Sons of Yesterday 5.10a

 
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Royal Arches Area


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Feel-Good Valley Link Up (East Buttress of MC, Serenity, Sons)
Monday May 13, 2013 3:15am
Through learning to rock climb over the past five years, I have made great friends and gotten to know some incredible places. My friend Justin introduced me to the sport (lifestyle?) and taught me most of what I know about it.

Life keeps changing, and we climb together less frequently now, but we still get together with some regularity for some great weekends on rock. This was one of them…

We drove up to the mountains on Friday night from the Bay Area and camped in a dispersed fashion outside Yosemite. Seven hours of sleep, and we were up. Fifteen minutes later, our sleeping bags and mats were crumpled up in the back seat, and we were in the car driving towards the valley. We parked for the approach to Middle Cathedral Rock, racked up at the car, and scurried up to the base of the climb. By a small margin, we were first on the route.

The views of El Cap and the valley were stunning in the morning light.

Credit: clippinalong

Once we got going, we were by ourselves the whole time. We did the climb in 6 pitches with a 70m rope.

At the top of the fourth pitch (per supertopo count), we went right for the 50 Crowded Variation. The climbing was interesting face climbing, with a few bolts and otherwise good protection. I enjoyed it much more than the bolt ladder and roof, which I had done before; it flowed better, and the movement was more fun. We continued to make good progress, and the climbing felt effortless. Before we knew it, we were finishing the last pitch, on the 5.9 variation out on the face to the left of the groove. There appeared at first to be a few options from the tree about 50 ft below the finish of the climb, but then it became clear only one of the cracks on the face is really doable at a moderate grade. Once I got in it, it was pretty short and very secure, and a nice alternative to the groove.

Justin on the 50 Crowded Variation
Justin on the 50 Crowded Variation
Credit: clippinalong

Me headed for the variation on the last pitch
Me headed for the variation on the last pitch
Credit: clippinalong


We continued up the Kat Walk, around the contour of the rock, and then down the gully between Middle and Higher Cathedral. There was one pad of snow remaining just after the first rappel. As we pulled our rope here, we were unable to avoid it ending up in a small stream of water flowing down the gully.

Rapping in the gully
Rapping in the gully
Credit: clippinalong

As we walked, I cooed loudly, listening to my echo and enjoying the feeling of dizziness I got when I looked up at the tall walls of granite on both sides of me. It was one of my favorite places in the valley.

The descent gully
The descent gully
Credit: clippinalong


We got back to the car at about 1 pm. Originally we had planned to climb Serenity Crack and Sons of Yesterday the next day, so we were going to check out the first pitch to see if it was wet. Then, the conversation shifted. Why didn’t we just climb it now? We couldn’t think of a reason not to, so we drove over and parked behind the Awahnee, eating some food constituting lunch along the way. We racked up again, adding two bigger pieces to our rack and switching out our wet single 70m rope for dry double 60m ropes.

We walked up to the pedestal where the climb starts; the rock was miraculously dry! It was hot, and I was glad Justin was leading the first pitch so I could sit in the shade for just a few minutes longer. Then, I followed, and my feet were tender as I put my toes into the pinscars. The second pitch was continuous thin hands for me, with that a balance-y traverse move about half-way up when the route switches cracks. Justin protected this move with pieces high in the left crack. I led the crux pitch, which Justin generously let me have, and it was a blast. I got up through the steep hands section and took a rest. Then, I put two small pieces in the thin crack about five feet apart before the crux, stood on the that big slick black spot out to the left for a second, and then went for it. The jams felt solid, but I had fleeting “I want to stop and place gear” thoughts. My mantra was “You’re fine, just keep going.” After the beautiful crack section, I pulled myself up onto the belay ledged and let out a whoop. The route, the weather, and the company added up to bliss!

We climbed the short approach pitch to Sons of Yesterday, and then I led the first two pitches, continuing to have a blast in the late afternoon sun. The first pitch was a fun but continuous finger crack with a few face moves out left near the top of the pitch, and the second pitch was a hand crack in a corner with a fun steep roof move at the end. The belay at the top of pitch one is pretty much right on top of a tree, but there is a permanent anchor there (bolts and webbing).

Me leading the first pitch of Sons (photo by j. vandever)
Me leading the first pitch of Sons (photo by j. vandever)
Credit: clippinalong

Justin following the first pitch of sons
Justin following the first pitch of sons
Credit: clippinalong

I tried to put my increasingly sore feet out of mind, but by the last two pitches I was begging for mercy. Justin linked those two pitches into a 200-foot jam-a-thon (and climbed it all with 5 pieces of pro!). “Walking the plank” came at just the right time—a diagonal section of splitter crack on which you can walk rather than jam. What a fun and unique section of the route and good alternative to sticking my sore toes right into the crack.

