I awoke slowly. My body felt strange and unresponsive. Mike was rustling in his sleeping bag a few feet away. We were on top of El Cap, and the sun was almost upon us. It seemed like I had just exited a long intense dream, but I knew that it wasn’t a dream. My body doesn’t feel like that after only a dream. We did top out the previous night. We had spent the last 6 hot days in late June on the wall. We did wake at 3 am each day to climb and were chased by the sun each day. We did get caught in a half-day storm that rocked us and soaked everything and jeopardized our ascent. We did free climb the PreMuir. It felt like I crash-landed back into my normal body and mind.
It seemed like a dream because the 6 days were spent on another level of concentration and consciousness. It was a state of incessant presence of mind and focus on a singular objective. I wish I had had the ability to act without attachment to a result, but I didn’t, I wanted to succeed. Because of that, there was pressure. I felt a crushing pressure the whole time that we were on the wall. This state of awareness and existence required an expenditure of energy far greater than any regular day. Thus after 6 days in that state, I was incredibly depleted.
That morning I felt like Atlas if he had shrugged the world off his shoulders. Mike and I made coffee, and after a time he wandered off to do some morning business. I was still half in my sleeping bag, and I looked around. The view from the top of El Cap is amazing. My breath got shorter, and my eyes welled up. I cried until Mike got back. I was so relieved and proud. He said, “It’s okay man. We did it.” He was right — we f***ing did it.
There were LOTS of VOKE tabs consumed in those days. They helped with the early mornings, and also the mid-afternoon slumps in energy and fatigue. There isn’t another product out there that delivers the energy and clarity, but is lightweight and packable enough to take while climbing. We were lucky to have them.
For a full interview of Sam Elias and Mike Kerzhner in Rock and Ice Magazine Click This Link.