First off sorry for big gap in updates!
I’ve been in the US for a month and a half and most of it has been far away from the internet. I got down yesterday from an eleven day ascent of El Cap via New Dawn and the Nose (we ‘failed up’ the Nose after realising we’d run out of food on Tribal Rite). The climb was a test of heavy and slow, with a big team (4), capsule style (fixing off ledges) and different hauling techniques including 3:1, space hauling and 4:1. The hauling was especially interesting as we had 120 litres (50 man days) of water at the start plus a ton of other gear, meaning our four haul bags probably weighed in at well over 200kgs and yet with our 4:1 system a 65kg climber could leg haul. One of the learning highlights of the climb was getting hit by a pretty major rain/snow/wind storm just as we topped out. One second it was a calm night, the bags just getting stuck ten meters below, and then BAM! ]The rain and the wind just came from nowhere. Knowing a ‘shower’ was due we already had all our waterproofs on - thank God - but even so the severity of the rain and the waterfalls they caused soon overwhelmed us, the freezing rain hitting us at our lowest point (also at our highest point). People soon found their hands didn’t work, ropes became bloated and stiff and would not work in the 3:1 we’d set up (our two micro traxion’s cam releases would not keep the cams clipped up), the rock turned to a skating rink, and getting our bags up to the tree became a battle (we gave up trying to do a pick up for each one and I just jugged them up on my harness in ‘Russian’ style. The rest of the night was spent wet and cold in a snow storm, dressed in all our clothes under our fly but just happy we’d gone ‘heavy’, with -15 synthetic sleeping bags and fleece and belay jackets keeping us alive until the sun hit.
And so when the storm cleared and we staggered the endless miles to the Falls Trail (thinking the East ledges too treacherous under snow), I had plenty of time to think about what I’d written and what more I should write.
My intention with the book was to write out the bulk of the text (which I’ve done) then climb a series of routes in Sept to add that extra element and make the book fresh with ideas, thoughts and a wall wisdom. Doing the book this way would produce a book that was based on decades of experience plus the application of that experience as the book was being wrapped up.
In the original campaign for the book the hope was to finish the book by the end of Sept (I’m heading for Las Vegas tomorrow to work on final draft), but I want to climb a few more walls before then, and go over everything and fold in lessons learnt from those walls. This of course is going to push back the book by another month, which I think people would understand if they could see the depth the book goes into. I hope people can wait a little longer to see the final version, but I can understand if people can’t.
I will try and do more updates as we get closer to sending the book to the printers.
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