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Big Wall Aid Climbing On Index Town Walls

After guid­ing sev­er­al 50 mile treks this sum­mer in Wash­ing­ton, my legs were very excit­ed when Jaime asked me to work a pri­vate day of guid­ing a fel­low, John, who wants to climb El Capitan. 

John has over a decade of climb­ing expe­ri­ence and want­ed to learn some more advanced aid tech­niques, as well as ways to increase effi­cien­cy on big wall routes. For­tu­nate­ly, in Seat­tle we have the per­fect venue for such a day; the Upper Wall of Index. We began the day on the first pitch of Dana’s Arch. Here on top rope, John hooked the entire pitch, build­ing his con­fi­dence in cam hooks, talons, and cliffhang­ers. Hook­ing is a key piece to speed­ing up the aid puzzle. 

Index Upper Town Wall. Moun­tain Project photo

Next on the agen­da was how to safe­ly low­er out from anchors to reduce pen­du­lums. After John felt con­fi­dent with sev­er­al low­er out tech­niques we moved to the main event, the clas­sic aid line Town Crier” IV 5.9 C2. 

Com­ing out of the chim­ney pitch on Town Crier. Alan Rousseau

The first two pitch­es we quick­ly free climbed then the aid pitch­es began. While climb­ing out I explained the things I was doing to increase our speed like back clean­ing, hook­ing, and free climb­ing where pos­si­ble. When John jugged the pitch­es I rap­pelled down to coach thru some tricky sec­tions. John was able to prac­tice the low­er out tech­niques and we cruised the route in 5 hours. Not so shab­by for a grade IV! 

Clean­ing the roof pitch on Town Crier. Alan Rousseau photo

On the hike down we chat­ted about good routes for John to test him­self on before jump­ing on the biggest of the big stone in the ditch (Yosemite). It was a great day of instruc­tion and get­ting a qual­i­ty big route done. Thanks for a safe and fun day John.

~ MM Guide Alan Rousseau

Alan hang­ing out with John on the way up. Alan Rousseau photo