Login with Facebook
 ADVANCED
The Road To The Nose
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
   Page 1 of 2.  1  2   Next>   Last>>
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
 
By ToTheNose
Mar 23, 2010
Long timer lurker, first time poster. I've been climbing for a few years now on mostly trad (lead 5.9 around North East) and ice (lead WI3s). I went to the Yosemite first time last year just to backpack with family. I was in awe! I've never done any aid climbing before and never thought I will. But after seeing the El Cap, I knew right there that I have to climb it one day.

Anyway, reading supertopo website and I came across this e-book by Chris McNamara. "The Road to The Nose". I'm intrigued by the idea using it as a training reference for my goal. I have the summer off, I know climbing in the Yosemite in the summer is ridiculously hot but I'm willing to suffer to go after my dream. I have a few questions for the gurus here.

1. Has anyone read the book and think it's a workable roadmap?
2. Are three months enough to take me from a new aid climber to the top of the Nose if I dedicate myself to it the entire time?

The book: supertopo.com/packs/road2nose....

I know it takes a lot of gear to do the Nose. It shouldn't be a big deal, I just sold my car and got my backpay and I can get some nice deals with a few local gear shops.

Any help is appreciated!

FLAG
By Ben Ricketts
From Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 23, 2010
The major obstacle to doing a big wall on el cap is not your ability level. It's your endurance. Aiding is straight forward but extremely slow. Plan on taking your time and enjoying being up there. Plan for 6 days. Hell take 2 weeks. It doesn't matter. You will have fun, learn tons and be a much better climber by the time you get off it. Just hang in and don't give up.

I haven't read the Road to the Nose but Chris Mc stuff is pretty reliable and I am willing to bet that it will make you life more enjoyable while up there.

You also don't need a ton of gear for the Nose. You won't need any special gear though the smaller HB offsets are nice.

Have fun and good luck.

Ben

FLAG
By KHall
From Nashville, TN
Mar 23, 2010
Classic
Train your guts out. Then put them back in and train some more. Make yourself as hard to kill as possible. Before big walls and alpine I like to trail run while breathing through McDonald's straws. And take plenty of WATER. Plan for as much as 4L per day in the heat of the summer. Less in cooler temps. So 5 days on the wall could be as much as 20L per person. But the pig gets lighter the higher you climb. And running out of water WILL shut you down. Wall systems and aiding are pretty much straight forward. And if you haven't already, spend the night high up on a wall and familiarize yourself with vertical camping and hauling the pigs. Also the summit is the goal but so is not dieing or needing a rescue. Know self rescue technique and have an exit strategy for any point up high.
And remember its just rock climbing and you volunteered for the job. So have fun and go prepared.

FLAG
By ToTheNose
Mar 23, 2010
Thanks! No question about training, technical/physical/mental skills. I planned on training as much as I can during the summer since I can take the entire time off. That means I can train every day as long as I'm physically able to. Just wondering if dedicating three months in the summer will allow me to climb the Nose.

FLAG
By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Mar 23, 2010
So so advice above. True, endurance is key. A big part of doing walls is just grinding it out every day. In addition to that, if you want to have an enjoyable climb, not just an unpleasant, slow-moving clusterf#ck that will cause grief to yourself and all those around you, you need the following:

1. Get really efficient at climbing trad 5.9-10a. You should be able to handle long pitches of this grade without problem since you'll be doing it all day on the Nose. Focus on doing long routes smoothly and efficiently. Focus on smooth change overs at belays and learning to rack gear while cleaning, etc.

2. Learn to aid and haul efficiently. You owe it to yourselves and the parties behind you to get your system down. If you can't climb a 100' pitch of A1 in about an hour, you need to get faster. Learn to set up a hanging belay, hauling, cleaning aid pitches, particularly a pendulum, etc. Again, you'll be doing a good ten pitches of that stuff a day, and if you take an extra 15 mins. per pitch flopping around, that's an extra 2.5 hrs for the day.

Doing a grade V or two, or even some long grade IVs, is a good way to test your preparation and systems. Having said all that, lots of people who aid 5.8 manage to crawl their way up the Nose each year. You may even have to fight just to keep your place in line (e.g., people will try to climb in front and over you, jug your fixed lines, etc., etc.). Once you get a day up the wall, it'll thin out and you'll be good. But it will be MUCH more pleasant and enjoyable if you prepare well for the adventure.

FLAG
By ToTheNose
Mar 23, 2010
Fat Dad wrote:
1. Get really efficient at climbing trad 5.9-10a. You should be able to handle long pitches of this grade without problem since you'll be doing it all day on the Nose.

