Will insisted on wearing the fedora. It was his ‘Leo’ Hat. In my mind I just pretended it was a helmet. I was lurking about the Valley that October climbing walls, I think I had done 6 or 7 that month when I heard Will talking about doing The Prophet. I quickly chimed in, “I’ll support you on that. Belay, haul, whatever I can do to help you out.” I didn’t really know Will well, but I had enough mutual friends to vouch for me. I figured it was my one chance to see the route up close, and to watch Will accomplish a life goal first hand. To spend another 4 days on el cap, what other reason did I need?The previous year he had climbed the whole route with @sonnietrotter
but came up short on the crux pitch, I could only imagine his heartbreak 2 pitches from the summit with no sending. I figured you don’t get to watch someone sending 5.13 R/X pitches everyday. “I’ll get your corpse off the mountain if something goes wrong too!” I chided Will, it was a bad joke but it was how we joked those days, especially before something that was really f$&ked up. “You might need to,” he responded. Will wore that Fedora pitch after pitch, even while flying through the air while trying to stick the ‘Devils Dyno’. Leaping to a slopey bread loaf 1500’ up El Cap the hat never came off. He never caught the hold but sent the variation second try. I cringed as I watched him get serious for the 11d X pitch. (Pretty sure pictured here, I believe that’s his only piece of gear). I laughed at the look of terror on his face when I accidentally cleaned the fixed brass nut on a 13b R pitch, “That’s going to make it tough for the next guy!” He said. But on the last day, when the sun turned golden, I’ve never felt an energy like Will exuded as he started up the A1 Beauty. Several falls had already made him nervous, a previous years failures didn’t help with the pressure. Then he made incredibly hard rock climbing look graceful and easy.
@thenorthface_climb #neverstopexploring #climbing