Why I Climb Big Rocks > Part 3 – Loner

I've always enjoyed spending time by myself.

When I’m alone I can do anything I want and no-one knows.

VDiff Climbing why i climb big rocks

I chose The Diamond of Long’s Peak for my first big solo.

Diamond longs peak climbing

I saved money...
... by buying old gear.

I saved weight...
... by not bringing enough food or spare clothes.

And I had the route to myself...
... because I didn’t check the weather forecast.

I found a nice ledge half way up, and settled in for the night.

VDiff Climbing why i climb big rocks

But then a massive storm thundered over the mountain...

VDiff Climbing why i climb big rocks

... and the route turned into a waterfall...

VDiff Climbing why i climb big rocks

... which froze.

It wasn’t the best night’s sleep.

VDiff Climbing why i climb big rocks

I chose El Cap as my next solo mission.

El Cap rock climbing

I saved money...
... by not buying a portaledge.

I had the route to myself...
... because it was over 100°F.

I saved weight...
... by not bringing enough water.

And I saved time...
... by not learning the proper skills.

My haulbag was stuck, again, 30 meters below.

I had to abseil down to dislodge it.

VDiff Climbing why i climb big rocks

I chose to descend on the other end of the haul rope.

I didn’t back myself up with the lead rope.

VDiff Climbing why i climb big rocks

I reached the haulbag with just enough rope and pulled it from the crack.

But I’d made a marvellous error.

VDiff Climbing why i climb big rocks

Weighing much less than me, the haulbag rocketed 30 meters up towards the belay, while I fell in the opposite direction.

It was the fastest haul I’ve ever done.

VDiff Climbing why i climb big rocks

I exhausted my water supply the next day.

And crawled onto the summit the day after that.

El Cap aid solo

On the top of El Cap, there was nothing there.

Solo el cap aid climbing

I’d found what I was looking for.

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