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I'm just happy to be here

My name is Brian Monetti, and I enjoy having fun. If you want to join on the next adventure, shoot me an email at brianmonetti@gmail.com 

Yosemite 2016

Yosemite 2016

I had a blast climbing in the Valley two years ago, and decided it was time to come back and try some bigger and more challenging routes, and to see what big wall life was all about. I teamed back up with Jeff and spent ten days climbing classics, learning aid, and getting up some of the biggest features I'v ever climbed.

Day 1: Central Pillar of Frenzy 5.9

We started the trip by heading over to Middle Cathedral, looking to get on the Valley's most popular 5.9, the Central Pillar. A group was just casting off, so we warmed up (ha!) on a sweet 5.10 crack nearby. One of my hardest onsight leads yet; not a bad way to start my vacation! Once the Pillar opened up we hopped on and swapped leads through the 5 pitches. Every pitch was great! Not a bad start!

 Looking down at a group that started right behind us. Busy route!

Looking down at a group that started right behind us. Busy route!

Day 2: Aid climbing practice

We decided to aim for a big wall as one of the goals for the trip, which meant I needed to learn how to aid, jug, and haul. We spent the morning hauling and jugging up fixed lines on El Cap, and the afternoon practicing leading and following aid climbs at Church Bowl.

 First time hauling!

First time hauling!

Day 3: Chouinard-Herbert, Sentinel Rock, 5.10 C2 IV

Having built up some basic aid skills, and feeling comfortable on the rock, we jumped right on to the biggest climb I'v ever done, the Chouinard-Herbert on the Sentinel. The Sentinel is a 1500 vertical foot wall on the south side of the Valley, and most routes (including the C-H) were considered Grade V back in the day, meaning they took solid teams 2-3 days to complete. If you look for other trip reports, lots of people still take two days to do this route, but we decided to move quick and tackle it in one.

 Looking south from halfway up the C-H. 

Looking south from halfway up the C-H. 

By mid day we were halfway up the route. By the book its several hundred feet of 4th class leading to the wall itself, which is 15 pitches long. We either got off route on the approach, or were totally sandbagged, so ended up roping up for 4 pitches before we even got to the wall. 

Once on route we were able to link certain pitches and free climb past other aid sections. Most people climb the route at 5.9 C2 but we freed three of the 5.10 pitches so we could move much faster. By doing this we only had to aid two pitches. I led the lower and shorter one, and Jeff linked the two higher ones in a giant 200' pitch. I got completely worked following the traversing Afro-Cuban Flakes, my first time cleaning a traversing pitch, but I pulled through and after about 10 hours on route we were on the summit! 

 Summit! 

Summit! 

 Looking back up the Sentinel after the descent.

Looking back up the Sentinel after the descent.

Day 4: Rest Day! Phew!

I needed a full rest day after climbing the Sentinel: 14 hours on the move, the longest route I'v ever done, running out of water before the top, sketchy and loose descent. Definitely time for a day off. 

 Swung by Camp 4 and decided to run a few laps on Midnight Lightning to keep my muscles loose.  But actually we hung out in El Cap meadow and drank beers. Saving Midnight Lightning for the onsight!

Swung by Camp 4 and decided to run a few laps on Midnight Lightning to keep my muscles loose.  But actually we hung out in El Cap meadow and drank beers. Saving Midnight Lightning for the onsight!

Day 5: Lost Arrow Spire Tip, 5.7 C2 III

It was even better than the pictures make it seem! A 4 mile approach took us to a lookout of Yosemite Falls, where we rapped into the notch between the Spire and the adjacent wall using a 300' static line. We climbed the spire with a second rope and trailed the static, rigging the Tyrolean traverse at the top. By far the coolest summit I have ever been on, and combined with an amazing traverse made this an unforgettable climb.

 Jugging the last pitch, with Yosemite Falls in the background. 

Jugging the last pitch, with Yosemite Falls in the background. 

 Alone on top! Jeff went first and took these awesome shots.

Alone on top! Jeff went first and took these awesome shots.

 Tyrolean Traverse from the summit! 

