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Liberty Cap, The Patriot Act

Liberty Cap called us back for another round after we added Scarface in 2010. Starting halfway out the traverse ledge, in a thin corner system rising through overhanging stone, the line eventually trends right and joins the West Buttress route at the classic eighth pitch dihedral. We followed the West Buttress traverse left, then broke off to join the final pitches of Scarface to the summit. Our team consisted of Steve Bosque, Lars Johnson, and me.

We prepared for a relaxed, pitch-a-day schedule, which we strictly adhered to until the last day. The first few pitches were steep and technical. Our weapon of choice was the red Moses Tomahawk Perfect for thin corners, they would be the staple piece for the first half of the route. High-quality rock was on the menu, pitch after pitch. Some airtime was logged, cams broken, rain gear dropped, but we moved right along.After joining the West Buttress for a pitch, a long traverse left led into Scarface. We geared up for the final push up the last three pitches. I had led this path last year, so I started racking up under questionable weather. As soon as I stepped into my ladder, it started to rain. Eventually I was climbing in a low-angle waterfall from a lightning storm directly above Liberty Cap. Mildly hypothermic when I reached the belay, I was relieved that the rain turned to hail.

Our relaxed trip had suddenly turned hasty—the opposite of when we climbed these pitches in brutal heat the year before. Steve and Lars were soaked from the runoff at the belay and, having dealt with the pigs in the pool, so to speak, were inclined to let me lead to the summit, which we reached on September 24.

We spent seven days on the climb, after fixing four pitches. We drilled and filled 53 holes. At 62 Lars is the oldest person recorded as completing a big wall first ascent in Yosemite. He had also undergone cancer surgery five months prior to our climb. We named the route The Patriot Act (13 pitches, V 5.9 A3+).