Dem britisch-polnischen Alpinisten Marek Raganowicz gelingt eine Rope-Solo-Begehung der Route Born Under a Bad Sign am El Capitan, Yosemite Valley. Im folgenden Bericht erzählt er (Englisch) von seinem Vorhaben und der effektiven Umsetzung.
Ein Bericht von 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 felt like a FAists or predecessors and on the other hand this is another step on my own path, some kind of my own creation.
Anyway, just came back from Yosemite with another solo ascent on modern A5 route – Born Under a Bad Sign. I picked up the line from the guide book mainly, because of the area of the the wall, fantastic Devil’s Brow Roof and trip report by 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 was like thinking about free solo on Free Rider and ending on local climbing gym.
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 was suprisly “easy”, but starting from pitch 7, above the Devil’s Tower I need to keep my eyes and mind wide open and be creative more then on the Saturday karaoke. The pitches were hard and ask myself “ who put the damn hard line?”. I realized that I do not even know the names of the FAists, but I have checked at the bivi spot.
On the topo I found two names: Bill Price and Tim Washick. Who are the guys? I asked myself. In the Russ TR I found some info that Bill lead 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 climber in the USA. Known from free climbing 5.13b (Cosmic Debris), second ascent of Sea of Dreams were he lead all pitches and he already put two other new lines on El Cap (Sunkist and South Seas).
On the El Cap Meadow somebody told me, that after his 21 birthday he gave up the climbing. I don’t know how many years he climbed in total, but for sure enough to be a legend compered to Eric Kohl, Walt Shipley or other great guys from the New Wave in Yosemite in the last decades of 20th Century.
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 will ask me about the route, I would suggest do not climb BUBS as the first route on El Cap even you are the best karaoke singer in your local pub. 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.
Informationen zur Route Born Under a Bad Sign
Born Under a Bad Sign, 5.9/A5, El Capitan, 14 Seillängen, Erstbegehung durch Bill Price & Tim Washick, 1979
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Credits: Bildmaterial Marek Raganowicz