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.