Yup. It shouldn't be a problem. I climb 5.9 around here at the end of the last season. If I can climb just about everyday, I'm sure I can handle 5.10a/b in efficient manner.

Fat Dad wrote:
Focus on doing long routes smoothly and efficiently. Focus on smooth change overs at belays and learning to rack gear while cleaning, etc.

It's harder to do this in North East (especially at the gunks). I think spending a month or so doing that out west should make me pretty good.

Fat Dad wrote:
2. Learn to aid and haul efficiently. You owe it to yourselves and the parties behind you to get your system down. If you can't climb a 100' pitch of A1 in about an hour, you need to get faster. Learn to set up a hanging belay, hauling, cleaning aid pitches, particularly a pendulum, etc. Again, you'll be doing a good ten pitches of that stuff a day, and if you take an extra 15 mins. per pitch flopping around, that's an extra 2.5 hrs for the day. Doing a grade V or two, or even some long grade IVs, is a good way to test your preparation and systems. Having said all that, lots of people who aid 5.8 manage to crawl their way up the Nose each year. You may even have to fight just to keep your place in line (e.g., people will try to climb in front and over you, jug your fixed lines, etc., etc.). Once you get a day up the wall, it'll thin out and you'll be good. But it will be MUCH more pleasant and enjoyable if you prepare well for the adventure.

This is really why I want to spend time in Yosemite in the summer. How long do you think it would take to be efficient at technical requirement when it comes to this? I have no problem setting up anchor, hanging belay when it comes to trad. I figure if I practice everyday for two weeks should be enough, no?

I can't wait for the summer!

FLAG
By D-Storm
Mar 23, 2010
Enjoying a misty day on top of the Bookmark on Lum...
+1 on Dad's advice. Knowing gear systems, especially at belays, will make the biggest difference between an epic and a good time. Sometimes an extra minute to think a system all the way through can save 15 minutes or more.

You will probably be prepared for The Nose in much less time than three months! Every climber is different, but two of my buddies were climbing 5.9/5.10 and had never considered doing El Cap. A month later they did The Nose in good style. One was an engineer for BD, so maybe that helped.

Practice jugging on the overhanging bolt ladder of the La Conte boulder (Yosemite). Try running up the first seven pitches of Washington Column's South Face (C2) in a day. Practice hauling on a traverse pitch. Those are good bench marks to help you decide when you might be ready. Better yet, hook up with an experienced waller and learn even faster. You might have to give up some cherry leads in return, but soon you'll get plenty of your own.

Finally, I would encourage you to be ready to deal with ALL your waste. Rig a poop tube (cheap, easy and even fun to design in the meadow with a pack of Cobras). And bring duct tape to rig (and seal) plastic OJ bottles into pee bottles as you drink the water out of them. I know a lot of people sneer at that idea, but it's a very courteous thing to do on a crowded, hot, slabby route like The Nose. It'll make you tougher, anyway, and you'll feel more righteous.

Oh, and definitely bring some of the finest tequila or whiskey, perhaps some *incense* too. Good luck!

FLAG
By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Mar 23, 2010
ToTheNose wrote:
It's harder to do this in North East (especially at the gunks). I think spending a month or so doing that out west should make me pretty good.


What about Cathedral Ledge, etc. May be far for you but much better prep than the Gunks. My first summer in the Valley (at age 16), I climbed alot with another young guy from the Gunks and he had serious problems at first climbing crack, which is 95% of what you'll be doing. Having said that, within a couple of weeks we did the NW Face of Half Dome without any major problems. We had planned on doing the Nose the week after but I ran out of money and had to bail.

Here's what I would do. Go to the Valley and climb all the 5.9/easy .10 standards you can: Reed's Direct, Sacherer Cracker, and long routes too like the NE Butt of Higher Cathedral. South Face of Column would be a good warm up. West Face of Leaning Tower wouldn't be bad either though it's much more aid intensive. If you've got three months, you've even got time to tag Half Dome. The more you climb, the faster and stronger you'll get.

Also, buy some cam hooks and learn how to use them. They'll definitely held on the pitches to Sickle. Also, aim for only 3.5 days. Someone suggested bringing 4 Ls. per day for 5 days. Your bags will be so heavily all your energy will go into hauling, not climbing. Bring 2 Ls. per day and bring enough for 4 days. If you're unsure on that subject, do a grade V to find out how much water you'll really need. BRING rain gear (and fiber fill bags). You may not need it but if you do it'll save your life.

