Here follows a very rough, but I think deeply informative piece of script. It was written in half an hour for three of our friends who were off to Yosemite for the first time. I’d like to feel that my small pieces of advice got them up a small part of what they achieved (a killer first season – The Prow, The Nose, WFLT and more!). It’s unedited and a little crass but if you are headed to Yosemite in the near future there are plenty of tips in here to keep you one step ahead!
So your trip is upon us! You should be so excited! I am for you, I’ve even had pangs of desire for the Nose again, and I said I was off it for a long time! It is just SO SICK out there, you’ll see
Anyhow, I had wanted to meet up again and (not to sound pretentious/precocious/a dick) tell you as much as I could about the whole thing, there are a million things I wish I’d known first time round that make it so much more fun, but if you wanna learn them yourself then stop reading and have a sick trip, but some of them are useful I hope!
So in no particular order and with no ability in coherent writing here are the things I’ve thought of recently:
- Water bottles: find them in the recycling bins by Camp 4 (wash them) or, ask in the recycling hut behind the Yos. Village store. The Crystal Geyser ones are best and don’t get the ones in the store unless you absolutely have to (and tape the lids of them before you go. Use gallon ones as much as poss. On the wall use the first one you empty as a trash bag, cut a slit in one side and hang it off the big black biner next to the poop tube on the catch line. Store all your empties here. Also piss in to a bottle during the day as you will wear it in the updraft otherwise, try not to empty it over ledges or people as they get really sticky!
- Free internet: the cabin at the back of the first Curry Village parking lot bus stop is the Rec. Centre, you can use your own laptop there. In the lodge there are very expensive machines but there is a way to beat them, I’ll get my little bro to remind me of the way and send you it. The girls club library is also free but there is normally a long queue and it opens at odd times, it’s great for rest days if you get there a little before it opens!
- Rest Days: Swim in the river, either by the swinging bridge by crossing the road by camp and going through the meadow behind the bus stop or best head down to El Crap meadow, swim in the river by the bridge, talk to Tom Evans with the camera, he’s a little odd but be cool with him, he knows everthing! He’ll take photos too so tell him when you are up there and give him $10=20 for the CD. The cheapest pizza is in Degnans. Wet or thirsty rest days are spent in the lodge cafeteria with a free refill soda, it costs a buck. You can hang out in the great room at the Awahnee if you don’t stink, nice sofas and good to play cards! There is a cool room behind the post office in Curry too. The buffets in Curry are SICK, the breakfast is best value and you can steal lots of muffins, sausages etc. Just sit in the back somewhere and have a Tupperware box in your bag, watch out for the table cleaners but most of them don’t care!
- Moving as a three: I’m sure you’ve figured this but here is my system:
- Leader leads with the haul line and cordalette (3 screw gates and 2 big lockers)
- Arrives at the anchor, sets up the cordalette, clips in with his full strength daisy and clove hitches to a bolt with some clack
- Fixes the haul line with and 8 at the power point and a clove back up to one of the bolts on a seperate biner to the one in the bolt
- Yells for the 3rd guy to start jugging the line.
- 3rd guy gets his jugs on, make sure you clip them both through the top hole and that he’s not jugging on solely adjustable daisies (i.e. he’s in solid to the jugs). Have a back up biner and tie into it. If it traverses the 2nd guy lowers him out but keeps the tail of the haul line at the bottom anchor. Use an Italian hitch to lower him out. When he’s hung plumb untie the back-up and clip the biner round the rope to help it feed. He jugs to the top. Make sure he has the pulley.
- The leader pulls up all the spare lead line and fixes it with an 8 and a backup in seperate biners again. The 2nd can now get on his jugs and be ready to start cleaning as soon as he’s released the haul bag
- The 3rd gets to the top and moves so that he’s hanging on the anchor in a place to help hauling. When moving off the jugs it’s safest to tie into the haul line with the backup biner
- When he’s off the 2 at the top can get the pulley rigged (ALWAYS put a biner in the bottom hole and check it before you load it) usually back up the pulley with a quickdraw to a different part of the anchor.
