Nose in a Day
Congratulations to two MC members who climb the Nose on El Cap in one day. Members, Jonny Kwong and Blair Haffly started the route at 2am and topped out at 6:45pm, which turned out to be 16 hours and 45 minutes of climbing on the famed walled.
Jonny recalls the following highlights of their adventure. “Fixating upon the Vastness above, my mind reels away. Infinite and crisp are her radiant freckles. Her cheekbone highlighted by a milky blush. Her brilliance contrasted only by a neighbor’s imposing darkness. I flick on my headlamp and the Vastness above is lost. Blair and I are at the base of El Cap’s the Nose. It was a mere four weeks ago we conceived the idea to climb this route in a single day. And now we’re here.
Adeptly, we work independently. I flake the rope, tie in, and change my shoes. Blair sets his belay anchor, ties in, and puts me on belay. I check the time. It’s just before 2 a.m. “On belay.” “Belay on.” I lead into a calmly lit world. The jams and holds are mostly familiar. A sense of urgency and calmness flutter within me. Some time later I get up to the first anchor. “Off belay!” The calmness scatters. “Off!” I pull up the rope until it’s taught. A moment later, “Line fixed!” I continue up twenty feet stopping short of the crux of the pitch. I flick off my headlamp and wait. At once, the Vastness reappears. I peer off to the East and see Half Dome accented by a deep blue. I close my eyes for a moment. “Belay’s on!” Blair has jugged up to the first anchor and I go on. We continue the climb in the same manner. Soon, headlamps are no longer needed. I periodically glance down to see El Cap’s shadow continuing to grow over the shrinking trees and the Valley floor.
Across the way, the Cathedral formations transform with the change in light and view. I lead up to the base of the Great Roof. Blair then takes over. He steadily and comfortably seems to climb, while I find myself drifting to sleep at the belays. At last, when I did not think I could stave off sleep any longer, Blair tops out. “Off belay! Rope Fixed!” I soon meet Blair. We look at the time. It’s 6:45 p.m. We both grin. Our goal is realized.”
In addition to accomplishing is goal of the Nose in a day, Jonny just completed the NE ridge of Mt. Williamson, the 2nd highest 14ner in California in 22 hours. Not to mention, posing for a recent Patagonia photo shoot.
Labels: climbing, members, mission cliffs, The Nose