FLAG
 
By Sirius
From Oakland, CA
Mar 23, 2010
Moving through the crux lock - now that's micro be...
Fat Dad wrote:
1. Get really efficient at climbing trad 5.9-10a. You should be able to handle long pitches of this grade without problem since you'll be doing it all day on the Nose.

Yup. It shouldn't be a problem. I climb 5.9 around here at the end of the last season. If I can climb just about everyday, I'm sure I can handle 5.10a/b in efficient manner.


Just something I learned on El Cap: 5.10 thousands of feet up, with all of the gear that an aid lead entails hanging off of you, is different than anything you can imagine until you have to do it. I don't think that being solid on .10- is the right goal: being solid on Valley .10+ might correlate better to freeing 5.9/5.10- up high.

I remember thinking from the ground that the Pancake Flake looks like it'll be a fun, no frills lead. I'm sure that for many people it is. For me, at least, unclipping from that semi-hanging belay with the wind whipping, the maw yawning, the Great Roof at my shoulder, and my jugs, hauler, mondo rack, aiders, wall shoes, haul line, etc etc etc hanging off of me involved difficulties I couldn't have imagined. Freeing with confidence up on El Cap is no joke. Part of the game!

One common road to El Cap:
1. Get confident on all kinds of 5.10's around the Valley
2. Aid some pitches, clean, haul, jug, practice traverses
3. South Face Wash Col
4. West Face Leaning Tower
5. Have at it

FLAG
By Mike Anderson
From Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 23, 2010
Why are you in such a hurry? Do you have cancer? Not long to live?

Why don't you enjoy being a climber for awhile. Go to the Valley for the summer, if that's where you are happy, climb Royal Arches, Cathedral Peak, the Mathes Crest, Snake Dike. The Braille Book on Higher Cathedral is a good summer route. Go bouldering in Tuolumne, climb the East Face of Mt. Whitney.

Take your time, become a climber, not just "someone who climbs" and maybe by the end of the summer you can lead the East Buttress of El Cap.

An ascent of the Captain should be a crowning achievement; a result of a long process of learning and gaining experience. When that is the case, it is a life-changing event to realize that you have achieved mastery of a difficult sport. On the other hand, the techniques aren't rocket science, and if you focus solely on the few skills you need to succeed on the one route you choose, you may summit if you are very brave/naive and persistent. In that case, all that you will have proven is that you got lucky. This seems to be the current trend, and Chris' books nurture this behavior.

I urge you to take the path of patience and diligence. I urge you to hold yourself to a high standard for success...to, perhaps, not merely choose the easiest route (like the Nose, a route that was climbed over 50 years ago with gear that is laughable by today's standards and has been "climbed" by a child). Maybe free climbing El Cap is possible for you, if you hold yourself to a high standard? Maybe the Salathe is a worthy challenge, or one of the steep right-side aid routes.

Think about why you desire to climb the Nose, and what such a climb means to you. If you only care about standing on the top, there is a trail up there. If your desire is to become a skilled rock climber, it's a much longer process.

FLAG
By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Mar 23, 2010
Sirius wrote:
I don't think that being solid on .10- is the right goal: being solid on Valley .10+ might correlate better to freeing 5.9/5.10- up high.


I don't disagree with the logic of climbing harder 10s equating to easier free climbing. However, I don't think we should give the impression that you need to be solid on Valley .10+ before being ready for the Nose. It would help, sure. Necessary, no. I'd wager that the majority of climbers out there, even ones climbing some .12 sport wouldn't be solid on a variety of .10+ Valley cracks.

FLAG
By Stu Ritchie
From Denver
Mar 23, 2010
Desert Tortoise
Just my 2: Keep in mind that you don't have to lead every pitch with the entire rack. Get comfortable using a zip line (also very handy for lowering out bags on traverses) and start out with only the gear you think you'll actually need. Send for anything extra if the situation arises.

FLAG
By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Mar 23, 2010
JLP wrote:
I'd agree w/ Mike if we were talking about frigging your way up Astroman, but we're not. It's just the Nose. It's a rite of passage to the many harder objectives done in the Valley and beyond since 1958. Very few do it as honed and highly experienced climbers. Most are gumbies.


I agree. While I think it is important to cut your teeth on some smaller walls first, the Nose is an early stop on the path to big wall glory. Plus, sometimes it's good to push yourself. When I first did El Cap in 1983, we opted for Zodiac, which then was still a pretty hard nail up. Although I had done Half Dome and the Prow, most of my nailing experience was on practice rocks. Our average age was only 18. It really challenged my partner and I and I found myself bargaining with God on a number of pitches. But we did it without serious incident and it was a grand adventure. And it wouldn't have happened had we not stuck our necks out.