- The key with the haul line management is with the bottom guy, he wants to keep enough to lower it out (on a munter hitch with the tail of the haul line) but not too much that it might get snagged in flakes etc. Once top guys have yelled that they are ready to haul bottom guy ties a figure of 8 in the haul line where he wants and yells for them to take up the slack. Make sure the KNOT PROTECTOR (a 1.5 litre bottle with the bottom chopped off threaded onto the line so it covers the knot – vital)
- Yell “that’s the bags” when it goes tight, move the backup sling and clip it into the knot in the haul line, then release the munter-mule on the docking cord and lower it onto the munter on the haul line tail, lower the bags out completely then throw the tail away from the rock so no snags can happen. Yell “bags are free” and the tops start hauling.
- Hauling is tricky, pack light but not too light! A gri gri is the best device, get a good stance on two ladders either side of the pulley, basically it just squats, you pull yourself up on the gri, sit down and usually push with your arms, make sure you’re tied in long enough to make it happen. Sometimes you have to turn upside down and push with your legs. As the line comes up I stack backup knots on the anchor in the same way that you would when cleaning, one about every 8 metres. Just overhand in a biner. Makes it easy to feed off to the leader again.
- If the bags are big you won’t be dehydrated and hungry which is cheating. You’ll have to SPACE HAUL. The two up top get their jugs on the leader ties in very long and goes down the tail of the haul line and jugs on it while the 3rd dude hauls with a jumar as described above. If this is too freaky the 2nd can help when he’s nearly at the anchor by just moving his jugs across while staying backed up to the lead line. This is PRETTY SERIOUS STUFF. Better just have the 3rd try and pull up on the line with a jug as the other guy hauls, if you need a full space haul have a rethink and chuck 4 gallons away!
- So the bags come up, get it level with the power point, get the docking cord and munter mule it to a biner in the power point. Take the back up sling and clip it somewhere on the anchor. Put some weight on the haul line and release the pulley, lower the bag down SLOW (this is where the gri gri wins) and then remove the pulley and give it to the 3rd guy on the next pitch.
- Hopefully you have done all this before the cleaner gets in. Golly this is alot of crap! Hope it dosen’t feel like I’m teaching you to suck eggs!
- The 3rd should try and get the leader on belay now. Take rope from behind their anchor knots and put it in the gri gri, make sure that they have the haul line and put a runner on one of the belay bolts then the leader can untie UND GO!!!
- The cleaner then clips into the anchor and ties in, hangs his backup knots on the anchor and tags whatever gear the leader wants to him on the haul line.
- A gallon a day is more than enough, more and you’re cheating and you’ll be rooted hauling it! Later in the season (after some of the heat drops off) 3 litres is more than good. You’ll figure it!
- Spend time to check how you are tied in very regularly, if you can’t count to 2 you’re fucked, 2 knots, a knot and a sling, whatever. Adjustables count for DICK.
- Lunch time dosen’t happen. I have all the lunch foods for the whole route in a mini haul bag on one of the catch lines, eat whenever you can reach it!
- It gets fucking windy up there sometimes, don’t let it get to you, slow down a touch and make sure.
- It’s really high and really sheer on some of the routes, chill out! Hanging belays at 2 grand for the first time will put the willies up you. Fact.
- Putting the ledge up is easy. If you know that the anchor you are hauling to is the bivi then plan properly, bring the bag in so you can dock it on one side of the anchor, perhaps off an equalized sling and then backup sling goes in the power point. The ledge hangs on the otherside of the anchor, or further away on gear, makesure it’s all clipped onto the main anchor Hang the fly first, you might never have to deploy it but the one time you do it won’t be there, so hang it EVERY time! I use the big oval in it’s sling at the top. The ledge clips into the metal plate. The fly is hard to pack away the first time. A tip it to get inside it and put a sling in the clip in point in the middle and keep wight on it as you stuff it UP into the bag.
