Nik Berry - The Prophet

Monday, July 1, 2013

Working the Prophet

By Nik Berry


86 degrees in May!?  I think to myself.  Should I just turn around and go to Rifle where I can belay from my driver’s seat, never be 10 feet away from a cooler of cold microbrew, and hang out with a plethora of great friends?  Well why not check out Yosemite and I can at least figure out some routes I would like to do in the fall. 

I left at 5:30 A.M. from Salt Lake City, Utah and arrived in Yosemite at 5 P.M.  Put my food in the bear box, packed my haul bag, and hiked to the top of El Captain.  After a grueling two and a half hour approach, after a 12 hour drive, I made a quick meal and passed out.  I woke up early in the morning and headed off for The Nose figuring why not?  I will go project shopping on El Cap. I rappelled into The Nose and the exposure hits you instantly making you very aware that you are on El Cap.  Once I got to The Changing Corners pitch I was very disappointed to find out that there was a seep coming down the seam of the dihedral making the minuscule handholds even less usable.  I played around with the feet and jugged out wanting to get some “real climbing” in.  I knew there was a rope at the top of The Prophet so I walked down the slabs and rappelled into the A1 Beauty.  This pitch is so aesthetic and striking.  The climbing is extremely stimulating.  It requires the climber to use power, finger strength, and a heaping cup of technique. 

The first moves are very difficult so I was pleased to do them first try and slowly put together the moves above.  After arriving at the anchor I was hooked.  With a gigantic grin on my face I knew I had found the route I would like to put some time into.  It would be very hard but I love a challenge. 

The next few days I spent working exclusively on the A1 Beauty and every day, progress was made until I linked the whole pitch on a mini traxion.  I was so excited and could feel the route could become a reality.  After some rest I sent it again until I did it 6 times in a row in two days.  At this point I knew it was time to check out the lower pitches on the route especially the Devil’s Dyno.  With around 80 pounds of rope I fixed the entire route as Leo Houlding (the first free ascensionist) did.  This would not only allow me to examine all the pitches but it would also be great fun to be able to mini traxion the entire route.  As I started up the route I became more optimistic with each pitch.  The route is going to go for me, I kept thinking.  Then I got to the Devil’s Dyno and could not believe how far it was.  Similarly to how I had gotten more optimistic after each pitch the opposite happened after each failed attempt at the Devil’s Dyno.  I swung over to the anchor and slumped over in my harness feeling chalk full of emptiness.  I had to leave for three days to go to my sister’s medical school graduation so I rappelled down and began the drive home wondering what I could do differently.  

At the graduation ceremony one of the speakers cited a quote that went something like, “It is not the outcome that is important, it is how you react to the outcome that is important.”  This jolted my mind out of its sleepy and daydreaming state and I knew that I needed to change my attitude.  I should not be letting the Devil’s Dyno bring me down.  Even if I have to come back in the fall, I will know what I need to work on. 

I am currently back in Yosemite working on the Dyno and I may have to come back and complete the route at another time but I am going to make sure that I use the outcome as a positive learning experience!


In June of 2012, Nik Berry returned to The Prohept and successfully completed the route for its 3rd ascent.  Check out Nik's Blog for a person account of the experience.

Post Your Comments

 ← refresh image