Author Topic: May 2008 New Dawn To WEML photo trip report  (Read 2934 times)

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Offline hollyclimber

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May 2008 New Dawn To WEML photo trip report
« on: July 07, 2008, 11:36:09 am »
Cross Posted by Author From SuperTopo.com

Here we go thanks to Photobucket (and hours of uploading via the grand satellite internet connection of Yosemite West).

Lorna and I picked the New Dawn for our warm up El Cap route of the season. Really, I picked it.  Lorna wanted to start on the Shield, but I thought that May would be a bit cold to be up there on that headwall and that we should climb the warm sunny wall before it started baking.  But, we had a few delays getting started after our decision, and ended up starting in the Evans-Lurking Fear Cooker Heatwave.  Oops.  Oh well, we needed some "right side" time I guess.

We fixed three pitches on a Wednesday, I was too worked and unprepared to blast on Thursday so we hauled our pitches on Thursday, then we had a Nose rescue on Friday, so finally, here is Lorna ready to jug our fixed lines and blast on Saturday (her birthday!!)



The first day held four pitches of climbing to Lay Lady ledge.  Lorna bravely bit off the supposed C3F for breakfast on Saturday like a champ.  These pitches were a little intimidating on the topo, but business as usual for us when we got up there and pulled out the hooks.



Here's a photo of "some dudes" on "some route".  That day I had a lot of fun watching the action on the right side as Lorna and I climbed mostly left side routes last year and I forgot how busy, social and loud the Captain can be sometimes.



Lorna following on Pitch 5.  At the time this pitch was nothing special.  But given the number of rivets we encountered eventually on this climb, I would now say its a nice classic little pitch.



Here she goes again!  Lorna gets ready to climb her second lead of the day, pitch 6.  By this point, we have been in the sun for a good two pitches and we are both ready to hit the frying pan point.  We had a lot of trouble making ourselves eat during the day on the first three days of the climb because of the heat.  However, we had plenty of water and the bags still were easily haulable on a 1 to 1 by both of us, even with me at 125 as the heavy one on the team.  (Lorna at 5'6" is the "tall" one and gets the reachy pitches when we can manage it).



Lay Lady Ledge!  We made it here to celebrate Lorna's birthday.  The ledge was great.  To spend your first night on the wall on the "ground" with no harness and no rope is a great way to break into a 5 night wall.  We were really worked when we got there, more from the heat then from the climbing I would say.  We dumped our stuff in a big pile, sat together for a great dinner (trout and black beans for me) and hit the sack.  The moon was huge and we got it early, and the wall protected us from it for the second half of the night which helped alot with sleeping (and wouldn't be true for the rest of the climb).



From Lay Lady Ledge you cannot see the meadow.  An odd experience for me.  I don't know if there is another route where that would be the case except maybe on the far left.  Certainly to be on the right side and not see the meadow was something that surprised our wall senses.



The Captain was in full bloom during our ascent.  I tried to capture some of it.  This is just off Lay Lady.



Looking up to the Captain on Day two, when we climbed two free climbable cracks to 1.5 pitchees of free climbing to El Cap Tower and Texas Flake Ledge.  Lorna of course fired her 5.9 pitch off Lay Lady.  I aided my 5.10 pitch.  Oh well.



We reached Texas Flake ledge and were a bit disappointed that the "stellar bivy" involved our portaledge.  Oh well.  We enjoyed sitting on the ledge and having room to get our stuff off of our bodies.  We took a breather in the shade (huge relief) before fixing one pitch from this ledge.





Here is Lorna "fixing" up the pitch.  We say "sorry" to the universe for fixing a beak on this pitch (believe me we wanted to keep it).  Go ahead and change the rating of this pitch in your book to C2F.



Ledges can be fun I guess.  I love mine.  We had room to spread out for dinner.  This looks like the photo of me using wet ones to clean off all my packets of GU, as one had exploded in the plastic bag.  Luckily it was just one (Vanilla) and luckily I have these things in a plastic bag together just in case this happens.  Worthy use of a wet ones.



The next morning, we got a great view of the Nose team climbing the Texas Flake.  I think this pitch is a bit scary to lead, so I hope we didn't mess up this guy's vibe too much.  We were talking to him and taking pictures of him most of the pitch.  These guys were lucky enough to booty a cam!  When the leader was telling his partner about it, I was freaking out that maybe I had forgotten a cam on my traverse across the ledge to our bivy.  I was quick to ask the guy if it had yellow paint on it and if it was on the traverse.  It wasn't ours, so I hadn't flubbed it, and those guys scored a forgotten cam.



