Author Topic: Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay  (Read 10763 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline euroford

  • A2 Flyer
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
    • View Profile
Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay
« on: August 09, 2006, 08:24:38 pm »

So why am I writing this?  Well a couple of reasons I suppose; first off I had allot of help from people on the climbing related internet forums. I?d like to let them know what all of there help contributed to, and I hope they all have as much fun reading this as I do reading their trip reports.  Second, this was a big deal to me, and memory is short.  I hope 20 years from now I can still track this down and reread it.  So I hope everybody enjoys reading about our little adventure, we had fun taking part in it, in that I have a weird idea of fun kind of way.  So, what follows is a short summary of our Estes Park experience for the last couple of years, and then a detailed day by day account of this year?s trip.  I tried to be as accurate as I could, and then I?m going to have Steve edit so he might be able to remember some things I didn?t and correct some things I might have remembered wrong.  Enjoy and your feedback is appreciated.

Our Obsession with Estes[/u]

Estes Park has been the place I looked forward to going almost every day for the last three years.  It all started easily enough, my partner Steve and I wanted a piece of some bigger action than available around here. We set our sights on warming up in Boulder; hitting Eldo and the Flatirons, then a move up to Estes for some action at Lumpy Ridge and then perhaps a shot at our ultimate goal, The Cathedral Spires.  At the time the Petit Grepon and The Sharkstooth embodied the epitome of alpine cool in our minds.  Thanks to Mother Nature dumping snow almost daily on our late summer trip, all we managed was a semi epic ascent of Calypso and a good run up the 3rd Flatiron, on the second try.

All in all though, I?ll call the trip highly successful; it cemented a long lasting climbing partnership, and in between aborted attempts to actually climb we did an outrageous job of burning firewood and downing beers.  We also came home with the lay of the land and some guidebooks to peruse.

 The following year we returned with more experience, better equipment and a wealth of greater knowledge.  Pulling off climbs at the Flatirons and Lumpy was ridiculous fun and I introduced Steve to real aid climbing with a day at The Garden of The Gods.  I?d also spent allot of time drooling over The Diamond in the guidebooks and finally got a look at it with my own two eyes, it was obvious to me where the real action was, and at the time participating in it was just a fantasy.  The seasons theme ended up being ?good karma? as everything just seemed to be going our way, this changed with a dose of alpine realism when we arrived in The Gash to discover it heavily glaciated, and ourselves woefully unprepared.   The final approach to the base of The Sharkstooth should have taken an hour from our bivy spot; instead it was a circuitous 6 hour endeavor involving unstable 4th class scrambling and a 100m 60deg. Ice field that I attacked with approach shoes and a rock.

We left with our heads hung a bit low, but our day in The Gash armed us with the firsthand beta that would practically guarantee success the following year.  The Petit and Sharkstooth seemed a little bit smaller, a bit less majestic and after eyeing The Diamond I started thinking about ways to get into the real action.  The Dunn/Westbay route immediately jumped off the guidebook pages as one of the top Bigwall routes.  It?s a beautiful and natural line striking straight up some of the steepest terrain; it looked within our abilities, but definitely requiring all we could give.  We talked about it, but not too seriously.

I guess what we needed was a bit of a push and a bit of inspiration to kick the project on.  The moment occurred, of course, while I was completely plowed.  We had attended Ammon McKneely?s slideshow at the Lincoln Park Athletic club, and stuck around afterwards to strike up a friendship with him and fellow Chicago area wall climber Rich Copeland.  On into the mid morning we slammed beers and talked climbing, at some point in time my brain clicked over and it was decided, it was time for me to climb a wall.  When I mentioned the possible objective it was given a ?hell yeah do it!? kind of response that sealed the deal.

Three days later Steve and I sit over glasses of Unibraue at The HandleBar and the decision was finalized.  We would take two weeks of vacation instead of one, the Petit and Tooth would be warm-ups and the main objective would be The Dunn/Westbay Route done in Bigwall style.  Over the course of the next 8 months I would think about my objective numerous times a day.  Hours of mental rehearsal, reading everything I could get my hands on, non stop training, a 7 page thread on, strip mining the back account for gear, listening to every experienced wall climber that I could get to talk to me; I?m glad we succeeded because I don?t know of a single thing I could have done to better prepare.

2006 Season Trip Report[/u]

Vital Stats:

Participants:   Tim M Hovey (Euroford)
      Steven L. Campbell (Onbelay007)

Dates:      Depart from Chicago:  July 7th 2006
      Return to Chicago:  July 20th 2006

Day 1:  July 7th 2006 ? Go West

After a short visit to the office and a short visit to the jobsite I stop at home to eat a massive sandwich from my neighborhood Italian deli (despite the lack of mountains, living in Chicago has a couple of very serious advantages) and grab some last minute items.  Then it?s off down the Blue Line subway to meet Steve at Rosemont.  He drove his fully loaded car to work this morning so we can leave directly from there.  We meet up around 3:00pm and head off down the interstate leaving Chicago behind.  As we head off into the abyss of the great planes I?m insanely excited about getting on with the business end of 8 months of planning, but I also think a calm mood is settled over the car.  We aren?t heading off into the unknown anymore, we are veterans of the Chicago-Boulder road trip, we pass familiar sights, some spectacular storms, and with cat naps and a couple of meal stops we chew through the mileage.

Day 2:  July 8th 2006 ? We Have Arrived

Following a cross country drive we need two things to keep us running.  Caffeine and Calories.  A little after 4:00am we find ourselves occupying a booth at the IHOP in Boulder, Colorado and gorge ourselves on greasy vitals.  By 6:00am we?ve changed clothes, racked up, and are heading up the trail for the Direct Route on the First Flatiron.  I take the first lead (Steve took it last year) and head on up, the climbing on the first pitch is low angle, and 5.6 easy, but the huge run out between bolts adds some spice.  From then on up we swap leads and make fairly quick work of the climb, usually only placing 2-3 pieces per pitch.  The weather was gorgeous, sunny and 60?s in the morning, but it got gradually more raining throughout the day.  We topped out made it back to the car about 12:30 in a hazy drizzle.  This kept up throughout the day, but never really worsened.  We had planned to spend the night in Boulder with friends Amber (Amber) and Jason (Sandbag), a phone conversation with Jason revealed that work had sent him packing off to Nevada and a voicemail to Amber left her MIA.  After a browse through Neptune?s and lunch at the Southern Sun we decided we didn?t much feel like sleeping indoors anyways and headed up to Estes a day early.  Sleep deprivation forced two Chinese Fire Drills along the way but the fun of setting up base camp perked us up and I have a 12? Kelty tarp shelter that allowed us to some beers outdoors despite the soggy conditions.  Drunk and sleep deprived I discovered that I actually left my sleeping bags in Chicago, wow, major DUH moment there.  I spend a chilly night with just a bivy sack but am tired enough to get a good nights sleep anyway.

Day 3:  July 9th 2006 ? Rain Rain Go Away

The clouds are settled on top of Estes putting visibility at about 30 feet and the humidity at about 400% give or take.  Obviously no climbing of any sort is getting done today.  Wanting to at least get some kind of value out of the forced rest day we drove up to the Alpine Visitor Center in RMNP along Trail Ridge Road; a hair under 12,000 feet and equipped with comfy tables, food and coffee it provided a perfect spot for us to laze the day away reading, scheming plans and getting used to the rarefied air.  Around mid afternoon we returned to the valley in search of a weather report and a cell phone signal. The return is favorable, the weather should begin improving the next day and Amber agrees to join our campsite for some beers and bullshitting.  With the favorable weather report we we plan to head up to Chasm View in the morning to set a cache and scope things out, so first a stop by what must be one of the most profitable Safeway grocery stores in the nation for supplies.  The pigs get packed and Amber shows up (with a loaner sleeping bag even!), we all have a damn fine time and I go to bed with a big smile knowing the next day I?ll get my first up close and personal look at The Diamond.  

