Jake and I topped out on “The Captain” at noon on Monday having hauled to Heart Ledge on Friday. Three memorable days on the Big Stone.
Day 1 – easy hauling went really speedily with a light haul bag. We took in an extra pitch to spend a comfortable night on Lung Ledge. Jake’s first on El Cap
Intimidating views upwards of the next 3 days of effort!
Day 2 covered a lot of wide cracks, starting with the horror show of Hollow Flakes. Almost 200ft runout with only a couple of pieces of unsatisfactory gear. Then a grim chimney followed by a struggle behind the “Ear” – a 30ft horizontal inverted chimney. Things ease up thereafter and we were on El Cap Spire for sunset. The best bivvi on El Cap
Day 3 has the most enjoyable climbing. Jake and I played to our strengths, with Jake taking most of the free pitches and me doing the trickier aid. We moved really quickly before getting stuck behind a slow but very friendly team on the headwall. We spent about 6 hours stationary here as day turned to night, eventually reaching Long Ledge at 10.30pm. I guess there are worse places to chill out than the lip of a roof 2500ft in the sky.
Day 4 – our new American friends kindly allowed us to overtake and we despatched the last 4 pitches quickly to top out by noon.
Celebratory beer in The Meadows the next day
Postscript: a couple of years later I got a FB Messenger notification from Mike:
Jake hadn’t confessed to the lost wire (marked with my yellow name tag) at the time, and in fairness it coincided with being marooned in the dark as I waited for our American friends on the headwall. It’s a really strange thought to have inadvertently left a calling card on one of the most stupendous bits of rock on the planet! I wonder if I’ll get a citation for littering next time I visit The Valley?