oh captain, my captain.

UPDATE:  Dan and Nic are down safe!  Hooray.  Thanks so much for all the encouraging words, prayers and support for them [and me].

the beast, himself.
the beast, himself.

El Capitan.  3000 feet of vertical granite.  The largest monolith in the U.S.

The Captain and I go way back:

us together via 2006.
us together via 2006.

And by “way back”, I mean all of three years back.  Look how young I was!  Oh, and The Captain… so polite to pose with me… prom style.

on top of el cap.
spesh and me on top of el cap.

Spesh was another great friend from Summer 2006.  That picture was taken on top of El Cap [which we got to via our backpacking expedition].  Our time spent on top of El Cap made for great times and very unfortunate tan lines.

[laying on top of El Cap (sans clothes), soaking it all in.]

– Spesh, do you hear those voices?

– Yeah… What is that?  A family??

– Who brings their little kids up here??

Just then, Beth Rodden walks by…

– Hi guys.

Then walks out of earshot.  I am mortified…

– Oh my gosh, Beth Rodden just saw us naked.

– Who’s Beth Rodden?

– Famous climber.

– Oh… Famous climber that just saw my boobies!

Yes, some hardasses [like Beth Rodden] climb El Cap.  It is the iconic standard for big-wall climbing.  I have never been all up ons my friend, The Captain.  I’ve crept all around him, but haven’t yet tried to climb over 30 pitches of the 5.13+ grades or his infamous Nose.  It’s daunting, to say the very least:

gulp.eff that.mmuhh.yeah, no i'm cool.
One day maybe, but not tomorrow.  Tomorrow, two of my dearest friends will start climbing The Nose.

nicky, me, dan long.
nicky, me, dan long.

I am very excited for Dan and Nic.  This is a once in a lifetime accomplishment… something that is up there with having your first child or running a marathon [I would imagine… I don’t know… it’s a big deal, okay?].  But I’m not going to lie to you, I’ve gone through a whole wave of emotions about these friends going to climb The Nose of El Cap.

[here they are, in chronological order.]


Yes, that would put me at terrified now.  And I wasn’t until I went to write this post!  Then I started looking up photos, beta, stories… and not many of them were encouraging.  I’m sitting here, looking at the topo, wondering what their plans are for the “Great Roof” and the “King Swing”, reading horror stories of going the wrong way in the dark.  “Oh, yeah, no that’s great.  Especially cuz my friends want to do this climb in a push.”  Yeah, Dan and Nic are trying to do this climb in 24-48 hours straight [without sleeping], where most people do it in 3 or 4 days, sleeping on the wall.

I was reading all about this, when I caught a glimpse of myself in a reflection off a window.  I had to laugh out loud.  I’ve been sitting here, at this café, reading like this:

we don't have to talk about my outfit.
we don't have to talk about my outfit.

They’ll be okay, right?  Yes, they’ll be fine… and I’m stoked for them.  But if you wanna remember them in your prayers, meditations, good-vibing, thoughts, etc., I wouldn’t mind.

Nah, I’m not worried about them.  They are two of the most quality climbers I know and they are more than prepared for this.  [I sent an inflatable dinosaur for them to snap photos of on the climb… hopefully I’ll get one of Bronto on “Texas Flake”… yeah, inflatable dino… what more do they need?]

I wish I were there, SO BADLY, to greet them at the summit with well-deserved treats, beers and hugs.  Dan, Nic, I’m with you boys in spirit.  Be safe, climb hard, kick ass!!  Love you guys!

going for the speed record.
going for the speed record.

4 thoughts on “oh captain, my captain.”

  1. I saw Dan last week, crossing the street near my house. I was in my car driving, it is the dead of off-season and there were few people on the road, so I slow down, roll down the window and shout, “Hey, Dan, congrats on El Cap!”
    He looks at me a little sheepishly and uncomfortable, and has to shout to explain, “Thanks, but we didn’t make it.”
    I felt like a dumbass.
    We chalked it up to this here blahg.

  2. haha… oh man. i am a jerk.

    yeah, but what was i supposed to do? another post on their defeat? that would make ’em feel greeeeat.

    i did learn my lesson. no more good luck posts. only congrats posts from here on out.

    i do apologize, js.

  3. you have to wish people good luck! without that they will surely perish.
    it was quite funny, the run-in with Dan. at least I thought it was.

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