About 15 years ago, I met a buddy in the Valley to do another big nailing route on the Captain. We did the math and figured our vacation was too short for that and hit the Cookie and Arch Rock all week. At the end of the week I told my buddy we should try Astroman or the Rostrum and he just kind of laughed it off. Looking back, I think we would have made a respectable effort. Now I'm a dad and fatter and climb just a few times a year. Though I still cling pathetically to hopes of one day climbing it, I'm afraid my Astroman moment have have passed.

FLAG
By Irish-Jane
From Ireland, sometimes
Mar 23, 2010
Terradets, Spain.
Hmmm, similar questions to my own. What I'm wondering about, for doing the Nose or other big Yosemite routes is how much aid skills are needed, and how much free skills?

As idle talk on a recent trip to Oman, myself and my friend somehow talked ourselves into trying stuff in Yosemite this year. So now I need to get in training.

What I'm working with at the minute is a ghettotastic climbing gym and a damp 40ft quarry. I'm a solidish 5.9 crack free climber (as long as it's not wide), pushing into the 10's on a good day. So far I've been hauling concrete blocks and jugging in the quarry, and practicing cleaning roofs/traverses on the wall. I seem to be able to aid C1 at a respectable speed, but yet again 40ft doesn't tell you too much.

Does anyone know what stuff I should be really bashing away at? Some vague plans to try and jug the height of El Cap in 3 days in the quarry, but worried I'll die of boredom long before I finish.

Any good training ideas?

FLAG
By Mark Hudon
Mar 23, 2010
On the North America Wall in 1977.
Well, IMHO, you should be able to ramble up middle 5.10 hand and fist cracks quite confidently. The Nose is one of the most popular rock climbs in the world and there are frequently several parties on the climb at the same time in the "climbing season".
My question would be: Do you want to be the cluster, be part of the cluster or be able to climb away from the cluster?

And don't forget, All routes are not for all people.

FLAG
By "Pass the Pitons" Pete Zabrok
From Oakville, Ontario
Mar 24, 2010
Left to right - me, Sam Adams, Thomas Huber, Alex ...
" So far I've been hauling concrete blocks and jugging in the quarry, and practicing cleaning roofs/traverses on the wall. I seem to be able to aid C1 at a respectable speed, but yet again 40ft doesn't tell you too much."

Wow! What a babe! That's the spirit!

One way to practise jugging a free-hanging rope, something you'll have to do if you fix pitches on the Trip or Zodiac for instance, is to set up a sling and carabiner around a high tree branch. Set up your rope as a toprope, and have your partner stand nearby with the rope running through a belay device on his harness. As you climb towards the tree branch, the belayer lets out rope. Keep going til you climb the whole rope.

This is how cavers set their "jugging speed records" but to me it seems slightly easier to pull rope down than it is to actually climb a stationary rope. Not sure what the real physics are behind it, but I can tell you it's easier to jug a sliding rope than one just hanging.

If you think you're good to go jugging free-hanging rope with your standard Yosemite system of an aider on each jug, tell me how you feel after pulling all two hundred feet through your belayer's device. Then you'll know to go buy yourself a C26 Torse chest harness for twenty bucks, and make up a Frog system.

As for The Nose, why not? You've got three months. It's only C1, so practise aid climbing every crack you can find. Stuff at Cathedral is perfect. The Slot on the Practice Slabs, for instance, is so Yosemite-like you'd swear it was cut out of Yosemite and flown across the country. Get your systems dialled - practise hauling bags of rocks or water or [God bless her, what a sweetie!] concrete blocks. If you use rocks, make sure you choose round not pointy ones, and make sure you put extra padding in your pig if it will rub against the wall at all.

Then when you get to Yosemite, go climb some Grade V's first, stuff like Leaning Tower and Washington Column. Figure out your systems on the real rock, and have fun climbing superb but smaller big walls. You'll learn how much you can haul, how much water you'll need, all that kind of stuff.

I'll be there May 20 to June 30 and mid-Sept to late-Oct, so look me up - we will have a beer, and like, talk about it, eh?

Incidentally, once you get accomplished at big wall climbing, you can get up the couch and do it without any training whatsoever. My hands usually cramp up the first couple days, because the last time I touched rock [or plastic] would have been on the summit months before. But I usually manage to wobble to the summit. After a week or two. ;) But training is probably a really good idea if you haven't done it before.

FLAG
 
By Kevin McLaughlin
From Colorado Springs
Mar 24, 2010
Thunder Ridge- Storm, 5.12, Wasp Canyon
Mike Anderson has posted the best advice . Period .

