Sunday, August 10th, 2008

Climbing: Yosemite: The Rostru , Kor-Be , Generator Crack

We climbed five pitches on the Rostrum and six pitches on Kor-Beck; hence, incomplete (as the title suggested).

Maybe we are getting old because getting an early start seems to get harder and harder. When we arrived at the top of the Rostrum at 8am, I thought for sure I would see a line of cars. After all, the bird closure had only been lifted last weekend, so people must have been dying to get on it. I was astonished to find the climb empty. Well, that worked well for us because we were not particularly fast. Unlike three years ago when I did it with Erik last time, he actually took his time on the first four pitches that led to the big ledge right below the crux pitch. Last September, he did the Rostrum with Steve on the morning of our wedding day (and still made it to the wedding in his tux after a shower), but he has not been climbing much at all other than that. So, when we got to the ledge, we decided to leave the top half for another time. Just then, Blaine from Fresno and his friend Tevase from Colorado showed up on the ledge. They came here just to crag the crux pitch on the Rostrum and the first pitch of Blind Faith right next to it. We teamed up by putting our two ropes up the climbs. Erik and I each ran four or five laps on the Rostrum and two laps on Blind Faith. By the end of the day, every fiber in my body hurt. My fingers were raw and tender and my feet screamed everytime I jammed my toes into the thin crack. But I was happy because I figured out the move at the crux on the Rostrum and managed to climb without hanging on my last two laps. We also had a good time chatting with Blaine and Tevase.

Feeling defeated on the Rostrum, Erik decided to do a moderate climb on Sunday. Kor-Beck was the choice. This climb has the reputation for being a Yosemite old school. Most people do the first six pitches because after that it’s mainly fourth class leading to the notorious Kat Walk, which had no appeal to me. So, we brought two ropes with us for the rappel. I read in Supertopo that the climb gets morning sun, so if we had been sensible, we would have waited to start in the afternoon. When we started climbing around 9am, the climb was already cooking in the full sun. The climb is rated 5.9, so it is not very technical, but there are some sections of climbing in a groove or an awkward chimney. Because all of Erik’s shoes were in need of resole or beyond resole, he was wearing a pair of new Anasazi Velcro (bought mainly for the face climbs at Pinnacles) and he was audibly in pain. We had a full view of El Cap on the entire climb. The sun was warm on my back, but the gentle breeze kept the temperature pleasant. We had a little conversation that still made me laugh to this day. At one point, feeling content, I looked up smiling and shouted out to Erik who was up grunting in a Chimney, “Honey…” “What?” “I love you!” I expected to hear “I love you too” back; instead, after only a very brief pause, he responded, “You say that to everyone right before they are about to die.” The unexpected response made me chuckle for the rest of the climb. When we reached the top of the crux (5th) pitch, Erik couldn’t bear the pain in his feet any more, so we started our rappel down. By then, the climb had entered the shade. On our way down, we crossed paths with a team of three just starting up.

Although it was still early, Erik was calling it a day. On our way out of the park, we saw a car parked next to the Generator Crack boulder. We pulled over to check it out — it would be fun to watch people climb that crack. It was a young international team — one German, one English, and one American. The funny thing was they all had a strong English accent. As it turned out they all went to school in England. Seemingly strong climbers, they tried to muscle their way up the crack and one even attempted to lie back the crack, but none of them succeeded. I think Erik said something to them and I got a warm offer to the rope. I went back to the car and fetched my harness. Remembering having a hard time starting off the ground and having had to retreat to the tree start, I was feeling a bit unsure about how I would do today. But I told this little international group, in the spirit of Olympics, I would represent China if I managed to climb it. To my surprise, I had no trouble starting from the ground this time and made good progress on the climb without hanging. They were obviously impressed, which made me feel pretty good. What a good way to conclude a weekend of climbing!

p.s. I wrote this trip report while watching the replay of the Olympics Opening Ceremony. So I apologize for any disorganization and error.

The 11a crux on Pitch 2 of the Rostrum. You first down climb and traverse over to get to it.

Blaine styling the first pitch of Blind Faith.

Taken on Kor-Beck with El Cap in the background.

This time, I did not have much trouble getting up Generator Crack.

2 Responses

  1. Jonon 16 Dec 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Great trip report. Generator is a hard one.

  2. mudwormon 16 Dec 2013 at 9:58 pm

    It does get easier with practice… even to a point that Generator Crack became fun. I’m pretty sure if I go back to it now, I’ll suffer big time. Oh… how I miss Yosemite now, esp. after a whole weekend of hearing Ron talk about it.