A lurking fear hangs over me though; will I see the wall, shit my pants, and try to figure an excuse to get out of actually doing this?  Or will a see it and be excited?  I?ve though about this a million times since the project occurred to me and now, less than 24hours away I know I?m going to find out something about myself and that idea scares me just a bit.

Day 4:  July 10th 2006 ? Cache Day

Uhg, I hate alarm clocks, 5:00am, time for coffee and time to get cracking.  We take a quick swing through Kind for coffee and a bagel and then it?s off to the trailhead.  We throw the pigs on our backs and get heading down the trail.  It doesn?t take but 15 minutes of hiking until our first break, we realize today is going to be a very, very, long day.  Each of our loads probably weighs close to 80lbs and the BD Touchstone haul bags don?t carry it very well.  We bump into a couple of hikers that ask what we are doing, we explain but I don?t think they really get it.  About an hour into the hike we bump into the RMNP climbing rangers and they get it for sure.  They are pretty psyched about are project and give us the unofficial ?okay? on leaving a cache up high stipulated by the rocky mountain standard ?Marmot Warning?.  They also let us know that a couple of local guys, Andy and Pete have been trying to free the Dunn/Westbay.  

Rich had told us about a shortcut, but we never trigged to it until after had we had gone around the long way when a hiker pointed it out to us.  It cuts an easy mile off the Longs Peak trail when heading to The Boulderfield by avoiding the side trip towards Chasm Lake.  Oh well, It was cool heading over there once.  To save yourself the trouble, when hiking in you will see a signpost pointing to the right labeled ?Battle Mountain?, take that trail and eventually it hits back up with the Longs trail about a ? mile before the Boulderfield.

This is where a trip theme begins to rear its ugly head.  Everything takes longer than we thought it would.  Fortunately throughout the trip we?ve also anticipated this and are able to cope with it.  The trail just never seams to end, and when it finally does at The Boulderfield we can see our objective but each step just never seams to bring it any closer.  Steve lags behind in the final hours and I push on at a suicidal heart rate after I decided that getting back up from sitting down just requires too much effort.  I finally spot a good place for the cache and wait for Steve.  After he shows up we rest for a bit, he throws in the towel on heading up any higher so he chills while I scramble another 10 minutes to Chasm View.  

Rich described steeping into Chasm View and seeing The Diamond for the first time as an almost religious experience and I have to agree with him 100%.  Wow, WOW.  Holy Shit This Is Going To Be Awesome!!!!! A 3 foot wide grin is plastered across my face and I?m psyched beyond all belief.  All of the sudden the horrendous toil of the day is justified and my worry that this was a bad idea in the first place disappears into unbridled enthusiasm.  I scope the route, find the rap anchors, scope out the Cables Route for our descent and head back down to Steve where I?m sure I come across like a babbling idiot going off about how awesome the wall looks.  He?s psyched about dinner, beer and bed, so with nothing but empty haul bags and a couple of misc. items we head down.  After getting out of the Boulderfield we stop to boil some water and eat a Mountain House dinner and finally stumble back to the parking lot about dusk.  Dinner, Beer, Cigar, Beer, Sleep, Sleep Wonderful Lovely Sleep.

It was an exciting day, and now we know, we are committed, no matter what we?ll be back out there again.

Day 5:  July 11th 2006 ? Rest Day

No alarm clocks today, but the sun wakes us about sometime around 9:00am and we are again off to Kind Coffee for some caffeine, a bagel and a bit of internet service.  We laze around there for awhile and then head up to Lumpy Ridge.  We have the classic moderate Magical Chrome Plated Semi Automatic Enema Syringe (5.7) in our sights for a moderate afternoon on some semi steep rock.  We had done the route before and immensely enjoyed it, from our previous experience we figured we could link it into 3 pitches with our 70m rope and a bit of simul-climbing and make it all the more fun.  Instead we spent about 3 hours watching the world?s slowest climbers climb up and bail off the first pitch.  I take the lead and it starts raining when I get about 40 feet off the deck.  I find a stance and we debate the situation for a bit, we deicide not to deicide until we are both at the top of pitch one.  We say screw it and rap off of the anchor donated by the previous group and hike back to the car.  A Six pack awaits us in the car and we are in no mood to leave the trailhead, the picnic table provides a view of the diamond in one direction and a view of the Twin Owls in the other.  We kick back, kill the sixer and scheme up the next days plans; then it?s off to Ed?s Cantina for the best nacho?s known to mankind and back to camp for another good nights rest.

Day 6:  July 12th 2006 ? A Very Busy Day

My cell phone?s alarm clock goes nuts at 5:00am and we rouse ourselves from the comfort of the tent.  Today is going to be a big day, but it starts as usual with a pitstop at Kind Coffee, then its back to the Twin Owls trailhead for our rematch with Chrome Plated?.

I take the first lead and with a bit of down climbing to back clean some needed larger cams and a short bit of simul climbing I manage to link up the first two pitches.  After a short debate trying to remember where the route goes from here Steve follows my bad advice and gets promptly off route.  Though he manages to find a really nice 5.7 crack along the way this eventually peters out into a weird slabby gully.  I take the lead and head straight up to find unprotectable terrain heading towards an uncertain destination. A short tension traverse to the left puts me into easy terrain and I manage to run it out over 100? to get us up under the summit blocks and if not on route, at least back into the ballpark.  Steve leads back out to the right and finds the fun little roof that contains the routes couple of crux moves, he smartly places very little pro to keep the rope drag in check and with a short bit of simul climbing he makes the summit and puts me back on a real belay just in time for me to climb the roof.  We rap off the summit wishing we had time to toprope the climb Devils Lake Revisited (5.7) on the backside of The Pear, but with one mission accomplished we need to get back to the car and continue checking off today?s to-do list.

An hour latter we are at the RMNP Backcountry Office where we acquire a permit to spend tonight at Chasm View and the next two nights on The Diamond.  This request gets a raised eyebrow from the ranger but he eventually figures out a way to enter it into his computer and we take off having received good vibes from the rangers.  From here it?s back to Estes for a much needed lunch, some more lockers and some more groceries, then back to camp to pack the pigs.  Thankfully my wife and Fed-Ex come through, my sleeping bags are waiting for us.

The loads this time aren?t as bad, most of the heavy items are up there already and now it?s mostly down to the bulky bit light stuff like sleeping bags and munchies, the portaledge and remainder of our trad pro keep it sporty however.  It?s also a different storey when we hit the trailhead; with slightly lighters loads, good acclimatization and a shortcut we make the Boulderfield in just a couple of hours feeling strong.   The Boulderfield and a setting sun will wear anybody down though, we start to run out of gas just as it begins turning back uphill towards Chasm View.  We?ve made good time and our bellies are starting to growl.  Steve had the brilliant idea of packing some Subway into the top of the bags for one last real meal before the wall; we stop and eat the best tasting Subway I think I?ve ever had.  An hour after that we are just below Chasm View and can?t seam to locate our cache, as a consolation we have located a pretty good bivy spot and settle in for the night.  Steve heads right off to dreamland I stay up an extra half an hour to rectify a problem.  While packing our six pack of Dales Pale Ale I accidentally dropped and broke one, so with an odd number of beers in my pack I take it upon myself to even out the count while watching the stars.

Day 7:  July 13th 2006 ? Off to Broadway

Despite all settings checking out, I have no idea why I can?t get the alarm on my Citizen watch to actually work.  It now goes off at 10:53pm every night and for the life of me I can?t figure out why.  So instead we wake up with the first crack of sunlight over the eastern horizon, some time around 6:00 and my gut wrenches into a knot as I remember that today I will swing off the top of Chasm View with a 100lb. pig in tow, okay well at least I can have breakfast and coffee first.

