So for about the last 5 or 6 years i have been heading down to the Eastside of the sierra in the fall & since the first time i set my eyes on the mono lake & got a view down into the owens valley it just blew my mind. The first trip was on a bit of a tour with some friends. We bouldered in Bishop, connected with a few friends, made some new ones, maybe clipped a few bolts & hung out in the kehough ditch most nights. We had the best time. Before we even got back to Squamish i was already thinking about next October. Over the next few years i made may way down, sometimes with friends, my wife & i went there after getting engaged which was a short but amazing visit, sometimes on my own & meeting up with buddies who lived there.
Through these early trips i got to know Mammoth & Bishop fairly well, did a ton of bouldering at the milks & the tablelands, clipped bolts in the gorge, sometimes was dirtbagging, sometimes in a van & sometimes in a condo with my wife. Last year I was honoured by being in my friends Jaison & Tess' wedding party @ millpond which was an awesome experience where i met a lot of great people. One thing for sure was there was never a shortage of things to do & i have so many fond memories of the place from these previous visits- many that have nothing to do with climbing. The lifestyle this area permits is so unique & the recreational possibilities are endless 12 months of the year. The amount of different places to go & see seem infinite & the climbing possibilities seem endless-maybe even more with every visit.
At first i was pretty obsessed with the small blocks, i always wanted to go up to Tuolumne or Yosemite & climb some routes but it never seemed to work out with the season i was there, partners, etc. and the bouldering is just soooo good that it was pretty easy to get corrupted & play on the dinosaur eggs in the sun all day & pick the dry, dusty boogers out of your schnozz all night around the fire.
We did however drive up the pass to do the regular route on Fairview dome on my first trip, but it started snowing so we went to the valley for the day (my only visit) which was obviously incredible & enlightened me to how accessible things are from Bishop. The pass closed when we got back that night. It was an awesome day but, with the weather & all i was pretty happy at this point in my life looking up at the peaks & drinking cheap beer that you can't get drunk off of while laying on my crashpad in front of high plains drifter making jokes of everything.
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This started to change when my friend Josh & i got a chance to run up Cathedral peak 3 years ago when we were down there.
It was my first peak & so fun to be up in the alpine with such little effort in comparison to the shwacking that is generally required in BC, we made a quick day of it & i knew i needed to come back for more of this. This was the stuff. All of the climbing at Squamish & on the Chief had been a great preparation for this type of climbing that my eyes had just been opened to. The wheels had begun turning.
Last year on my visit i got a chance to do a backpacking trip into the High Sierra for the first time & climbed Merriam & scrambled Royce which was another amazing, eye opening experience that showed me just how much the Eastside life really has to offer. After gazing up & enjoying the power of these mountains from the valley i had a real taste of what it was like to be in them. For me, this is where IT was AT.
This was the only shot at climbing in the backcountry on last years trip & i knew i needed to come down earlier in the season & in decent shape if i wanted to take full advantage of the Sierra & climb a bunch of fun new peaks.
Fast forward to this year, usually i can't get away from work until close to October. Somehow i convinced my bosses it would be advisable if i go on vacation right after labor day, they bit & it was on! I had a million ideas about what i could do & was frothing at the mouth all summer just waiting to get down there. For training i did a bunch of sport climbing this summer, generally at areas with relatively flat short approaches like forgotten wall & petrifying wall in Squamish. Some bouldering by the highway as well & of course some of the most accessible easy approach:value multipitch climbing around- on the Chief!
A plan was hatched with the wife to get a place in Mammoth. This would be nice if i was was going to be doing some more time consuming climbs so that she would be able to chill with some friends or hit the gym, run some trail & stay comfy & generally do as she pleases. This is the best thing about Jess, she likes to do as she pleases, as do i :-) The idea of a homebase was amazing & our spot was in the ghetto right next to Vons, the blue roofs- or ruffs as they are called down there is where we stayed.
I called up my friend Charlie B who lives in Mammoth with whom i did Merriam last year & he was psyched to go camping & climbing again. My goal for the trip was to climb 10 new peaks, i was a bit nervous this may be a tad ambitious since i only had 3 under my belt in my entire existence, but i had the green light from the wife, the October storms would hopefully subside until October & a the key component, a great partner who was down for doing something awesome.
