Crimpie, Karl and Sammy in Yosemite - many photos


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Social climber
St. Looney
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 17, 2007 - 04:42pm PT
Chapter 1. GTFOOH

With so much work to do, so many crushing deadlines, and so much pressure, I decided the only responsible thing to do was to get up and take my carcass to Yosemite. So, on Tuesday, I flew into Fresno and met Supertopo sometimes-poster Sammy Lee and his wife Kim who had arrived from Memphis hours earlier. It’s nice to be greeted by two of the nicest people out there.

We head out to our rental car. We dubbed it the Lima Bean. Where do colors like this come from? While I would never buy a car this color, it was very easy to find this vehicle in parking lots since we figured there couldn’t possibly be another one in this hue in existence. We were wrong because we saw an equally whacked vehicle cruising around the park. Hilarious.

We drove straight to Karl’s to hang out, eat and hot tub. It was here we first encountered some of the valley wildlife. A Moose came right into the house. Well, maybe not a *real* moose, but we call him Moosie. It was great meeting and hanging out with him during the week as well.

For some reason, though we had ample opportunity, we managed not to get a single hot tub photo from the trip.

Chapter 2. Wildlife, then we conquer El Cap.

I was a bit intimidated this year in the valley since I’ve climbed very, very little in the last several months. In fact, I’d been wondering if my climbing life was shifting into one where I got out rarely, never hit the gym, maybe even *gulp* giving it up. The difficulties of getting out in this part of the country have seemed overwhelming lately.

(I am providing the ground work here for sucking on the wall.)

The plan this first morning was to meet at El Cap Bridge. Before we got there, we had to stop and gawk at all the wild life. It was beautiful! First we saw a coyote just walking along.

Not surprisingly, very nearby were a gaggle of deer. There were the cutest little babies too! They are used to being ogled since getting very close didn’t phase them. I, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure. They have big teeth.

Then, just around the bend, I see the wildest of wild life…

Construction workers. The place was crawling with construction workers.

The road crews also seemed pretty unphased being photographed.

Since it was day one, we decided to crag and get accustomed to the rock, and the movement found in the valley. In other words, we didn’t want to get our spirits crushed right away.  We headed up to La Cosita Right and La Cosita Left. Before getting started, Karl gave Sammy Lee the finer points of “walking like an Egyptian.” Sammy Lee was a very attentive pupil.

We did some laps on these, plus some slab thingy nearby. All a great time. Plus, we got to meet a near-lurker (posts rarely) named Gonz. He and his party were playing next door on something. I’ve of course forgotten since I have insufficient memory issues. Looked fun though.

We were VERY serious at this crag. After all, we were conquering El Cap. Here is Karl heading up La Cosita Right. I took this shot in hopes that we could get an Ouchification – that is, chicken legs sticking out of a new set of pants. Nothing personal against Woody, but…

Sammy Lee blasted up this crack. Sam has been climbing for almost two years and he simply crushed this route. It was such fun seeing him do so.

At one point, I snuck up behind Karl and dropped the camera in front of him to capture this photo of him belaying… I really like this nutty photo for some reason (it’s not upside down. The camera is).

I think the heat was starting to get to us.

It was imperative we get into the Merced River immediately. So off we went.

The views from the Merced at El Cap Bridge (perch of the famous El Cap Pics aka Ansel Evans) are spectacular. I know you’ve likely seen this sort of shot a million times, but I can’t seem to get enough of it.

We had a great time frolicking in the river. Here Sammy Lee continues to perfect his Egyptian Walk in his white swimming trunks.

Still, even in the midst of the fun, we’d all find ourselves looking up at the beauty of El Cap. Amazing.


It was also here that I found “my rock”. This rock is perfect. It was warm. It was in the sun. I had to be pried off of that heavenly thing.

Following this, we all headed to Karl’s for more delicious food, conversation, wine and hot tubbing.