It takes us at least an hour to find our cache, it?s much further below Chasm View than either of us had remembered, and another good long chunk of time to ferry all of the equipment up.  Time to get suited up, the harnesses go on and from this point they don?t come off for most of a week, the pigs get packed and we are on our way.  We both rig up using two belay devices which offer certainly a little more friction than necessary, but as I swing my ass out over the void I don?t mind at all.  At first I was a little puckered up by the exposure presented by Chasm View, it doesn?t take me but 40 feet of descending before I wish I had more of it.  The Chasm View raps are low-angle, blocky, ledged and covered with loose rock.  After yelling ?ROCK!!? about a dozen times I give up and just yell ?Were rapping with pigs so don?t get below us!!!?, eventually I find the next rap station, which I find out later happens to be the wrong one. I was too far left; the rap station is an assortment of manky old pins, old nuts and ancient tat set above a sloping grass ledge exposed to rock fall from above.  I hunker under my helmet as Steve comes down to join me and when I pull the ropes a large projectile rockets towards us and explodes dramatically in a shower of bright red fluid off to our side.  It turns out Steve?s Gatorade somehow escaped from his haul bag onto a ledge and was then knocked off by the rope.  Yikes, after the major impact we hear the bottle tumbled down for an eternity.  I set off for the next rap station and can thankfully duck around the side of a boulder at this one; I get whacked by a couple of small rocks anyways and the storey continues for one more rap until we splash down onto Broadway.

Broadway is not the pleasant wide ledge that it appears from photos and as it did from Chasm View.  This place is a hell built of loose rocks and scree all sloping towards the void.   I stick in a couple of nuts to keep the bags from rolling off and we set off to scope the path between Broadway and the base of our route.  The day is getting on at this point, and it?s obvious that no climbing will get done today.  Still we are psyched to know that in the morning we will finally really climb.  The loads get broken up and we make about six trips each to get our gear to the base.  The going gets a little easier after a couple of trips as we learn the best path across and get some steps kicked into the loosest areas.  At one point I got tired off it and went across carrying ? of our water supply, the unwieldy load saved me a trip at least but I?m also sure I could classify this as the single most dangerous thing I?ve ever done.  

All of this gets done by late afternoon so I take the time to hang the portaledge for deluxe sleeping accommodations and we get everything else fully sorted out for an efficient blast off in the morning.  The weather holds out and it turns into a gorgeous evening.  We melt snow for a Mountain House dinner and kill off our four remaining beers.  The team is in high spirits; we have fun watching climbers on the Casual Route and get a comfortable night of sleep.

Day 8:  July 14th 2006 ? Blastoff

Every morning on the wall I wake to watch the sun rise and can?t help but reach for the camera every time.  I just sit and watch it, enthralled; here I am, sitting on a portaledge on The Diamond watching the sunrise.  This is the coolest thing I?ve ever done.  The moment passes after the suns orb lifts free from the horizon and it times to get moving.  Snow gets melted for coffee and breakfast consists of canned fruit.  

We had spotted a rope fixed on the route and a rack of gear hanging halfway up the pillar and speculated that it must belong to the guys who were attempting to the free the route.  Low and behold, Pete and Andy pop up out of the North Chimney just before we start climbing.  It?s immediately obvious that they are cool guys, we chat for a couple of minutes and they think it?s really cool that we are getting on the route.  They are heading up to pitch 6 where they are working a free variation off to the left of the C3 crack.

The first three pitches go at 5.8, then 5.10 and 5.10 or C1 and C1.  With a chance of free climbing or easy aid that means Steve is on rope gun duty and he makes quick work of the first pitch, the hauling is a bitch though.  His belay puts him in a weird position and the bags keep getting hung up on the blocky terrain.  I pass the bags jugging and the hauling goes much better with two people.  On pitch two Steve steps out of the aiders a couple of times, but for today freeing 5.10 is out of the question and it goes with 90% aid.  The hauling is a bit better but not good, Steve gets the pigs most of the way and I help out for the last bit.  Steve has had enough of the aid climbing and passes me the rack which I?m glad to have.  I?m having fun right away and get to the top of the pillar with no drama.  I had big cams with me as there is supposed to be a 4? section through here; I don?t use them and instead find nut and medium cam placements in adjacent cracks.  The anchor is par for the course up here, one nice new stainless bolt and a couple of old ?? rivets with homemade hangers.  The rope drag is a killer and I can hardly get the bags to budge, I resort to a 3:1 and can now make consistent but slow and exhausting progress.  Pete and Andy have ropes fixed from the ground to pitch 6 and rap past our camp, it?s like we work in the same office building ?well guys, see you tomorrow? they say on the way past.  We setup camp eat dinner and pass out pretty early.  Our first ever day of wall climbing goes well, we have fun and hit our intended progress goal.  The belays are time killers though, getting anchors setup, restacking the ropes and resorting the gear all takes longer than I wish it did, but no mistakes are made and we both display a high degree of competency, it just takes a bit longer.  I guess the speed will come with more time and more experience, for the time being the emphasis is on doing things right.

Day 9:  July 15th 2006 ? The Best Climbing Day of My Life

As usual I wake to the sunrise with my standard grin, though it?s greatly enhanced today because I know I?ll start out with the first crux C3 pitch of the route.  The route begins to slightly overhang from this point and I?m promised technical and highly exposed climbing, just what I?m after. We have coffee and breakfast and go over the days plan; our intention is to make it to the top of pitch 5 or beyond.

I head to the right off of our belay straight into C3 terrain, the goal is to move up and right, access a thin crack system and move straight up into the underside of a large flake that sucks up C1 cams.  My first two pieces are #0 and #1 Trango Ballnutz that both get a screamer, I move cautiously as blowing it here would send me for a bad pendulum straight into the pillar, I gain the thin crack and place a small zero cam, a cam hook and some offsets and reach two large fixed copperheads.  I don?t really know why these are here, if they weren?t here I feel you could definitely find a better solution, but oh well the bottom was sporty enough I suppose.  In truth I guess I know exactly why these heads are here, somebody had some heads with them and wanted to get a bit of practice, so here they are and now the route is a bit easier.  After the heads I make my one and only total bonehead lead move, my instincts lead me to prefer hooking to 5.8 free moves, so instead of pulling the two moves it would take to gain the flake I step up onto a blindly placed grappling hook, when I get to eye level with it I mutter ?oh shit?? and then PING!  With catlike (LOL!!) reflexes I actually grabbed the draw on the head below me with my left hand and arrested my fall without weighting the rope or my daisy that was still clipped in.  ?Wow, no shit, Steve did you see that?? I actually caught myself!!?  We both got a laugh, I top step the head, step out of the aiders for one move and sink a Camalot into the flake.

Pete jugs up past me on his fixed rope, we chat for a moment and he takes my camera up with him to get some shots of me leading.  I have Steve tag me up the big cams and I head into the flake, its easy C1 but this is by far the coolest part of the route.  It?s nicely overhung and your dangling underneath this flake that?s almost big enough to be called a small roof, the exposure is awesome, the sun is shining, somebody over on the Casual route hollers ?EUUUROFORRRRRRD!!!!!? and I just laugh my ass off.  I?m having a total blast and I?m wearing a 100% natural shit eating grin in every photo Pete shoots of me.

