On Friday, September 16th, we packed the last of our bags into Trixie and headed out on to the open road. Giddy with excitement, we eagerly charged forward to spend one last weekend at Wookie Wall before the cold weather and snow keep us away for the winter season. We arrived at Wiener Lake around 9PM. We pitched our tent and soon after, called it a night. Early Saturday morning, E and I shoveled down tasty hot cakes and slowly made our way up to Wookie Wall. The approach was slow going and the sun warmed our fair skin just right. On this day, we stopped to smell the fresh Alaskan air, sit atop sun-warmed rocks, and enjoy the colorful view. Knowing this would be our last weekend of climbing at Wookie Wall for the season, we took advantage of every possible moment.
Once at the top, we warmed up. I warmed up on my ongoing project, Seismic Wave, before attempting the send. For the last few weekends, I’ve come incredibly close to sending this route. Two pinch moves and smeary feet from the anchors keeps Seismic Wave a project, and me coming back. The attempt was smooth. Every move was deliberate and I felt good. Working through the technical crux at the bottom, I could feel the pump, but I pushed forward. With a sweet knee-bar rest, I was able to compose myself and keep my breathing consistent. With just enough rest time, I moved quickly to the top. Pinch, pinch, crossover, move my feet up, I quickly went for the last move — the slippery horn. Slapping my right hand on the horn, too tired and slippery to hold on, I fell. Oh man. One clip away from sending my 8-weekend project and I slipped. Hard stuff and so heartbreaking. Pumped and tired, I lowered off of the climb and decided that tomorrow would be a better day.
We spent the rest of the afternoon climbing a few other sweet routes, one of which E snagged a sweet redpoint on, Spray Gun 12d, only after 4 attempts! Nice work!
That evening, a delicious dinner and a few brews filled our bellies. We went to bed tired, full, and happy! Bright and early Sunday morning, the sun was incredible. The yellow leaves glistened in its rays and the earth smelled of fall. Another beautiful day warmly greeted us as we trekked through the yellow leaves and giant boulders, back up to Wookie Wall. Within a few minutes, my harness was on and I was lacing up my shoes. The sunshine and colors were serene and I couldn’t help but wonder how the view from the top would be. Well.. on that particular morning at 8AM, it was beautiful. I chalked up and set off. I sailed through the techy bottom section and crux. I confidently nailed every hold and clip. The route felt so good. I swiftly went from hold to hold and before I knew it, I was at the knee-bar rest. I barely used it. Calm and fresh, I moved ahead, hitting every hold, pinch, and smeary foot with confidence. The next thing I knew, I was clipping the anchors. After nearly 8 weekends of working this particular route, I sent it. In awe of the beautiful view and still surprised at my send, I basked in the sunshine a bit longer, taking in the view and the send.
E slowly lowered me down and I greeted him with a huge smile and bear hug. It was a beautiful day for a great send. I got my send and E got another one of his, a 12a route called Break the Chains. So ecstatic about our sends, we called it an early day. Packing our gear back down to Trixie, we loaded up and set off. We were back out on the open road, only this time, heading toward new territory. We drove about 2.5 hours north to a small town called Talkeetna. Here, we sipped on delicious brews from Denali Brewing Company, reminisced about our sends, and chatted excitedly about our up and coming special day… our wedding! Yipppeeeeee!
Ethan on Seismic Wave