My attorney advised me to keep climbing. The woman above me cried in the chimeney, a fish flopping through the tight passage. My attorney doesn't register the epic yet but he'll know soon enough.
The hike started early in the day. A standard Yosemite rack- singles to a 2, a pack of GU, no topos, and no water. The cotton mouth would set in before noon. Schmid and I trudged into Black Velvet canyon with Sol Wertkin, a friend from Leavenworth Wa, nipping closely on our heels. I stared down the holds on a boulder problem sitting in the wash.
"The right exit is V7. The straight up is V11," Sol said. "But who cares about the boulders. Liberty Cap." The Washingtononians love to hike. That summer Sol had sent the Thin Red Line on the back country formation. He hiked for days to get out to it, and then climbed a few hard pitches. Sloggers all of them. My legs turn to jelly at the mention of cross country miles. I spent the winter bouldering. My back was a pizza slice and my body unused to the death marches. I wish I had a crash pad to sit underneath the boulder.
"Never sandbag your girlfriend," my attorney said. "That guy is not getting laid tonight." Epinephrine is a neurotransmitter, a hormone that increases heart rate, constricts blood vessels, dilates air passages and participates in the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system. That's what Wikipedia says. The girl screaming in the chimeney would have said Epinephrine is the worst route in Las Vegas.
"We'll climb slowly up to them and then pass quickly. They won't notice us if we can keep from laughing." I wonder if he was seeing the girl turn into a fish.
Epinephrine climbs for 1600 feet up a buttress in Black Velvet Canyon, just outside of Las Vegas. Four hundred feet of climbing up through ledge systems leads to a large chimeney system for three hundred feet, followed by another nine hundred feet of scrambling to a ridge to the summit. The crux is the chimeney section, which is sparsely protected by bolts. It's a better route than the Steck Salathe- less pin scars and some classic Indian Creek-esque splitters.
John Schmid, my attorney ran the Oakland Marathon earlier this week, sprinting the whole thing out in 3:30. For John, all the hiking felt easy. I constantly wanted to sit down in the shade. My mouth tasted like cotton. Schmid is a marathon man. He advised me to keep walking.
The ridge eventually headed back down to the wash. It was a death camp march. I hate slogging. At 5 we reached the base of Frogland, a dog sat at the base. After stealing some people's water, we climbed the route. John went first. I spotted him as he soloed across a traverse under a roof. He crossed to a two finger pocket and went to a jug. He sprayed me beta as I soloed the move as well. Higher was a cool chockstone. I wanted to lay inside next to it. My legs were jelly and my feet were swollen. My attorney advised me to keep climbing.
We made it back to the car, fueled up, and hit the road around 7. After beers with Sol at the campground, we had dinner at the Half Yard, where we saw Bill Ramsey and Chris Weidner- those guys are famous hardmen!
The climbing was a ton of fun, and reminded me how much fun rock climbing can be! Too bad my legs feel like jelly this morning.
Back In Black
6 months ago