After I get the flake I access the crack that will be our route from here to the top.  I yell up to Pete and Andy to ask how much further to the anchors, they tell me the usual top of the pitch is clean gear right where I am, but suggest I keep on climbing.  Leading sounds like more fun than hauling so I keep on trucking. Another 100? of climbing puts me near close to the end of the rope, almost out of gear, and at the top of Pitch 5.  The anchor is pretty sad, a couple of old ?? rivets on homemade anchors again, a newer bolt missing its hanger and some RP?s in the adjacent crack.  We haul it up and get situated, the day is getting on, but its nice out even in the shade and too early to stop so I get racked up to at least fix the next pitch.  While I?m hauling Steve pulls the greatest single move of the trip.

So I look down and notice the tail of my chest harness shoulder strap is hanging out, I tuck it back away and hear Steve start yelling ?holy shit! holy shit!?, somebody over on the Casual must think he?s having some kind of epic and yells back ?are you okay!!?, Steve yells ?I just caught his Ipod with my foot!!?, ?NO WAY!!?.  Instead of clipping it all the way through the shoulder strap, I had only clipped the tail above the adjustment buckle and the hauling must have jostled it loose.  Steve makes the most incredible save and I?m spared explaining to my wife what happened to the brand new Ipod she had just given me.

After we get the belay changed over I head up about another 50? and come up below where Andy and Pete have been working there variation on Pitch 6.  All day these guys have been working the moves, taking falls, farting, laughing, and basically having a total blast.  We talk for a moment and share a smoke, Andy raps down the fixed line and chats with Steve for a moment, Pete compliments me on my job with Pitches 4 & 5 and I proudly admit to this being our first wall.  We also discuss the weather and agree that we are totally scoring on that point.  Its been bluebird sky?s, sunshine and temps in the 70?s for days, for some reason we luck out and probably get the best weather window on The Diamond this season.

Pete wishes us good luck and raps off back to Estes and I continue up to where they (I think, didn?t ask) have bolted a new belay to the left of the Dunn/Westbay for the free variation they are working on to get around thinnest part of the crack.  With gear in the crack and two nice new bolts spaced well apart to the side I get ready to haul for what will be a perfect free hanging bivouac spot.  At one point though, the pigs just come to a dead stop.  I bounce on the anchor, but they are dead stuck, while free hanging in space.  I?m baffled and yell down to Steve.  He yells back that they bags are tangled in Andy and Pete?s fixed line that was clipped to a bolt we used in our belay.  Steve says he?ll handle it and raps all the way down to the top of the pillar to free the fixed rope, he then jugs back up, gets it out of our pigs, raps back to fix the rope again, and can then finally resume cleaning the pitch.

Amber and a friend hiked out to Chasm View today and spotted us on the wall; unfortunately we had dropped one of the Motorola radios from the top of pitch 1 and stuffed the other into the haul bag.  She yelled at us but I never heard her, probably because I had my Ipod rocking away.  Kind of a bummer!  

Day 10:  July 16th 2006 ? Another Fine Day

I wake up again to another glorious sunrise and am very excited about the next pitch.  This one is supposed to be the real crux of the route, almost a whole pitch of tiny C3 wires, I?m looking forward to peering down between my legs and seeing nothing but a line of small RP?s and Offsets.  One problem though, my hands are thrashed and I can?t come close to making a fist with either one.  For breakfast its canned fruit, a cliff bar, some coffee and a generous helping of Advil.  As the Ibuprofen reduces the swelling and some use loosens things up my hands regain enough functionality and I get to work.  Today?s goal is the top of Pitch 7 which will put us below Table Ledge (which is actually a roof over here on the fun side of The Diamond) and only two pitches from the top.

The supposed crux of the route doesn?t end up being half as hard as I thought it would be.  I?m well armed with small wires, including a double set of Offsets, RP?s and BD Micro?s. I?m comfortable with tiny gear and have a large arsenal that allows me to find the perfect piece to lock into each quality pin scar, the Leeper Cam Hooks come out 3-4 times to get me around the few spots that don?t immediately suck in a locker wire.  It?s also not as sustained as I thought it would be, and after every 4-5 tiny pieces I sink an anchor quality stopper or cam.  

With clean air all around the bags, a bit of practice and a slightly lighter load the hauling is now going well.  Hauling will never be fun, but there is definitely some satisfaction in really getting that ProTraxion zinging.  

Pitch 7 goes much the same, but now rated at C2 so I?m sinking an anchor quality piece every 2-3 placements.  I suffer a striking blow to my good time when the Ipod finally drains its battery halfway up the pitch.  Again I make it to another high quality belay, 1 brand new bolt, a solid but hangerless bolt, a ?? with a Leeper hanger, a rusty old ?? angle, and a rusty old knifeblade.  It?s totally doable, but doesn?t give you that warm and fuzzy feeling.  It?s also kind of a cramped and awkward belay pinned under the roof and between two corners, we end up with the pigs hanging over top of the ledge which is a bit of a pain in the butt now, and as you?ll learn latter it gets even worse.  We get settled, eat dinner and go over tomorrow?s game plan; I?ve been on the lead since Pitch 3 and am pretty worked, we should also be back into C1 terrain so Steve is on for leading tomorrow and I?ll get some well disserved chill in the ledge and belay duty.

Day 11:  July 17th 2006 ? A Change For The Worse

I wake to another beautiful sunrise and hands even worse than the day before, enthusiasm is high; we should get off the wall today!  I didn?t sleep that great the night before, we had gotten a consistent but small amount of drip from the north face, and we are now pretty much right under where it drops over the Table Ledge roof.  It wasn?t enough to warrant getting the fly out, but the drops hit the head of my bivy sack all night with a pretty loud POP that kept aggravating my peaceful sleep.  Steve is a bit nervous thinking he?ll have to do some hook moves right off the belay to make the short rightward traverse to get over the roof.  He?s never done any hooking as I?m the aid junky of the two of us and I?d never stick him with that duty, just as he?d take any hard free pitch from me.  I assure him that I?m quite confident he can sink the Wild Country #5 under the roof and be up on his way.

I brew another cup of coffee and get out some snacks for belay entertainment, and then Steve sets out for some thrash and dangle.  He makes quick work of the traverse and roof he was worried about and shortly thereafter disappears from view over the roof.  
One consistent problem we have had since Chasm View was an endless supply of highly annoying bees.  They don?t sting, but having them constantly buzzing around your helmet is a sure recipe for insanity.  I try to kick back and read a bit while I slowly pay out the rope, but they are absolutely driving me nuts.  I remember that our pirate flag is hanging from the pigs and think to clip it onto the ledge instead just for fun, it flaps gloriously in the light updraft and to my pleasant surprise it scares the bees away!  ?Yarrrrr! Ye scurvy dogs! Fear the Jolly Roger!?  I yell at the little bastards, a little while latter I hear some other pirates call over from the Casual Route and yell back ?Send the pitch or I?ll keelhaul ya!!? and I just laugh my ass off.

I?d been pretty much on the go for the whole route, so a bit of downtime and horseplay was very welcome, but after awhile it wore off and looking at a pretty sizeable pile of rope still on the wrong side of my GriGri I got a bit concerned and yelled up to see how things were going on the pitch.  Steve yells back that he?s getting soaked and wants to build an anchor; I yell up that he hasn?t gone far enough yet; we need to make progress up the wall and not spend all day hauling or futzing in belays. He gives in and slowly but surely makes some more progress.  I try to yell up some encouraging words, but he?s not sounding like a happy camper up there, I mostly keep my mouth shut not wanting to just sound like a dickhead.  I don?t know what exactly he?s dealing with up there, but it must be something valid or things would be going better.  I kind of kick myself for not taking the lead, but I wanted us to have a fairly equal share as long as the pitch ratings worked out.

