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Lurking Fear descent?
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By jane-gallwey
From Ireland, mostly
Aug 1, 2011
Terradets, Spain.

Just wondering what would recommendations for how to get off Lurking Fear, as a soloist who's not very good at any kind of scrambling with a pig. Seems like a lot of options.

A: Rap from Thanksgiving. After rapping the Prow I said never again - but maybe good option?

B: East ledges with MANY shuttles. I am really scared of doing any kind of 4th class with a haulbag though.

C: Falls trail. Urgh.

D: Tamarack Flat trail. Don't know much about this option, though on paper it seems good as I'll already be over by the left side, and there's not as much height change as the Falls trail. Never heard of anyone using it though.

What do you all think?


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By Mia KCarver
From Butte, MT
Aug 1, 2011

This is JUST one suggestion because of course there are a lot of options. Depending on traffic, your personal load and ability to free climb/pull on gear fast, I suggest leaving most of your kit half way and then topping out, take your summit shot and the great view and then rap back to your pig.

That way, you only have to rap half way and you avoid the decent to the east ledges, which from LF is surprisingly far (comparatively speaking).

Or, pay a porter $100 and you'll walk down with a water bottle and a smile.

Except for a few pitches below TGL (how the hell some of those slabs were freed is beyond me), it's advisable to go light and free climb and french free as much as you can. The hauling on the upper half is a pain. The grades are reasonable to go with strategy.

Good luck!


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By jane-gallwey
From Ireland, mostly
Aug 1, 2011
Terradets, Spain.

Sadly not so much of an option for me, as I'll be moving at a snail's crawl of 2 pitches per day, with massive loads. What PTPP calls the style of "winning by attrition".


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By Highlander
From Ouray, CO
Aug 1, 2011

I have heard of several people rapping LF to avoid the east ledges, and it's low angle enogh to not be a nightmare swinging into anchors, but still not fun rapping with a haul bag plus you still have to go down all the approach 4th class stuff. The big negative of this is LF is a popular route and rapping through other parties with a hualbag could be a major and cluster and inconvience for those going up. Tarmack flat is a mostly flat trail but it is quite long and I would not want to shuttle loads, if you can do it one go and have someone pick you up at the road, that might be the low stress option. I personally would just do the east ledge descent and try to arrange a friend or 2 help you haul your kit down, buy them pizza and beers and they can help you celebrate the send. FYI I did not think hauling was that bad on the upper pitches, bags are light and if your carful to not let them get hung up, no problem.

Good Luck!


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By John McNamee
Administrator
From Littleton, CO
Aug 1, 2011
Artist Tears P3

Jane,

I would go with hiring a couple of porters to carry your junk down for you. 100 bucks is the standard rate. Soloing El Cap is right up there and you should enjoy the summit and especially sleep on top. LF is a nice line and definately a good choice, but go easy on taking too much gear. Try to do 3 pitches a day. Less water, less food, less hauling and more fun.

Good luck and cheers

John


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By jane-gallwey
From Ireland, mostly
Aug 1, 2011
Terradets, Spain.

I'm too chicken to do Zodiac clean, and since I've never hammered before I'm worried I'd A: Fuck it up, or B: Nail way too much.

Yeah I could probably afford 1 porter, seems like the best option. I'll be possibly pushing it timewise to make my flight home anyways, in which case it will be definite porter (costs less than new flight). If I'm ok for time then maybe shuttle to the top of EL and take one load down and bring another the next day.

Though I know from the Prow even having to fetch one bag from the base of the Column was at the VERY bottom of things I wanted to do the day after getting down from a wall.

I think I could make 3 pitches a day but I'd really rather not. Maybe I'm mad but I don't really mind hauling big loads if I've a 2:1 set up and all the time in the world to do it in. I'd rather slog a bit more during the day to have a few hours in the evening to chill and enjoy the view. Pushing hard from sunup to sundown exhausts me mentally more than hauling a big bag does physically.


