Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Nose

In Late October 2012 Paul Allen and I (Adam Long) Climbed The Nose of El Capitan. We did not have a ZAP, as the store was sold out, but we did possess numerous crafty (P) bigwall tools aiding our ascent.  Zach was aboard for the ride not just in craft but also in spirit.

The Adventure started aaround 4AM at the base of The Nose where we had bivied in a veritable Silverfish waterfall to get the jump on other parties. I blasted off on the first block of pitches 1-7. But the cameras didn't come out until The Stoveleg Crack when "The Man With All The Muscles" (according to Tom Evans)  took over the lead to take us to El Cap Tower.

Gearing up for The Stoveleg Cracks

Splitter crack glory for 4 pitches!

Tom Evans was on the Valley Floor photographing us.

We split the load by shortfixing.
Just below Dolt Tower

 Inspecting The Stovelegs induced "Battle Wounds" on Dolt Tower.

Paul's big hands were very handy again off of Dolt.

 We arrived slightly haggard on El Cap Tower after climbing for twelve hours.

It didn't take long for us to bust out the beers for an El Cap Tower Salute to Zach.

 Then we had an excellent pre-made dinner courtesy of Paul's wife Jade.

Then we settled into our sleeping bags on the great ledge to watch an awesome sunset while the full moon rose. We drank way too much whiskey while exchanging monkey calls with David Allfrey and Will Stanhope over on The Prophet

I awoke in the morning with a slight cloud over my head but it was my lead again. I grunted up the slippery Texas Flake Chimney and then shortfixed my way towards Boot Flake where I apprehensively waited for Paul to put me on belay. My arms already felt thrashed and I didn't know if free climbing was a good idea.

But with my buddy Frank Endo, a (P) chalkbag at my back, and Zach on my mind I went for the send. 
Out of my wildest dreams climbing The Boot Flake Free!

The Key to my success, using the (P) bag!!!

 Then I swallowed the ultimate hangover relief pill, the exhilarating KING SWING!!!!

 We shuttled The Pig across to Eagle Ledge in style

After three crazy and amazing leads I was ready to take shelter from the sharp end.
And with wide hand cracks above it was Paul's turn to lead.

 He took us to The Great Roof where I labored into the aid climbing section of the route.

Under the The Great Roof

I hauled and then prepared to go free for one of the most amazing pitches in the world
Pancake Flake 5.10a

But then tragedy struck... I dropped the chalkbag Zach had made. And as a result Tom Evans left while we dawdled around and he missed the shot of my chalkless Pancake Flake free ascent. Ohh well.... Zach was still there giving encouragement.

 It quickly got dark as we grunted our way in delirium up the heinous flaring corner to the uncomfortably sloping Camp 5 Ledge. We were trashed in the morning and taking pictures became less of a priority, after spending most of the night almost sliding off Camp 5.

We passed more classic pitches, but the thrill of such pitches was replaced by an urgency of wanting to get to The Cafe for a philly chesse steak, a bacon chesseburger, just about anything fried and/or with bacon included was in need. We blasted towards the summit; Glowering Spot, Changing Corners, etc. they all became a blur in my hasty block of leads to the top. I was too tired to free climb anything at this point. But Paul was so excited he hauled The Pig with his barehands!

Exiting the upper corners and almost on top!

Paul took over when I waved my white flag and led us through last pitches and up the amazing summit bolt ladders. We celebrated on top by drinking the rest of the whiskey. 

The glorious moment, we finally wiped The Nose.

We didn't make it The Cafe that night, but we poached showers at Curry before treating ourselves to a couple of rounds of beer at The Ahwanhee.  At some point we stumbled into the woods somewhere near the parking lot and crashed for the night.

Climbing The Nose is really all it has been made up to be. It may be the greatest climb in the world with pitch after perfect pitch.  I wish Zach could have experienced this climb. But one thing was for sure,  Zach was there with us to give inspiration and energy at just the right moments.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

ประสบการณ์แห่งประเทศไทย (Thailand experience)

January 3. 2012... the humans get dressed and eat a quick breakfast, I being polyblend and having no mouth, pass on both.

Its been far too long since I've had an overseas adventure. Three months in south east asia is a good way back into the adventurous flow.
Crusin' to SFO

Its not long before our flight
 and we're all stoked to cram 
into a tin can cruising at
 500mph for the day and a half!

Anna Stoked!
Rachel Stoked
Steven Stoked

ZAP Stoked
 After a few hour I really got bored and decided to stroll around cabin and meet some new people, the flight attendants are super nice and chatty, pointing out some cool sights as we fly over Russia.


With the first leg over, it is only a six hour flight from Soul to Phuket and I was too delirious to sleep.

Photo op with our next plane

Anna passed out so I figured I'd help keep her head warm.

Finally January 5. 2012  THAILAND!

We spent one night in Phuket Town before heading to Koh Yao Yoi or "long island"where we promptly settle into a slow and relaxed rhythm drinking coconut water and eating sticky rice with mango, SO GOOD!!!

relaxing at Activities Resort Beach
Sometimes you feel like a nut,
 sometimes you feel like Hanging on a nut
 The Owner of the resort surprised us with an invite from his "brother"- a super cheap trip to Egg Island. The tourist stop over on the way to Phi Phi. Its a cool little island with a few bars, restaurants and souvenir shops.

We spent the day snorkeling and bouldering in between sessions at the bar.

Water is not my natural element.
This is more my style

The crag
After a few days we headed to Koh Yao Noi to check out the limestone cliffs and meet up with Denny, a local who some friends met on a previous trip and recommended we look up.
The approach 

Just a few photos from the area...


the Ao Nang area is the place most climbers head, its where you find the popular Raily and Tonsi beaches.
we opted for a more private and less hectic scene, we hopped a longtail and went deepwatersoloing! 
Rachel on the Long Problem  
Steven swinging on Monkey Business
 Steven chickining out before the problem even got hard
("I did't have any chalk" was the excuse given.)
Relaxing on the beach after a hard days work


We spent the next week exploring Koh Tao, 
we didn't climb much but we did a lot of snorkeling. 
The reefs around the island were some of the most beautiful anywhere!

The next stop with quality rock was Chaing Mai, despite its number of Wats (Buddhist temples) 
the city is surprisingly western - English is spoken frequently amongst the locals and there is no shortage of american chain stores.
**As a side note, 
I have to mention this
 place also has the best roti 
on the face of the earth!
Anna and Rachel would 
order 6 plain roti at a time!

The main crag is called Crazy Horse Buttress. I have to say, it lives up to the title, seeing it from the parking lot you can easily make out the horses shape. Its a rad formation with good rock and great route development, it is also one of the cleanest and most thought out areas I've ever climbed. Well established trails and shade huts (+ hammocks) make this a great place to visit. not to mention the pit toilets in the parking lot are well taken care of, a huge plus!

A great day of climbing and meeting killer people! could you ask for anything more? ....well ya, I supose you could. 

**The wonderful adventures of Zap**

Crushing the playground- Prachuap Kiri Khan
free ride on an old School fixi- Middle Of Nowhere

Chillin with Buddha's- Petchaburi 

Hanging with the royal guards- Bangkok
Saying good bye to Anna as she heads back to Cali

Riding a stone Elephant- Grand Palace  
Thank you Guys for a wonderful trip! I cant wait for the next one!!