Sonnie and I have been in Yosemite for a few days now. We've been fooling around on the top of El Cap, rapping in and inspecting the upper A1 beauty pitch of the Prophet. Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles established the route last year, ending a 9 year quest.
Yosemite Trip Fall 2011 - Will Stanhope
First of all, I'd like to say that this pitch is truly hard and insecure. Sending this one is going to be real tough. It's easily the most powerful low-angle pitch I've ever attempted. Extremely fingery, balancy and painful. But aside from the struggles associated with it, the A1 beauty is a real joy to climb on: a curvy, laser cut splitter a stone's throw from the top of the Captain. I came pretty close to freeing the Arch project in Squamish in early September, but in the end fell short. But I feel like I've got my fighting spirit back, after months of rehab and fear of falling. A big thanks to Sonnie and Scott Milton for trudging back there day after day to belay and film the struggle. Its so critical to have good friends' support when you're trying a pitch at your limit with a potentially hazardous fall. The temperatures are perfect in Yosemite right now. And we will head back up tomorrow, to resume working the pitch. One of the coolest things about climbing is that we get to try these routes in the most jaw-dropping positions. Way better than playing badminton on an identical court, time after time. WAY better. ;) Hope everybody's have a great fall.