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By Kevin Stricker
From Evergreen, CO
Aug 1, 2011

Falls trail is really long and brutal with a heavy load but it is straightforward and safe. East ledges is must faster but will likely require some shuttling, no real 4th class though but several no fall spots. Usually has fixed static ropes in decent shape, sometimes you will have to pass knots though, which can be challenging with a heavy pig.

As for the ascent, are you sure you are ready for the Captain? Double the length does not mean double the time when soloing big walls. It is more of an exponential than a linear factor as the additional weight takes more work. Hauling hurts you more so you climb slower so you take longer to do the climb. Also as you do more work you require more water so you have to factor that in as well. You will most likely need a 3 to 1 setup to haul every pitch and the hauling is considerably harder on lower angle terrain. Getting your pig(s)and gear to the base of LF could require a couple days even with a porter, and you have to worry about the bears so need to factor in fixing as well.

Given your pace on the Prow you would likely need 10 days to climb El Cap, which means your gear is likely going to outweigh you by a factor of 2-3. I understand your drive, I've been soloing big walls for over 10 years....it feeds me. I just think based on your TR of the Prow that you need some more experience to be able to have a good safety margin and reasonable chance of success. If you can pull it off and prove me wrong that would be awesome. I do agree with JLP that you have a much better chance climbing the Zodiac.

Good luck and I look forward to your next TR.


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By jane-gallwey
From Ireland, mostly
Aug 2, 2011
Terradets, Spain.

I have someone (lovely boyfriend earning serious brownie points) to help shuttle loads to the base. It was 4 easy loads to the Prow so I'm thinking 5-6 loads to the base. At least 2 days anyway. Gonna fix the first 3 then take 9-10 days from then.

Last year I hauled big bags (2 people for 6 days ~ 250 lb) up as far as Grey Ledges on Triple Direct and with a 3:1 it wasn't too bad. Slow, but okay. Hauling to Heart sucked and I needed my climbing partner to help space haul but we only had a single protraction that day. Once I rigged the 3:1 we were golden. I dunno will my bags outweigh me by 3, I'll have 4 gallons more water, but not much more food (I carried at least 4 days worth of food back down the Prow) and a much lighter ledge (A5 single versus Fish double). I can't see that weighing more than 450 lb.

If I have the option of a ride back from the road would Tamarack Flat or Falls be a better option? I'm kinda leaning towards one of those as I can mentally switch off and just trudge without worrying about cliffy death.


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By Erik W
From Bay Area, CA
Aug 2, 2011
North face of Ama Dablam - taken on approach to Kongma La.

Jane, you are core!

As for your options, I would strongly discourage the hike out - be it via the falls trail or out to Tamarack. I did the falls hike a couple years back and it was one of the most miserable endeavors ever... definitely not the way to cap off the Captain. I had no idea the porter option was so cheap ("cheap" compared to the priceless self-hate you'll have for deciding to hike the pig out yourself). I know for me, personally, I'd turn tricks in some back alley in Bangkok to raise money for a porter before I'd hike a pig out again. That may be crude, but I'm serious, that hike is hellish, especially when the 'squitos are out.

Anyway, whatever your decision, I wish you the best of luck on your climb. Looking forward to the pics.


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By T Bauck
Aug 8, 2011

I did Lurking Fear solo in June. I went with option B - East Ledges. In my case, I did not have a portaledge - just a net hammock. If you can climb 3+ pitches a day, you will only need to sleep in the hammock 1 night. It sucks, but the hike down is much more reasonable. I suspect I am bigger than you, so doing it all in a single carry may not be possible for you. The porter idea seems like a good one.

I was able to carry everything in 1 load. There are some 4th class sections on the descent that are sketchy - expecially with a large haul bag. But if you have split up the load with a porter, it will be much more reasonable.

If you do the raps:
1) There is 1 section mid way that will be difficult to get down due to the traversing nature.
2) You will also have to contend with rapping into any party that is going up. Some of the anchors have only 2 bolts - making this hard to do.
3) Once down, you still have a few sections of 4th class that you will likely have to rap.

