British-Polish alpinist Marek Raganowicz manages a Rope solo on the Born Under a Bad Sign at El Capitan, Yosemite Valley. In the following report, he talks about his project and its effective implementation.

A report by Marek Raganowicz

When I repeat somebody else route, I feel like singing karaoke in the pub on Saturday evening. Fortunatetly, in climbing same as in karaoke is a space for some creativity, because nobody performs in the same way, so on one hand I can feel like a FAists or predecessors and on the other hand this is another step on my own path, some child of my own creation.

Anyway, just come back from Yosemite with another solo ascent on modern A5 route - Born Under a Bad Sign Russ Walling and Walt Shipley.

I read their story of the second ascent just before I came to the valley for the first time in 2006. In that time, I wanted to climb solo the Zodiac, so in compering with BUBS that's like thinking about free solo on Free Rider and ending on local climbing gym.

The itinerary of Born Under a Bad Sign at El Capitan. (Picture Marek Raganowicz)

14 years later, I packed the gear on BUBS. To be honest I didn't want to know too much about the route, so I haven't done any research before the climb. I wanted to save some unknown space and give myself a chance for creativity. Deep in my mind I kept the Russ's story, inspiration and beauty of the line with only one short rivet ladder and challenging expando flakes to climb.

The first A4 section what suprisly "easy", starting from pitch 7, above the Devil's Tower I need to keep my eyes open for more on the Saturday karaoke. The pitches were hard and ask me "who put the damn hard line?". I realized that I did not know the names of the FAists, but I checked them at the bivi spot.

Marek Raganowicz on the tour of the route Born Under a Bad Sign. (Image Marek Raganowicz)

On the topo I found two names: Bill Price and Tim Washick. Who are the guys? I myself. In the Russ TR I found some info that Bill leads the most of the hard pitches. In 1979 when the team put the BUBS and he was 19th, he was one of the best free and aid climbers in the USA. Known from Free Climbing 5.13b (Cosmic Debris), second ascent of Sea of ​​Dreams, was the second in the history of El Cap (Sunkist and South Seas).

On the El Cap Meadow somebody told me that after his 21 birthday he gave up the climbing. Eric Kohl, Walt Shipley or other great guys from the New Wave at Yosemite in the last decades of 20th Century.

Single-handed climbing means hauling, hauling, hauling. (Picture Tom Evans)

Born Under a Bad Sign got the second ascent after 7 years of attempts by top gust of that time - Russ Walling, Walt Shipley, Paul Gagner, John Barbella, Rob Slater).

"My ascent was probably 7th and second solo (the first by Steve Gerberding). "

If somebody wants to ask me about the route, I would not recommend it to you. Take a lot of beaks, be creative, do not modify the features and enjoy expanding flakes, loose rock, nice hooking and the rurp on the Devil's Brow Roof. Good luck.

Information about the route Born Under a Bad Sign

Born Under a Bad Sign, 5.9 / A5, El Capitan, 14 pitches, first ascent by Bill Price & Tim Washick, 1979

That might interest you

+ + +
Credits: Pictures Marek Raganowicz