I did this FFA back in August but with my school schedule being so heinous I have not had any extra time, so better late than never right?
The sport climbing life is relaxing and pretty casual especially in some areas. For these reasons it feels great to just hang out with good friends and climb without feeling overwhelmed by the day ahead. However, I have always found that too much of a good thing can get monotonous and leave me feeling somewhat empty inside. This emptiness comes from lack of adventure and hard blue collar work. This is were bigger routes with big approaches come in to pack my body full of satisfaction.
The amazing 5.9 intro pitch with perfect patina climbing (photo Andrew Burr)
Some good friends of mine aided the Wonderwall a while back and had great things to say about the rock quality and they were also optimistic about the route going free. I decided to check the line out so I rapped into the wall and was blown away by the aesthetic nature of the line and the amount of orange lichen. Being so smittened by the line I went right to work scrubbing the wall and forgot about how strong the alpine sun is on your skin. I turned into a tomato with blisters but the line was clean and ready to be worked out. After a few more trips up to Lone Peak the route began to come together and I was ready to lead the line. There was however, one major issue, the line is a seem in many parts and lacks the ability to place any gear.
The technical stemming begins on the 5.11+ second pitch (photo Andrew Burr)
After talking to some of the other locals I decided to try to hammer in a pecker. Tommy Caldwell does it on El Cap so what the hell I should be fine. That night it rained buckets but we woke up to a beautiful morning so I went for it anyway. The first two pitches are incredible climbing and make for a great warm up and I was psyched up and ready to crush. working my way up to the first crux I took some deep breaths clipped the pecker, grabbed the crimp, brought my foot up to the smear and then I was flying through the air along with the crimp. "F**k", I screamed as I was sure the route would be close to imposible now but the pecker held and looked good. I looked down at Ari and said "this pecker is a bolt." After recomposing myself and coming to terms with what had happend I began to try and suss out a new sequence and with some feet you need a magnifying glass to see I was able to find another way. I had fallen on the pecker repeatedly at this point and decided to do the section one more time and fell and before I knew it I was standing besides Ari, my belayer.
Me and Rob taking a breather before the crux (photo Andrew Burr)
"I guess peckers are not bolts", I said to Ari and started laughing. Ari and I climbed to the summit and called it a day. It was back to the drawing board with the question of gear and I decided to try out knife blades instead. Another hike up the hill by myself, although, time spent by myself helps to clarify what truly makes me happy in life. The next day I rapped into the Wonderwall took special care to make sure that every knife blade was placed perfect and hammered until it sang like a bird. Then I began to perfect my beta and was able to send the line on minitraxion twice in two days. I knew it was time to give this beast another go.
Getting partners to hike 5 miles with 5,500 ft. of elevation gain is quite hard and a week passed with people bailing on me. My good luck charm belayer Rob Duncan was up for going last weekend. With a not so wonderful 5 a.m. wake up to beat the sun we got started and were below the crux pitch by 8 a.m. This gave me 2 hours to try the pitch before it was in the sun. My first go was good but my body was not in the right position for the balancy crux move. The second go I felt great, although I missed the foothold. The third go I felt extremely solid and was climbing well my body position was perfect and I nailed the desperate foot move and rocked my way up to success to the crimp. I made sure to take my time at the rest and then blast through the remaining technical climbing to the top of the pitch where I gained the enormous smile that I still have.
I decided to name the free line Wonderboy 5.13c hahaha
(photo Andrew Burr)
Summit shot (photo Andrew Burr).