The Details Page updated: August 06, 2003

"write ins" and/or interesting facts about the experience.

Eagles Way

The early August sun beat on back as I studied the route, visualizing myself ascending the cracks. For only being 9:00 in the morning, I knew the Valley would see a scorching day. I laughed at myself, shaking my head about being such a slacker, having over slept for three hours. Thats O.K., I told myself. I need the extra sleep for what I'm about to attempt. felt as though I was taking a huge step toward the next level of climbing. My goal was to on-sight-solo El Capitan in a day. A very lofty goal for me since I am new to the speed climbing arena. I felt like I was ready for this undertaking,even though to my knowledge nobody has yet accomplished such a task. The butterflies in my stomach did not help my situation. The route I chose to climb is Eagle's Way. A moderate aid line on the short side of the overhanging southeast face of the Captain. I continued visualizing while hydrating with extra water. I started the climb at 9:45 with three gallons of water, four Cliff bars, a head lamp, and fleece jacket and hat. Halfway up the first pitch I stared the Grim Reaper right in the eyes when a wired hanger pulled off as I passed a rivet. I was on a hook and that was all that separated me from crashing to the ground to certain death. I quickly selected a bomber hook and placed it on a flake next to the other one. I then down climbed my aiders and placed a keyhole hanger and locking biner on the rivet. I continued without incident. Arriving at the first belay in less than thirty minutes, I remembered the danger of over exerting myself and made an effort to climb steadily. The pitches fell quickly, un-roping, climbing like crazy-aid-man bob, and other solo shennanagans. I soon became covered in sweat, fatigued, and was refreshing myself often with water. Drink, I told myself. Technically I have enough water for three days and I'm almost halfway up the route. I'll have plenty of water, I convinced myself. Route finding was a little confusing and spent unnecessary time figuring out where to go. I lead the pitch, fixed the lines, rappeled, strapped on my pack and cleaned the gear. Wow, I feel like a yo-yo, how am I supposed to speed climb with all this work. The logistical simplicity was great, although It was me doing everything. I started to feel like I was in a very crazy situation. I climbed the Black Pillar and continued to the Seagull, and soon found myself at the top of the tenth pitch. I dug in pack for some much deserved water as I looked at my watch. Ten hours. Not bad, for a first time speed solo. My smirk soon turned into a jaw dropper when the sudden realization hit me.I have no more water!! None!! I must have been so caught up in the moment I drank it all without realizing it. I tried to breathe evenly as the pulse quickened and a thousand things entered my mind simultaneously. WHAT NOW? was the big question. Most people would start the descent, right now, no questions asked. I couldn't let this knowledge influence my decision. Besides, I'm not most people. I hung in my harness drifting in and out of consciousness, not being able to give up and start rappeling. Besides, I'm exhausted, who cares about time anymore. My muscles in my arms and legs cramped all night and I felt delirious and dehydrated. Sometime in the morning I urged myself to move, my legs had no feeling from the leg loops of my harness cutting off the circulation. I didn't even think about the ground anymore. I guess sometime in the night I made a subconscious decision not to give up. I also was certain there would be a full water bottle hanging from one of these belays. I was so certain because I saw it there while climbing Lost in America a week ago. The hope of water was a powerful motivator which kept me going. Climbing became increasingly slow. At times I couldn't even straiten my arms or legs. I hung on my daisy curled in a ball while dry heaving profusely. I slowly climbed through the crux pitch, an A3 overhanging squeeze. Talk about awkward, everything took two or three times longer to accomplish. Thinking the crux was behind me I soon realized I had one more to negotiate. A tension off a manky old head. I crimped edges and smeared my foot while leaving one foot in the aider. POP!! I took a 25 foot whipper!! This did not help the situation. Explosions were going off in my head while fuzzy blotches appeared in my vision. I imagined all my brain cells popping like squashed grapes. After a I felt like things were under control and my fit of the dry heaves subsided, I continued. Three, number two heads in a row got me passed the situation which led me to the top of the fourteenth pitch. By this time it was around midnight and I've only completed half of the pitches as yesterday. I stood on a small ledge that was so inviting that I prepared for a short bivy. I woke with a new urgency, I knew I needed to get off immediately. My mind must have went into survival mode because I was thinking of all kinds of crazy things, like drinking urine. I'm almost to the top, besides that bottle of water should be on the next belay. I climbed around a corner and got some amazing exposure which led to a beautiful A1 crack that loved cam hooks. The pitches were easy but I was a mess. The simplest things were laborious and I would find myself out of breath constantly. Still no water bottle, I've given up the hope of it being here. I'm soon on a bolt ladder and new energy flows through me. I'm almost to the top. I finish on an A2 crack avoiding the 5.9 freeclimbing. I'm in no shape to do that, I thought. I crawled over the lip and to a tree. I made it to top, 46 hours after I started this adventure. I shrugged and halfway crawled to Lost in America, where my cache would hopefully be. I was soon drinking, eating, showering and sleeping. I woke a few hours later feeling like a new man. I rappeled the fixed line and cleaned the gear with an official time of 51:14. Not exactly a speed climb, and definitely not the time I was hoping for. I smiled with happiness, I knew this was one adventure that would rise above all the rest. I started the East Ledges Descent, with a joyful skip in my stride.     - Ammon McNeely, August 2000


