We got up fairly early on Saturday and drove down to the Tuolumne Campground to try and get reservations for the rest of the weekend. This turned out to be a big mistake as we were told that we would need to come back at 2pm. We werenít getting a campground for the weekend, national forest lands to the rescue. Off to a great start, hmm...missed out on an alpine start and no campgrounds either. By the time we were on the approach it was about a quarter past 10am and we were only on the first pitch by about 11am.
The very end of the approach is really the only wet part of the climb, although I guess itís not technically part of the climb.
The first 2-3 pitches were slow going because Nate and I were getting our belay station gear swap system in order. Since Nate was not going to lead any of the pitches we were a little slow but things smoothed out pretty soon and we were flying. Before we knew it we were mid-way up P9. I was pretty lost up until here but there are so many features and climbable paths that I wasnít too worried about hitting a roadblock. The only reason I knew we were on the P9 was because I had to be lowered from the belay to try and clean some gear that my partner was having trouble with and I spotted the piton that the topo talks about. While Iím on the topic of pitons, that was the only piton I came across while climbing this route although the topo seems to indicate that there are more of them scattered around the higher pitches.
Pitches 10-14 were more fun in terms of the climbing and the views just kept getting better.
I opted to do the 5.7 hands finish, and it was a glorious ending to an already great day. There are a lot, a lot of loose blocks up there as the topo indicates, watch out for them.
We topped out at about a quarter past 6pm and were treated to some amazing views. Here are some pictures of us at the top and on the descent. A quick note about the descent: we opted to take the long route down the ridge to the hikerís trail. It wasnít as straightforward as the topo made it sound but we followed the general direction of the lake and made it to the trail just as the sun was going down.
We stumbled into the parking lot by 9pm, satisfied beyond belief but hungry, dehydrated and ready to sleep like babies. Great day, great views and great company.