My first time on El Cap’s “The Nose” was short and painful. I made The Speed Injury Record on The Nose by taking a 20 foot fall onto a ledge on the first pitch. Im extremely embarrassed by how quickly and low on the route I fell. But theres nothing I can do about it besides find a silver lining and let my ankle heal.
Doug and I have been training for a few months in preparation for this Yosemite season. We were gonna do a trial run on The Nose up to Texas Flake and rap down just to get our feet in the cracks on the granite giant. We woke up in our usual El Portal spot at 5am, made coffee, a quick bathroom stop and were on the trail by 6am. About 15 minutes later, I started up Pine Line as a quick warm and clipped the tree at the top. Doug quickly followed, we flaked our ropes and within a couple minutes I was running up the 4th class scramble to the ledge at Pitch 1 intermediate anchors After clipping them, moving through the bolts, I placed my first cam of the day. I mantled up to a slab sloping section at the base of the cracks (about 5 feet over my piece). Placed another cam, pulled and bounce tested it and it seemed “bomber”. Clipped it, stood up on the aid ladder and was reaching for the piton where I found I was just a tad short of clipping it. I sat back in daisy chain and then a second later, I hear the dreaded sound of a cam popping.
I fell down about 5 feet and saw the slab go by, then about another 15 feet saw the intermediate anchors and finally the ledge. I think the rope caught about 2 feet off the ground so it barley slowed my fall (not enough to make a huge difference but something is better than nothing). I fell directly on my feet and my right ankle took the force of the fall. I collapsed as I hit the ledge and my vision blurred for a quick second. I felt my ankle burning but other than that I felt okay. Doug yelled up asking how I was and I replied “Okay, but my ankle is fucked.” Doug lowed me down and after a quickly assessing the injury, I tried aiding back up but my ankle couldn’t bare any weight. We decided to bail, not even up the first pitch of El Cap. Doug lead the rest of the pitch, cleaned it and then helped me abseil down. After a shameful & painful decent paired with very generous groups of climbers asking if I needed help, we made it back to the car. My ankle was about twice its size and throbbing, but I did set the Speed Record for the fastest El Cap injury.