TR Archive: The Moratorium, 10/99

TR Archive: The Moratorium, 10/99

Post by Joel Age » Wed, 09 Feb 2000 04:00:00

I have decided to quit complaining privately about the content
of rec.climbing and do something about it (RD, you are my
inspiration for this).  As my little attempt to increase the S/N of
this newsgroup, I
will begin posting some of my archived trip reports until I get
tired of it or go down in flames.  I have been climbing for 20
years and writing TRs for 10, so I have a lot of them.  
My technical level is not high and the reports, unlike
those of, say, Peter Haan, have no historical value.  No silly
nicknames, though, to distract the reader from the gripping
climbing narrative.  

So, to begin, here is a TR from a recent visit to Yosemite.  

Yosemite Valley, 10/2/99
with Gavin Grover

It is several days later but I am still jazzed about the route. The
Moratorium had been on my mind for over 10 years, since the
one time I did it with Clint in the late 80's. I had been
redpointing 5.11's all winter in the Pinnacles but had to sit on a
friend on the "10a" liebacking on the first pitch. This fact still
irritates me. Gavin and I were supposed to be up there this
spring. I had been blabbing, listing routes we could do, and
Gavin, who usually can't remember any route names, hit upon
this one. He even bought extra units so we would have a full
rack of them. Weather and scheduling delayed us, but I knew
that it was just a matter of time.

We reached the Valley floor 3 hours after leaving Orinda. The
hike was short and it was 11:15 at the base of the route.
Outwardly, I am all bravado but inside I am less sure. This is
not some well-rehearsed route redux or a sport route studded
with bolts. I am reminded of a quote I gleaned while watching
pro bull-riding late at night: "too much bull and not enough
cowboy." I have done only a handful of gear routes this year.
None at the 5.11 grade. Just how much cowboy do we have

I had remembered the first pitch as fully sustained, testing me
with a titanic pump. This time, though, I moved with surprising
ease, plugging pro at first, but then stretching it out to a no-
hands rest where I got composed enough to haul up a 3.5 friend
that somehow got left off Clint's suggested rack for the route. I
did remember right that the sustained 10a liebacking on this
pitch is harder than the short 10d fingertip section at the end
(Gavin agreed). So far, so good. The 10d on the next pitch is
fully real. It is stemming, similar to what I remembered. There
is a loose hold that one could probably pull out with ease but
that provides a key foothold. It was probably a bad idea to cut
my feet loose when I latched a sloping hold just short of the
belay ledge. Sport climbing strength saw me through, though.
Gavin, as expected, styled the stemming.

On the next, crux, pitch, it is funky 5.10 right off the belay. But
by now I am used to it and it passes without trouble. Now I did
know in principle the key to the 11b section - "tubing" - but it
was another thing to pull it off. For the first few feet I milked
the tips locks while scraping my left hip against the wall. When
the crack gave out I got in the full "tube" position and squirmed
upwards. Totally wild but somehow secure. It began to feel
easy, and I started thinking it was all in the bag, but as I
stretched high off the jug to pull out of the corner I found that
the key holds were all covered in sand! The pro was well below
my feet at this point. I slumped back onto the jug, where I
discovered that I could get a quasi-handjam. Surprisingly, I was
able to use it to recover my strength, and I managed to slot a
high nut, arresting mental disintegration. Composed finally, I
pulled the moves and stood on the ledge. It was clear, though,
that I was not all there because I missed the belay anchor and
wound up climbing the corner until the rope ran out, doing the
5.9 loose ow crux of the next pitch. Gavin got the tips locks
section but the tube ejected him each time. I kept yelling
incoherent beta -- "full banzai pipeline position dude!" -- that
only dispersed uselessly in the wind. At one point Gavin got
into a rad full chimney position with both feet on one wall and
his hand on the other. Wild.

On the way down, I managed to do some penance for
questionable ethical acts done elsewhere. Gavin and I pulled 5
crummy 1/4" bolts total at the belays atop p1 and p2 and placed
good 3/8" Rawl bolts with lap links. Now both belays have 2
good 3/8" bolts. The "tuning fork" Chris Mac gave me works
great. It was dark when we reached the base and with only one
headlamp we stumbled to the car. One spooky note. In the
Valley proper we did not see a living soul all day. It was truly
our day for The Moratorium.


TR Archive: The Moratorium, 10/99

Post by Bob Austi » Thu, 10 Feb 2000 04:00:00

Thanks for a great TR.  I look forward to seeing more of them.  In fact,
your "level" is probably quite high when compared with the universe of


TR Archive: The Moratorium, 10/99

Post by Avaja » Thu, 10 Feb 2000 04:00:00

Thanks for the write up.  Nice job.


TR Archive: The Moratorium, 10/99

Post by Karl Le » Thu, 10 Feb 2000 04:00:00

> Thanks for a great TR.  I look forward to seeing more of them.  In fact,
> your "level" is probably quite high when compared with the universe of
> rec.climbing.
> Regards,
> Bob

Yikes! And how!
8*) Karl

TR Archive: The Moratorium, 10/99

Post by Karl Bab » Thu, 10 Feb 2000 04:00:00

Moratorium Rules!  That is one route that combines technical with
continuous. You're right, that first pitch liebacking is harder than
the rating would suggest.

Good Job on "tubing" The crux is a lot like the actual Yosemite Climb
called "The Tube"


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