Moonlight Buttress Rope Solo Winter Ascent
Climbing the Nose on El Capitan had always been such a powerful goal of mine. So in September of this past year, after a successful ascent, I was left wondering what to do next.
I decided to take three months off of climbing and did what any regular 27 year old male would do; went out to the bars, dated women, focused on work and socialized with non climbing friends. It was a good change of pace and I enjoyed the subtleties of showering everyday, not driving 6-7 hours each weekend, a routine fitness schedule, female companionship, good food and sleeping in a bed.
Then in Mid November, something hit me. I lost all of my energy, was vomiting and over 103 fever. I went to the ER, then to my Doctor for bloodwork – my results were abnormal. I was bed ridden and missed two and a half weeks of work. I slowly got my energy back, started working again, and then was hit with the same sickness. This time it lasted a week and a half. I was worried something was seriously wrong. There were nights that my fever was so high and my shivering was so bad that I needed meditate just so I could separate my mind from my body. I was scared, depressed and lost. I rested and patiently waited. I slowly began to regain my strength got my blood retested (it was back to normal) and was finally feeling normal again.
Being sick reinvigorated my craving for adventure. I realized how precious the time is that we spend and how quickly it can be taken from us. I wanted more than anything to just “get out there and climb.” I thought long and hard about what was next to climb and I decided that the next logical progression from big wall climbing was big wall soloing. Solo wall climbing is the epitome of self-reliance and at that point I felt like I needed to climb but I also needed to be alone. Climbing has always been one of the rare times that all my worries leave me and I am truly in the moment. I wanted to feel that again.
At 8pm on February 3rd, after work and feeling like shit, I decided to drive out to Zion to attempt a Rope Solo Winter Ascent of Moonlight Buttress.
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