Moratorium

Page Type
Trip Report
Location:
California, United States, North America
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Sep 27, 1992
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Created On: Dec 16, 2005
Last Edited On:
MORATORIUM
27 SEPTEMBER 1992

Rich Travis and I head up the steep talus east of
Schultz's Ridge in blistering morning sunlight. Late
start, nerves, I retch and stumble up the talus. Oak
canyon-scrub claws at my clothing, salt stinging my
scratches. Teetering unstable blocks underfoot
threaten to break an ankle of the unwary with eyes
not on the path ahead, but drawn upcanyon, to the
immense dihedral, outrageous angle, sustained
overhanging corner we dream of climbing.

Two pitches of 5.10d followed by a 5.11b crux: My
thoughts jitter and jamble, flit from pro to sweat to
loose rock to the shining, sunny and sometimes storm-
drenched path of the past 20 years which has finally
brought me to this canyon, bowels aflutter, rack of
friends, competent partner, trying to focus, put my
fears away and find a calm center to address the task
at hand.

I briefly reflect on the upper, Grade IV 5.10b finish
to this climb, the East Buttress of El Capitan, my
first wall in the valley, an epic adventure, which
looms above the last belay of Moratorium. Someday,
maybe, I will link the two. When I am ready. When I
am calm.

Closer now, the incredible corner is so steep that we
must stop and crane our necks to look up to where the
blinding sun flashes off granite, where cool pre-
afternoon shade begins to creep into this
magnificent, terrifying, unbelievable dihedral. Where
I will, at long last, confront my fears and hopes
balanced at the crux of an overhanging flared corner
severed by a crack too thin to accept fingertips.

At a narrow, dirty, brushy ledge sloping toward the
beckoning void, we stop to put on harnesses and
shoes, familiar rituals comforting.

"Guess I've run out of excuses."

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