The Lunesta Fiesta 2018 was a great trip as usual. The Ferguson fire forced me to finally move it to another location….Courtright seemed the next best thing. We look forward to it every year and it seems to grow slightly in preparations and attendance every year.
This year we had two camp cooks, Randy and Brian. They set a menu and cost for per meal. I decided Saturday would be my duck tacos to add to the menu. Paul, Randy and I went up Thursday late afternoon to ensure we got the spot we told everyone we would be at. Cort had been up there all day and set up in a different spot since a couple people were on the big slab. We talked to them and found they were leaving in the morning and were only there to refuel some backpacking groups in the field. They were kind enough to let us stay on the slab with them. We set camp including Paul’s homebrew and whiskey bottles….oh and the kitchen and sleeping arrangements (in that order). Cassy and Justin came up to enjoy the mountains and climb a bit. Justin brought his telescope which was a hit to all. Seeing the ring and moons around planets and having to wear sun glasses to look at the moon through it was really cool.
We stayed up later than we should have trying to be quiet for our kind neighbors and finally hit the pillow. The stars popped and the moon was bright enough I had to turn over to turn the light off.
Paul and I were ready for Little Nukey in the morning. Slow start packing gear and off to the parking area. In the lot there was another couple guys getting racked up. A quick conversation revealed they were also going to do Little Nukey. Cory is a local and Wess was from the East Coast although he looked like a Santa Barbara surf native. After a quick chat we bumped into each other several times on the approach. We did the rappel which was a total of maybe 20-30 minutes from car to base of route.
Paul had told me he had planned on leading every pitch of Little Nukey. I knew he had never been to the base so I told him we would see. At the base I asked if he was ready and he looked up at the route with a wondering eye for several seconds and responded, “I will take pitches 2 and 4.” I laughed and tied in. By the time I had left the ground, Cory and Wess had decided to climb Hannoramic .10b to our left instead of waiting for us the entire morning. Off to the races we went. Wess tried to lead several of the pitches but his east coast mojo wasn’t working on the Courtright slab. Cory cruised the pitches with little effort or indecision. Paul and I had a blast taking our time to enjoy the awesome route. Cory and Wess topped out just before Paul and I. We walked back together and had to invite them over for a homebrew. They left before they melted into the comfy chairs and shade of Adam Shepperd’s pop-up (thanks for the loan Adam) so they could get in some more climbing before having to get back for Wess’ flight out of Fresno.
We snacked and I set up my grocery outlet $9 hammock and was soon napping in the shade with a intermittent sips on Paulie’s homebrew.
Before long others had shown up; Kalem, Mikey, Fred and others. We took a group to climb on the east side of Punk Rock to get their feet wet. After everyone got in 3-4 climbs, with 2 people leading their first route, Fred wanted to keep climbing. I suggested Hold the Beaver which was aa 2p 5.6d Limpingcrab and I FA’d the year before. Fred was down but hadn’t lead any trad in a while. He cruised it with a little bit of indecision on the first pitch. We made it back as the light grey low only to watch the moon come up over the trees in a brilliant orange color. Gorgeous!
Spaghetti and salad had already been made and I dropped my pack and went for the grub. Well done Randy and Brian. Soon we were in full fiesta of the lunesta having a great time with others showing up Like Dwight & Slick, John & Sue, Eric Swanson and clan and more. We had food, stories and talked mostly about climbing, awesome routes, secret spots and memories of epics. I believe Paulie and I were the last one up at 1:45 am.
The sun woke us and we got set to head to Voyager Rock with a big group. Off we went and got on some fun lines with a group of 6-10 depending on the time. Eric led a heads up thin finger book on the far left side, .10b. It was hard-man ratings and he took 3 falls which convinced me I was going to top rope it since I know how hard Eric can climb…..much more than I. He was stalled at one point because the pro was a maybe but went for it. The nut held with Eric inspecting it, “Only half the nut is touching!” He cruised past the spot on the next go. I fell 3 times as well on it but felt a lot more desperate than what Eric appeared to be. Many others took a lap on it and gave kudos to Eric for the lead.
I left to go start prepping the duck tacos and later heard the epic of Joe leading a stout dirty long 5.9. The scrapes and torn clothing when he got back told some of the story. Snacks, wine whiskey and brew was shared while the tacos were prepped. We all stopped at one point and marveled at the blood moon rising over the trees. We told stories of the day and relived it all. John and Sue shared their adventure on Swiss Cheese Wall. Cort and Paul Suza spent part of the day hiking and then climbed at Tiger Wall. They finished setting up a line to practice some jumar and teaching others.
The duck tacos went off without a hitch and all loved them. Abigail, who had not eaten meat in 2-3 years decided to try it……..she had 3.
Moonlight bathed the area but finding a moderate to easy multi-pitch for the moonlight climb wasn’t an easy choice. I was planning to do one of the 4p 5.6 routes on the left side of Penstemon with Kalem. He had second thoughts at the last minute and we ended up going with a group, 12 total to the Upper Tier above Tiger Cage. Paul, Joe, Kalem and I set up top ropes and for everyone and we all did 4-5 climbs. We rolled back into camp around 1:30-2am. Most crashed out but Joe, Paul and I stayed up a bit. The night chilled and we headed for our sacks.
Sunday I was again woken by the sun. Paul, Randy, Brian and I with others began to clean up the camp area. Others went climbing again. Edmond got out his drone and took some cool pics of the camp area as we were finishing breakfast.
Eric and clan took kayaks out on the lake and climbed on the island. They did a few documented routes and a few lines not.
Dwight, Slick Edmond and Edmond’s son went to Spring dome.
All in all it was another great gathering of great people, climbers and non-climbers. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and I finally got to climb Little Nukey
*. Already looking for dates for next year and now that the seal has been broken from the usual Fresno Dome…...may need to check out some other spots by moonlight.
Hopefully more pictures of the fun will be posted up in response. Thanks for those who made it another fun time.