The Nose In...2 days?


Original Post
Dan Vinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 40

Climbing brethren,

I'm headed to the Valley in May with a strategy to climb The Nose in 2 days (48 hours). I'm going though a few scenarios and would love any input. We would bring the Metolius Express Haul pack ( 2380cu in = 39 Liters) with 3 gallons of water, food, extra layers. We're going with the "5.10 + French Free" strategy. We'd short-fix and link pitches where it makes sense and do the route in ~4 blocks.

Options:
1) Start crack of dawn early (3-4am) and climb as long and as high as we can. Hopefully getting to Camp 4 or 5. Wake up and top out the next day.

2) Start mid-day/afternoon (around Noon-2pm-ish). Climb to El Cap Tower, bivy there night 1. Wake up the following morning, climb to Camp 6 and bivy there night 2, then have all day to top out day 3.

With either option, we are on the wall for ~48 hours. Option 2 seems less stressful to me. The time on the wall is the same, we can sleep in, really fuel and hydrate well that morning, then climb to a plush bivy (hopefully both nights) The bag will be relatively light, especially after the first day and can be put on as a pack for the funky traversing pitches.

For the rack, I'm thinking:

Triples: BD .5-#3, 2x #4
Doubles: Black Alien-Yellow Alien (maybe throw in a few smaller offsets as well)
1 set RPs + a few offset nuts
1 Cam Hook

***Any critical small gear for the upper pitches? I've read about a sketchy pitch off the glowering spot, but haven't found specific beta. Guess we'll find out!

Much appreciated! The season is here, get out there!
-Dan

Rob P. · · Twin Cities · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 265

If you're going to try and do it in 2 days, you might as well just do it in 1.  It would be easier in my experience.  Or take the "normal" relaxed approach at 3-4 days. Also, you will be fine with that gear for glowering spot and all other pitches.

Dan Vinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 40
Rob P. wrote:

If you're going to try and do it in 2 days, you might as well just do it in 1.  It would be easier in my experience.  Or take the "normal" relaxed approach at 3-4 days. Also, you will be fine with that gear for glowering spot and all other pitches.

Thanks for gear beta! I had the same thought...I just don't think we can hit NIAD, but, I think we could do more of a 'push style' and finish in 30-40 hours. 

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 6

doing the nose in 2 days is a difficult timepoint-- as rob says, either shoot to do it in 1 day or 3-4 days. 

Jplotz · · Wenatchee, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 940

It's funny how things start adding up as you're packing for your push style climb if the Nose.  You start thinking about all the "what if's" like weather and heat and exhaustion etc, and pretty soon you realize it would just be easier to just take the big haulbag and do it in 3-4 days.  Or jettison most of the stuff and go for it in a day.  

Kevin Mokracek · · Burbank · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 200

Just one cam hook??  I'd have one on each aider and leap frog but then again I haven't done the nose.  On the Prow and Muir I remember leap frogging cam hooks saving lots of time placing gear.

Ryan Hamilton · · Orem · Joined Aug 2011 · Points: 20

Either way, I'd like to know how it goes. Good luck!

Dan Vinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 40

Ha! Ya it adds up quick...

When I'm hearing, "Do it in a day", that is synonymous (in my mind) with "push". I'm feeling confident we can start with ~40 lbs. in the bag which will only get lighter as we get higher. To me it's a mindset decision. When you start thinking about having the big bag, taking the relaxed approach, it only gets heavier and the slower we'll go...

I just read Hans Florine's book, On the Nose, and he described his first time up the nose in a similar style I described above (where I got the idea in the first place). Trying to think outside the box since the "tradition way" didn't work out so well last time...or maybe we were just too soft.

Greg Barnes · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,748

Definitely two cam hooks, just try to remember to place some pro too (seriously, it's really easy to forget). You'll fly up that pitch off Camp 5 with 2 cam hooks.

Timing is probably weather dependent, and also on how heat tolerant you are. If it's cool then starting late is fine, if it's normal May temps then early is good. Thunderstorms can impact planning big time as well, you can wait them out if you got an early start but they can hose you (literally) if you get a late start!

Dan Vinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 40
Greg Barnes wrote:

Definitely two cam hooks, just try to remember to place some pro too (seriously, it's really easy to forget). You'll fly up that pitch off Camp 5 with 2 cam hooks.

Timing is probably weather dependent, and also on how heat tolerant you are. If it's cool then starting late is fine, if it's normal May temps then early is good. Thunderstorms can impact planning big time as well, you can wait them out if you got an early start but they can hose you (literally) if you get a late start!