Instead of hauling ass straight down we decided to stop in Seaside, OR to chill on the beach for a bit. The dog liked that.
We arrived on a Saturday & rolled up to the climbing shop, i was stoked for some mellow climbing after the drive & the dude there told me about some boulders just up off old Mammoth rd. It was a decent little zone with a steep cave & a bunch of random outcroppings of edgy, somewhat sharp volcanic next to a nice creek, there was also a pretty large cave with a few problems in it. I did a few easy problems in my approach shoes, walked around a bit & scoped a cool line which seemed unclimbed.
Even though i didn't climb much the dog liked it.
That night we went to Sushi Rei for dinner where my good buddy Jaison is the executive chef & he fixed us up with an amazing meal! Check this place out if you are there. $5 for a handroll & a PBR @ happy hour! A plan was hatched to go climb the next day, he had his 1 yr old son with him so we figured some bouldering would be best.
We headed up to the catacombs which was a new spot for me & did a bunch of super fun easy problems on pretty nice, pocketed volcanic, that place is a blast for sure & has great views as well. I did a very amazing climb there worth mentioning called "Church of the lost & found", a high easy arete perched above the canyon that climbs so nice! Highly recommended & possibly the best V1 around.
The next day the wife & i went for a little hike up to Arrowhead lake. I thought about a swim, but it seemed a little brisk.
After the lake wifey was headed to yoga so i thought i would burn one & go to the boulder up at Horseshoe lake for a quick session. I couldn't believe how low the water was!
Horseshoe boulder is pretty fun for a chill session, it's just a shame there isn't 20 more of them, the granite is just gorgeous.
It was decided that Charlie & i would head up into the backcountry the next day (Tuesday) & go have a look up behind Temple crag. We met up around 10am, caught up & hung out for a bit, organized our stuff & headed towards Big Pine. After a quick stop in Bishop we rolled up to the trailhead around 1230, Charlie dropped me & the bags then being the gentleman that he is, went & parked the Truck at the lot 3/4 mile away & walked back. As always with Charlie we were psyched & looking forward to a possible traverse from Thunderbolt to Sill, we decided to plug in headphones & power through the first hour or 2 of the approach. Hiking at 1ish maybe a bit later.
We headed up the North fork of Big Pine creek, the plan was to camp at the base of the Palisade glacier. After a few hours, somewhere near First lake some clouds rolled in, quickly. It started to sprinkle so we chilled under a tree & had a banana. Then it started pissing so we ran up the trail a bit to better tree cover. It seemed to ease for a minute so we resumed, then it really started pissing-Squamish style. Obviously we didn't have pack covers or rain jackets so we did some frantic running through the woods trying to fit under a few boulders with out success until we found solace in a small cave. We decided to wait it out for a bit & worst case ontario we would set up the tent & drink the whisky & eat all the food. I blazed & Charlie rolled some drum & we kicked it for about at least an hour before it started to ease off.
We started up again & all was good, it was still cloudy which was kind of nice & the rain seemed to have died. We got to Sam mack meadows around 530 & started to make our way up the trail to the glacier. I think we were both getting a little faded at this point as all we had eaten since noon was a banana & subsequently we were pretty faded. By the time we were nearing the upper part of the slabs before dropping into the glacier we realized that we needed to set up camp, It was almost 7 & we were toast. The last mile? maybe from Sam Mack had taken forever & we were walking like zombies. We found a decent spot & set up probably about 500m before the top of the hill. We ate some leftover rice noodles & burgers that Jaison had cooked for us the night before & they were delicious with no cooking required! After a few nips of Wild T and some Joe Rogan standup we passed out, hoping to be hiking by 6.
After 3 or 4 snooze alarms which Charlie seemed impermeable to I crawled out of the tent around 536 to assess things & watch the sun come up.
After Charlie arose we manifested Tea & Oatmeal, morning trash talk , whinging a bit about how kicked in we were & dealt with general grogginess before we got our sh1t together and left camp around 730 or so.
At first we were kind of concerned at how far away from the route we still were & the fact that we hadn't even seen it yet, we had planned to camp much closer & scope the start as we weren't sure if we would go up the couloir or the start to Thunderbolt that Croft recommends in the Winchell/Tbolt col. Since we had opted to not fuel ourselves properly on the approach & instead get baked & smoke cigs respectively we would have to deal with it. We picked our lips up & started the slog up to the top of the slabs, after about 15 min we crested the hill & things became a lot more optimistic & perhaps slightly intimidating.
