/ The Nose EL Cap Free climbing grades
There's this amazing thing, you may have heard of it, called "The Google". Think I've spelt that right. Anyhow, if you go onto it and type in something, it often comes up! Incredible. I just tried this The Google thing myself, put in "the nose topo" and wow, out came a topo for the Nose. It has grades on it and everything.
Here you go:
All thanks to The Google! Well worth trying, if you've never used it before.
Just to give you a realistic answer to your question about freeing pitches. Despite regularly climbing E2 on all uk rock types, I was amazed at just how hard it was to free climb on the Nose. The weight of a heavy lead lead, plus haul line, extreme wind, large rack, constant transistion between aid and free meant I ended up aiding significantly more than originally planned.
You'll get a feel for the real grade mapping while cragging in the valley.
Take lots of water and a powerful headtorch!
> Just to give you a realistic answer to your question about freeing pitches. Despite regularly climbing E2 on all uk rock types, I was amazed at just how hard it was to free climb on the Nose. The weight of a heavy lead lead, plus haul line, extreme wind, large rack, constant transistion between aid and free meant I ended up aiding significantly more than originally planned.
I'd go as far as saying to free climb smoothly through say The Stovelegs you need to be a steady E3/4 leader and be a solid crack climber too.
Same for some of the other classic pitches like Pancake Flake and the section on the Boot after the bolts.
I even found the Texas Flake nails and that is mandatory free.
The sheer exposure of a big wall like El Cap, can also make everything feel a couple of grades harder too.
The real trick with this is to realise that it IS a Big Wall route. Do a lot of aid practice following the guidelines in Road to The Nose and finish that practice by climbing Freeblast. From that you can work out your relative speed on similar aid free terrain and decide on your Nose strategy that way. Also, be aware that The Nose can become very crowded at certain times and often your own relative speed is of no consequence, since you cannot easily pass those above you. The higher your free climbing grade the more you can feel comfortable freeing obviously, but as the other Op said, often you end up getting hooked into Aid mode and find it hard to bust out of the aiders. A lot of factors make you feel weaker - time spent on the wall can be several days, you're hauling a lot of gear which is very physical, The Nose is in the full glare from sun up to sun down, the shear size of your rack. Decide to take your time, enjoy being there and keep moving upwards steadily but surely. Having enough water means you'll get there eventually. Last year I saw someone at the base who had just bailed. - from pitch 3 due to finishing all their water, despite the fact that you normally fix ropes from P4 to the ground on the first day!! -
The alternative to all of these options, is that i've heard it said more than once, if you're a solid E3 leader then you should be able to do the nose in a day.
A pair of friends did exactly that last october. Their first time up El Cap and it was a 23hr ascent of the Nose.
Glad it wasn't just me that found the Texas flake nails then!
Totally the wrong width for my legs, polished like two opposing mirrors - horrific.
Best decision I ever made was to fix it the night before so I didn't have to lead it as the first pitch on day 2.
Almost killed me too.... I faced outwards away from El Cap and thought my end was near. We fixed it at the end of the day too. I wasn't even 14 stone yet!
I bet you didn't even have the cheater bolt back then Russ?
I had it as my day 2 warm up...
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