Day Three was the crux for us.  It was still brutally hot.  We were drinking pretty well, but not eating well during the day and that was draining us along with the sun.  In the am of Day three, we jugged our fixed pitch and set out on the traverse I had been dreading.  We had been worried that the rock that a party pulled off would cause some issues, as we were not able to find any confirmed ascent after this accident that ended in a rescue in the fall of 2006.  So, armed with my drill kit, I set out.  The rock was no problem, but the pitch was long and involved, and I knew for sure that the feature had been falling off, and I didn't want any repeats.  It worked out well to link these two traversing pitches, as the first pitch has a lower down, so I was able to use tension from above to do long sideways moves on both pitches.  That helped a lot.  Our haul line got stuck and this caused some major issues.  We decided to release the bags and hope that the line would clear the tiny edge it was sitting on.  It didn't clear and our line went about 150 feet directly horizontal to the baby flake, and then our bag hung 50 feet below the baby flake, making a nice (horrible) 90 degree bend in the line.  Lorna had to rap down and send the bag to shock load onto my anchor.  I was definitely ready to take the big ride.  But, nothing happened except us getting all stressed out.  Some lessons learned, and crux completed.

Lorna cleaning the second part of the linked traverse.



Looking back down at Lay Lady Ledge. We were looking for the Barcelona soloist, who we didn't see that day and expected to see at Lay Lady.  I thought he bailed, but then we saw him on El Cap Tower when we went to Wino Tower.  Later, he did disappear from the Evans-view, so he never got the note I left for him at P 21 offering beers and New Dawn stories.  Too bad!



We bivied one pitch above the traverse baloney for an early night in our ledge.  We got up early the next day for two pitches up rivets to Wino Tower.  This looks like it is a butt shot of me leading the first "rivet pitch" of the day on Day 4, when we are going up to Wino Tower. (Pitch 16).  You know you are up and climbing early (climbing at 6:30 that morning) when you have shade on the Dawn Wall!



Here's the view looking back down on Wino Tower in the middle and El Cap Tower on the far left, while I belay Lorna to our future sleepy place of Pitch 19 and its happy little mini ledges.  I wasn't too sad that we didn't get to sleep at Wino Tower.  It wasn't really that great and Pitch 19 was fine.



More views while I belay Pitch 19....





And, finally our happy little home at Pitch 19.





We don't know it yet, but starting with Pitch 18, we have gotten into the real sweet spot of this route.  Things just keep getting better and better at this point.

On the morning of Day 5, Lorna starts it out with free climbing to rivets.  Then, I did the pitch on the route that I thought was really the most fun, which was Pitch 21.  A little reachy, some tricky nailing, easy but exposed hooking (a little reachy for me into the first hook, but not bad). Keep in mind I am 5'2".  The pitch ends at the base of the "money corner", a beautiful Muir-esque pitch that Lorna got.  I got the sweet 4x4 ledge to sit on for the belay.  Hard to say which was the better luck.

Here's some view of pitch 21...fun fun!





Lorna styling the clean on Pitch 21



The Money Corner was awesome, but hard to get any good photos.  It did make a great crack to hang all my stuff and be light for the belay.



Then, after the Money Corner I led another ok corner, but with some bird poop and a Swift protesting against my #3 camalot!  This led to the base of the first of two mini-roofs below the real dawn roof.  Here is Lorna coming up to the belay below the mini roofs, wielding hammer.



We had a really long day on Day 5, as we chose to lead the Dawn Roof starting at something like 6 pm.  It had been just a little windy for us that day, but I could feel that we needed extra time on the last few pitches of the route.  So, Lorna busted out the Dawn Roof and we were setting up our ledge in the dark.

The next day involved me leading the two remaining crux pitches in winds that made it feel like we were climbing Mt Everest.  By this day we were fully freezing our butts off and it was hard to believe that we had been absolutely baking on the first three days of the route.  We don't have many photos from this day as it was too intense and too cold for that.  I had my whole lower body inside our El Cap haulbag when I belayed Lorna on the final pitch. 

The top out is a pretty good one-one of the best I think.  We did the shuttle to get our stuff up.



We slept on top and woke up to snow at 5:30 am.  With my recently sprained ankle and the weather, it could have been a knarly hikeoff.  Plus, I brought a ton of pins! (All needed on Pitch 26, stack o rama!!).  Luckily, my hero Andy showed up really early, maybe by 6:30 or so, to pick up a load.  I was so glad to see him.  He RAN away with that load. 



Lorna and I finished packing, helped some guys down from the Trip who were on their first El Cap summit (good job bros) and made it down pretty early that morning to chat with friends in the Manure Pile parking lot who had been following our ascent.

All in all, a good time was had, the route was really shining on the second half, and we are all warmed up and ready to go.  So, see you all soon, next stop, the Shield.

(Holly logs in her 17th El Cap route, 21st ascent, while Lorna logs in #10 and #10).

Offline mungeclimber

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Re: May 2008 New Dawn To WEML photo trip report
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2008, 12:40:00 am »
crosspostingTRquality4lyfe.com

Offline Craig Peer

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Re: May 2008 New Dawn To WEML photo trip report
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2008, 10:28:01 am »
Nice TR - thanks. I loved that route! Did it 25 years ago or so. Great fun!!