After scoping the route we chose to climb the NW ridge up Tbolt out of the Winchell/Tbolt col and eschew the couloir on Tbolt which looked pretty crappy. This added more approach & much more climbing but it was definitely the line so we rambled across the talus & then some glaciated scree which kinda sucked, It took us about 2.5 hours or so to get to the Thunderbolt/Winchell col from camp.
We each had small packs with a few things & the rack was 5 cams, some nuts & slings & a 8.2mm 30m rope which we folded in half & tied into on a bight, the plan was to simul the whole thing & take the rope off for any long 2nd or 3rd sections. I won't get too much into the details on the climb as there are many available already on here & elsewhere, but the climbing was fun, the rock was great, and the position, views & exposure were outstanding!! Definitely a big, awesome, 3 star route! We started climbing just after 1030 i think. Even though the climbing was easy we stayed roped in most of the time between the summit of Tbolt & Polemonium to save the hassle of taking the rope on/off a bunch since there was only 15m between us it was easy to carry a handful & scramble where it was easy & put in a piece to belay the downclimbs & more or less simul the rest. All of the summits were incredible, we decided that the view from N. Pal was likely the grandest. We summited Sill around 420 & had some sandwiches & chilled out for awhile before heading back to camp. Charlie showed me a boulder problem they had done when they did Temple to Sill a few hundred yards under the summit which was very cool but i didn't have it in me. At this point we were stoked since our camp was pretty much right under Mt. Gayley so it would be a lot faster to get down. We got back to camp just after 6 & whipped up some amazing pasta & settled in for tent life. Chris Rock was on stage & we celebrated with the remaining wild T chased with crystal light aka chemical light. A pretty big day & so different than any climbing i had ever done before! The routefinding was the biggest challenge since you can climb just about anywhere! So much fun. It was great to climb with Charlie & we always have a good time even though we only get to climb together a few times a year. He's a great partner in the mountains & i think we always move pretty quick & efficient. I was already 5 peaks in, all of them over 14k!! Maybe this project could go down? A great way to start the trip! I am impressed by those who do this route car to car, that would be a pretty solid day!
Here's some pics.
We had a casual start the next day & headed down to Sam Mack meadows to chill for a bit then towards the victory beers. What a trip!!!!
The next day (friday) was a rest day for sure so the wife & i headed up to the bristle cones & wandered around, i had always wanted to go & was blown away by the beauty & creativity of the place. As well it was very cool to look down on Bishop & across the valley to the Sierra crest. These old trees were some of the most powerful things i had ever seen or touched. They have been a part of the landscape here forever & have experienced so much from up on the hillside!
Still super psyched from the Palisades i wanted more of that while the gettin was good. I figured a quick mission was in order so decided to wake up early the next day & go check out Tenaya peak & maybe a few others behind it.
I left Mammoth around 630 & was walking up to the base around 745. This thing was a blast, it was a lot easier than i expected but still very good climbing on great rock, i brought my rock shoes but they stayed on my pack. All in all a really fun route that has amazing views & a cool summit.
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I topped out around 930 and soaked up the view for awhile, which was amazing! I had considered beforehand Tressider & Columbia finger as well but they looked like a bit of a slog & instead i figured it would be more fun to head down to this little lake i could spy from the summit instead & go for a dip & a cheap stick which was really nice.
After chilling at the lake for a bit, i headed down. The descent on Tenaya took me much longer than the climbing & combined with the lake time i got back to the car around noon. I'm also pretty sure i went the wrong way on the descent. I headed down to the Mobil to pick up some lunch for me & the mrs.
That night we went to Sushi Rei again i ran into my friend Nate from LA who was in town for the weekend & he was headed up to Bear Crag the next day with some friends to clip a few, i had never been so was stoked to check it out.
