December 28, 2010 - 10 Times on El Cap


Its wintertime now in the alps, snow is falling. I`m spending a lot of time at the gym, jumping around on my new trampoline and last but not least skiing. The days are short, cold and not really motivating to do big things. Weaterforecaster predict a lot of snow, imagine...  every  „snow addict“ is pumped. There is already a sweet deal of snow higher up, the summits all around Zermatt are deeply covered. 


I still get excited thinking about the past fall. I accomplished the last part of my mountain guide education. It was a tough exam and after my succsesful graduation i didn't have enough time to celebrate. I had to pack my bags once again. This time I took a lot of climbing equipment as well as warm clothes. But as we arrive in San Fransisco the Californian sun is warming up to 35° celsius. Unusual for us becuase when Simon and I leave  we mostly arrive  in very cold places. We travel for the 3rd time to the big rock, the majestic El Capitan. 1000 vertical meters and over 70 routes, but we had never been here together. So here we are, on one side a lot of granit on the other side the two little brothers.


...I am jumaring like a whirlwind up to the little light shining from Simons headlamp. On the belay we change the gear. I will lead the next few pitches. Right now we are the only ones climbing the Captain . Other climbers are sleeping, cooking or drinking beer on their portaledges. We climb at night, because it's too warm to climb during the day. When we started climbing at 4 pm it was warmer then 35° degrees for sure . Now we are here on belay 8 of Zodiac. With all the gear on my harness and on the gearsling i feel like on overweight Christmastree. 20 meters higher up I`m hanging off the smallest friend we carried up. I just don't want to fall. One minute thinking it and the next im falling into the dark night. I luckily stopped 8 meter below, hanging on a green camelot, Uuh I love green. 12 hours and 20 minutes from the ground we get out of the vertical, its 4 o'clock in the morning. Our jingle woke up 3 climbers sleeping at the top, and a voice asked: Why do you climb at night?


Good conditions for one more day before bad weather will come in. We decide to climb the nose... 

Yuji Hiharama and Hans Florine climbed this Route in 2 hours and 37 minutes, so we could reach the top in one day. We continue climbing whit the shortfixing technique. One is leading, gets to the stand, fixes the rope. The other is following on jumars. The one going ahead whit a lot of floppy rope. This way of moving on is fast, effective and risky. After 5 hours 50 minutes we are stand on the summit of El Cap. We are miles away from the speedrecord of the nose, but happy. Its the second time for both of us to climb this route. We had climbed it 5 years ago. Hans Florine climbed the Nose 65 times before he broke the record whit Yuji. The Huberbuam needed 18 approaches for the secondbest time.


Finally we have some rain and we enjoy to have a break. We get a last good weather period before the winter is coming in to the valley. We both want to climb Salathé in a push, after 9 hours we stand again on El Cap. How do i hate the descend of this mountain. 

We are tired of all the big walls, but still our minds are not resting. There is one more thing that we want to climb bevore the swissboys are leaving the sinking titanic, the Halfdome Nose Linkup is fascinating us. One day after our Salathé trip, we walk up to the Base of Halfdome. At night the clouds around the summit are dark. At 5 am we decide to get things done. We only have a 70 meter single rope and a 20 meters long tagline, so there is no really good way back to the ground. We have to top out and walk down the other side. 

Certainly we are walking down from Halfdome on a beautiful and sunny november day. With the car we drive to the base of the nose it is around 1pm. 

I lead up under the great roof, Simon is leading the last 12 pitches. I am jumaring 1000 meters above the ground, swinging around on the rope. My muscles are done, i am done, the last month i hat the pleasure of climbing with Simon Westface, Lurking Fear, Zodiac, Tangerine Trip, Lost in America, North American Wall, Mescalito, Nose, Salathé and now the Halfdome-Nose Linkup.

Happy but really tired we descend the 10th time from the gigantic El Capitan. Soon it starts to rain, we are glad to be on our way down.





Westface 5.11c 19 pitches in 6h 20min

Lurking Fear 5.7 C2 19 pitches in 10h 55min

Zodiac 5.7 A2 16 pitches in 12h 20min - by night

Tangerine Trip 5.7 A3 17 pitches in 14h

Lost in America 5.10 A4 2 days

North American Wall 5.8 A2 26 pitches 14h

Mescalito - A3 26 pitches 1.5 days

The Nose - 5.13c or 5.9 A2, 35 pitches, 5h 50 min

Salathé - 5.13b 35 pitches, 9h

Linkup Half Dome – The Nose C1 5.9 54 pitches 11 h 50 min

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