Glacier Point

Karl Bralich and Mark Albosta did the second ascent of the the allegedly 41 pitch Galactic Hitchhiker on the Apron (11b Grade VI) in something less than 8.5 hours. This was the first one day ascent. By running pitches together and a little simulclimbing we did it in about 16 pitches. It is a nice route and comparable to the DNB except nochimneys and a couple of harder moves (with great pro)

Half Dome run:

Hi Runners,

On my last day in Yosemite I had no climbing partner. I was staying at Hans Florine's house (the world's fastest climber) and he was too afraid to climb the Rostrum with me. His excuse was because there was no way we could break the record for the route (1:30 by Peter Croft - solo!). Actually, I think he was afraid to climb it with me as it would probably take two days and he'd have to z-pulley me up the route... Anyway, Hans says to me, "I know what you should do! You should try to break my record on running up Half Dome. I did it in 2:03 up and 3:33 roundtrip." Okay, I'd give it a try. The time officially starts at the Half Dome Trail sign just on the other side of the bridge (now closed) near Happy Isles. From here to the summit it is 8.2 miles and 4900 vertical feet (5100 vertical feet roundtrip).

Below are my splits at the obvious landmarks. I ran this with a single Camelback for water and one packet of Power Gel. That wasn't nearly enough food as I bonked hard on the descent and was totally wasted when I was done. The water was sufficient. I started at 9 a.m. and it was quite warm in the sun, but not overbearing. On the way up, every hiker I passed thought I was crazy and I got quite a few comments. The way down was the biggest ego boost I've had in a long time. I re-passed everyone and they'd ask, "Have you been to the top already??" "Yes," I'd say and then they might say, "To the top of the cables??" "Yes." "OH MY GOD!" One women called me her hero and I had one marriage proposal and a handful of propositions. I got an applause from one group as I zipped by. Not surprisingly I was the one running the trail today. This trail is probably run about as often as Haleakula is biked UP!

