Saturday we got an early start from the Rancheria trailhead, south of Wishon Reservoir. Friday night had been stormy (we could see the lightning while driving east from Los Banos), and we hoped to get some climbing in before the storms came back in the afternoon. No such luck -- thunder started rolling shortly before we caught our first glimpses of the mountain.
It was hunting season, so at times it was hard to tell what was thunder and what was gunfire .. well, not really :) We saw lots of folks with rifles near the road, but nobody this far in.
But for us the hike wasn't that long, and we got our shelter pitched amid a few sprinkles. We decided to hike up to the base of the rock and take a look before it really started raining.
There was a bit of bushwhacking. It reminded me of the approach to Mt. Starr King or Coyote Rocks.
Up close though the rock looked much better, and there was a faint path through the spiky green stuff that we got better at finding after a couple trips.
From the base we could see The Obelisk -
Maybe we could have gotten some climbing in that afternoon, but the skies looked threatening. As it was, the real weather held off until after dinner.
Next morning we headed back up to climb Golden Tower Direct (5.7) -
The plates reminded me a lot of Coyote Rocks, or the third pitch of Hobbit Book. Justin took the last pitch, which headed up past a few bolts through a fun roof.
We rapped off Golden Nugget and our 60m half ropes stretched all the way to the start of Bear's Lair (5.8), our next route.
The first pitch had some face climbing, some straight-in jamming and more of those wonderful plates. The second pitch went up huge 5.4 plates to some bolt-protected slab climbing and a small roof. Just my speed :)
By now it was mid-afternoon and the clouds were moving back in. It was getting windy and chilly up top.
We rapped off and headed back down. From our camp to the car it was only about an hour. Good times !
60m half ropes
8 shoulder-length trad draws
1 double-length tied sling
DMM alloy offset nuts
Cams from 0.5" - 4", depending on route. We brought some mid-sized link cams for gear anchors too, but probably could have done without. YMMV
All the bolts we saw looked bomber, but they were well-camouflaged and a little hard to spot sometimes.