Sunday, March 21st, 2004

South Face of Washington Column

So far the climbing I have been doing is called free climbing, where you only use your hands and feet to gain elevation while the rope and gear only serve as a safty backup just in case you fall. There is another category of climbing called aid climbing, where you would have to or choose to use gear or rope to ascend. Since it’s something new to me, I have always been curious to check it out. So this weekend, for my practice we decided to do this intro level aid climb: South Face of Washington Column. I have to say, aid climbing is a lot of work. No, I mean, a looooooot of work. I think my pack weighed about 40 pounds on the hike. And on the climb, I was huffing and puffing on those traversy sections and roof sections. There is something else new to me too. It’s the first time we spent a night on a wall, although we were actually lying on a very comfortable ledge. You are away from the crowd on the valley floor, and you feel that the stars are closer. The sensation is great.

Packing up our gear at the parking lot.

Allen leading under the clear blue sky

Looking up at the climb.

Looking at Half Dome from a new angle.

The valley to the right

The valley to the left.

After a night on the wall, this is me with the Half Dome in the background. The sun is not out yet.

Allen rappelling the route with our pig.