And so just getting to the scree was like some sick assault course, climbing over trees, crawling under trees, bushwhacking, and generally getting my ass kicked.
I took the log slow walk up to the base in increasingly small chunks, and knew I was close when I spotted several bits of long dead portaledge tubing.
The route looks wicked steep, with one really nasty looking first pitch; nasty as in Welsh gulley - muddy, slimy and green (graded V on the topo).
I sorted out the gear and knew I should lead a pitch before going down, but then as I procrastinated, the mist came down and it seemed like it was almost dark. Very spooky, and I took it as a sign to leave the first pitch till my next visit.
Came down a way I thought might be easier, but should of known better, and by the time I got back to my car I didn't have much left.
I guess you forget (or the memory is erased) how much back breaking work is involved in a big wall solo, and that anything beyond El Cap, with it's short and easy approach, is a lot of work. I guess it's all about work, the knowledge that you did everything by yourself.
Need to to take second load up (ledge, food, bivy kit and 2 ropes) but don't think I can face it tomorrow, or at least going the way I went today. Feeling tired I know I just need to see how I feel tomorrow, plus my body feels as if it's had a right good kickin due to the number of talus tumbles I've had over the last two days (hands, knees and elbows have had a real bashing).
A Snickers bar costs 60p. Were these words worth as much?
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Andrew Kirkpatrick is a British mountaineer, author, motivational speaker and monologist. He is best known as a big wall climber, having scaled Yosemite's El Capitan 30+ times, including five solo ascents, and two one day ascents, as well as climbing in Patagonia, Africa, Alaska, Antarctica and the Alps.Follow @ Instagram