Thanks Greg! You probably don't remember me, but I camped with you in Joshua Tree a few years back with P.J.P.. I think it might have been over New years 2011-2012... Anyhow, much appreciated.

aaron hope · · Walnut Creek, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 295

Like others have said, as soon as you bring hauling into the equation you generally need three days (especially since it sounds like you don't plan to fix to sickle the first day). This is because 1) Hauling is exhausting. 2) there is a lot of traversing on the first half of the route which means that the follower has to deal with haulbag lower-outs instead of immediately jugging once the leader reaches the top of the pitch and 3) Hauling prevents the leader from short fixing (a strategy that helps many NIAD teams higher up on the route). So you loose a lot of time and energy by hauling. 

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 100
Greg Barnes wrote:

Definitely two cam hooks, just try to remember to place some pro too (seriously, it's really easy to forget). You'll fly up that pitch off Camp 5 with 2 cam hooks.

Thread drift:

I see this advice often- keep a cam hook on each sided. Makes sense, seems efficient. Question: what size cam hooks are people using? Narrow? Wide? 1 of each?

Assume this is for Yosemite trade routes- Nose, LF, Prow, WFLT, etc. Not for Zion soft rock or A4 expanding horror shows.

Dan Vinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 40

Why couldn't you short fix? 

Leader leads pitch.
Pulls up desired rope and short fixes.
Hauls bag.
Once the bag is at the anchor, starts leading the next pitch.
Follower can tag up the gear on the haul line once they arrive at the anchor.

Even if you only got 10 ft above the anchor each time, that could add up to a lot on The Nose.

aaron hope · · Walnut Creek, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 295

But by the time you finish hauling, your follower should already be about halfway to 3/4 done cleaning the pitch. At that point you might as well wait until they're done so you can just grab the gear. So by hauling, you've lost a lot of the advantage short fixing gives you (i.e. the rope is constantly moving up). 

Seth Kane · · Bozeman, Montana · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 153

Hauling also limits your ability to pass other parties efficiently. I think you'd be better off climbing in a push or taking the same amount of gear and doing it in 3 days. We ran a fish atom smasher and a 20L followers pack for 3 days and it worked pretty well. 

Cameron Saul · · San Francisco · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10

I think option #2 rests on a strange assumption - if you are fast enough to get to El Cap Tower in ~ 8 hours with hauling, you should be fast enough to just NIAD without the bag.  So either day 1 on option #2 is too ambitious for your speed, or you should just go for it.  

Dan Vinson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 40

You guys make good points.

aaron hope · · Walnut Creek, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 295

The only way it is remotely possible to do it with one night on the rock is to fix to Sickle Ledge first and store the bags there overnight, then go for it. 

If you do wind up doing it in two days (one night on the rock), please give us a trip report. I've wondered if it is possible, but have decided it is not. Prove us all wrong! 

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 415

Max Jones and I did it in 2.5 days (El Cap Tower, Camp 6, off) lead and follow, as free as it had ever been climbed back then,  (1979) and it was one of the most fun climbs I've ever done. 

MAKE SURE THE HAULING IS EASY, that's the key, imho. We hauled (Gibbs ascenders) and belayed (Stitch plate on the anchor) at the same time. 

Have fun!!

Mydans · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 70

Its certainly possible to do it in 2 days.  The key is to be in strong free climbing shape and to keep the bag as light as possible. You should also spend some time dialing in your belay transitions.  Inexperienced parties can lose hours at transitions over the course of a day.  I would lead in blocks and I would short fix even if it only saves you a bit.  If the bag is light you should be able to haul it fast and even 20-30 feet off the anchor is significant.  You should also be aware that some bivouacs are better than others.  Dolt and el cap tower and texas flake are pretty good but camp 4 sucks to sleep on.  Camp 5 is ok and Camp 6 is pretty good. Also be aware that the upper part is steeper and you'll probably be aiding more towards the top especially when fatigue sets in. There are a lot of things to skimp on but water isn't one of them.  If you're trying hard and its hot at least a gallon a day person possibly 5 quarts is good.  In addition if its hot you can go pretty light on clothes and bivouac gear. No stove and one dinner/breakfast isn't very heavy.  If you can keep the bag to under 50-60 lbs at the start you'll be stoked.  There are lots of different ways to get to the top. Just go with whatever fits your style and fitness.  Big wall camping is a lot of work but can be tons of fun too.  Have fun!

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 430

What relevant experience in Yosemite do you have?

Makes a big difference as to what strat to recommend.

If you know how to french-free fast and know how to set up an anchor and haul efficiently you are in good stead.

If not, you are better off getting some mileage doing that on Valley Grade V's before trying anything other than the traditional 3 days, imo.

Its not a question of your ability to climb the pitches, it is the efficiency doing everything else that makes the difference unless you are super strong on 5.10+ valley crack (aka otherwise solid on 5.11+/12- and have good cardio/core).

One epic hauling and your whole schedule can be thrown off.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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