After another good chunk of time he?s finally pulled out a respectable amount of rope that should be the end of the pitch and it hasn?t moved for awhile, I assume he must be building an anchor so I stand out on the air side bar of the ledge to get a view and yell up to him.  He says he?s got an anchor in and wants to fix and rap back to the belay; I ask him if we can haul and he says no, he?s fucked up and not thinking straight anymore and needs to get back down and into his sleeping bag to warm up.  I say okay and a minute later I see him start to rap back down the lead line, I yell a ?whoa-shit-don?t!!!!? and tell him to rap the haul line instead.  He gets resituated and I pull him into the belay a minute later.

Oh shit.  My boy is riotously fucked up.  He?s soaked head to toe down to his undies complete with ghastly blue lips and hands, he?s shaking like a leaf and obviously in the early stages of hypothermia.  ?WTF is going on up there man??  While I get his sleeping bag out of the dry bag and start finding the Jetboil to make him a hot brew he tells me that the entire Pitch 8 crack is the water path that had been dripping on us, he had been cold but okay until the sun passed over us and then it just got worse with each passing moment.

To make matters worse we start seeing some nasty looking clouds out north of us and begin to wonder whether it will hit us or not.  It seams for the moment to be okay from where we are, but that doesn?t last very long.  About four parties are on the Casual Route and they all begin bailing just as I start formulating a battle plan.  Steve is useless at this point, and with his dead weight in the ledge getting the fly properly situated is basically impossible, not to mention the bizarre position of the pigs wouldn?t allow the fly to cover that corner of the ledge anyways.  Shit.  Just in the nick of time we say screw it and clip the fly underneath the ledge suspension and wrap it around us.  We get situated underneath it and I sit on top of the dry bag that still contains my sleeping bag.  The thunderstorm rips across the top of Longs and just unloads on us; huge quantities of water and hail and rain pelt the fly, pile up on the edges of the ledge and run underneath.  Without the center shark fins up the water won?t drain so we take turns pushing down to drain it when it gets deep.  We hoot, hollow, yell and laugh with each lighting strike; a couple come close enough that only moment exists between the flash and bang.  I had mentally prepared myself for this being even worse than it was, but its damn sure bad enough.  We brew some coffee and munch down individual sized Hershey chocolates slathered in Nutella, laugh about our horrible position and begin to warm up just a bit.  We thought we were seriously suffering, but the photos we took of ourselves show great big smiles.  Something is definitely wrong with us, Steve says something along the lines of ?I?m a recreation climbing, what the fuck am I doing up here?? my response is ?yeah, we are recreational climbers; we only do this once a year?.  

Eventually I notice through the fly window that sunshine is beaming down onto Chasm Lake, but from the beating on the fly it sounds like the storm is still in full force.  The little dripping from above has turned into a full on waterfall aimed directly at our portaledge.  After a bit we decide this is not going to improve, we need to get up into the anchor and get our fly rigged properly.  I go over the plan with Steve and we scrounge up the runners and lockers we?ll need to make it work.  We need to both aid up into the anchor, hoist the pigs up as high as they will go so they aren?t in the way, disconnect the ledge from the anchor and get it properly rigged into the fly?s power point.  We duck out from underneath the fly, and with only minor struggles my plan works out.  The upside is we now have deluxe accommodations courtesy of the rather bitchen ACE Yosemite fly, the downside is that everything is drenched already.

Except for one critical item that is, my sleeping bag is still safely packed away in the dry bag and tonight it will save our asses.  We get ourselves organized and use a sponge to mop up all of the standing water; we brew some more coffee and continue to munch away.  We don?t feel like bothering with a real dinner, but make a meal out of our snack bag instead.  Later we want another hot brew but don?t want to be wired on coffee; instead we brew up a mixture similar to hot Kool-Aid by boiling a handful of Jolly Ranchers.  This turns out to be quite satisfying actually.

Three years ago when we first stayed at Ambers place in Boulder she laughed that we had this total ?climbing partners? thing going on and that she could totally picture the two of us having to cuddle on a ledge while enduring a cold bivy high on some route.  We?ve always laughed about that, knowing that most likely it would someday come true.  And, well, here we are, its time for some shuteye, there is only one dry sleeping bag, and we both want any source of warmth we can come by, including each other.  Steve asks, ?So who gets the inside and who the outside??  Without a moments hesitation I say ?It?s my sleeping bag, I?m riding Caboose?.  We snuggle up and manage a fitful night of sleep, it wasn?t great but it could have been a whole lot worse.

Day 12:  July 18th 2006 ? In Search of Flat Ground

All night long, it was just kind of a struggle, the one thought on both of our minds, was that the morning will bring us sunshine, and sunshine will dry us out and allow us to climb again, and if we can climb we will top out.  I lean over and check the window a million times, and finally deicide its just minutes before sunrise.  Time to roll; we are on a mission today.  I still observe my mandatory coffee breakfast as I just simply don?t function without a shot of caffeine in the morning, but today I guzzle the stuff and immediately rig for my jug up the haul line.  

I take the rack up with me, my job is to check out Steve?s anchor, correct anything that he fears he might have flubbed and get hauling.  Steve promises to have the bivy ready for hauling as soon as I?m ready to take it.  The anchor is not near the mess Steve thought it might be and I?m ready to haul pretty quickly.  The only problem is, the crack is still flowing with ice cold water, it was pouring out of my jugs as I climbed the rope, and the belay is built right inside the worse part.  I?m trying to haul as fast as I can, but this water has soaked down to my underwear and is just pulling the energy right out of my body.  I?m shaking violently and a couple of times I just yell with a deep level of animal pain and suffering.  By this time climbers are lining up on the Casual and they must think we are nuts (they probably do anyways!).  I manage about three pumps on the haul and then I just kind of collapse on my tie-in, I?m not shivering, my whole body is violently shaking, after a couple of moments of this I give it three more pumps and eventually the bags arrive.

As Steve is coming up I admit to him that I?m going to be completely useless after this, he should do his best to stay dry and will have to take the next lead.  I don?t think he minds this idea at all actually, in fact I think he?s quite happy to get away from this spot.  I would be too, and I want the lead, I just think I?m pretty well thoroughly fucked at the moment.  It looks like things dry up about 30? above the belay, and the end of this pitch should get us off the wall.

After hauling I get the ledge and fly set back up, and can stand on the airside bar while holding up the fly, this exposes my back to the sunshine and protects me from most of the drainage, it feels sublime and goes a long ways towards improving my pretty sorry state.  When Steve shows up we perform our quickest change over yet and he sets off.

He?s a little nervous about a thin section of crack above, and about 15? out from the belay proves it by popping a small BD stopper.  There is a good bit of slack in the system because the ropes are running from my waist, then down underneath the fly.  I fear he?ll come straight into the ledge so trusting the GriGri to do its job I use both hands to kind of spot him bouldering style so he?ll land in the ledge?s center and not send both of us tumbling off of it.  Thankfully the rope goes tight and a #3 HB Offset holds to arrest his fall with his feet about level with our powerpoint.  I laugh, ?Cool man, you took a leader fall!? he doesn?t see the humor and immediately requests a lower down to the ledge, I deny the request ?no way man, we gotta get off this wall today, get back up there, bounce test your shit better and go?.  

Steve can?t take normal falls I guess, he?s never fallen on a free climb, but now has fallen onto a tiny offset while aiding and an ice screw while leading a 4+ pillar up in the Michigan U.P.  

I resume trying to bask in the sunshine; Steve resumes leading and gets past the thin section without further drama.  Unfortunately the sunshine doesn?t stay with me, between clouds and the ever ticking clock of the suns march across the sky I end up spending what seams like an eternity hiding underneath the fly soaking wet with my teeth chattering and body shaking.  Though at least my pants dried out in the sun, everything gets soaked again by the copious amounts of water constantly running down the ropes that are flaked on the ledge.  My hands have been pruned up since my morning jug and my paperback book is completely trashed, my only source of entertainment is the snack sack.  At least I can keep the shiver engine fueled, but Nutella, peanut butter, Jolly Ranchers and Hershey chocolates are only entertaining for so long.  I want to ask Steve if he?s getting closer to the top, but don?t bother just in case he says no.