Chapter 3. Frenzy, Friends, and Fun

The next morning, we again met at the bridge. Before heading to our destination, we got a chance to meet and visit with Dirtbagger and his partner. They were sorting gear in preparation for a big wall.

After they took off, we three headed over to the Middle Cathedral to hop on Central Pillar of Frenzy. We didn’t have as much time to goof off here given we had five pitches ahead of us and we were a three-person party. We arrived at the base and had the place to ourselves. Schweet!

Karl charged up and I followed dragging a rope. That I, the delicate flower I am, was charged with dragging a (BIG FAT HEAVY) rope is a critical point to keep in mind for whimpering later in the trip.

Sammy crushed pitches one and two, but started feeling a bit sick. He opted to hang out at the top of second belay, smoke a cigar and enjoy the beautiful view. If one is going to feel a bit ill, I can think of no better place.

There were some wide sections here. Um, that stuff is some work. Here I am early in the wide sections.

A little later, my expression has changed a bit. Where are the crimpers? Is there a face hold ANYWHERE here? Can you say worked?

Wide or not, we reached the top and had a great time. Here is our fun ‘summit’ shot.

We rapped down and ran into two lurkers who live in the area. I took a cool photo of them and for some reason can’t locate it now. Dang. If I do, I’ll post up a bit. Nice guys who are originally from Mexico City. Maybe Karl has that shot.

On the ground, the Attack of the Evil Bee occurred. One little fecker WOULD NOT leave me alone. And to prove what a sick little thing he was, he was obsessed with my feet. A climber’s feet. Ew. I almost could not get my bag packed since it wouldn’t leave me alone. Here is one portion of the newly choreographed Evil Bee Dance.

I am sad to report that the bee met an untimely end after numerous warnings. My victorious warrior-princess shot.

Chapter 4. The Bear and the bear.

After another great dinner, hot tub and conversation-filled evening at Karl’s we headed back to our tent in Curry Village. I walked through the tent door and hit the bed. The light was on, Kim and Same were talking while they grabbed a few things from our bear box to get ready for bed. Ready to hit the hay, Sammy steps out of the tent and opens the bear box. He steps up the one step to grab the bag to put in the box. He turns around to step down and what does he see? A big arse bear in our bear box. All I hear is “GET OUT OF HERE YOU #$# @*@ BEAR #$#($ ##$#$. I’m in bed thinking “Hmmm, I’d like to see a bear, but not this close. After a bit of hesitation, I hop up in my mummy bag, and hop to the door and see the bear jaunt off unhurriedly across the way. Big. Bear.

Moments later, a young, skinny man walks up with his flickering, dying flashlight and is horrified to learn there is a bear there. After repeated questions about the size of the thing, how long ago it’d been there, and his noticing drag marks and blood on the ground in front of our tent (he had an active imagination), it was clear he was not going any further. I don’t know why he was scared – he had no meat on his bones. Definitely not good eating I would think. Sammy offered to walk him back to his tent where he peppered Sammy with questions about his other bear fighting moments. Sammy ‘Harrison Ford’ regaled him with his multiple bear adventures.

Meanwhile, Kim and I are happily falling asleep in our tent. But wait. Something is friggin’ scratching at the tents and jacking with the bear box and door. Being the brave warrior princess I am, I instruct Kim to get up and lock the $##($&#* door! She refuses to move even after I tell her several times to LOCK THE DOOR! What gall. She does turn on the light (which was more than I would do huddled in my sleeping bag with eyes the size of saucers). Great. Now that the light is on, it is super clear the damn bear is at the door for sure. I realize something drastic has to be done. Time to call for outside reinforcements. So, in the middle of the night, in quiet Camp Curry I scream at the top of my lungs “SOMEONE TURN ON A LIGHT!!!!”


Yeah, that was the best I could come up with. It seemed reasonable at the time. No one turned on any light. Then Kim says “SAMUEL, IF THAT IS YOU I’M GONNA KICK YOUR ASS”. And, as if on cue, Sam collapses into our tent seizing with laughter.