Tyrolean Traverse from the summit! 

Day 6: Royal Arches, 5.7 A0 IV

The most classic long easy route in the Valley. We cruised the 15 pitches and 10 raps in about 5 hours, getting back in time for lunch.

Day 7: Serenity - Sons, 5.10d III

We stepped up our free climbing game and hopped on the Serenity-Sons linkup, a 7 pitch route which includes 5 pitches of 5.10 in a row!

 Cruiser hand cracks! 

Cruiser hand cracks! 

 Resting on a jam, while a lizard casually free solos past.

Resting on a jam, while a lizard casually free solos past.

Day 8: South Face, Washington Column, 5.8 C1 V

It was time to put everything we've been working on together, and go for a big wall! Our choice was the South Face of Washington Column, an 11 pitch route that includes a mix of aid and free pitches, and has a great bivy ledge about 1/3 of the way up. 

 Not your average Gunks rack

Not your average Gunks rack

 Washington Column

Washington Column

 Going into the Kor Roof

Going into the Kor Roof

 Standing in the top step of the aiders to pull the lip of the Kor Roof

Standing in the top step of the aiders to pull the lip of the Kor Roof

 Also on route was a team from Denmark, and 4 guys from the Southeast also going for their first wall. They were spending a full month in the Valley after their college graduation, and later in their trip they ticked off the RNWF and the Nose! 

Also on route was a team from Denmark, and 4 guys from the Southeast also going for their first wall. They were spending a full month in the Valley after their college graduation, and later in their trip they ticked off the RNWF and the Nose! 

 Jugging pitch 5

Jugging pitch 5

 Setting up for a lower out

Setting up for a lower out

 The climber in the back is from Denmark, and they climbed the route Skull Queen which shares the first day with the South Face. The guy in the front was from the team of 4.

The climber in the back is from Denmark, and they climbed the route Skull Queen which shares the first day with the South Face. The guy in the front was from the team of 4.

 Our bivy ledge, big enough to unrope

Our bivy ledge, big enough to unrope

 Relaxing before dinner. We finished the climbing for the day around 3:00 so had plenty of time to chill.

Relaxing before dinner. We finished the climbing for the day around 3:00 so had plenty of time to chill.

 Best wall bivy in Yosemite

Best wall bivy in Yosemite

 View of Half Dome after sunset

View of Half Dome after sunset

Day 9: South Face, Washington Column, 5.8 C1 V

 Waking up on day 2. One line to jug and 6 more pitches to the top!

Waking up on day 2. One line to jug and 6 more pitches to the top!

 Jugging our fixed lines to our previous day's high point

Jugging our fixed lines to our previous day's high point

 My longest aid lead of the trip, about 150' of an overhanging arch to a thin seam. The mental crux was stepping out of the aiders near the top and freeing a few 5.7 moves with a full aid rack on and in approach shoes!

My longest aid lead of the trip, about 150' of an overhanging arch to a thin seam. The mental crux was stepping out of the aiders near the top and freeing a few 5.7 moves with a full aid rack on and in approach shoes!

 Summit! We were on top by mid day. We rapped the route, picked up our haul bag from our bivy, and were back at our campsite for beers before it was dark out.

Summit! We were on top by mid day. We rapped the route, picked up our haul bag from our bivy, and were back at our campsite for beers before it was dark out.

Day 10: C.S. Concerto, Manure Pile Buttress, 5.8 

Our last day in Yosemite included a much needed casual climb, having just come off a big wall. Jeff, Virginia, and I hopped on C.S. Concerto, a 7 pitch 5.8 next to Nutcracker. We had the route to ourselves (after a group bailed on the first pitch, whoops!) and enjoyed the perfect weather and great views!

 #SummitSelfie

#SummitSelfie

 You can see about half of the routes we did in this picture, Royal Arches, Serenity Sons, Washington Column, and the Sentinel. Great way to end an amazing trip!

You can see about half of the routes we did in this picture, Royal Arches, Serenity Sons, Washington Column, and the Sentinel. Great way to end an amazing trip!

Pompeii

Pompeii

Morocco

Morocco