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