Location ~ Section Time /Elapsed Time up


Start 00:00 (00:00) /0:00:00

Bridge at bottom of Vernal Falls 9:29/ 9:29

Top of Vernal Falls 11:13 /20:42

Top of Nevada Falls 19:35/ 40:18

East end of Little Yosemite Valley 13:09/53:27

Two miles to go sign 18:43 /1:12:10

Bottom of first hump 21:33 /1:33:43

Bottom of cables 9:52 /1:43:35

Top of cables 6:22 /1:49:58

Summit 1:01 //1:50:59

Top of cables 0:41/ 1:51:40

Bottom of cables 3:07 /1:54:47

Bottom of first hump 6:00 /2:00:47

Two miles to go sign 13:45/ 2:14:32

East end of Little Yosemite Valley 13:32 /2:28:04

Top of Nevada Falls 13:44 /2:41:49

Top of Vernal Falls 17:11 /2:59:00

Bridge at bottom of Vernal Falls 8:19 /3:07:19

Start 7:42 /3:15:02

As you can see by these splits, I was crashing towards the end. I actually ran slower on the Little Yosemite Valley section on the way down. This is because this section is quite sandy, mostly level and has two hills on the descent. This long level section hurts my average ascent rate. But the bottom line is that I bested Hans Florine!! :-) I guess he never claimed to be the world's fastest trail runner. This is a strong run for me, but I'm sure Kraig-zilla could take at least 20-30 minutes off this time. Certainly under 3 hours. I have long thought this hike to be one of the best day hikes in the world. The scenery is unbelievable! Unfortunately, I didn't get to look at it much as the running took almost all of my attention.

I love Yosemite!

Bill Wright


Half Dome run,

L'Esprit des Etats Unis!

by Jacques du Monde - Foreign Correspondant

The French have long asked, "When will the Americans finally come to understand the meaning of alliance and fraternity? SInce World War II they have been nothing but arrogant ingrates!"

The response came late one August afternoon in the Valley of Yosemite, California. Three Americans, in commemoration of the triple alliance formed in World Wars I & II, set out to show their appreciation in a particularly French manner. In honour of the French spirit, the three Americans, known as the Lafayette Escadrille, announced that they will attempt to break the record set by a fellow American in the 1960's for the fastest ascent and descent of Halfdome _without water_. It was the hardened American Warren Harding, known for his stoic first ascents of climbs and stout drinking endurance in the mountain room, who set the record on a hot summer afternoon. It was nearly 100 degrees when Harding set out on the Mist trail. The trail is 16.4 miles roundtrip, ascending close to 5000 feet. The trail begins at the valley floor, approximately 3900 feet. Harding finished the run in 3 hours and 55 minutes.

The team of three consists of California natives Steve "Manual Overdrive, or Manny for short" Edwards, "Hollywood" Hans Florine, and Todd "the Spitfire" Mei. They began their attempt on Monday, August 11, at 2:30 in the afternoon. The temperature would reach the mid 90's.

"I think it is important," comment Manual Overdrive, who is the record holder for eating 33 eggs in an hour while being dehydrated, "that the real hardship of the trail ascents be shown. Since I was a child, I enjoyed the Warren Harding films of the 1950's and 60's, but now it is time to capture the pure horror of it." True to form, Manual fell to the ground after topping out and descending the steep cables in convulsions. The lack of water caused both legs to cramp. Manual hobbled down, scraping the ground for grapes and spring water in order to replenish his strength.

"The honesty," said one spectator, "was too much. I wanted Manual to stop and give up, but he kept going, giving himself to every footstep until someone else needed him." Indeed, a woman who sprained her knee required the assistance of the spirited Manual to take her down the mountain in utter darkness.

"Breaking the record was not important," commented the retired Charles de Gaul. "What is important, as Churchill once told me, is the effort, the fight. Manual was like Laurent Blanc in the Cup 98. He was not there in the game, but he was there to push and inspire us all. Without that we could not have won."

"Sacrifice," said French spokesman Renoit Foudre, "was invented by the French at the Maginot Line." Indeed, thousands of French World Cup fans applauded the American.

Ten minutes ahead of Manual were Hollywood Hans and Spitfire Mei. Hans is known for his willingness to perform before fans and camera, and as the current record holder of the fastest ascent of the El Capitain, he is certainly well respected. However, Mei was a bit more skeptical. "Hans joined the team only 48 hours before the launch," explained a concerned Spitfire Mei, who was formerly the Eating tutor of Santa Barbara. "I mean the event is in celebration of the Alliance. When we run, we're running against Evil, against the Nazis. So I ask you, what kind of a name is Hans? It sounds bloody German to me! He's got blonde hair and stinks of the old elite race. I didn't want to run with him for fear that at any moment he might shank me with a bratwurst or something. But listen to this, proof came when like the movie 'Lifeboat,' directed by Hitchcock, Hans pulled out a canister of water. Remember how the German could row because he had a vial of water, well think about it. There's always some trickery, some form of a Fifth Columnist around."

