Author Topic: Ten Days After  (Read 2324 times)

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Offline Didder

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Ten Days After
« on: October 21, 2009, 10:42:56 pm »
After getting our asses handed to us six pitches up a couple weeks earlier on The Re-Animator we were keen to step back up to the plate. Unfortunately with little time to spare we had to lower our sights and pick something that we thought we could do in a 24-hour push. After some debate we set our sights on Ten Days After as our first choice. Neither of us had done the route and it looked like a fun line.

Leaving LA pre-dawn with a planned stop in Bass Lake I arrived in the Valley a few minutes after 12 and stopped at Bishop?s Terrace to gear up. Steve pulled up a few minutes later straight from Reno and we felt like we had entered the Twighlight Zone. We had been here doing the exact same thing just two weeks before.

It always amazes me that even on a planned ?lightweight? push ascent you can have what seems like enough gear to get up a weeklong El Cap route. As we headed out of the Ahwahnee parking lot around 1pm we had a spring in our step and climbing on our mind. Of course starting up the hill the bags seemed to get heavier and our pace slower. An hour and a half later found us by ourselves at the start of the Prow with one party 5 pitches up. We had decided to do the first two pitches of the Prow to save time and stay out of the slime. Neither of these was accomplished. As Steve began his block I cranked up the tunes and made ready to clean like a mad man. At the top of the first pitch sitting at the belay I was covered by spray from the cracks to the right as there had been a ton of rain just the day before. By the time I was cleaning the second pitch I was good and wet.

It took us a couple pitches to shake out the cobwebs but by 8pm we were at the top of the third pitch, Half Dome was glowing orange and we were hitting our stride. As Steve led out the 4th pitch I heard a strange sound and looked up to see what must have been several hundred Swifts darting into the crack just above the belay. They let out high-pitched whistles as they jockeyed for position to see who would get the choicest bivy spot inside the crack. Then just as quickly as it had started the commotion ended and I was once again left to myself while Steve continued up into the darkness. The call of ?off belay, line fixed? came a while later as I realized that after cleaning this pitch my block was about to begin. The pitch was steep and slightly traversing and I did not clean it as quickly as I had hoped. Finally after a snack, some fluids and a gear swap I was on my way.

As I made my way up the ? inch crack on the 5th pitch I was amazed at how irregular the crack was compared to the ones found on El Cap. Washington Column seems like the bastard little brother with each placement taking much more creativity and finesse as the crack, even though similar in width has so many different nuances making each placement feel completely different than the last.

I fixed the line on the 5th pitch, hauled our pack and began the traverse pitch. The entire pitch was basically fixed with the exception of a yellow alien placement and one hook move. Just as I got to the end of the pitch Steve reached the previous anchor so he lowered out the bag and began following the completely horizontal pitch. I was glad to have clipped all the fixed circle heads on lead rather than while back cleaning. A few of them don?t look as if they will be there much longer. In fact there is quite a bit of fixed mank throughout the route which would prove exciting higher up. I gave Steve a belay as he made his way across and soon we were at the beginning of the 7th pitch that starts up a super cool thin feature next to an awesome looking steep ramp.

As Steve caught up to me at the 6th belay we looked over about 30 feet to our left and slightly lower and saw the party that had been above us on the Prow bivied out in their ledge. We turned up the tunes and they asked if we were on Ten Days After?. You never know what you might encounter while on a wall and these two Brits seemed amused to see us climbing straight through the night. As I cam hooked my way up the first few moves I then encountered some very nasty heads and tried not to breath as I moved past them and eventually clipped a nice bolt that had been recently replaced (thank God). From the bolt I clipped an old head and then a #3 LA that someone had only managed to get in about half way. It was a classic example of choosing a pin that was too fat instead of one the right size that could have been much more bomber. I thought about making a swap for a #2 LA or some other piece of gear but could see another fixed piece out left heading up what seemed to be a possibly expanding feature and decided to keep moving (bad mistake). As I got on the next piece I saw that it was an old RP but could not see the head to judge the condition even though the wire looked to be in OK shape. Not wanting to test the piece too fiercely for fear that I would wreck the placement or rip the cable I decided to move past it and place the next piece. I got all set and began trying to make an inverted cam hook placement but could not get the thing to hold so opted for a Lost Arrow a bit further out. With luck I could make just this one more placement before being able to reach a rivet on the face up and to the left. This is when I made a very rookie mistake that cost me some skin. As I began banging in the LA I did not clip my daisy into the pin but started to just hammer in it a ways thinking I would then clip it after I got it set. It was a long reach and I was leaning way out sideways off the RP. On my third swing the RP I was on literally disintegrated and before I knew what hit me I was airborne. The force of the fall was big and getting bigger with every foot. I heard the fixed pin below the piece that ripped go next as I was going by and then heard the head pop out above me as well.