?DUDE!! We Made It!!?  
?No Shit?  Really?!?
?Yeah, building an anchor, get ready to haul!?

The lucky bastard is standing on a big ledge, in the sunshine.  Damn I?m jealous!  I can?t find my nut tool, turns out it was clipped to the rack that I handed to Steve, he?s buried a few of my stoppers, but I don?t really give a shit, booty gear for the next team.  I race up the rope right behind the pigs, giving them shoves to help the hauling; I pull over the top and drag the pigs with me.  We are back in the sunshine and it feels sublime.  Then my body realizes I?m on a nice big comfy ledge, a perfect opportunity to take that shit I?ve been holding onto all day.  Just what I need, to go through all of this just to crap my pants at the top, fast forward 5 minutes, everything turns out just fine and it?s all smiles once again.

We unrope and stand on solid ground for the first time in days, Steve digs out the Jetboil to brews me a hot cup of coffee to warm me up and we chill out, talk and admire the view for a minute.  Just about then we see another thunderstorm coming our way and duck underneath the fly to wait it out.  Fortunately this one last just long enough for me finish my coffee.  The sun comes back out and I snap a surreal image of a rainbow making a full arch across the cirque.

Let?s get this thing finished, only about a 30? pitch of low angle 5.7 terrain lays between us and the end of all upward movement.  Steve has some trouble getting established on the slick, wet lichen covered granite in his 5.tennies but its only a minor problem, three minutes later he?s building our last anchor for the trip.  We get the bags stuck a couple of times on the haul but before we know it the deal is done.

We eat up the last of the canned food and gut the pigs for repacking.  This is quite the job and easily takes over an hour.  Two carries on the way to the base have to somehow become one carry on the way down, even with the water bottles and cans compacted its quite the job.  Steve scopes out the raps while I finish up the packing.  The ropes, the large cams and an assortment of stuff gets rigged up on the outside of the bags with a mess of carabineers and webbing.  We can barely stand after getting the evil pig monsters strapped to out backs and moving down the loose terrain towards the Cables rappels is gripping.  Two double rope raps get us back down to more crappy loose rock.  At some point on the second rap I hear a ?clank clank? and spot my #5 Wild Country cam sitting below on a ledge, I retrieve it and find out the next day I?m also missing my DMM #4.  Note to self, put these expensive buggers on a locker next time.  By the time we get to the bottom it?s been dark for awhile but we still take a side trip for one more look off the top of Chasm View, Steve finally notices the big hole going straight out the bottom and gets a real kick out of it.  He calls it likely the nicest crapper on the planet.  The long grueling descent continues at a very slow pace.

Day 13:  July 18th 2006 ? The Descent Continues

Steve topped out on the wall with a serious jones for some McDonalds burgers, shortly after the Boulderfield our tastes switch from burgers to McMuffins.  Steve asks me what time it is, I just tell him ?you don?t want to know? when my watch reads nearly 3:00am.  We stop for a couple of 15 minute cat naps and a million 30 second breathers much to the amusement of an endless line of Keyhole Route suitors beginning their long day, many ask what we are doing and a handful of people are honestly interested.  Surprisingly we don?t run into any technical climbers.  A couple of people mention that the climbing rangers had suggested they check out the wall to spot us, I get the sense we?ve been providing some quality entertainment for the people recreating in the Longs area.

The descent just goes on forever, my biggest complaint is my feet, and every step pounds my big toe into the front of my Montrail D7 wall shoes.  Its two weeks later and my toenails are still purple.  We get back to the car a little after 8:00am and I just collapse on the pavement.  I don?t know how I managed to keep moving, but now I can hardly stand.  When we do get up to check in and tell the rangers we are safely back to civilization (just a couple of days late) I stagger and stumble around like I?ve been beaten and drugged.  We get in the car and Steve drives a bit like he?s had 4 beers.  Not drunken or dangerous, just requiring a level of concentration beyond the typical.

We both kill down two meals at McDonalds (do I even need to comment that it was sublime? not really) and head back to camp.  We both enjoy a nice trip to a real bathroom for a brief cleanup and then I crash in the tent, Steve drops his sleeping pad on the ground and catch?s some rest under our tarp until high winds and blowing dust force him into the tent as well.

Its 6:00pm when we stir from our dreams, we?ve both slept like the dead.  I feel incredibly refreshed but still insanely beat up and sore.  Quite literally it feels like somebody kicked my ass.  We make for the showers for the first time in 10 days and a thorough inspection of my body reveals an incredible amount of damage.  Hands, arms and legs are covered in millions of random cuts, scrapes and bruises, I?m seriously sunburned but Steve got it much worse, my waist is surrounded by bruises and scabbed chaffing from the haul bag.  Both of us are in the shower for at least 45 minutes and my god it felt good.

Afterwards I make myself a cup of coffee before we head out to do the only thing that makes sense; we pig out and begin drinking over at Ed?s Cantina.  We destroy some Nacho?s as an appetizer and enchiladas for the entry along with three drinks each.  Then we are back to camp for some campfire, a cigar and a whole bunch more beer.

Every half hour or so I say ?Hey Steve, guess what?  We actually climbed The Diamond.?

After planning this for so long, it kind of felt like I would just be wanting to do it forever, I?m just plain astonished that the time finally came for us to do it, and when it did we actually did do it.  Today I?m still kind of blown away about that.

Day 14:  July 19th 2006 ? The Last Day In Estes

We sleep late, and get up slow.  The bodies are still battered and I still can?t come close to getting my wedding ring on my finger.  The idea of climbing anything or even looking at the gear is mildly repulsive.  The days plan is pretty simple, goof around in Estes for awhile, break camp and head down to Boulder.  We have a lazy morning at Kind Coffee, then walk the touristy stores downtown in search of a nice trinket for my wife, I settle on a very pretty 14k gold pendant of The Diamond for my wife, she likes it and it looks pretty cool hanging on the climbing rope/locking biner necklace the dog bought her for mothers day last year.  After that we tackle the Herculean task of gutting the car, gutting the haul bags, getting everything sorted out and packed back in the car.  We say goodbye to Estes Park for I imagine at least a couple of years and drive down to Boulder.

We wander around Pearl Street until Steve finds a nice photo of the Flatirons for his wall and a thunderstorm kicks up sending us and everybody else scurrying for the cars.  We head to Neptune?s after that and I get myself some quality porn for the drive home, the Supertopo Yosemite Bigwalls 2nd edition guidebook.  We talk about our climb with a couple of the employees that saw us up there and spend some time lusting over the uber sweet Hillburg tents.  Then it?s over to the Southern Sun for another fine meal and some excellent beers.  We had intended on crashing at Ambers place and heading east in the morning, but her cell phone battery is dead and she doesn?t get our call until after we are back in Chicago.  So we hop in the car, drive an hour or so east of town and find a hotel.

Day 15:  July 20th 2006 ? Home Again

Steve gets up to use the restroom at about 2:00am in our hotel, the click of the bathroom door stirs me and I sit up in the pitch black dark.  It?s too dark to actually see anything, but for some reason my brain superimposes portaledge straps across the image.  I cautiously sit upright, minding my center of gravity so as not to shift the ledge.  Wait, WTF, something isn?t right, I?m not wearing my harness, shit?. Oh, I?m on a bed in a hotel?. Laugh at myself, pass back out.

We get home around 8:00pm, Steve is nice enough to help me drag my gear up three floors to my back door, I hop in my car and drive up to Lakepoint Tower where my wife?s older sister lives, and they are all hanging out because the other sister just arrived on vacation from her home in Bahrain.  Her first sight of me I?m battered, bruised, and messy with over two weeks of beard and smiling about 3 feet wide.