Spitfire was referring to the fact that Hollywood Hans got primetime coverage with the fastest time, finishing 2 minutes ahead of the Spitfire at 3 hours and 36 minutes. Was it the water? Did Hollywood therefore break the record? Hans was not available for comment though several spectators did see Hans and Spitfire neck and neck over the last rise before making the steep descent down the granite steps. Mei appeared to cramp up and fall to the ground, no doubt to the cheers of jubilant French singing the "Marseillaise."

Hans was later seen hunched over in the Village market due to extreme exhaustion, or as some speculate GUILT. Mei retorted, "No doubt at this point, that German wishes he had a Spitfire - pure British effort and brilliance." Hans can be seen later this month attempting to run 14 mountain peaks in California, all over 14,000 feet, within 16 days. His teammates had very boring nicknames and cannot be mentioned here in this article.

As for Manual, he will be attempting to break the Spitfire's time of 3 hours and 38 minutes.

"Yes," said Manual, "I was shocked to see Hans with that water. I should have sussed the whole thing when I saw what he was wearing. While the Spit and I wore soccer jerseys and terry cloth headbands in honour of the World Cup 98, Hans wore bright fluorescent green shorts and was listening to Disco. That's pretty much like taking drugs to boost your performance. Where were the French officials then? Well despite that we all finished. Vive La France!"

Despite the controversy, the French loved it, singing as each one crossed the line, "Allez, allez, allez, allez...we are champs, we are champs." And who could forget the large blue and red rooster dancing at the finish line. Some call him Footix, but others call him the Spirit of France.

How beautiful.


El Castillo del Barrio

Santa Barbara, California - circa 1807


Half Dome run, and falls trail to El cap, and four mile trail.

from Lou Lorber.

I went to Yosemite last Friday. I drove to the alternate 'secretspot'just past Groveland Thursday evening and hit the sack about 9:30 after the customary 2 beers and some star gazing. I got up at 2:00 am, was in the valley by 3:00, and hiking towards Half Dome by 3:30. I figured I'd have over 2 hours to trudge along in the dark and did spend a little time wondering just what inthehell I was doing. However, the morning was beautiful - 1/2 moon and brightstars -and the time passed quickly. Oh, and I also had the trail all to myself. I got to the Summit of Half Dome a couple of minutes before 7:00, relaxed in the brilliant sunshine for 45 seconds and started down. I was back at the car at 9:45. I ate some more food, made more Gator-aid and drove to YosemiteLodge. I left the car at 10:15 and started up the Yosemite Falls trail,arriving at the top of El Cap at 1:00 PM. This point is actually a couple of hundred feet lower than the 'summit' of El Cap a short ways back up the trail (about 7200vs7550). I ate some more lunch out there and enjoyed the views - awesome views(but you know that)! - and started back down. I got back to the car about 4:30,was not feeling too bad, so I refiled the Gator-aid bottle, grabbed a beerfrom the cooler, and headed for the Sentinel turn-out and the Four Mile trailtoGlacier>point. I had been thinking about adding this trail all day, but figured I'd just see how I felt after HD & El Cap. I can't really say the Four Miletrailwas a lot of fun, but I got to the summit a few minutes after 7:00, took abrief break, drank my beer while enjoying the always impressive view of Half-Dome,Vernal & Nevada falls and the Clark Range, refilled the water bottle and started down. Darkness caught me with close to 2,000 feet yet to descend. That trail is kind of annoying with a headlamp because there is a lot of decomposedgranite covering rock and old sections of pavement that leads to frequent slipping and swearing. I got back to the car just before 9:00 PM. Total elevation on the altimeter was 11,670, distance must have beenabout 41 miles, and time was about 17 1/2 hours. I called Martha and told her not to wait up and then boogied for home. I was home by 1:00 am - 23 hours aftergetting up. I'm not sure what things like this accomplish, I wouldn't even tell the people I work with about it as they'd consider it stupid, but I had a good time.Next year - the R2R2R. This Friday, Martha and I are going camping in (or just east of)Yosemite. Should be fun. Give my congratulations to Sheri! I admire the competitiveness of you two. Gotta get busy as this is only a three day week for me. Cheers, Loobster