It took a while for the sweat to dissipate and sleep to return. Revenge would be mine however.

Chapter 5. Sammy wants to get high.

It’s Sammy’s last day to climb and he said he wants to do something a bit more mellow than CPOF that will get us all high. So, Karl suggests Mungenella and Sandgenella (I have no idea if those are spelled at all correct). Off we go.

After climbing Mungenella, I did not need to ask the story behind the name. I may have named it widegenella or too-big-for-my-handsgenella. Or how-is-this-dirt-blowing-UP-into-my-eyesgenlla. Still, it was a great time. Even those parts where the rope trailing from me felt like I was dragging a CEMENT truck up the wall were fun – in hindsight. I was getting a little cranky with that. I admit it. I’m a delicate flower, remember?

And Sandgenella. Well, it was more of the same. Fun. Wide. Sandy. We were getting high and moving fast as pitches were linked together (another crucial detail in the rope dragging melt-down that was imminent). Here is a shot taken before the wider stuff appeared.

At one point, I found myself crammed into some wide, but not wide enough space, the rope pulling harder on me than I could move up with. Then it happened. My lower lip started to quiver. “Frigging rope drag” I think. Then the quiver moves into my throat and a sniffle happens. Uh oh. Now I’m in trouble. Maybe even some tears started to form. I can’t be sure. Gotta hide this, but I can’t move up. And I can’t stay here the rest of my life (though I considered it for a while). So I yell up to Karl in my most matter-of-fact, take charge voice that I need him to take for a moment. But it comes out more like: “Kaaaarrrrrlll, sniffle, sniff sniff….. Willlll you Plllleeeasee, waaaahhhh, take, sniff, up, sniff, tight, boo hoo hoooo.” He takes then yells down for me to look up so he can take a photo.


I don’t know, he may not have noticed. I hung there and pouted for a few moments longer then proceeded on. Someone needed a nap. And some food. And a head scratch. Luckily at the belay station I was able to get most of that taken care of.

By the time Sammy got to the belay station all was good again. Well, at least for Karl and me. Sammy was having a great time and working so hard. I really can’t express enough how fantastically he did. No joke there.

Near the end, his expression said it all. He managed to get high and climbed hard. There really is a smile in there.

The final pitch was my favorite. Wow – what a super fun traversing move, and the steep face. Ahhhh, finally I’m in my element. I thought this was like the cherry on top of the sundae! (How quickly the memory recedes on rope drag moments).

Sammy topped out shortly there after. Here is his super-proud ‘summit’ photo of frameable quality imo.

Then the crux. The walk down on the Yosemite Falls Trail. Holy moly that thing goes on forever. I was only able to keep going knowing that delicious Indian food, red wine, excellent conversation and a hot tub awaited me.

This was my last night in Curry Village. I stayed the last two nights in Wawona so we had to go to the tent to gather my debris. Right before we took off, I spilled a bunch of coke on Sam and Kim’s bear box. Oops. My bad. And I wonder if they found the iced cupcake I accidentally dropped in the tent under the bed. Clumsy me.

Chapter 6. Serenity.

Karl and I decided that for my last day in Yosemite, we’d do Serenity Crack. I am SO PLEASED with that choice. This could not be less like ‘my’ style of climbing so I figured a pummeling was in order. I even worried I’d never get my carcass of the ground. Happily, I was wrong.

No need to write a lot about it because few words will do. WHAT FUN! I did whine a wee bit at the super reachy move, but with the proper tough love, I just did the dang thing. I *really* did not think I could reach it. But I did. And I was thankful that my weak-sauce brain did opt to hurdle myself off in a faux-fall.

Rapping down, we ran into a couple more taco lurkers. We got some nice photos of them. Here are a few.

Chapter 7. Back to STL.

Ah. It’s over. I arrived home last night exhausted but happy. Happy to see my birds and happy from the fun. My sorest muscles are in my cheeks from all the smiling and laughing. Two things were certain… #1 I need to go back soon. In response to this need, I booked my return flight for less than two weeks. And, #2 I have GOT to get out of this city where I now live.

Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season...
Sep 17, 2007 - 04:57pm PT
Hysterical TR Crimpie! And wonderful photos! Looks like you guys had a blast!

East of Seattle
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:00pm PT
Sweet! Great photos and stories.

Thanks for the vicarious climbing opp. Wonder what it would be like to actually climb... ;)


Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:04pm PT
Sounds like good times!!!


Happy and Healthy climber
the Gunks end of the country
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:05pm PT
LOL. How does a Ph.D. scare a bear away?

That bear story is almost funnier than the ones we had when we were out there.

I thought Munginella was fun. But, I only led the last pitch.

Great TR.

Hardman Knott

Gym climber
Muir Woods National Monument, Mill Valley, Ca
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:06pm PT
Very nice, and great pics (from Karl as well).

However, it's a good thing I'm knott on a dial up at the moment, as the pics took around
a full minute to load on a 1.2 Mb DSL connection...(hint hint).

Social climber
St. Looney
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2007 - 05:07pm PT
I honestly have no idea how a Ph.D. scares a bear. And even if one had scared this bear away, I wouldn't have know since I was cowering in my sleeping bag telling others to go fight the bear.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:08pm PT
Schweet!!!! Good times.
J. Werlin

Sep 17, 2007 - 05:09pm PT



Oops, sorry--wrong thread.

That climbing stuff looks fun.

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:11pm PT
awesome - hey Crimpie, are some of those pics w/ the new camera?

ahh, the Valley - do I get nostalgic? Sometimes, yes.

Social climber
St. Looney
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 17, 2007 - 05:14pm PT
Some of the photos were taken by Karl, and some by me.

Here is how you can tell who took which photo. If the photo is well-framed, in focus, and the subject's eyes are open, then Karl took it. If the photo is upside down or cattywhompus, blurry, vital body parts chopped off of the subject, then I took it.

We have almost exactly the same camera so it's easy to see how much influence the photographer has on the photo.

Trad climber
never ever pissing into the wind
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:22pm PT
hey crimp-

i once ran into KB at the base of EC while he was out there w/ "friends" and giving them some pointers on LC-R, isn't just annoying to se him stroll up that mother? i almost wonder if he can do it hands-free?

looks like a fun trip.

Social climber
A prison of my own creation
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:23pm PT
Thanks for the trip report. Looks like you folks had a lot of fun!

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 17, 2007 - 05:27pm PT
"In fact, I’d been wondering if my climbing life was shifting into one where I got out rarely, never hit the gym, maybe even *gulp* giving it up"

I wouldn't give it up if I were you, just move to Boulder.
susan peplow

Sep 17, 2007 - 06:13pm PT
Nice story and good pics but I still find myself asking....

WTF is with the packs!!

3 people two FULL back packs on 6 pitches (Mungenella & Selaginella link up?) Come on man, step it up! You had a guide after all!

Dying of thirst and my toes kill me on the down climb,


Social climber
Sep 17, 2007 - 06:19pm PT

" I really like this nutty photo for some reason (it’s not upside down. The camera is)."


Funny stuff. Thanks for the trip report!

Crestline CA
Sep 17, 2007 - 06:35pm PT
Nice pics and report... the valley rules!

Social climber
Across town from Easy Street
Sep 17, 2007 - 07:10pm PT
Thanks for the great report and pics, Crimpergirl. Got me really psyched for next week.

See ya at the Face-lift!


Boulder climber
Redmond, OR
Sep 17, 2007 - 07:18pm PT
Thank you Crimpie and Karl and Sammy for the great trip report!

I just have one important question:

"WTF is with the packs?"

And a similar question:

"What could could possibly be in those packs?"

You look way buffed Crimpie- Doesn't surprise me those mean boys made you haul their xtra rescue line.


San Fran Cisco
Sep 17, 2007 - 07:23pm PT
sweet. of those i've only climbed munge, and the rest are high on my tick list.
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