FLAG
By Rob Dillon
Mar 24, 2010
All the beta you are hearing here is essentially the same as in that book- learn to climb this kind of stuff efficiently, learn systems, work up to bigger goals, etc.

Except Mike's. His take is worth listening to. For some people, goals are a great organizing principle for their lives, or progress in a certain discipline. Others, perhaps too focused on the goal and not the process, end up with a bit of a hollow feeling when the goal is finally ticked.

This is a balance that can be difficult to strike, and even more difficult to discern at the time, so I'd say just keep it in mind and work for what you love.

All the rest aside, a gumby from the east who spends a season in Yosemite aiming to push personal horizons is going to have any number of huge growth experiences, so whether the Big Schnoz turns out to be the be-all, a nice idea, or a better-luck-next-year doesn't really matter. Just get out there and get after it, be as safe as you can and as smart as you are, and have fun.

FLAG
By Rob Dillon
Mar 24, 2010
Oh and if you want the really friendly response from Pete, better get a chickier-sounding handle ;)

FLAG
By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Mar 24, 2010
Kevin McLaughlin wrote:
Mike Anderson has posted the best advice . Period .


I give him a lot of credit for raising a topic that some don't like to hear or consider. However, I disagree with his approach to the Captain. Sure, the Captain can be a final feather in a cap or, for some, the first of many, many ascents. How many has Pete had--probably somewhere in the 30s. Shawn Mitchell, who seems to have disappeared from this site, did it with a mutual friends of ours when they were both only 16.

We're not talking a ground up, on sight, free ascent. For some, the Nose is just another wall. The most important virtues here are preparation and work ethic. You fight thru the crowds at the bottom. You keep going when you're stiff, your hands feel like hamburger and you're hungry and thirsty, etc., and you get to the top. For a first timer on the Captain, that's a complete victory.

FLAG
By Monomaniac
Administrator
From Morrison, CO
Mar 24, 2010
Insurrection, 5.14c.  Photo Adam Sanders.
JLP wrote:
Maybe Mike can tell us more about something I read on the net about getting bouted on Astroman


Onsighting all but one pitch = bouted? Since we're calling people out, tell us how you did on it JLP.

FLAG
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From Bend, OR
Mar 24, 2010
Racked and loaded... name that splitter behind me?...
Hey, will you all out there stop bursting my bubble please!

FLAG
By DisturbingThePeace
From Albuquerque, NM
Mar 24, 2010
PBR Time at the Creek
If you have 3 months to spend in the valley to practice then you shouldn't have any issues with the Nose. Perhaps after the Nose you can do one of the slightly harder aid routes if you decide that's your thing. Since you are in the valley you can practice on the lower pitches and get them dialed. Most parties bail in the Stovelegs not because the climbing is too hard but because of clusterfucks with lowering out the bags, lowering themselves out, and the tension traverses.

The best book I found for learning Aid systems was Jared Ogden's book "Big Wall Climbing Elite Technique". Chris Mac's stuff is also really good, I haven't read his "Road to the Nose" book, but some of his posts and videos on Supertopo are really really good, it's worth the time to search for them.

For practice I had spent probably about 10 hours practicing jugging / hauling at the local sport areas. Climbed / Aided Moonlight Buttress while hauling and practiced aiding a few other local pitches. I free climbed like shit on the wall not being used to the granite, or climbing with all the extra crap needed. But I found it was generally quicker or at least easier to pull through any hard sections then to try to figure them out.

The only specialty gear we used was cam hooks for the first 1/2 of the great roof, and the DMM offset nuts were really nice for the first 4 pitches. If I was to do it again I would bring offset aliens for these pitches. I actually bought some after the Nose for if I ever did another El Cap route.

Here's a video my friend put together of our trip up the Nose.
picasaweb.google.com/desertcam...

FLAG
By ToTheNose
Mar 24, 2010
Thank you all for your posts! I appreciate your candid words on both sides. I want to become a climber full time, but life gets in the way. I'm not brave enough to give up everything I have and become a dirtbag climber. Begging a few months off is perhaps my best option right now.

FLAG
 
By Irish-Jane
From Ireland, sometimes
Mar 24, 2010
Terradets, Spain.
Mark Hudon wrote:
Do you want to be the cluster, be part of the cluster or be able to climb away from the cluster?


Right now I have realistic expectations of being the cluster, with hopes to someday progress to being able to climb away from the cluster.

FLAG
By Mark Hudon
Mar 24, 2010
On the North America Wall in 1977.
The cluster can get pretty ugly. If you're ready for that then have at it.

FLAG


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 2.  1  2   Next>   Last>>