Regular route on Half Dome

Samo samo,  Jim Herson arrives the night before, and we argue over the gear and such for more hours than the climbing on the route takes.  Late night arrivals at my house made me think Jim was up again all night.   We left the stables at 8:15 am, arrived at the base at 10:15.  A party hauling the first pitch immediately says "hey you guys can climb through if you want".  so we had a nice start. we passed another party without incident around the 7th pitch.   We dispatched with the first four pitches 11 minutes faster than our previous "multi shoe joy ride".  Next bench mark was the base of the chimneys which we reached in 49 minutes a cool 17 minutes faster than our MSJR.  Big Sandy came up after 1 hr 15 minutes had elapsed and Jim yanked me to the top from there in 38 minutes.   Total time elapsed:  1 hour 53 mins, and 25 seconds.   Jim lead the whole thing, he only replenished his rack once at the Robbins bolt ladder.   We must of been asked 6 times how fast we climbed the route from tourist.  This was a delight for Jim as he was quite lambasted the first time he topped out and people were calling him crazy, etc..  we even sandwiched a female for a tourist sappy shot. ( no, Anne we only hugged for the shot)   Now I gotta get Jim to drag me up Mescalito in under 10 hours.   cheerio   Hans

Tis-sa-sack -Half Dome

Another weekend update coming your way.  This time around we somehow managed to
drive past El Capitan and find our way to the other big stone in Yosemite
Valley, Half Dome.

Chan Harrell, Peter Coward and I re-united as Team Pokey and climbed the
historic and absolutely fantastic Tis-sa-ack route on Half Dome, VI, 5.10, A3+.
We did what we believe is the first single push ascent of this route in 31h 45m.
We are considering a break with tradition and redefining our particular brand of
single push style as "weekend style", where a hectic work week and a long Friday
night drive are mandatory elements of the ascent.

As usual, it was late to the Valley on Friday night with a 3:30 am alpine start
on Saturday.  The grueling pre-dawn hike up 2,700 vertical feet to the base of
Half Dome ensured that we were whipped before the climbing even started.  The
climb takes an elegant line up the center of the huge northwest face of Half
Dome.  It is the most stunning climb I've ever been on; gently overhanging in
its entirety and surrounded by anamazing sea of rock.  Unbelievably, we were the
only ones on Half Dome the whole weekend.

We started climbing at 7:15 am.  Chan led the first block of 8 pitches while I
recovered from the hike and secretly snoozed.  I took over from the next block
as the sun hit the face.  As usual, Peter, our nocturnal specialist, was kept in
reserve for the graveyard shift.  (Peter generally spends the entire week before
the climb, the drive up, and the approach telling us that this time he is not
getting the night time block.  Somehow, he always ends up on the sharp end when
the sun goes down.)

The first 15 pitches climbed in daylight went at a respectable pace of under one
hour per pitch.  As always, things deteriorated rapidly in the dark with route
finding difficulties, hard aid, questionable cleaning while leading tactics,
unintended 50 foot pendulums, and general chaos.

The next morning we cranked out the rest of the route at a somewhat slower pace
and topped out in the early afternoon.  The hike down was a grind and the last
mile on the road seemed to take an eternity.  We decided to stay in the Valley
that night instead of attempting to drive home.  Peter and I tainted out weekend
style ascent somewhat by not making it back to work until Monday afternoon.  And
of course Chan is unemployed but has the full time job of dealing with
pre-nuptual stress.

One of the best routes around and the highlight of this year's climbing.


West Face Leaning Tower

I seem to constantly struggle to find partners that share the same ambitions that I do about climbing. Either they have jobs and can’t go climbing or they don’t have jobs and have to spend time looking for one. Then there is the issue of matching experience.

Like most weekends, I was going through my list of friends to find a climbing partner to do a push on El Cap or an ambitious Alpine peak. I had just spent my winter break from school just sitting around looking for a climbing partner. I had gotten in a day or two here and there but the majority of my break was spent in the city wishing I were in the mountains. School started again the following Tuesday so I was antsy to get some more climbing in. On the phone I went through my usual spiel about why they should blow off life to do some climbing. Frustrated with no luck I remember telling my friend Mike Kiparsky about the beautiful weather in the Valley right then. With no luck selling him on the weekend, I started thinking of what I could do by myself. I decided and declared “Mike, I’m going to go break the solo time on the tower.”

