Call it what you will, call it what you like. This is the beginning of a dream. Two years ago I saw a photo which has stuck in my mind since the moment I saw it. The photo I saw was not only beautiful, it was commanding. From a distance you could barely even tell there were human figures in the photo, the immense sea of red granite stained with a dominating vertical charcoal streak, hid the figures well. After admiring the shear beauty of the rock, I finally realized there were indeed three people huddled together at a hanging belay; ropes neatly flaked across one's lap. At the time my climbing abilities were in their infancy stages, but without care for anything but the pure aesthetic of the stone, I knew I wanted to climb the beautiful route I was staring at. However, this desire was quelled as quickly as it formed when I discover the route I found so attractive was the Bachar-Yerian on Medlicott Dome. My desires weren't halted because of any normal reason which might stop one from climbing a route. The route wasn't located at one of the ends of the earth, garnering a massive price tag just to travel to the routes base. In fact, the B-Y is located a very short walk from a major US highway running through Tuolumne Meadows, CA. The route does ascend some massive pile of junk rock waiting to topple over at any second. Again the exact opposite is true, the route ascends some of the highest quality granite on the face of our tiny planet. And finally, the route didn't require a massive list of expensive gear; just a small rack of quickdraws with a puny assortment of gear to supplement, a rope, a good partner, and more confidence than anyone of the cast of Jersey Shore. This last bit about confidence is what left me crumpling the idea to climb the Bachar-Yerian into a small wad and tossing it to the trash receptacle in my mind. The Bachar-Yerian might be one of the most (if not the most) mentally challenging routes found anywhere. I'm sure this claim could be debated for as long as the debate surrounding where it is and where it is not appropriate to place bolts. So to save us all from that and provide my top three reasons why I define this route to be the most mentally challenging route found anywhere.
1. 11c X . . . to anyone who doesn't understand this, the 11c means the route is difficult. I don't care who you are or how long you've been climbing . . . nearly every climber can remember a time (as brief as it may have been) where 11c was HARD. The part means X if one were to fall during certain portions of this route, you might not come home.
2. That whole part about falling I mentioned above, well its validity has been tested, by some of the best climbers in history. They survived to the tune of broken limbs. Thus, the thought that I (I meaning me, meaning the climber who still feels pretty nervous on 11c, meaning the climber who is far from elite) am going to attempt to do something that challenged the top elite climbers only 10 years ago . . . well its like being a college basketball player who is going to show down with Larry Bird . . . you know your a baller but facing off against the Birdman isn't going to be a walk in the park.
3. Last but not least, this route is incredibly consistent. There isn't just one pitch in which you could become royally fucked if you blow it, you could become royally fucked if you blow it on any pitch during nearly any move on the entire route. . . for 500 feet. That's 50 stories for anyone who is having a hard time imagining this.
So without further ado . . . this is my formal announcement that I plan to attempt the Bachar-Yerian in September of 2011. Stay tuned for updates on climbing, training, fun, and more!