|On 27/12/2012 Nick Clow wrote:
>However (and this is not being critical, just curious), why would you intentionally choose to do Hotel California (is it 10
>pitches?) as a party of three?
A good question that might be relevant those who are interested in multipitch routes.
From a technical point of view, once you have the technique down pat, a party of three is not much slower than a party of two. This applies only when climbing with two ropes allowing the two seconds to climb simultaneously for most of the pitch while the leader uses a reverso (or equivalent). Once at the belay, properly swapping ropes minimises rope management and things are acceptable – Alex, Dominik and I have done enough multipitch routes by now to have it down pat most of the time. Of course, in the trip reports I highlight the gaffes, the struggles and the tense moments (the conniptions as would say Mike Law): they are after all the salt of the story telling since there is only one true story to tell: boy meets girl, boy kisses girl, girls leaves, boy sad, girl returns, boy happy.
Also, doing them as a party of three makes a couple of things possible. First, the moments spent on the belay ledges are with a mate at almost all time: while the leader progresses, you can both shoot the breeze and shoot pictures. This in my view is important since there are always occasion when the leader may take an hour (out of sight even) or more to complete a tough pitch. Alone with an ATC on a windy ledge is not exactly my idea of fun. And good pictures make for more interesting trip reports, right?
There's also the personal circumstances. I'm lucky enough to have climbed 6–7 years with the same core group. We like the same things and get a lot of joy out of it. Through the years, we have developed a trust that money can't buy, we have learnt our strengths and weaknesses, and we piggy back on each other enthusiasm. At first, I was the one to push for longer, harder routes, now it seems that both Alex and Dominik are more ambitious than I am. It doesn't stop them from sending me first when needed though...
As for Hotel California, it plays for us a special role – it was our "El Capitan" a few years back and topping out was for the three of us an unforgettable moment. Unforgettable. When Alex suggested to redo it, of course it had to be all together. Of course, the fear of the unknown is now gone, replaced by something perhaps better: anticipation. Vorfreude ist die schönste Freude as our german friends say.
That being said, I did climb with people who didn't like climbing in trio for exactly the reasons you mentioned. After all, we all try to do what turns us on. Nothing wrong with that.