I climbed El Capitan in winter. AHH this is how I feel now-
My hands are black, no they aren't burnt, but they are black and I've already showered and washed them 5 times. They're just that dirty.
I have a new style of pants. Some people call -em plummer's crack, I call em low riders. There are 4 inch gouges on each of my hips. Lets call it love handles non-existent!
From hanging in a harness for 4 days up a 2500 foot overhanging wall. It hurts too much too pull my underpants up that high. My other style is bathrobe!
I went to the grocery store to buy food today, I picked up a packet of cheese- I couldn't feel it! I've lost half the sensitivity in my finger tips, from hard working against the granite.
Each first knuckle has its own nicks and little gouges. Yes I wore gloves the whole time.
When I took a shower, I feel like I lost 10 pounds literally of dirt! Probably actually of body fat for working 15 hour physical days 5 days in a row.
There are blisters on my palms from hanging on rope ascenders. There are blisters on the bottom of my feet from walking on solid rock so much.
There is blood in my mouth from the time I was removing the piton and the piece popped out sending the hammer into my front tooth.
I didn't crap for 4 days. It literally scared the sh#t out of me too much for that to work.
My knees are wobbly from walking so much. My shoulders and arms are sore from swinging the hammer and climbing so much.
My mind thinks in the new language (green aliens, red camalots! copperheads! Haulbags, Portaledge) Last night I woke up to a dream that I was falling! The other night I had the dream that I wasn't tied in to the rope.
I am sunburned all over.
I wish I could kiss somebody today just to see what it feels like. My lips aren't chapped but do not feel half their normal sensation haven been blowing in the cold wind each day.
Yesterday we had to climb down an icy/snow covered descent to reach our rappel anchors. I slipped and landed directly with my butt onto a sharp stick with a 70lb load of equipment. I had to pull the stick out of my arse cheek and now have a golf ball sized spot on the left side.
I CLIMBED and topped out on the summit of....!!! ELCAP YESTERDAY!
THIS HAS BEEN MY 16 YEAR OLD DREAM NOW I'M 22! I AM WORKED BEYOND WORKED BEYOND WORKED - DONE BEYOND GONE. AND IT WAS AMAZING AND TERRIFYING AND BEAUTIFUL!
I got down and sat in the meadow looking up all day yesterday (after an hour long shower mission to change my race back to caucasian)
I still don't know who won the Superbowl don't think I've missed one since I was 3 years old, I don't even care at the moment. I am content to just sit and breathe in the return to reality after our 5 day adventure journey. What you don't know about you don't care about!
We actually chucked 100 pounds of gear off the summit in a bag with a parachute rigged from our tent fly! It worked, not even a scratch on the stuff after nearly 3000 feet to the talus drop. (Edit: I know nowadays - years later, you aren't really supposed to do this anymore, it was also middle of winter back then too!)
Yesterday I got to see the sunset from the top of Yosemite, one side covered in ice the other pristine. Then the full moon rose directly over from behind half dome. Then the next morning the sun rose from behind half dome. I saw a mountain lion cub below us.
I enjoyed the simplicity of it all, I wish you guys could all see some of the things I've seen. They are so amazing. I'm so glad to be back in the horizontal verses the vertical society, it was weird to even walk after so much cliff! And really... I feel fine, I'm just tired ;-)
We took no photos. I didn't have a camera back then or a car at the time. I took Amtrak to Fresno to meet up with my friend Erik Sloan who was patient with my new floundering wall skills on the way.
I was continually half terrified experiencing real overhanging exposure for the first time on El Cap's Tangerine Trip. This text is my only noted memory of an exciting personal experience - except for this last memorable shot a few days later back home by Mom.
Small price of a boy's dream! I'd wanted to climb this wall someday more than anything else starting out - seeking climbing adventures & fitting in with something real amidst some rougher personal times growing up. Cheers! Thanks for reading! -Ryan