September 4th 2012
It had been a while since Jeremy and I had climbed together (One year ago - El Capitan) and it had been a while since I had climbed rock in the Sierras (One year as well) - so we decided to go on a bromantic adventure and climb Bloody Corner on Mount Russell car to car in a day.
The Night Before:
It was Joven's birthday the night before the climb...so a group of us met up at the Stinky Rose for a wonderful dinner filled with laughs, stories and a lot of garlic. Being the Psuedo homeless/dirtbag that I have become, I filled up on 7 garlic roles (they come free with dinner). This turned out to translate into 14 hours of "garlic altitude farts" and "loose garlic stool" during the climb - leading me to carry a bag of my own fecal matter to the top of Mount Russell (you must pack out all of your waste). It was worth it!
The Sierras will always have a place in my heart. It is the mountain range that first inspired me to take up traditional climbing and mountaineering. Three years ago, I had hiked the John Muir trail from Yosemite to Mount Whitney. I was so awestruck when I passed by all the Sierra peaks that I promised myself I would go back and climb them. The next year I went on an inspired rampage. I ticked off the California 14er list (15 mountains over 14,000 feet) and was beginning to lead more technical rock climbs on those mountains. Since then, climbing has added so much fulfillment to my life. I have been lucky to have climbed all around the world on incredible routes with amazing people. But nowhere in the world compares to the Sierras. All of the past memories in climbing in the Sierras flooded through my head as my car raced towards Lone Pine. It was a crazy feeling driving along the pitch black roads seeing faint images of towering mountains. I had been in back from Peru for over a week; but this was the first time I felt at home.
|Way Back When - JMT|
Bloody Corner is a route on Mount Russell that goes at 5.10 and is super sustained. The crux pitch is 70 feet of solid 5.9 and 110 feet of solid 5.10 - getting harder and more sustained towards the top.
|Bloody Corner 5.10|
|The Money Pitch (Mountain project)|
Go fast, Go light - Drive up Monday night - sleep 3 hours - wake up - blast the route car to car in a day - drive home that night!
|Our packs were both under 26 pounds|
We both felt pretty fit, so we hiked at a comfortable pace. We arrived at the base a little after 9am, about 5 hours after our wakeup at 4:15am. We took one stop at iceberg lake to fill up water.
Here are the pitches that I took photos of, with a separate section below for pitch 3, which was the money pitch.
This pitch was really hard. It was my turn to lead - but I did something that I rarely do - I gave Jeremy the option to lead it. I knew that I didn't have the endurance to send it clean. In the past 5 months, I had rock climbed a total of 10 days. I knew I could pull 5.10/5.11 moves, but I didn't have the endurance and training to pull 150 feet of sustained 5.10. In order to climb it clean, my only chance was to follow. Jeremy took the lead and gave a nobel try - but "took" 10 feet from the end of the pitch - super sustained. I followed and ended up having to "take" to remove a stuck piece and took again a little bit higher when I ran out of juice. SUPER fun though!
We arrived at the summit at 2:30pm just as a storm started sending light snow and rain down to us. We decided it was wise not to spend much time, so we quickly headed down the class 3 ridge with our climbing shoes.
The Hike Down:
We followed the ridge, skated down some scree and partially speed hiked/ran down the trail, so we could make it back in time for Burgers!