I got up there a little later so missed out on the warmup pitch & ended up making the poor call to warm up by hanging the draws for Thomas on jagged sky, this steep 12a he had tried a few times & wanted to send, which he ended up doing quite easily. Since i had never been on it & it was a cliff i had never climbed on, on a new type of stone I was warmed up for sure after that! Idiot! I tried to give it a burn after but flash pump was my middle name, very cool route though. We chilled in the sun for a bit & after i did a cool traversing 11b & called it a day. Nate sent his 13a project & it was cool to see him crushing, first though his buddy Simon onsighted it! He then proceeded to do the 13c next to it 2nd go, what a beast! It was a cool spot & some fun steep climbing but i don't think i will be back until i'm in solid sporty shape, tough crag for sure & fun steep climbing on neat volcanic columns & roofs. Always fun to see people crushing. Sorry i only know the grades, it's only sportclimbing though :-)
The next day wifey & i went up to June lake, she wanted to hit the beach so i took the pooch up to the ice cream boulders. They were pretty fun & i did a few easy problems & tried the ice cream arete for a bit which was pretty cool. Then with the help of the new Mammoth bouldering guide that Charlie had just finished writing i found my way up to the ghetto & did a few fun problems on nice granite, that's another thing i like about the Eastside life- a few different types of stone, but with many variations and nuances between areas! I can see why all the eastside legends & hardmen can crush so much, if you climb all the different styles the Eastside has to offer for a few years you would likely transform into a monster! Trad, boulder, sport, alpine- and there is multiple rock types. So much to do!!
I have always had a bit of a love affair with Mt. Humphreys. Ever since i first saw it, before I had ever climbed a peak.
It is so prominent from the buttermilks & just dominates the landscape from so many angles. I was really hoping to bag it but didn't have a partner & my car wouldn't get me anywhere near the trailhead for the east ridge, the idea of walking from the Buttermilks seemed less than appealing. The spousal unit wanted to go backpacking on Tuesday & my Bday was on Thursday so we decided to head up to Humphreys basin and camp out for a night or 2. This might be my chance to see what it looks like from the top! We hiked up in the afternoon & compared to the North Fork of Big Pine creek, Paiute pass was not too bad & we got up there fairly quickly. Very beautiful as well. We found camp up near what i think was the Humphreys lakes around 12k & made a nice dinner & relaxed. I was excited for Jess as she had never been up in the high country & we got to watch the sun set on Humphreys, very cool.
The dog liked it there.
I was hoping to wake up early & go do the NW face or the N ridge but when i got up at 530 my ankle was sore. It was also cold, looked like a mega slog, & my cute wife & pooch were all cozy in the tent (very inviting). I had way too many excuses & was kinda bummed about my apprehension, i ate a few advil & did some introspective contemplating while watching the sun rise. I could walk fine & it would probably be ok but in the end i took it as a sign & made the call to 86 the attempt. I also felt bad about leaving the family alone in the tent, the last thing i would ever want is to have an epic & take forever & have the wife waiting patiently in the tent, Jess doesn't need to deal with any sort of situation in a place like that caused by myself & it was guaranteed that i had no idea how long i would take but that it would be much longer than i would tell her as adventures usually do.
Humphreys just looked down and laughed as it always does- beckoning, but simultaneously mocking me while being silhouetted by the first rays of sun behind it. This one will have to wait i guess, but in retrospect i was happy with the decision to bail- even though i would have a hard time making eye contact with Hump-dog for the rest of the trip. Instead we just chilled around camp all morning & walked around to some of the lakes, taking it all in. A beautiful day. Humphreys basin is a great place & we were very fortunate to spend time there. By the afternoon we were thinking about a plan for my bday the upcoming day.
Dejected by my bail i really wanted to go climb, we only had 10 days left & i needed 4 more summits to reach the goal. My ankle warmed up as the day went on & i felt pretty good again. The pressure was on & i needed to make up some time. We decided to head down Paiute pass around 3 & went to las Palmas in Bishop for some Mexican.
I figured for my Bday i would wake up early & head up to Tuolumne to bag some peaks, i stretched my & limbered up when we got back from Humphreys basin & was feeling good. I woke up early, packed a small bag, left Mammoth @ 6 & was heading up Cathedral lakes trailhead just after 7, i figured that this would be the best place to bag multiple new peaks on my own & i was thinking of a modified traverse of the cathedral range. Since i had already done Cathedral i headed straight out to the Echo's with the ipod blasting sweet riffs into my brain hoping to climb the 4 other highest points in the immediate area around Cathedral, as soon as i hit the trailhead i knew it was gonna be a good bday. Right off the bat i took a left too early & added a bunch of extra x coutry to my life, I think Josh & i made this move last time as well.
