The gear we had was so old by today's standards. We might have had four cherished Metolius/Wired Bliss TCUs. At least we had plenty of rigid stemmed Friends. And lots of wired stoppers and small hexes. My ledge was Deucie's old Frog ledge. A fine prototype but I can still remember cussing it hanging there trying to set it up. Once setup, it was divine. As you can see, Mike is on the SAR's shared subledge. For those not in the know, it was a rigid bed frame from a submarine that I think the Fish scored.
We made the mistake of leaving our gear on top and heading for beer via the East Ledges. We returned via Tamarack Flat a couple days later and hiked it out. Great visuals hanging out at the lip watching a peregrine riding the thermals screaming up the face. Brutal 13 miles round trip and mostly uphill on that darned closed road. We didn't realize how long it would be and we didn't have the gate key. After dividing the gear, I ended up with the subledge. I really had to watch it when a breeze came up as it would blow me sideways.
Salmanizer, The increase in vegitation you noticed is undoubtedly a result of the lack of fire in the valley. Native Americans used to burn purposely, and repeatedly in order to provide for more oak, and less pine.
There is a really interesting article titled, "The History of Oak Woodlands in California, Part II:The Native American and Historic Period" by Scott Mensing in The California Geographer, Vol. 46 2006.
It is an interesting topic (to some). Here is an excerpt:
"...Today, pines are invading oak woodlands, similar to the successional pattern found in Yosemite National Park. Thus, where conifers and oaks are associated, fire suppression favors conifers, whereas in stands of pure coast live oak, the absence of fire favors increased density of oak woodlands (Mensing 22).
You can probably find the publication through the California Geographic Society. Interesting history about Native Americans, Spanish settlers, and oak woodlands in Cali.-----Enjoy. =) SA
A fine bump for Chickenhead! Mike wanted to bivy on top of the Triple Cracks, which was my lead, but I wanted to hang out on the headwall there and party. He said if we stopped there, we had to make Chickenhead the next day. I said no problem and we got there easily. We were really cruising at that point especially after having gotten the manky crux Groove pitch out of the way without a ripper.
While on the ledge that night hanging in our ledges, a weather experiment was launched somewhere over Cali. When we first spotted it in the sky, it looked like a bright missile heading right for El Cap. As it got closer and closer, I began to express my fear by sitting up and yelling WTF! when it exploded into a large green cloud in the sky. Of course, it appeared a lot closer than it really was. heh-heh. Really got the adrenalin going again though.
Another shot of Mike on the headwall. What an excellent partner.