So it?s been almost two weeks since I got back, and it?s taken me allot longer to write this than I thought it would.  Mostly because it ended up taking allot more words than I thought it would.  This adventure has also affected me longer than I thought it would, the wounds on my hands and body are healing pretty well, but now in the last several days the skin on the palm side of my fingers and soles of my feet is all flaking off.  I?m also compulsively hungry all the time.  I lost about 8 pounds on the trip, and my body is demanding that I immediately put it back on.  I?ve had tons of fun showing friends and family photos and telling them about it.  At first when I got back I didn?t even want to look at my climbing stuff, but I gradually warmed up from that and spent several fun hours drinking a couple of beers and getting everything sorted back out and put away.

I think the biggest thing my brain is kind of struggling with is; How should I feel after doing something like this?  I guess doing your first bigwall on the right side of The Diamond is pretty bold, but I don?t feel like a badass or anything.  Tons of other people have climbed this route and done it in better style.  But to a degree I am proud of us, we picked a good goal, and planned out a way to do it that would work within our abilities, and then we actually did it.  I can?t wait to go climb El Capitan next year, the idea of more pitches, a shorter approach, a shorter descent, and better weather is sounding pretty appealing.


The users of,, and  Either directly or indirectly I could have never pulled this off without the help of hundreds of anonymous ?friends? scattered about the internet.  You guys and galls have posted so much good information out there, it was incredibly helpful in allowing me to accelerate my learning curve on techniques and get specific route information.  Being that I live in Chicago, it?s just about dang near impossible to get this kind of good information first hand.  Thanks, a bunch!

Malcom Daily/Trango:  Malcom posted up on my thread that I could pull off the route hammerless using some of his BallNutz, then he was so kind of offer me up a set and even send them in advance so I could play with them on my local crag.  These things ended up being absolutely key on this route and I?m now a converted fan.  Ballnutz are about the single coolest piece of clean aid gear I?ve ever used and buying a second or even a third set is on my agenda.

Conrad Anker and his Admin, Pamela Hainsworth:  One of my biggest logistical planning problems was coming up with a portaledge.  Research had set my heart on the ACE Cliff Cabana, but the ACE purchase by BD took them off the market at an inopportune time.  Conrad saw my plea for help on the site and offered to loan me one along with a fly.  Thanks man, that?s about the single coolest thing anybody has ever done for me, you might just have saved me from either scuttling the trip or spending thousands on another brand that I didn?t really want.  Also huge thanks to Pamela for coordinating everything!  So just maybe BD will have the new ones on the market for next year?.  

Ammon McKneely:  This guy almost single-handedly provided the spark of inspiration to commit us to this endeavor.  He?s an aid climbing inspiration and a damn fine guy to hang out with all rolled into one.  Everybody should make it a personal mission to hand him a beer at least once in your life, guaranteed to be rewarded with a nice big smile.

Rich Copeland:  Thanks for the good beta!  He was the only real live person I?d known to actually spend time on the Diamond and the only wall climber around here I could regularly bounce questions off of.  Many of his tips were a monumental help and hearing about the Diamond and his adventures on El Cap helped keep my fuel fired!

Route Beta[/u]

The Dunn/Westbay is a beautiful and seldom traveled route certainly worth the effort to ascend.  Though there are many routes on the right side of the Diamond, looking from Chasm View or Broadway it?s the most continuous and obvious line.  In my eyes, it?s ?the? route on the right side.  

If you have previous bigwall experience and can climb quickly the best way to do the route is probably to go light and climb the first 3 pitches and spend the night on top of the Green Pillar.  It won?t be the most comfortable bivy, but certainly adequate.  From there you will have to either fire to the top of pitch 9, endure a shitty night hanging in your harness or bail.  If you get stormed on you will have to bail.  The runoff will not be bearable without a portaledge for shelter, and as you can see from my tale above will still be a bitch.

Otherwise, if you?re willing to carry all of the gear doing this in full bigwall style worked out very well.  The hauling to the top of three is not good, but it is great from then on.  We put the portaledge together on top of the Pillar, and left it assembled until the large ledge at the top of pitch 9.  Bring enough food, water and perseverance to adopt a ?we will top out? mentality.  We lucked out on the weather, but had logistically and mentally prepared ourselves to be stormed on daily.

From the top of the pillar a 60m rope will just barely get you all the way to the new anchors at the pitch 6 variation.  Had I known that to begin with I would have linked all of this into one pitch.  

Keep your sleeping bags and other essential items in dry bags designed for white water kayakers.  When the shit hits the fan these will be the only dry items you have.

The anchors are; shall we say ?alpine? in nature.  A fella placed a couple of new belay bolts and got kind of ripped for it over on  Having now been there myself I think he did a pretty smart thing.  There are many old ?? rivets used as belay bolts with homemade or Leeper hangers.  They held for us, but are showing allot of age, eventually somebody is going to have to pull these out and replace them with better hardware.  It might be good if somebody experienced in anchor replacement could do this before somebody just makes another hole.

You will want to approach the route by rappelling Chasm View and traversing across Broadway.  This is actually quite the mission in itself.  Be very carefull about knocking rocks off while rapping with the bags, though inevitably you will, allot.  Make sure nobody is below, and yell really loud, just tell everybody to get lost.  We found Broadway to be a highly inhospitable place, large loads will have to be taken apart and ferried to the base in smaller loads.  A minor slip with a large pig could easily pull you off balance and down to meet your maker.

Rack Beta[/u]

The route goes totally clean, I see no reason why anybody would nail on this thing, or for that matter even bring a hammer or a single pin.  We didn?t and never felt the need for one.  In fact, the route is a model for ?constructive scarring? with 99% of the existing pin scars sucking in totally bomber HB Offset and RP brass stoppers.  Ballnutz and Leeper cam hooks are essential gear for getting you past any tricky spots.  The route has long continuous runs of thin gear, but there are many areas of larger stuff so you?re pretty much stuck with a huge rack.  Be sure to have enough free biners for the long pitches.

This is what we carried, it worked out pretty well, every piece got used enough to justify itself.  I still back cleaned quite a bit.

BD Camalots ? 2 each #.75-#3.5 and 1 #4
WC Friends - #5
DMM 4CU - #.5-#4
CCH Aliens ? 1 full set
WC Zero?s ? Z3-Z6
HB Offsets ? 2 full sets
BD Micro Stoppers ? 1 full set
RP?s ? 1 full set
BD Stoppers ? 2 each #1-#13
WC Rocks ? about 6 mid sized
Trango Ballnutz ? 1 full set

We brought more, but if I did it again, this is what I would bring for hooks.

2 x Small Leeper Camhooks
1 x BD Talon
1 x BD Grappling
1 x BD Cliffhanger

We?d brought to many draws, and not enough free carabineers.  Almost all of the draws got taken apart.  This would have worked better.

12 x Mammut 8mm 24? slings w/ two biners each.
8 x Quickdraws
4 x Screamers
40 x free biners
Many 24? and 48? slings for belays.

Offline euroford

  • A2 Flyer
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
    • View Profile
Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2006, 08:00:34 am »
Crap, there are supposed to be 59 photos attached to this trip report, everything looked fine when i previewed it but it appears that when the report was submitted the forum software truncated the message.

I'm at work right now and don't have my source report, it will get fixed this evening.

Offline euroford

  • A2 Flyer
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
    • View Profile
Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2006, 04:58:58 pm »

Photo 000:  Somewhere in Iowa a couple of guys race across the vast flatness in search of vertical.

Photo 001:  Time to get out of civilian clothes and get climbing the 1st Flatiron.

Photo 002:  Steve hams it up before leading us up to the summit ridge.

Photo 003:  Basecamp, Mary?s Lake Campground site 141.

