Life happens sometimes, and you lose track of things, and I just kept telling myself I'd get to it, but I haven't, so here I am three and a half months later. I think part of the reason I didn't post is because I didn't feel like I knew what to write about. We had expectations in our head of our first big wall summit and first overnight, but events conspired against us. Don't get me wrong, we had an absolutely amazing trip to Yosemite, but in the context of this blog and climbing it felt a bit anticlimactic.
Yosemite is an awe-inspiring place. Our first glimpse of The Valley we knew from the photographs was at sunset, as we pulled into the park on the evening of May 1st. After passing a few towers that we couldn't identify without a guidebook, El Capitan suddenly loomed ahead of us. It's really just hard to believe.
The next morning we hiked to the base of The Nose on El Cap—our ultimate goal, but not for this trip. It's easy to build up a climb like that in your mind until it seems scary and impossible, but seeing it certainly made it feel more attainable. After all, it's just climbing! 3,000 feet of climbing, but climbing all the same.
We then made our way to the Swan Slab area for some single pitch climbs so we could feel out the rock. I got on Grant's Crack and immediately felt right at home. It reminded me of Boulder Canyon granite, but a bit more frictiony. Another boost to the spirit!
That night we packed our gear for Washington Column so we could set off early the next day. Our plan was not to go light—the route requires only a bivvy, yet we wanted to bring our portaledge and head up a bit higher on the wall the first day, purely for the experience. We also brought excessive amounts of food and water. First mistake!
The first pitch was fun, and I felt like I was absolutely in my element. I cruised along, switching seamlessly between free climbing and bits of aid, and arrived at the anchor soon enough. Hauling the heavy bags up the slabby, featured first pitch was hell, though, and with the beating sun and my hunger and dehydration, I started to struggle with motivation for the pitches and hauling that lay ahead. Anne arrived, her ankle even worse for the wear, and after a long conversation we ultimately made the decision to bail.
I guess that's how it goes sometimes when you set big goals for yourself, and we had a fun trip regardless. We spent the remaining days hiking and enjoying the beautiful park, and headed back home refreshed, if not quite ready to enter the real world again after a week off. We know what we need to do differently, and most importantly, we have some more time for Anne's ankle (and the two other injuries she tallied up on the descent! Be more careful, Annabelle! ;-) ) to heal completely.
We already have our tickets booked for October, when we'll be revisiting Washington Column and gaining the summit! Next spring has our sights set on Leaning Tower. And hopefully--hopefully—El Capitan via The Nose next fall.
And I promise to post more blogs in the meantime.