You know it is a long fall when you have enough time to think, ?wow I?m falling and nothing is stopping me?. As I rocketed through the darkness all I could think of was ?Am I ever going to stop?. Steve had been lounging at the belay or doing something and was now slammed upwards as he tried to figure out just what had happened. Finally after maybe 40 -45 feet I came to a stop about 5 feet below Steve and off to the side. Steve said all he heard was some hammering, then a pop and then ?Oh Fuckkkkkkkkk? as he grabbed for the grigri. By this time the Brit?s were wide awake, laughing and screaming stuff like ?Oh yeh mate good go at it eh?. Right, bloody bugger of a fall eh. And Ten points for effort for sure capin.?!. For a minute we all just sort of sat there not really sure what had actually happened and then started laughing and shaking our heads all at the same time. When I looked at the head of the RP I saw several large cracks in it with the wire exposed. The head of the RP had literally exploded which in turn sent me flying. The pin that had ripped was still clipped through the rope as was the cable of the head that had pulled with no sign of the head.

After shaking it off and checking to make sure everything was still where it was supposed to be I headed back up and managed to get through the rest of the pitch all be it a bit slower and much more gingerly.

By 9 am we had reached Tapir with no further escapades and we were starting to feel the effects of the all night push. We drank some coffee, ate some food and Steve led off on the next pitch. By now the Brits were getting close and we had some laughs about the follies of the previous few hours. As we sat on Tapir the sun hit us and started to heat things up. Finally we all decided it might go quicker if we joined forces to the top (we were wrong) but it was fun sharing the final few hours together as well as the North Dome Decent. We topped out 25 hours after starting and given the situation were pretty happy with our performance.  By 6pm we were in the Ahwahnee parking lot and feeling pretty hammered. We did a quick gear sort and with only one 1-hour rest stop/ snooze and a stop at Carl?s Jr. I pulled into my driveway at 1:30 am less than 45 hours after leaving Thursday morning. Of course I was useless the rest of the weekend but it was worth it.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2009, 10:50:36 pm by didder »

Offline Mike.

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Re: Ten Days After
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2009, 07:25:07 am »
Badass!

Way to get back up on that thing and ride it hard. didder, you rock, man...one of the most stubborn climbers I've ever known. Power to ya.

Do spill some more about the Reanimator...TIA.

Cheers.
Say no to limbers, excavators and retro-bolters. No matter how much he smiles.

Offline Habanero

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Re: Ten Days After
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2009, 10:50:51 am »
Thanks for posting didder, brought me back...what fun that was!

Before reconnecting and climbing with didder the only time I climbed at night was to save my bacon! Considering didder's endless energy and enthusiasm for night climbing I now pack a double set of extra batteries.

Some thoughts on the trip...

Racking at the terrace was indeed the twilight zone. We hiked together until teh trail steepened then I watched didder motor away..he had established gear at the base of the Prow by the time I arrived at the foot of the 4th class. This seems to be a theme when I'm with didder. I short fixed the first and before I could make two moves he was there...in my mind I can still see him jugging the first pitch like he stole something. Pitches 3,4,5 are way cool, climbing up on the inside of the rough corner, steep.

didder's flight time on 7 was classic. I was actually watching him as I heard him nail then pop the rp and fall. I braced for impact but it was still quite a jolt upwards into the bolts. A fall on that section of the pitch is heads up considering the rope grates down the edge of the ramp just climbed. Out lead line was fine...Within minutes of the fall didder was back at the scene working through the moves. Stubborn...ya.

North dome was routine - thankfully.

Drive home was crazy.



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Re: Ten Days After
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2009, 01:12:11 pm »
Right on for the Ten Days team.
Good work there, guys.
Makes for a good story, too.

Offline Caz

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Re: Ten Days After
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2009, 01:17:37 pm »
Good work guys! Awesome tale  of a big push!
I do this for fun...

Offline Didder

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Re: Ten Days After
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2009, 10:10:46 pm »
Thanks bros. Yeah we got our dose of adventure that we were looking for all right.

All I can say is we took 2 1/2 gallons of water and we drank every drop of it. Thankfully the Brits had an extra gallon on top that we were able to pull from on top.

This has been a Crazy year in terms of weather and temps. We had downright hot weather the first week of January on the Column. Full Winter conditions in March on the Tower, Sleet and Rain in June on the Tower. Heat on El Cap in May. Balmy on El Cap in August, Scorching on the Column in late Sept and mid Oct.... What gives?

Offline Caz

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Re: Ten Days After
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2009, 10:45:16 pm »
This has been a Crazy year in terms of weather and temps. We had downright hot weather the first week of January on the Column. Full Winter conditions in March on the Tower, Sleet and Rain in June on the Tower. Heat on El Cap in May. Balmy on El Cap in August, Scorching on the Column in late Sept and mid Oct.... What gives?

Dude, didn't you know that the end of the world is coming? All this F'ed up weather is the first sign...  ;)
I do this for fun...

Offline Sambo

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Re: Ten Days After
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2009, 11:26:31 am »
Hey Didder... Hey Steve!

Didder you kill me, great write-up (ok that 45'er must have been high on the "Fun Factor" huh....) and Steve nice catch!

 BTW Steve... "North dome was routine - thankfully." I dislike that gully... mucho!

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Shawn Sampson - Sambo "retired"
Its all about the "Fun Factor"

Offline Jack Herer

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Re: Ten Days After
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2009, 08:17:58 pm »
Nice job! Theres at least two or three other TR's online of people falling in the exact same spot. My partner fell there as well when we did it a few years ago.