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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 

The Nose

The Nose

After swearing I would never do another wall again, Viktor convinced me to go back to the Valley and give The Nose a shot. This isn't my first time making a decision due to an "alpinist's memory", where only the best parts and none of the pain is remembered from a previous trip.

We managed to rope Theo in as well to make a three man team. We had each been up big walls before, but we knew the length of this route, and the extra complexities of having an third person, would make this a bigger challenge than what we've worked with before.

Before heading to CA, we spent several days at the Gunks working exclusively on big wall skills. We figured we would be aiding or French-freeing everything harder than 5.8 in the Valley, given the exhaustion we would face, the larger racks, the extra ropes, and the climbing style we weren't used to. We also would be hauling larger bags (~150lb) and have more complex belays with three people.

 Hauling is fun!

Hauling is fun!

We arrived in CA on a Thursday morning, drove to the Valley and picked up food and water on the way. By evening our haul bags were packed and ready to go.

The plan was to climb The Nose in 4 days, with the first day involving getting our bags to Sickle Ledge and fixing lines, the second to El Cap Tower, the third to Camp 5, and the fourth to the top.

Day 1 of 4

The first 4 pitches of The Nose are some of the slowest and trickiest in terms of the aid climbing. Our plan was to climb these to Sickle Ledge, fix ropes from here to the ground, haul our bags up, then rap and spend the night on the ground with the fixed lines still in place. This let us avoid hauling the low angle first pitches and prevented us from having to spend an uncomfortable night on Sickle.

 Viktor taking the lead.

Viktor taking the lead.

 Looking up! Only 20something pitches to go.

Looking up! Only 20something pitches to go.

 The rack was a bit bigger than what we use at the Gunks.

The rack was a bit bigger than what we use at the Gunks.

We were taking our time on Sickle, enjoying the views, and out of nowhere appears Tommy Caldwell! Just a few days before him and Alex Honnold broke The Nose speed record, and he was back working moves on the first four pitches to help get the time down even further. He only had one rope, and you need three to rap, so he helped us fix the lines to the ground so he wouldn't have to downclimb and downrap the route. Basically, we rescued TC Pro himself!

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In the evening we hauled our bags up, and headed back to the ground for sleep.

 Evening haulin.

Evening haulin.

Day 1 Summary:

Pitches Climbed: 4

Cumulative times passed by Tommy Caldwell: 1

Day 2 of 4

We started right at daylight on the second day, expecting other parties on the wall. The goal was to get to El Cap Tower, 10 pitches above Sickle. To get it done in daylight, we would need to average 1:15 per pitch, which at the time seemed perfectly reasonable.

 Viktor cruising up the Stovelegs.

Viktor cruising up the Stovelegs.

 Belays for days

Belays for days

 Anchors were complex, but we managed to avoid any major snafus, even here when we got passed by a NIAD crew.

Anchors were complex, but we managed to avoid any major snafus, even here when we got passed by a NIAD crew.

Even thought we kept a constant pace and had no major slowdowns, we were only to Dolt Tower by the time it got dark, two pitches below where we wanted to be. The last two pitches were led by headlamp, and by 10:30pm we were on El Cap Tower. We settled in and got 5 hours of sleep, knowing the next day would be a long one too.

Day 2 Summary:

Pitches Climbed: 10

Cumulative times passed by Tommy Caldwell: 1

Day 3 of 4

The third day started with getting racked up, and getting passed by Tommy Caldwell and Alex Honnold. The two were on a "light" run up the Nose, working out moves in prep for another speed run. They took some time to chat and joke with us, and still climbed the route in a blazing 2:30, one of the 5 fastest times ever!

 Wake up!

Wake up!

 Getting going

Getting going

 Honnold and Caldwell cruising by!

Honnold and Caldwell cruising by!

 Taking naps at belays.

Taking naps at belays.

 Space hauling! Our bags weighed too much for simple 1:1 hauling, so for the first two days the third space hauled while the leader hauled with a 2:1. 

Space hauling! Our bags weighed too much for simple 1:1 hauling, so for the first two days the third space hauled while the leader hauled with a 2:1. 

By the middle of the afternoon, it was clear our pace was simply too slow to make it to Camp 5 like we hoped. This meant our only real option was to get to Camp 4, several pitches lower. It also meant we would be spending an extra night on the wall.

We got to Camp 4 right as it was getting dark, and decided to fix another pitch to save time the next day. I led the next pitch by headlamp, a 5.7 C1, which put us to the base of the Great Roof for the next morning.

Day 3 Summary:

Pitches Climbed: 7

Cumulative times passed by Tommy Caldwell: 2

Day 4 of 4

On day 4, we woke up, got prepped, and got passed yet again by Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell. This time they were motoring, not taking the time to slow down and chat. I made a quick joke to Alex as he clipped a draw to our anchor about showing me the beta for the Great Roof. I assumed he didn't hear, but 4 minutes later, after he freed all the way up to the roof, lowered out, ran an incredible pendulum to a bolt, and freed up to the next belay where he set a short fix, he shouted down "Did you get the beta?!"  What an awesome dude!

On this run they set a new Nose speed record at 2:01:50!

 Getting passed by these dudes again.

Getting passed by these dudes again.

The Great Roof pitch was one I'v been looking forward to! There was lots of fixed gear leading up to the roof itself, but only one piece on the C2 horizontal, an equalized stick cam / upward driven piton. I grabbed an old cord hanging from the piece, bounce tested, clipped a daisy in, and about two seconds later was flying through the air as the fixed cord became untied. I got scratched up pretty good, but managed to jug back up and finish the pitch!

 The roof was huge!

The roof was huge!

 Viktor goes all "Jimmy Chin" at Theo follows!

Viktor goes all "Jimmy Chin" at Theo follows!

We kept moving up, and aimed for Camp 6, just a few pitches short of the top. By now the bags were getting lighter, and the exposure better!

 The Glowering Spot!

The Glowering Spot!

In true form, we arrived at our bivy in the dark! The climbing was much slower than before, but we were not in a huge rush either now that we added an extra day. Camp 6 was a bit less plush than someone might want, but we were pretty exhausted and quickly settled in for the night.

 Nightlife

Nightlife

Day 4 Summary:

Pitches Climbed: 5

Cumulative times passed by Tommy Caldwell: 3

Day 5 of 4 (whoops!)

We brought an extra day's worth of water on the wall, and were eating a bit less than we expected, so we had enough to get through an extra day. This time, our goal was to get to the top with daylight to spare so we wouldn't have to spend a night on top!

 Gaining altitude

Gaining altitude

 Theo leading one of the last pitches

Theo leading one of the last pitches

 Looking down Changing Corners. A dude rapped in from the top to work the moves. Strong! 

Looking down Changing Corners. A dude rapped in from the top to work the moves. Strong! 

The climbing went quick on the last day, and by 4:30 we were on top! 

 #summitselfie

#summitselfie

 3000' above the valley floor

3000' above the valley floor

 Next seasons goal?

Next seasons goal?

Hiking down the East Ledges was easier than last year, since someone put a ton of cairns up marking the way. By the time it got dark, we were at the Mountain Room eating steak and drinking whisky!

Day 5 Summary:

Pitches Climbed: 4

Cumulative times passed by Tommy Caldwell: 3

Trip Facts

Flights missed: 1

Pro climbers sighted: 2

Falls: 2

Bivys reached after dark: 3

Bivies reached during daylight: 0

Pitched led by headlamp: 5

Totem cams placed: Thousands

Two Four Hell

Two Four Hell