When I was in the valley this summer, Colin and I met this guy Mark Hudon. We first met him when we were doing our nose in a day ascent while he was doing his two week solo ascent of grape race to tribal right.
Right when we got up to the boot flake and king swing section, we chatted with him a little bit, and kept on climbing as fast as we could. (He was just hanging out, reading a book on his portaledge.)
Once we got done with NIAD, rested 3 days, climbed the salathe wall in 3 days, we met him on the way down the east ledges as he was carrying all of his gear down. Pretty funny, we climbed two el cap routes in the time he did one. At the same time...... it's not that big of a deal... my friend Scott Bennett climbed 5 routes, I think...
So it turns out that Mark had done the second ascent of the Phoenix in yosemite in the 80's. This was the first 5.13 EVER (the hardest route in the U.S.), which meant that Mark had been one of the best climbers at this time.
He is now over 50 years old, and may be the oldest person to solo el cap. He is still a badass. We got to hang out with him a lot while I was there, it was awesome.
He emailed me the other day just saying what's up, and if I had any other plans for the valley this summer. My obvious answer... yes.
He just done climbing the shield on el cap. For those of you who don't know anything about it, it's long, hard, and scary. Here are a two videos where he talks about our epic suffering on the nose.
As Tom Evans says, and I will never forget, "you may love the captain, but the captain doesn't give a shit about you."
Cheyne and Colin guts it out! from Mark Hudon on Vimeo.
Storm Bivy above the Triple Cracks from Mark Hudon on Vimeo.
Check out his other videos on the shield on his Vimeo page to see what camping in vertical is like.
Also check out his pictures. http://gallery.me.com/mt_hudon#gallery