I had led the entire climb a hand full of times before, clocking in around 6 to 7 hours each time.  My partners had held me up cleaning the pitches each time. I knew the record was around 5hrs.  So, I figured I could definitely break 6 hrs. If I went rope less.  The solo record couldn’t be that close.  I later found out from Peter Coward the record had been slashed to approximately 2 hrs, the solo time was around 4hrs.

I got packed that night; I knew that except for about 50 ft. of the route I could dispense with a rope, which would cut down on gear. I got in my car the next morning around 4am and arrived in the Valley just before 8am.  It was still too cold to win me out of my car for the approach. I decided I would go check out camp 4 see if there was anyone there I knew.  I had no luck so I ended up in the Bridal Veil Falls parking lot around 8:30am. With no car in sight I suddenly felt alone as I started up the talus approach. I went through the mental checklist making sure I didn’t forget anything.

I had dressed lightly, lightweight Miconomics for my top and bottom, lightweight pants a Windstopper fleece, And my fleece hat, that I quickly dispensed with. I brought a pair of shoes for the approach only. I would climb and descend in climbing shoes, which latter turned out to be the crux of the climb.  I got to the wall cruised across the catwalk and was at the base by 9:30am. I flaked the rope, doubled it up and tied into both ends so I trailed one loop. I glanced at my watch and started the stopwatch. I flew up the first 2 pitches half way up the 3rd a head blew on a bounce test. That took some scary cam hooking and a sketchy nut to get through. Just before Ahwanhee ledge I threw an oval on a bolt, clipped my rope and taped the gate shut, pulled the slaby free moves and was on top of pitch 4, as I pulled the rope, I looked at my watch. 49 minutes. I drank some water and ate a Gu then pendjied in to pitch 5. Cruised up. Another oval and some tape on a bolt (love to see those big letters ASCA) free climbed to the bolt ladder on pitch 6 and pulled my rope at the start of pitch 7. I knew 7 was long and would eat up time. So I took a minute to catch my breath. For some reason this pitch took me the same time as the first 4, fatigue? Thinking about the head that blew? Who knows?

Got to the roof shortly after (par for the course) grabbed some more water and ate a bar before the sprint to the top. I knew I had some free climbing to do and wasn’t feeling up to the free solo. So I threw a biner and tape on a couple of fixed pieces and pulled in the middle of pitch 10, had to throw a 4th biner in before the exit on to the ledge at pitch 10 scurried to the top.

I pulled the rope, sat down, and stopped the clock, 3hrs 37min. I thought I had moved slower. So just past 1 pm I ate and drank the last of it all.  I thought I could be down to the car around 2:30pm if I hurried. With snow and wet chimneys slowing my decent I got to my shoes that I had left at the base (never been so glad to put a pair on) and got down to the car just before 3pm. Starving by this point I figured I could be at a great Mexican restaurant, in Manteca by 5 for a burrito. And home by 8pm! 16 hours house to house.

In the morning I found out that it was snowing in the valley.  

Rack (on a double shoulder sling)         TIMES

1 petzl Tika                                                      Start from car time:  8:30am, aprox             

58 meters of 7mm rope                                 Start from rout time: 9:27am

1 ATC                                                             end of rout time: 1:04pm

1 Locker                                                          base-to-base time:?

6 ovals (with a small roll of tape)                car-to-car time: 7:30    approx.

3 Quick draws                                                  house to house: 16:00 approx.  (SF, Ca)

1 cam hook, 1 skyhook

1 black/blue offset alien

#5, #6 HB offset nut

6 nuts (small to medium)

1 each- black alien, blue alien

2 each- green alien, yellow alien

2 each- .5 Camelot, .75 Camelot, #1 Camelot, #2 Camelot

2 GU’s, 2 Luna bars, 1 liter of water mixed with Carbo fuel

Nick Fowler.