Photo 004:  We see our first break in the clouds late after a full day of sloppy conditions.  Psyched to hike out to Chasm View in the morning.

Photo 005:  The bags are heavy, and distances are far.  Hikers provide a welcome excuse to drop the bags and chat for a bit.

Photo 006:  We finally arrive at The Boulderfield and the focus of our desire looms above.  Photos cannot express the distance from here to Chasm View.

Photo 007:  Lots of resting got done on the rest day.  We pretty much spent all afternoon like this waiting for a party to climb and then bail the first pitch of Chrome Plated, only to climb and bail the first pitch due to weather.

Photo 008:  I?ll admit to being a Gumby climber, but at this we are stone cold professionals.  Enjoyment of campfire and beer is significantly enhanced knowing how much we will suffer the next day.  Also note 3 point rigging, mandatory for proper tarp tension and wind resistance.

Photo 009:  Getting back to business on Chrome Plated.  Tim leading first pitch.

Photo 010:  Steve getting the rack sorted to fire off toward the summit of The Pear.

Photo 011:  All of the gear finally at Chasm View.  Getting everything sorted out and repacked was time consuming.

Photo 012:  The view towards the base of our route from Chasm View.  A rather intimidating exit point for your first rap with a haul bag.

Photo 013:  The wall looks sooooooooo incredible from Chasm View.

Photo 014:  Steve heading down the first rap.

Photo 015:  If this is the anchor you end up at, you?re at the wrong one.  Proper rap station is over around the corner to climber?s right.

Photo 016:  Shuttling loads from the bottom of the Chasm View raps to the base of our route across Broadway.  I can be seen just right of the snow patch, Steve took this shot about 2/3 of the way between our route and Chasm View.  Broadway is not a very safe place with heavy loads.

Photo 017:  Looking up at the base of the route.  The route follows in the shadow of the pillar for 3 pitches, to the right off the top of the pillar and the back left under the large flake before joining the thin crack that runs to the underside of table ledge/roof, you then traverse a couple of feet right and gain another crack which runs to the top.  This crack is just left of the large water streak.

Photo 018:  With all of the gear finally at the base of the route, and a nice bivy setup its time to crack open a beer and celebrate the fact that in the morning we finally get to start climbing this thing.

Photo 019:  Steve enjoying his brew in front of our bivy spot.

Photo 020:  Steve gets started on Pitch 1, 5.8

Photo 021:  As could be predicted, the hauling on Pitch 1 really sucked.

Photo 022:  I?m damn happy to finally be up on the wall.

Photo 023:  Steve heads up on Pitch 2, C1.  

Photo 024:  Looking back at the top of the pillar, I just got started on Pitch 3.  I really felt this was the crux on the route, if you were to blow the tricky Ballnutz through here it wouldn?t be pretty.  Not too hard, but definitely DFU.

Photo 025:  This is where I flubbed the hook move, instead I topstepped the aiders and made a half free move to get a cam into the C1 flake.  Heading up under the flake was tons of fun; this is where the route starts getting steeper.  Pete and Andy?s fixed rope is on the left.

Photo 026:  I?m at what would normally be the top of Pitch 4, instead I continued on to the top of 5.  Pete and Andy are above trying to create the free variation.

Photo 027:  Pete grabbed my camera from me when he jugged the fixed lines.

Photo 028:  Finally good hauling.  The wall stays about this angle until a little above Table Ledge.

Photo 029:  Steve settled in for a nice bivy at the bottom of Pitch 6.

Photo 030:  I head up into Pitch 6, C3.  Supposedly the crux pitch, I found it to be quite easy.

Photo 031:  A shot from below, Pitch 6.

Photo 032:  A #1 Trango Ballnut, the pitch did have a couple of tricky spots, this one in particular was two small for a cam, parallel so a nut wouldn?t work and too shallow for a camhook.

Photo 033:  Hands are getting nicely mangled at this point.

Photo 034:  Looking down from the top of Pitch 6

Photo 035:  We have a quick smoke before I head out on Pitch 7.  This is the first time I?ve ever seen Steve smoke a cigarette, next time we?ll bring more.

Photo 036:  Heading up on pitch 7.

Photo 037:  Looking down on Mount Lady Washington, we are starting to get pretty high now.

Photo 038:  Finished hauling, Steve jugging up to the top of Pitch 7.

Photo 039:  Steve heads out on Pitch 8

Photo 040:  Things going well at this point, the sun is shinning and he makes good progress.

Photo 041:  I?m having a killer time being belay bitch for awhile.

Photo 042:  Arrrrrrrrr mateys! the Jolly Roger flies on The Diamond!

Photo 043:  Soaking wet, freezing his arse off in a thunderstorm above 13,000 feet, Steve is all smiles after discovering Hershey Chocolates dipped in Nutela.

Photo 044:  God only knows why, but we are smiling.  Makes it hard to describe how scary this thunderstorm was.  Okay, actually it was kinda cool.

Photo 045:  I appear to be afflicted by the same disease.

Photo 046:  In the morning I jug up the haul line to the belay at the top of Pitch 8 to get everything sorted out and do the hauling.  It takes no time for me to be soaked to the undies.

Photo 047:  We finally hit the top of Pitch 9 and regain the sunshine.  Steve hooks me up with some dry clothes and I?m all smiles once again.

Photo 048:  Shortly after getting to the top of 9 the weather begins turning on us again.

Photo 049:  20 minutes later is gorgeous again.

Photo 050:  Steve heads up on Pitch 10, a short 5.7ish climb.

Photo 051:  My boy has had enough pig hauling for one day.

Photo 052:  At this point going to the summit seamed like a fairly absurd idea, so here is our ?top of the route? shot.

Photo 053:  Getting the pigs off the ground and onto our backs was a little less than fun.

Photo 054:  Raping the Cables route by headlamp.

Photo 055:  Pigs, car and tent gutted out on our last day at camp.

Photo 056:  Rack Beta

Photo 057:  I don?t know when this happened to the rope, but I wasn?t pleased to discover it.

Photo 058:  Yup, those guys climbed that thing.

Offline the_dude

  • A3+ Copper Bender
  • *****
  • Posts: 213
    • View Profile
Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2006, 05:19:15 pm »
Nice TR. Congrats on your first wall. Looks like it was a good one. Maybe we'll see ya in the ditch next summer.

Offline Ammon!

  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2006, 12:59:44 pm »
Nice one guys!!! I'm glad I was an inspiration to your ascent. Congratulations! You can do anything you set your mind to. Life is good, go out there and get IT!!


Offline euroford

  • A2 Flyer
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
    • View Profile
Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2006, 01:30:39 pm »
oooooh i can't wait to do another!

definitly looking forward to the valley next year!

so far i'm thinking maybe the muir wall, with the hammer stuffed in the bottom of the bag labled 'in case of emergency use only'.  had a couple of people suggest it already.

Offline Craig Peer

  • A3 Fool
  • ****
  • Posts: 103
    • View Profile
Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2006, 03:00:35 pm »
Nice trip report. Great first wall - congratulations you two!!

Offline mungeclimber

  • Administrator
  • A4+ Dreamer
  • *****
  • Posts: 2257
    • View Profile
Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2006, 08:24:48 pm »
finally had time to read the hole thing...

favorite parts...

"and kill off our four remaining beers"   I asked myself why there were not more?

?It?s my sleeping bag, I?m riding Caboose?.     hilarious

just cool...

Offline euroford

  • A2 Flyer
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
    • View Profile
Our first wall: The Diamond via The Dunn/Westbay
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2006, 10:21:29 pm »
definitly wanted to bring more beer, but the haul bags had reached critical mass.  we had a flask of bourbon in the bags, but couldn't get to it during the storm!! arrrrrrgggg!!