"Man, they're crazy!!"
That dude in the red would be my husband...how I know? Because at that vantage point, Tommy and Kevin are the only visible climbers right now that you can still see shirt colors, and because for the 2+ week push Tommy has only one long sleeve shirt to climb in (his beloved R1 hoody), which happens to be red. I walk a little further into the meadow and turn around to find that, yes, it's him they are gawking at. "Insane"..."Crazy"...I wouldn't say quite yet. It's only been 4 days...they're only like 1000ft up...the weather has been sun-shiny and fantastic. Crazy will be while they are sitting out the potential storm that is supposed to be heading to the Valley this weekend with high's of 29 degrees F and dropping snow at maybe even 5000ft of elevation. The top of El Cap is around 7000ft. Their new camp once they get a few more pitches up (and for sure by the time of the storm) will be at Wino Tower, about 1100ft or so from the summit. Which, if I do my math correctly will put them at probable snow levels. BRRR! And they are excited for the freezing temps before and after the storm, because it means GREAT conditions for pulling on those razor blade holds. Yup...I'd say crazy is starting to sound a little more accurate. Crazy or sane, it's pretty amazing what these guys can do. Spending some time on the wall and witnessing them really focus and accomplish even what they've done so far is something way beyond what a lot of us would ever dream up physically, mentally, emotionally...the whole gamut. And their lightheartedness and humbleness about it all in the between times is a wonderful thing, too! Yes, I'm biased, but I think most would agree. Okay, so enough of the mushy stuff...
TODAY! We spent the morning waking up to the bright sun again and hiding behind hanging sleeping bags over our ledges to shade us from the scorching rays. As afternoon rolled around we had all spent plenty of time surfing the web on our iphones, reorganizing the ledges and taking inventory of the food/water supplies. Waiting for Tommy and Kevin was pitch 10 with a big water streak on it...I might be wrong, but I think this pitch is 5.14a or b regardless, and then add on the water streak. Sounds hard. :) Last spring when they worked on the pitch there was so much water it was dripping down their elbows as they were pulling on the holds. So, just "some" water is better, I suppose. When the shade came, Tommy gave it a burn and his foot slipped at the water streak. He worked a few more of the moves and then got lowered back to the belay. Kevin wasn't feeling that well at this point and thought it would be best for Tommy to take the send on lead and then Kevin would be on top rope for his "go" at it. Kevin made it through the water streak, but apparently fell towards the top. So he was lowered down, rested a bit and on his second try he pushed through and finished!!
I rappelled down the wall today and am back to ground-living so the updates are back to phone calls and texts. Tommy just texted me that they are about to work on pitch 11. It's just before 10pm Cali time, and it's been dark for over 4 hours. I'm going to be getting kicked out of Curry Lounge in a short while, so I will give the rest of the night update tomorrow.
|Most of the climbing lately has been at night by headlamp!|
|Oatmeal for breakfast!|
|Kevin passed out in a sugar coma...notice the empty box of joe-joe's?!?|
|Light on the left is the guys on pitch 9, light on the right is the moon!|
|Opening the can of black beans with a pecker and a hammer...we lost the can opener.|
|Lower camp for the route...top ledge is at the top of pitch 8. Note the big black streak on the right side of the photo...that is the pitch 10 water streak.|
|Look at that bed head! I love him!|
|And look at that gnarly hair...Tommy didn't tell me it was like that and took the picture anyways, I had to look at the picture to find out!|