I didn't want to do anything too hard, just a fun bday in the mountains enjoying the peacefulness & the views with some fun movement over good rock & some summit clarity. First up was the highest of the Echo peaks, Echo no.3. It was fun, a short 4th class section to a fun little ridge, pretty short, but an amazing view! I'm sure it would have been easy to just do a bunch of the echos but i wanted to cover some ground so kept truckin. This was also the first time i got a close look at Matthes crest, wow! I was very tempted to take a closer look but stuck to the script, just another reason to come back.
Next i bouldered my way through the echo peak labyrinth & headed up Echo ridge, the high point of the day. It was mostly 2nd class until i could gain the ridge which was 3rd with a very cool 4th class ridge traverse off the summit to a very exposed 4th class downclimb down i think the south face which felt much harder than anything on Tenaya peak but still secure & fun.
I ran down the hill and across the notch up towards cockscomb.
I scrambled up a wide groove on the N face that had a few little smeary moves up to a rap station then traversed across the ridge to some face holds, i likely was off route here (also trickier than anything on Tenaya) up to a very cool, exposed summit fin that you can ride like a donkey, this was probably my favorite summit of the day. So much fun to be running from peak to peak out here like this!
I downclimbed my ascent route and made my way around the cockscomb to the left a bit to a notch with a rap station, i downclimbed here some easy 4th/5th for maybe 100' & followed the ridge over a huge mound of talus almost the size of cockscomb over towards Unicorn.
Unicorn had some fun, exposed climbing up some twin cracks to a nice summit with great views of the whole range.
I chilled out & ate some food then downclimbed whence i came & headed back towards Cockscomb for a bit before dipping into and crossing the basin underneath it which was really pretty. Some slabs led me down to Budd lake, i contemplated a lap on Cathedral but could make out at least a dozen ppl on the face, I didn't feel the need to go solo around a bunch of ppl after being in perfect solitude all day so i kept it that way & just ran all the way back down the trail and got to the car at 1ish, then i got some water & headed over to Lembert dome to chill on the granite, get stoned & look at the mountains i just climbed. Happy Bday, that makes 10! I headed back to Mammoth where my beautiful wife told me should would make me whatever i want for dinner, i said spaghetti! We had some pasta and wine which was amazing after the day i had & headed over to Jaison's house for cake since it was his bday the day prior. Him & his wife had hiked from Tuolumne to Red's meadow on on a whim on his bday & were pretty trashed so i said i would go back to Tuolumne with him in the am to pick up his truck which they had left there.
After picking up the truck we stopped by a new zone for both of us, the Lee Vining boulders. We had a quick session, i did most of the problems on the Aspen boulder except the hard one and they were pretty fun. Thanks to the Mammoth bouldering guide we had no problem finding the place or any of the problems in this nice little area with high quality stone.
That night Charlie & i headed up to the village for some Oktoberfest action but nor before a brewery tour, it was super fun & you could actually get drunk off the beer. I had a chance to meet Capt of supertopo fame who hooked us up with a brat & some pretzel, as well as fishfinder who rolled up on my spliff out of the blue! Both super nice dudes.
The wife showed up & after too many beers & brats i needed to be taken home so i could garble nonsense to a smaller crowd. Must have been the altitude.
The next day i didn't feel so hot so i punished myself with a circuit down in the happies. It was way too hot to be there & i felt like ass but it was still super fun to visit some of these climbs again, year after year i come back & do these problems & it's like visiting old friends. I actually ended up just wandering around & climbing a lot of easy problems & eventually getting pretty trashed, the happies have to be one of the best places around to get pure volume in, so many of the problems are tall or long traverses so you can get so much value.
The next day was a much needed rest day so the wife & i hiked up to Crystal lake & had some sandwiches. We thought about going to the hot springs but it was pretty warm so instead we headed out to the cold springs which were just amazing! Pristine water, great views, hundreds of cool fish in them, & dragonflies the size of sparrows! I had never been & it was a great place to spend a hot day.
The dog liked it there too!