By the way, if you do go to the top, from Thanksgiving ledge on is not all that bad. What I did in this section:
1) Set haul bag on ledge - it was not cliped into anything, so I made sure it could not fall off if the haul rope between me and it slid off or a big wind came along.
2) Lead the pitch (wear your rock shoes and they go quick)
3) Set up the haul line through the pulley and pull up all the excess line. Tie in that point.
4) Set my lead line up for rapping.
5) Rap down the lead line while the haul bag is getting pulled up.

That actually worked better than I expected on the low 5th class sections. It made the pitches funner and quicker. Your haul bag should be considerably lighter than you at this point, so it is necessary to be on rapell on the lead line to keep things in control.


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By jane-gallwey
From Ireland, mostly
Aug 9, 2011
Terradets, Spain.

Thanks everyone.

Erik - Not at all true, common misconception. I'm a total pussy who cries on multipitch and loves top roping...

T Bauck - That seems like a good idea, though I'd probably put the pig on a fifi just to be safe. I've decided I'm definitely going to porter, seems more than worth the money. Also this will probably be my first trip up El Cap so it'll be nice to be able to turn off the brain and let someone else find the trail.

I'm realistically not going to make more than 2.5 pitches a day though methinks, but have been playing with the z-ratchet 2:1 and I think it should work well. I'm no waif either, if I haul wearing the rack I'm not too far off 200lb.

Just wondering what are any tricks for getting the pig unstuck without having to go down to it? I've used the lowering it a bit and then trying again, and the making a directional with a revolver biner and redirecting the haul line through that methods. Any other good ones?

From what I've heard the hauling is bad because of the low angle rather than because of haulbag eating flakes/chimneys?

Cheers,
Jane


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By jane-gallwey
From Ireland, mostly
Aug 9, 2011
Terradets, Spain.

I know. They're my friends who are helping me with my stuff, and then I'll give them a cash gift for being so nice as to help...


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By SAL
From broomdigiddy
Aug 9, 2011
good times. <br />

East ledges are not that bad from LF. The last bit of slabs would be the ruff part. I dragged a 50 year old guy up with me this last trip a month or so ago so I took most all the gear. I ended up hauling the final slabs but to be honest if you plan light enough you could make it with out hauling. Once you hit the final fixed line its only about 10 or 15 minute walk to be above the nose and heading down the E.L. I do hear that rapping the route is a great option given the gear in tow. though you will still need to do the entire approach back to the meadows so either way you are gonna rap and hike some stuff with loads. Top out as I thought the final pitch was not the greatest but ended the route well for me. Leave a load up top. come down safe and light and take a friend back to help. not that much ground to cover to come back to it.


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By T Bauck
Aug 9, 2011

I did not think the hauling was all that bad. My bag got stuck twice on the 14th pitch and once on the 8th. Other than that, it was fine. It should be possible to avoid getting the bag stuck on those pitches by how you lower out the bag.

Save yourself some grief and haul pitches 11 & 12 together. That is what I did and it was a clean haul.

Of course, you should have a swivel on the haul bag and a knot protector.

I had a big haul bag with nothing hanging off of it. Near the top, the bag gets tear drop shaped (because it is getting empty) and that seems to help.


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By jane-gallwey
From Ireland, mostly
Sep 23, 2011
Terradets, Spain.

Thanks everyone. Went with portering - best money I ever spent. Was so nice to mentally check out finally and have my friends lead me down east ledges. TR coming soonish...


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By SeanKuus
From Steamboat Springs
Sep 23, 2011
PS

I remember there being running water at the base of LF this spring. Probably dried up by now... anyone know?


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By C Scariot
Sep 23, 2011

well done, jane! super psyched for ya. that's a lot of days and a lot of work.


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By jane-gallwey
From Ireland, mostly
Sep 23, 2011
Terradets, Spain.

It wasn't running until all those thunder storms... It'll probably have stopped again now though.


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By jane-gallwey
From Ireland, mostly
Jun 13, 2012
Terradets, Spain.

Well, "soonish" appears to be 8 months later in my world. No wonder I climb walls so slow.
Anyway, I eventually wrote up my TR
www.supertopo.com/tr/Lurking-Fear-solo-My-first-time-up-the->>>
Cheers,
Jane


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