Winter Ascent of El Capitan: Zenyatta Mondatta

30 01 2011

After a crazy and hectic 1st semester of business school in LA, I felt an overwhelming desire to get myself involved in something non-urban and anti-corporate.  Over eight days spanning New Years 2011, I met up in Yosemite with two up-and-coming young climbers from Boulder, Cheyne Lempe and Colin Simon.

It had dumped huge amounts of snow in the valley for a week before our arrival.  Huge pieces of ice were breaking off the top of the wall, falling more than two thousand feet before vaporizing on the talus base.  It felt like climbing a big wall in Afghanistan.  For the first few days, I had my doubts about our potential success.

We were alone on El Capitan’s overhanging, frigid granite walls.  Not one other climbing team had dared to face those conditions.  We summited on January 5th at midnight and stumbled 20 feet from the cliff edge to make our bivy in five feet of snow.

The following video is a brief portrayal of our ascent of Zenyata Mondatta (A4 – VI).

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30 01 2011
Asa Firestone

Props to Cheyne Lempe for putting together this great video! You can read more about the ascent and see more pictures on Cheyne’s blog: http://cheynelempe.blogspot.com/2011/01/zenyatta-mondatta-el-capitan-winter.html

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