This was Sunday & we were planning on leaving Friday. Even though i had technically reached the 10 peak goal I wanted to get up in the high country one more time. The partner situation was grim as Charlie's book was arriving & he needed to deal with that, i thought about my options & was torn between a solo of Matthes, Laurel or the West ridge of Conness. Since i had already been out by Matthes just a few days back & i heard Laurel was the ultimate stairmaster i decided on Conness, it was so striking from Tenaya & everywhere in Tuolumne i had been & i really wanted to check it out. As well the W. ridge was supposed to be one of the best climbs in the Sierra with a challenging approach, easy choice!
I hit the road the next morning around 6 & after a quick stop was hiking @ 710. I was really excited, a bit nervous & very energized as i headed up past the carnegie institute & watched the sun light up the peaks. I said hello to a nice family of deer before leaving the trail which was a pleasant surprise. My nervousness was more regarding the approach which sounded long & involved & i knew that if i was to succeed in good style i would need to avoid dicking around on my way to the climb. This was my first time stepping to what Croft calls a class grade IV climb by myself & i was really excited at the prospect of the adventure to a totally new area.
I headed uphill cross country, up the gulley to the little lake. This is where i botched it a bit, but perhaps not in the long run. From the lake i went straight up loose 2nd & 3rd to a short 4th class gulley where i gained a sandy plateau on the lower east ridge i think?
I climbed along the ridge on awesome rock for awhile which was pretty fun, it started to get a little more sustained 3rd & 4th after a bit which was great but i didn't remember seeing anything about 4th class ridge climbing on the approach. I ended up downclimbing to some ledge systems below the ridge on the left & walking/running them until there's a gap in the ridge & you join up with the 2nd/3rd class slope to the summit plateau. Looking back i think the ridge i took on the approach was more difficult, but it may have been better than slogging up the 2nd class sand hill the entire way as well the rock and climbing were actually pretty damn good.
When i got to the summit plateau i kind of blew it again & headed too far down the ridge & dropping down a mellow gully which was not the right one, not the secret one. i realized it right away but did not want to turn around & trudge back up the sand. I could see all the way to the bottom of the gully & figured i would traverse north near the bottom towards the west ridge. This worked out fine and was mellow but may have been slower than the standard gully. When i got my first view of the entire southwest face though i could not believe it!! The West ridge looked amazing!! The view of Conness i had seen previously from afar had done no justice on this part of the mountain compared to what i was now looking at.
At this point any anxiousness or nervous thoughts i had dealt with were immediately flushed away & i was injected with a few gallons of pure liquid psyche!! Time to go climbing! I scoped the ridge for a minute then ran across the slabs & talus to the base of the route & chilled out for a bit to prepare. I ate some powerbar raspberry candies & a dried banana from manor market. The approach had taken 3 hours & i was pretty happy about that since i didn't really feel i nailed it & had heard that the first time out there on your own it can take a long time.
It was pretty windy so i put my light puffy & rock shoes on & started up. I could not believe how much fun the climbing was right off the bat!! It flowed like water & the rock was incredible! Jugs & Jams & Knobs & Granite tufa pinches, wow, this was pure joy.
There was great exposure along the ridge & many fun 4th & easy 5th class sections with a bit of a move here & there, sometimes it felt like climbing up the back of some sort of giant prehistoric space dinosaur that had been fossilized in granite.
The beauty was that it was steep enough & the features & position were so regal that the climbing was always super interesting & fun regardless of difficulty.
I tried to go slow to enjoy it & stopped to eat a bar, snap a few photos & check the views but i couldn't help but move quickly over this sea of amazing features that was attaching itself to me.
Such a cool landscape to be a part of. About 3/4 of the way up it eased back a bit & i put my approach shoes back on for the rest. I topped out after about 1:15 on the route & chilled on the summit for a bit. Such a breathtaking view, you can see so much from up there.
I was really psyched & pretty elated about what i had just done, i had this great feeling throughout my entire body & was fully energized, like i could keep on climbing forever! However i had told the wife i would be home around 4 & i knew the reality was that i still needed to get back to the car about 4 miles away, since i was feeling good i figured i might as well get back to the car at a good speed so i could burn off some of this energy!!
