am »
Pitch 2 was actually not that bad. The first move off the ledge was super sludgy but had a good offset placement in the pin scar, plus it was midnight so maybe it would have been worse if I had been able to see the whole scene. Pitch 5 had one super scary head between bolts about 1/2 way up, I opted to roll the dice vs having to rap for the heading kit and it held... Definitely needs to be cleaned and replaced... the rest of that pitch was in good shape.

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