09 Sep From Summit to Summit – Part 2
After taking way too many pictures on top of Half Dome, my crew descended on the outside of the cable route using our personal anchors and a dual carabiner system to make sure we were clipped in at all times. After a few more pictures at the base, we started the 9 mile hike back to the car, feeling so energized from our victory Marshmallows and M&M’s, and from the climb itself, that we ended up running the entire way back!
The entire day from car to car took 15 hours, which was exhausting, but not bad considering we had climbed with three people and spent nearly an hour at the top. There’s no rest for the weary though, and we were awake early both Saturday and Sunday, hitting up some classic routes around The Valley.
On Saturday I was really struggling with leading routes, not trusting my feet or my gear placements, and twice while leading, I ended up down climbing and having my partner lead instead. I felt very frustrated with myself, as I knew I was perfectly capable of leading these routes, I was just letting my fear get in the way.
I’m not sure if it was the frustration that motivated me, or just having a night to think and focus, but on Sunday I did so much better! I was finally able to push through some fears and lead a pitch at the base of El Cap. The climbing wasn’t difficult per se, but the 60 foot runout off the deck was certainly daunting! About half way up the runout, I encountered an area of thin climbing I knew I wouldn’t be able to down climb once I passed. That ended up being a big moment for me, as it presented a very clear choice between finishing the route, or down climbing and letting my partner lead instead.
I was super proud of myself when I was able to really focus and move through that section! It was a big victory and a great way to end the trip…or so I thought!
After finishing up at El Cap, my friend Micah and I went to relax and watch the sunset over Half Dome. We planned to go home that night and have a day of rest before heading back to work on Tuesday, but as I had already learned this weekend, sometimes things just don’t go as planned!
Half Dome was aglow in the last rays of the dying sun, when Micah turned to me and jokingly said, “Well we climbed Half Dome and El Cap this weekend, too bad we weren’t able to do Whitney…”
And that dear readers is how, after a shared do we dare look, a hasty packing of the car, a drive through the night, and a lucky draw in the permit lottery, I found myself standing at the highest point in the continental U.S.A. at 4pm on Monday, September 7th, 2015!
If you happened to have read back to my First Post you’ll know that my family used to own a camper van with a crochet mural of Mt. Whitney stitched onto an interior side panel. When I was little, I used to sleep under that mural and dream about the day I would get to climb that mountain, following in the footsteps of my dad, who had climbed it multiple times when he was younger. To see my dream come true after so many years, meant more to me than I can really put into words. It was an amazing moment and I was just so grateful to Micah, who went along with this crazy scheme and accompanied me to the top!
A mountain and a friend to share it with – you really can’t ask for much more than that!
We didn’t get back to LA until early Tuesday morning and I never did get to sleep before heading back to work, but it was more than worth it! Those unplanned moments of adventure and excitement are the moments that stay with you forever. Those are the moments absolutely worth working for!
Happy Labor Day everybody!