It was pretty damn windy up there so I signed the sheet of paper in the register (this thing needs a new notepad if anyone is heading up there) & started to head down. I picked my way back down to the red carpet as quickly as i could then ran back to the car where i arrived exactly 6hrs after i left! Stoked! This was probably one of the best climbs i have ever done: the line, the rock, the climbing, the view & the setting are all 3 stars. The fact i did it by myself i think added to the overall experience as well since it was by far the biggest thing i have done in that style, a definite breakthrough & culmination of all i had learned on this trip & i was very grateful to have had such good fortune on this day. After running down i was finally trashed so i sat on my ass in the parking lot & chowed the secret victory sandwich experiment that was buried in my pack & got Irie.
On Tuesday Jaison, Cat & i headed up to Clark canyon to clip some bolts on some pockety potatoes. We hit up the potato patch & did a bunch of fun routes. A few cool 5.10's, i tried this techy 5.11 face which had great moves, then fell off the top of king spud. It's a super fun spot & very different than the type of climbing i am used to on a rope- so cool!
Afterwards Cat & i met my wife & Charlie & we had a little dinner party where Cat cooked us up a bomb meal & we learned how to get stoned off of all sorts of household items & the proper way to smoke banana peels & how to make pipe bombs since Cat's friend has an actual copy of the Anarchist Cookbook!! haha so funny, i never knew it was real! we had a great meal & some drinks not to mention some awesome conversationalism. As well Cat mentioned how she wanted to do the reg route on Fairview dome real bad, i was down in a heartbeat! Ever since first heading up to Tuolumne on my first trip to the eastside & getting snowed out on that thing i always wanted to get back up there & do it. I had tried to make plans with a friend to do it this trip but he bailed so i was pumped to get another shot. A plan was conceived for Thursday which would be the final day of climbing on this trip.
The next day the wife & i decided it was hot tub time. This was well needed & so nice on the body. Oh man i would love to have a bunch of these stashed around Squamish.
So Thursday morning we picked up Cat around 9 & headed up to Tuolumne, after a quick beer stash on the approach we scrambled up the slab to the start of the 1st pitch which i took to the ledge above the tree. The plan was to stretch all the pitches with the 70 so we would have sweet ledges for every belay & it worked out real well.
Cat did a great job on the next pitch which i thought was trickier than than the first pitch. When seconding this pitch something devastating happened: my Kyuss hat flew off :-) I almost caught it behind my back but just grazed it before it quickly tumbled & blew away. I hope someone finds it & gives it a good home. The climbing was really fun but i could not believe how polished our first 2 pitches were! After that was what i thought was the funnest climbing, running it out up through a bunch of flakes to crescent ledge then continuing up an easy corner to another pimp ledge! Cat crushed the roof pitch which was also awesome with a bit of an exposed feel under the roof on cool flakes. After i ran a full 70m across the traverse & up into the 4th class. Cat did one more megapitch but wasn't too comfortable with the ropedrag & wasn't feeling the simul with so much rope out so she belayed me up to just below the summit where i took us to the top. This thing was a lot of fun & a great last climb of the trip.
It was cool to see Cat send one of her summer goals in fine style & climb such an awesome line on such a classic face. It took us longer than anticipated & Jess had now been waiting at the parking for a few hrs oops! What an awesome wife picking us up & waiting, wow i am a lucky guy!
We went home and dealt with the deed of packing & getting ready to head back to the Squamish life, which i also really like. It was sad however since this trip had been so "all time" that i really could have stayed forever. I got a chance to climb in & visit so many new places, and climb almost every style of rockclimbing that i enjoy on classic routes with brilliant rock & close to perfect weather. This was the best trip i have had to the area & i'm so lucky to have been able to really take advantage of a small part of what the Eastside has to offer. Can't wait until next time.
I like the Eastside life.
The peaks i got up, so stoked!!
Traverse IV 5.9:
Thunderbolt peak 14,003'
Starlight peak 14,200'
North Palisade 14,242'
Polemonium peak 14,100'
Mt Sill 14,153'
NE buttress Tenaya peak III 5.2 10,280'
Traverse III 4th/easy 5th??
Echo #3 11,000'
Echo Ridge 11,168'
West ridge of Mt. Conness IV 5.4 12,590'
SE Face of Conness
Something or everything on Temple crag