- DON’T DROP THE LEDGE! Here’s how. The fly and fly pole live in the haul bag at about mid height, the ledge flies on the best quality tag line you have. In the bottom of the tag line have 2 biners, a snap gate which is clipped to one of the bag handles. The main oval biner is clipped to the ledge clip in point and the 2 handles. When you want to deploy it pull it up on the tag line, release one of the handles from the oval and clip the ledge into the fly, release the other handle and make sure both the handles are clipped into the snap gate. Drop it!! The ledge will slide out and the bag drop away to under the haul bag. This is a fun way to scare people if you are confident you’ve got it right, wind proof the bag by tucking it behind the haul bag so it dosen’t keep you awake by flapping around
- It’s hanging there, you’re hanging off the same point on an adjustable daisy, fully tied in! Connect the two long poles first, then the sides into the back pole. Put the front pole up under your daisy and put the spreader bar in. Then slot the sides into their joints. Put if flat and hang above it, tighten all the bed straps as tight as poss. Then get it level using the corner straps, finally pull the side straps slightly tight to stop it sagging and the fin comes up to prevent more sag. Have someone pass each piece out of the haul bag and clip it all on to a USEFUL place on the ledge. Use all your spare biners from the rack
- TO PACK UP: Put everything in the haul bag, release all tension off the straps, pull all the bars apart and fold it so that all the poles are parallel, roll it into its straps, bag it and then clip it properly on to the tag line. DONE.
- POOP: Yay, the best bit, buy WAG bags (1 per day) form the gear shop and all go in it in the morn, try and pee elsewhere to make it lighter to carry down but a little in the bag dosen’t matter. Everyone goes in the same bag then stick it in the poop case on the crapest tag line. When you get down the WAG kits go in the normal bins in any car park etc.
- Food: Cheapest is to get a trip out to an out of town supermarket but this is very hard! Yos. Village Store is the best and has enough, the cheapest meat is the chorizo which fries fine and the burgers are a reasonable price, take a frying pan if at all possible! Screw top gas is pretty expensive, the blue cans are cheaper if you have a stove to fit, white gas comes in massive tubs and lots of the yanks will give you theirs when they leave.
- Talk to everyone! You’ll learn more than this piece of dribble can teach you!
- Use Supertopo and do the classics, you can’t go wrong! Start at 5.8, Nutcracker is SO SICK and an excellent first schooling!
- NOSE: The finest! First 4 are the hardest on there, so take them steady and fix to the floor with 3 ropes tied together, rebelay them on the intermediate anchors using and 8 and a clove hitch and leave some slack above them to let the stretch happen. To pass knots on the way down ab on a gri and then put your jugs on and down jumar past the knot before you put the gri back on. Make the rope joining knot have a clip in loop for a daisy so you are always on 2 points! (a good one is to tie 2 normal overhand ab knots with a bit of space between them on the tails) Have the bags on sickle before you blast off so all you have to do is jug and climb. Start jugging at 4am on your blast day. Go to Dolt, 4 and 6. Take the porno ledge and pimp it. Other option is to be fucking fast and go to El Cap Tower , 5 and the top. Either way you’ll be my heros. Only things to watch are the traverses below Camp 4 as you can loose ALOT of time here, use the 5.10 variation if you can to make them a little nicer. They aren’t that bad really, just a long lower out! Have the 2nd jug next to the bag if it jams. KILL IT
- Good practice places: Swan slab – aid route and the thin short cracks, learn to use CAM HOOKS!!!! BUY THEM, THEY SLAY!; the Le-Conte boulder to practice steep cleaning, sliding the rope through your bottom jug. If you can lead this in 5 mins and clean it in another 5 your are VERY GOOD.
- On the walls take 12 draws and 20 loose biners, you’ll eat em up.
- Camp 4 survival: one guy registers, all sleep in the same tent, ask for 7 days at a time. The ranger is a proper COW. The best ways to avoid a bust ( and they are hardly a problem if you stick to this) Keep your site very tidy, all your food in the bear boxes, not trash out. Don’t have all your gear scattered, keep it in the haul bag under a tree (you might have to have a tag on the haul bag too) Be friendly to the rangers and don’t make noise after 10:30 or they come and get you! If they ask you where you’re staying say you have lines fixed to sickle and you’re sleeping there tonight, or that you are staying with some friends in the Lower Pines campground/your parents in curry village. When you register for a week you have to queue early in the morning (about 5 or 6 am is about right) She might ask you where you stayed last night or where you’ve come from. A good one is to say you stayed at the hostel and got a hitch in this morning.
- The cheap beer is COBRA! It’s great! Drink LOTS
I’m sure there is so much more and if I think of stuff and you still wanna hear it after this assault then I’ll send you it on Facebook!
Stay safe, stay backed up and fucking have it!