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Adventures in Evolution (Nov 11 Caltech presentation)


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Michelle's Nov 2011 Caltech Alpine Club talk on the Evolution Traverse.

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Adventures in Evolution (Nov 11 Caltech presentation)

  1. 1. Adventures in Evolution First female ascent of the Evolution Traverse
  2. 2. The Mystique How we got spanked on Evolution Traverse (Shay of, 2007) “16 hours car-to-car; 22 miles; peaks reached: 0/9” (Warren C and Dave J, 2009) “Cycling through 3 partners over 3 attempts…” (Ryan H in reference to Josh G, 2011) “The best traverse I have done.” (Peter Croft in The Good, The Great and the Awesome; FA on attempt #3) 17 documented successful ascents prior to my 2011 attempt (all by men)
  3. 3. The Route• 5.9, VI• 10 mile approach overLamark Col (3,600 ft ofgain and 1,600 ft ofdescent)• 8 mile ridge traverseover nine 13K ft peaks• ~16 mile hike out
  4. 4. The Route• 5.9, VI Thunderbolt to Sill• 10 mile approach over (5.9, IV)Lamark Col (3,600 ft of • 10 mile approachgain and 1,600 ft of with 5,200 ft of gaindescent) (Glacier Lodge• 8 mile ridge traverse start/end)over nine 13K ft peaks • ~1.6 mile ridge traverse over five 14K• ~16 mile hike out ft peaks • ~9 mile hike out
  5. 5. My Background Climbing  Been climbing on/off since the mid-90s  Since ~2006 increased focus on trad/alpine climbing  Comfortable leading 5.10 trad  Enjoy exposure, soloing, and mega days Work  Have a full-time job at a local search company in Glendale, but fortunate to work remotely
  6. 6. The Prep First (half-assed) attempt in Sep 2010  Base camp support from Jascha  Bailed before the Mendel summit due to (chronic) hip flexor issues Major focus on the Aug 2011 attempt  Made the decision to do the traverse alone and unsupported  Ton of climbing (trad, sport, bouldering, alpine soloing) with a focus on alpine speed and endurance  Planning & logistics (balancing weight and comfort/safety)  PT
  7. 7. The Prep Surprisingly early start to the alpine season given the winter’s record snowfall N Ridge of Lone Pine Peak (5.5), 30 May
  8. 8. The Prep Spent much time on Temple Crag to avoid sloggy conditions Moon Goddess Arete (5.8)
  9. 9. The Prep Sun Ribbon (5.10a) | Galey | Sill traverse
  10. 10. The Prep Last minute Evolution crux recon and bivy gear stash 1.5 weeks prior
  11. 11. The Approach Darwin and Mendel from Lamark Col
  12. 12. The Approach Darwin Canyon 2010 Darwin Canyon 2011
  13. 13. The Approach Darwin Canyon Darwin Benches Base camp at Darwin Benches
  14. 14. The Climb Darwin Canyon Darwin Benches 13,360 from Darwin Benches
  15. 15. The ClimbLooking into Evolution Basin fromthe ridgeline on 13,360 Darwin CanyonDarwinBenches
  16. 16. The Climb Self portrait en route to 13,360 Darwin CanyonDarwinBenches
  17. 17. The Climb headwall Mendel from the 13,360 summit (5.6)
  18. 18. The Climb Ridge traverse to Mendel
  19. 19. The Climb Mendel headwall (~25 ft, not 5.9)
  20. 20. The Climb Darwin from Mendel
  21. 21. The Climb Picket fence to Darwin (5.8)
  22. 22. The Climb Darwin summit block
  23. 23. The Climb Chimney section off the Darwin summit (5.9)
  24. 24. The ClimbMore down-climbing off the Darwin summit
  25. 25. The Climb Traverse to 13,332 (5.9)
  26. 26. The Climb Golden slab (photo from recon)
  27. 27. The Climb Bivy #1 with the evening’s entertainment, This American Life
  28. 28. The Climb 13,332 summit
  29. 29. The Climb Haeckel from 13,332 (class 3)
  30. 30. The Climb Wallace from just below the Haeckel summit (aka the spot where Emma saved my ass with an apple).
  31. 31. The Climb Huxley, the final obstacle (~5.7)
  32. 32. The Climb The last summit!
  33. 33. The Descent Hike back on the JMT through Evolution Basin
  34. 34. The Descent Darwin Canyon Darwin Benches First real food in 2.5 days
  35. 35. Summary• ~22.5 hours of climbingover 2.1 days
  36. 36. Tips Go as light as you can taking into consideration your limits and conditions. Be efficient at route-finding, moving quickly unroped over 4th and easy 5th class terrain, and rope/gear management if you plan to use them. Consider your water options (snow melt versus dropping down 500’ to Haeckel Col). Acclimate. A full day at the Darwin Benches helps significantly especially if you are a flatlander. Note to self: Have your food plan perfected and make sure your camera is fully functional. Have fun. It’s an amazing climb no matter how far you get.
  37. 37. What’s Next?I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring. - David Bowie
  38. 38. What’s Next?I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring. - David Bowie
  39. 39. Questions | Beta user name fossana on summitpost and mountainproject
  40. 40. Gear List 80’ of 7mm Mammut Pro Cord – did 1 pack haul, 1 pack lower and 1 rap 3 nuts (sm, med, lg) – didn’t use ATC guide / locker Camp XLH 95 harness 40’ 9/16” tubular webbing – way too much Lightest pair of climbing shoes I could find at the Gear Exchange Western Mountaineering VersaLite (10 degree bag) 2L MSR Dromedary bag (for melting snow) + 100 oz hydration bladder Black Diamond Speed 40 pack Montrail CTC approach shoes Camp Corsa ice axe (left this at Lamark Col on the hike in) Cheap closed cell foam pad cut down to ½ length and minimal width* Rab Storm Bivi* * Cached on recon
  41. 41. More Eye Candy | TRs Josh Garrison’s video covering 3 attempts: Patituccis’ blog: sierra-nevadas-evolution-traverse/ Alan Cattabriga’s TR: evolution-traverse/ My TR: Traverse-How-I-Owe-it-All-to-an- Apple/t11143n.html
  42. 42. Many Thanks Tothe following people for beta, encouragement, company on recons/training climbs, and tolerating my obsessive ramblings:Alan C, Vic L, Peter C, Mike C, Ben H, Jason L, Ian C-B, Tricia L, Matt S, Tai D, Em H, Todd T, Joe L, Lisa R, Wills Y, Jascha L, Joan P, Miguel F, Sandra S, Janel C, Jessie M, Yoshiko and Jim M, Nathan W, Laura M and especially Emma