Monday, August 15, 2005

West Face Leaning Tower, 5.7 C2F

With Alex Honnold, it's hard to have an adventure. Hard because for him everything is easy. Big Walls used to mean running out of water, getting benighted and taking wild falls. Now it's a dozen eggs for breakfast, a quick jog to the wall and an even quicker climb where the biggest hardship is deciding what we will have for dinner.

We ran up the death slabs to do the Regular Route on Half Dome. We camped at the base, woke up early, and finished the wall before 1 p.m.

Our first big wall, the West Face of Leaning Tower, had been a little more eventful, since neither of us were quite prepared for the swinging. The first half of the route overhangs by 30 degrees - mostly aid. When the follower jugged, he swung out 40 feet from the wall every time he unclipped a piece. Totally wild! Jugging up a thin line in outer space (the route starts about 400 feet off the valley floor) is as unnerving as it gets. I often took breaks from jugging just to get my breath under control. It didn't help that the wind was blowing and I was spinning in circles, my whole world a tornado of granite and sky.

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