Father’s Day weekend on the Daddy of them all – El Capitan

Carlos called me at 9-something Friday night and mentioned that his climbing partner bailed and asked if I was interested in climbing in Yosemite with him. I would need to leave pretty immediately to meet him in Stockton but I would be home in 24 hours. He said his car was already packed with everything we’d need so all I needed was my climbing shoes and harness (in theory). I explained that I had never been climbing outdoors, only in the gyms a lot over the years. We talked it out for a while and then he said, think it over and call me back in 30 minutes.

I thought back to my trip to Yosemite lost moth that didn’t go as planned (i.e. we didn’t get out of the car or even see the valley) so by 10 I was on the road and at his house by 11:30. We chatted and dilly-dallied before hitting the road again. We pulled into a random little site off the side of the road just outside the park a little after 2 and set up the car for sleeping. In the morning we got up, broke camp, made food, and were off. With Carlos climbing for 20 years, having done many routes in Yosemite, including those several-thousand foot walls that take days or a week to do, combined with his patience for my shenanigans and his fun personality, I knew I was in good hands.

The route we did is called “Footstool, Right” on the base of El Capitan but first you have to hike up about an hour. It’s rated 5.4 and is supposedly 120′ high but Carlos and I both felt like it was not that tall. Carlos lead climbed and I “seconded”. This meant I had to remove all the anchors he placed as I went up and attach them to the belt of my harness as I climbed. Then we rappelled down after a lunch at the top. The pictures below tell the rest of the story – more or less.

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