Super Slide 5.9
Trip ReportCookie Sheet, Bishop's Terrace, Super Slide
I headed to Yosemite Valley with my friend Mike Z this past weekend. We wanted to check out the Cookie Sheet, a newish area a bit west of the valley proper with lots of friction / slab climbs.
But of course Mike had an adventure in store -- instead of heading up from the M2 sign on 140, we came down a loose, slippery gully from 120 along some powerlines, just before the first tunnel. He wanted to check out Hobknob (5.8), an obscure climb noted in the Reid guide for which we had basically no beta .. just a line drawn on a photo with a rating. Our thought was to use it to climb back to the car.
There were several handlines strung from trees to descend the gully, which some showers earlier in the week had made a bit moist.
We arrived at the Cookie Sheet after several more of these and some brush wrestling and class 3-4 mud scrambling :)
Mike had done a couple of the leftmost routes the previous summer, so we decided to do something different, and I started up Emm Too (5.7) which was a fun romp.
After swapping leads, we rapped off using the lead line and the 60m half rope we'd carried in for the follower to trail. We did this on all the routes we climbed there.
Next we decided to go do Little Tin Gods (5.8) - Mike led the first 5.7 pitch.
I took the second pitch - the 5.8 crux seemed rather short.
We swapped again for the last fun pitch, which had some cool knobs and other features.
The day was getting hot, so we went to go have lunch at one of the shady spots along the base. There are some nice views from this cliff -
Several other parties were climbing by now. I was surprised that this place was so popular.
We decided to do Plastic Jesus (5.8) as a final climb and then head out. On the way we ran into a party who wanted to do Little Tin Gods -- turns out I'd seen the leader at Planet Granite .. small world :)
Mike led the first pitch of Plastic Jesus and I found it quite slick .. the polish was unlike the other routes we'd climbed that day, but interesting nonetheless. By now this part of the cliff had gone into the shade, for which I was grateful on my lead. We made quick work of the climb and rapped off.
Thrashing back up the gully we realized that we'd run out of time to do Hobknob though, so back up the handlines we went .. tiring and slow .. wonder how many leafless poison oak stalks we brushed up against =:-O But we'd climbed eight pitches on good Yosemite granite, so we didn't feel too deprived.
Sunday we decided to go do some classics. I had been wanting to lead Bishop's Terrace for several years. Our early start put us behind only one other party, which was doing it in two pitches. Oh well, we shouted up encouragement to their new leader, chatted and just enjoyed the ambiance.
Finally I got my chance and up I went, with my crack shoes and taped up hands. Oh man, beautiful sinker jams and elegant moves. So wonderful !
And then I got to the wide section .. argh. It was not quite as graceful, but I managed to find a sequence that worked for me. The steep section on the double cracks felt tenuous but exciting, and soon I was sinking hand jams up to the belay. Oh what a feeling :D
Mike had done this climb before, but he seemed to enjoy doing it again.
We'd brought a single 60m rope for this, so instead of rapping off the bolt anchors, Mike led up a short 5.6 pitch to a slab as shown in the Reid guide. We rapped off from there, descended some brief third class, and walked down the descent gully a bit back to the packs.
We were done just in time for lunch :) What to do next ? We were still taped up and in the neighborhood, so we walked over to do Super Slide aka Super Slab. A party from the UK was just rapping off, and gave us some beta.
The first pitch was pretty much an approach :) Mike led the second pitch up to the first tree, which was so-so, and a bit wet and seepy below the tree.
I took the second pitch, across the ledge and up the cracks. More fun hand jamming ! I stopped at the hanging belay.
Probably we could have skipped this belay if we'd started from the tree just below instead of the first tree .. oh well. Mike was psyched for the next pitch.
This pitch was even better than the last ! In the meantime, clouds had been moving into the valley and the hour was getting late. We discussed whether or not to climb the last pitch, but our minds were made up when we felt the first drops of drizzle. Watching the clouds slowly gather in the valley was a beautiful sight, though not one we wanted to see at that moment :)
Time to descend .. our 60m half ropes made it to the ledge, and then we rapped from the first tree, which got us to within 10 feet of the ground, and from there it was relatively easy downclimbing.
The rain didn't really last long, just enough to give the valley floor a nice wetting and remind us that autumn was here.
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