Well, I have spent the last five days feeling extremely frazzled and dejected. Despite frantically reaching out to friends and strangers, as of now, I have not found a partner who can do NIAD with me in my specific time-frame. For reasons around time, expense, and grant stipulations, I feel like I have to attempt NIAD this trip. I am also in good shape now and I do not know whether I will be able to maintain outdoor climbing shape through the winter months in New England.
Having the rug pulled out from under me so last minute also highlights just how poorly I deal with improvisation and lack of plans.
However, I had a slight shift in my thoughts today. As my friend Chad correctly says, getting up a big wall is most about highs and lows, adapting to setbacks, never giving up and having some luck. This translates well to life. El Cap is not going anywhere any time soon, so there is the option of attempting NIAD in the spring if I can find someone to do it with. My friend, Clint, also suggested we go up El Cap the more leisurely way, and do a multi-day thing either on The Nose, Zodiac or Lurking Fear. The last two options will have much tougher approaches for me (especially with a heavy haul bag), and require portaledges. Worse comes to worse, I spend a day making multiple trips humping loads.
It will still be my first big-wall route since my accident, so I know just getting up El Cap, no matter how slow or fast, will be a worthy accomplishment in itself. I don’t want to feel frazzled and rushed if/when I attempt NIAD; so perhaps going the slow route this time round might be the more prudent and enjoyable thing to do anyway.
Although I was feeling completely defeated, I was somewhat heartened by the response I got from some climbers I propositioned, some of them some pretty big names! While none of them could climb with me at that time, their support for my continued journey and comeback moved me to tears.
Update to update:
There is one young kid who might be willing to do this with me. I just need to see for myself whether I’ll be able to stave off the forearms cramping or bonking on the last third of The Nose.
My (romantic) partner told me, as I was expressing to him all my feelings of complete failure:
“But Wendy, so what? Really. You haven’t done a big wall for five years. You had a fall that should have killed you. So bopping out to Yosemite, walking up to El Cap, and doing NIAD on your first outing is “reasonable”?” :)
The hydration/nutrition issue will really be a key thing for me to figure out. And while I am fit and have good stamina, who knows what it will be like on a wall when one leg is getting a free ride.