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The Brotherhood of the Travelling Stopper began in Rocktober of 2011 when Brother Tony received divine inspiration and inscribed upon two tablets of stone the mandate “And Lo, Go Unto the Ends of the Earth and Place Ye This #11 Nut Wheresoever Ye Findeth Pro.”
Brother Tony B
Eight years and twenty-five pages of Mountainproject spray later, this piece of pro has been far from passive. It has journeyed far and wide from Alaska to Tennessee. A would-be initiate into the order petitions the Brotherhood on the MP forum requesting the next use, and receive it in the mail. After participating in the sacred rite and documenting it with a trip report, he or she mails the nut to the next member of the faithful.
I received the Stopper from Brother Christopher, who fulfilled his sacred duty at Brownstone Wall in Red Rock NCA, Nevada. He placed it multiple times on a linkup of Myster Z and Armatron and faithfully added to the canon in his trip report.
This is my contribution to the Holy Writ. Yesterday I placed the Travelling Stopper on the first pitch of Snottttttt Girlz (700′, 5.10d) in El Potrero Chico, Mexico. While not the most liturgically appropriate route for the nut — a literal interpretation of the founder’s writings would favor an obscure route instead of a popular one like SG — the circumstances hopefully absolve it.
Initiate excuses one through seven: I ventured onto Snott Girls with less than all cylinders firing. It was my first day of climbing after two weeks of stateside sloth, and I had just driven across the border late the night before on very few calories and little water, sleeping on the side of the road partway. I rolled in to Rancho El Sendero that morning and neglected to eat breakfast or drink much water. On the approach, I slipped and banged my left quad on a sharp protrusion of rock, which left me unable to bend my knee without sharp pain. I also had a new-to-me belayer and was jumping on a slippery pitch that is reputed for being very stout for short climbers like me, no warmup.
So all of that to say, I haven’t struggled on a 5.10 that much in years. I ended up fiddling in the Travelling Stopper at the crux between bolts. It was a marginal, flaring placement that I was sure would pop with any amount of outward pull. After hemming and hawing and camping out at a good handjam rest like the trad-dad-in-training that I am, I finally clipped a two-footer to the stopper and shamelessly aided the move.
After that pitch, I warmed up quite nicely and was pleasantly reminded that I do in fact enjoy climbing. My partner generously gave me a Mexican coconut crack bar and I was able to push through the premature bonk, climbing barefoot like I usually do on anything under 5.11a.
Altogether, it was an edifying experience with the Travelling Stopper, and I look forward to seeing where its pilgrimage takes it next.