The day before we left the ground I kept saying “I just want to start. I just want to get up there.” I’d seen El Cap, I’d met our leaders, I wasn’t scared of climbing, so I just wanted it to start ASAP. I was sick of being anxious.
Originally Timmy told us that we’d spend the whole day prior to departure learning how to ascend the rope and how to live on the wall. That went right out the window when different errands and tasks piled up with less than 24 hours to go. We were fitted for our harnesses, taught about our equipment, and we carried a load of some of the water we’d need to the base or our route, about a 20 minute hike from the road. Now came the moment Heath and I had been wondering about. What was he going to say when he found out that we hadn’t bought all the clothing and gear he told us to get. Climbers love synthetic clothing and nobody wears cotton up there, so you get a really original look on Timmy’s face when Heath tells him he’s going to wear a button down, slacks from Banana Republic, and a crossbreed of skate shoes and leather boots. And woops, I forgot, we really didn’t want to wear helmets either. The slacks eventually got the pass, but they said no fucking way on going helmet-less, so the helmet had to go over Heaths token black hat. Timmy just couldn’t believe that he’d sent me a half off coupon to the Patagonia store and all I’d bought was a flannel.
Clothing crisis averted, it was time to work on our food. Timmy and Dave took over here and we just watched them divvy up the most insane pile of heavy food I’d ever seen someone camp with. All these years as a backpacker I’d been taught to pack light and avoid unnecessary items, these guys went the other route. Since Clif bar is one of Timmy’s sponsors we had piles of Clif products. All that talk of shot blok love? That was handled with what you could call an all you can eat buffet of them, along with clif bars, powdered drink, and everything else that company makes. We also had canned fruit, bagels, peanut butter, salami, blocks of cheese, canned beans, coffee, precooked asian noodles, and a 12 pack of beer among other things. Now, to give you an idea of how much weight we were getting ready to slug up this mountain, water alone would be 21 gallons, about 168 pounds. A rough guess of all the climbing EQ, food, porta-ledges, and sleeping gear? Maybe 250-300 pounds split into three haul bags that we would soon call our flotilla.
Side note: When Timmy found out there was deodorant in my bag he couldn’t believe it. I think he thought I was joking actually. I just wanted to say “Dude, you just packed 9 pounds of beer!”