Justin giving the thumbs up as he starts the pitch 3/4 jam-a-thon
Justin giving the thumbs up as he starts the pitch 3/4 jam-a-thon
Credit: clippinalong

The Plank as seen from rappel: put your feet on the edge of the diagon...
The Plank as seen from rappel: put your feet on the edge of the diagonal part of the crack!
Credit: clippinalong

Top of the climb, technically pitch 19 of the day!
Top of the climb, technically pitch 19 of the day!
Credit: clippinalong

The sun dipped below the horizon just as we finished the last pitch; Justin had started to rig the rappel as I climbed up the belay station. Six raps (all double ropes except for one of them), and we were down. Our headlamps were on for the last two. Interestingly, the pin-scar crack on the first pitch was weeping by the time we got down! By morning, it would probably be running water. We had timed our climb just right!

We hoofed it back to the car and headed to Curry Village for pizza and beer. The deck there seemed like an extension of the Mission District of San Francisco. We filled up and headed back to our campsite for some sleep.

The next morning, we went to the base of El Cap and climbed the first two pitches of the Salathe Wall. Both pitches were new to me and more climbing joy. From the top of the first pitch, we looked down to see a bear roaming around and headed straight for our packs. Thanks to some other climbers, who shooed it away!

Justin chalking up on p.1 of the Salathe Wall. No sign of the bear yet...
Justin chalking up on p.1 of the Salathe Wall. No sign of the bear yet.
Credit: clippinalong

Having a blast on the top of p.2 on the Salathe Wall (photo by j. ...
Having a blast on the top of p.2 on the Salathe Wall (photo by j. vandever)
Credit: clippinalong

We rapped down and started back out to the car. It was already mid-afternoon and time to make our way home. We watched parties on the Nose with a pair of binoculars for a little while and then went to put our feet in the cold water at the beach across from Pat and Jack’s Cliff. Then it was down the Merced River Gorge and back to the Bay.

Being outside, in fantastic weather, in one of the most unique places in the country, getting into the groove on some classic routes, and hanging with my friend Justin--what a weekend. It was restorative and deeply satisfying, and it embodied all the things I love about climbing.

  Trip Report Views: 1,207
clippinalong
About the Author
clippinalong is a trad climber from San Francisco.

Comments
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the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  May 13, 2013 - 03:25am PT
Great stuff, all the way around.
Gunkie

Trad climber
East Coast US
  May 13, 2013 - 07:49am PT
Well done. Thanks for posting.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  May 13, 2013 - 10:07am PT
Bump!
Leggs

Sport climber
Made in California
  May 13, 2013 - 10:10am PT
Life keeps changing, and we climb together less frequently now, but we still get together with some regularity for some great weekends on rock. This was one of them…


Great TR... way to attack it!


~peace
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  May 13, 2013 - 10:51am PT
That is a whole bunch of excellent climbing! Great report.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  May 13, 2013 - 10:52am PT
supercool TR and great vibe. Proud routes. Thanks for the taking us along for the ride.

Scott
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
  May 13, 2013 - 11:04am PT
wow how many pitches was that , 25+ in a day ? Impressive ...
10b4me

climber
  May 13, 2013 - 11:10am PT
Another fine tr on this Monday morning
Carabiner

climber
  May 13, 2013 - 11:15am PT
Great TR. I really like the El Capitan picture.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  May 13, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
Sounds like a stellar weekend! I love those routes - nice to see them again.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  May 13, 2013 - 12:29pm PT
Getting after it, thanks for sharing!
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  May 13, 2013 - 01:22pm PT
nice pics, i enjoyed mucho.
jvSF

Trad climber
San Francisco
  May 13, 2013 - 01:42pm PT
Anne is a rock star! What a great day. While we weren't climbing for speed we did move relatively efficiently on these climbs, ticking East Buttress in 3:40 and Serenity-Sons in 4:20. We started East Buttress at 7am and touched down from the last Serenity rappel at 8:40 pm.

Sunset in the Valley (April 20, 2013)
Sunset in the Valley (April 20, 2013)
Credit: jvSF

-Justin
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  May 13, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
Well done! If pitch 1 on Serenity was changed for Lunatic Fringe, than it would deserve that name! lol Time to give setters at Yos a call...
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  May 13, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
5.10 linkups in Yosemite fire my imagination UP!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 14, 2013 - 01:20pm PT
Awesome!!!
crøtch

climber
  May 14, 2013 - 02:48pm PT
Woot!
jvSF

Trad climber
San Francisco
  May 16, 2013 - 03:18am PT
I'll add a few more photos from the day!
View of the Valley from the top of East Buttress. I think you can actu...
View of the Valley from the top of East Buttress. I think you can actually see Serenity-Sons from here!
Credit: jvSF
Anne at the top of Serenity Crack
Anne at the top of Serenity Crack
Credit: jvSF
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Royal Arches Area - Sons of Yesterday 5.10a - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Sons of Yesterday follows five pitches of great 5.10 cracks.
Photo: Todd Snyder
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