Issue 8

Tales Of Vertical Trails: Better Together

Starstruck was the last route I developed with Andrew in the spring of 2020. He continued to add ‘Wet Like Willy’ and ‘Dumbo’ later that season. During the winter of 2021 Andrew spent a lot of time developing Mythos Crag. As the Spring of 2021 arrived it had been a while since we had been bolting together. We had a vision to add a new route on Freyja Wall and timing finally lined up for us to get after it.
Issue 8

Tales Of Vertical Trails: Better Together

Starstruck was the last route I developed with Andrew in the spring of 2020. He continued to add ‘Wet Like Willy’ and ‘Dumbo’ later that season. During the winter of 2021 Andrew spent a lot of time developing Mythos Crag. As the Spring of 2021 arrived, it had been a while since we had been bolting together. We had a vision to add a new route on Freyja Wall and timing finally lined up for us to get after it. Andrew and a number of partners had started a route from the ground up, but he ran into terrain that was not feasible to develop from the ground up. It was time to change tactics.

We camped at Preachers Point – our strategy was to do evening development laps, in between guiding days. We ascended the wall via “From Nordegg With Love” and bolted our new project from the top down. Over the course of many evenings we established the Pitches 3-10 of the route from the top down. At first we just placed anchor stations and eyed things up. There was no way around the fact that one pitch would be very strenuous. The strata on Freyja formed with one steep coral pitch that was exceptional but challenging. Andrew and I were excited about it, but wanted to take our time laying out the best route through the pitch. We solidified the bolting on the rest of the route prior to completing the crux pitch.

Little did I know that bolting the crux pitch on Better Together would be the last time I drilled with Andrew. We spent an entire session laying out and bolting the 17 bolt, 40m pitch. It traverses up and left through the best section of the coral. For me this memory is a gift. I appreciate the time I shared with Andrew on the ground, but even more so on the wall. The day before Andrew and Nate passed away they took one more pass rappelling the wall and added one key bolt. The next morning as they crested the convexity above the snow pitch on the Sky Ladder route on Mount Andromeda a catastrophic avalanche was triggered. Andrew and Nate will forever be loved and missed by their friends and family. Enough cannot be said about their kind hearts, boldness, and passion.

Little did I know that bolting the crux pitch on Better Together would be the last time I drilled with Andrew.

Nathaniel Johnson on Batteries Not Included
Nathaniel Johnson on Batteries Not Included

More Tales of Vertical Trails:

Tales Of Vertical Trails: Starstruck Part II

Tales Of Vertical Trails: Starstruck Part II

The next week, Andrew and I were guiding a trip up the Via Ferrata in the morning and we happened to finish up around 1pm. We looked at each other as our guests departed. No words were spoken, bolts were loaded, and we were off.Pitch 3The Pitch 7 Traverse An hour...

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Tales Of Vertical Trails: Starstruck (Frejya Wall)

Tales Of Vertical Trails: Starstruck (Frejya Wall)

While helping Mike Adolph with his enormous project of building ‘From Nordegg With Love’ I had gotten a good look at the Massif adjacent to it. I was constantly drawn to this wall, and now conditions for an attempt were just right. Andrew and I were excited to try a...

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Tales Of Vertical Trails: The Peoples Route (Voltswagen)

Tales Of Vertical Trails: The Peoples Route (Voltswagen)

We returned the next day with Nate Johnson, and began bolting an easier line up the prow. This was a memorable moment. I was adamant that we push through one pitch of poor rock to reach the higher quality rock above. Andrew was not so sure, but it was his lead....

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