Trip Report
Moonage Daydream (Round 2) + Video
Wednesday April 24, 2013 5:29pm
After climbing ‘Moonage Daydream’ for the first time, I was impressed with quality of climbing, length, scenery, and happy about absence of crowds in this region. The climb is located literary an hour out of the parking lot, but offers sense of a remote adventure.

The Watchtower is truly beautiful, especially in winter.

Also, I became curious about history of it’s First Ascent and in the meantime was able to gather that it was done by John Paul Hudson (who worked in Sequoia as a park ranger). According to my source he did it sometime in February of 1984. Identity of his partner is still unknown to me at this time. Hopefully someone with more information could fill in the gaps.

Hamik created a cool video from variety of clips we took on this climb:

Watchtower with some morning fog around it

My new friend Adam (AKA Burchey) and Casey were planning another attempt at Moonage Daydream, about a month after we (Adam, Mike, and I) climbed it. Tired of lapping big walls of Yosemite (sarcasm), I called up my old climbing buddy, and he was in like a jelly bean. Since Hamik has not climbed this route prior, he was also awarded with the crux pitch (when first pitch is in thin/mixed conditions it feels M4-5ish, and is super fun). In the end, we had a different experience compared to our first trip, but again Moonage delivered loads of fun and excitement.

Funny video of me getting blasted with snow while leading 2nd pitch:

"You didn't think it would be all ice, did you?!"


Old climbing buddy making thin but well protected moves on excellent Full On CA old skool mixed

With almost a foot of fresh snow that fell a day prior, the scenery in the canyon changed. Trees and granite domes had a fresh silver dusting – It felt like real winter again – such an anomaly this season! It wasn’t only scenery, the approach changed too. As soon as we hit the hills we were breaking trail through waist deep powder. “The hanger” we spotted on our prior climb was also gone.

I heard girls like scars...

Back to pretty things!

Ice, beautiful views, and good climbing. What else do you want?

Hamik soon racked up and was on his way up the business of the climb. He moved with caution over strange ice growths in the beginning and was rewarded with a bit better ice higher up. This time initial corner on the right had thick enough ice to take a screw. However, upper part of the pitch was still the crux with thin mixed climbing through ice, rock, dirt, and plants. Since I was ‘only following’ and wanted to prevent Adam and Casey from freezing (waiting for us to finish the pitch), I rushed up it without enough precaution. I was sloppy, and got punished for it by my tool - it blasted me in the face. Like a real nurse I placed a chunk of ice on the wound to stop the bleeding and prevent swelling. It worked and I resumed climbing to the top.

2nd Pitch

Very alpine anchor...

Hamik on pitch 3

One of those things my mom would like

Slog to the top

Tools of the trade

Since I don’t usually let small f-ups prevent me from having fun on climbs, I took the next pitch and picked a steeper variation than what we took on our prior ascent. After stretching the rope for a full 60M pitch, I made it (barely) to a rock with a few placements to set up an anchor…a very alpine anchor. : )

Posing on rocks close to the summit

Watchtower's shadow

Hiking down, all in one piece

Setting sun creates cool colors

From here Hamik and I climbed another two low angle ice pitches to the top. With simul soloing of snow slope between two major ice tiers, we did the whole climb in four 60M rope-stretching pitches. With new accumulation of snow getting to the summit was a real workout. Avalanche conditions didn’t look great either. Forecast showed clouds, but in reality mid-day sun was cooking loaded slopes as we made our progress up. We tried to keep our path away from open snow slopes, but had to cross some anyway. Our worries were confirmed later when Adam and Casey joined us on top. Turned out they got hit with a large slide. Fortunately they were not harmed – avalanche did not hit them head on. What was overall a great outing, also taught me a few important lessons. Hope these will make a difference on future climbs

Click for more reports and to heckle me in the comments section.

  Trip Report Views: 2,649
Vitaliy M.
About the Author
Vitaliy M. is annoying gym climber from San Francisco.

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Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Apr 24, 2013 - 05:43pm PT
Awesomeness is upon you!!

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Apr 24, 2013 - 07:42pm PT
happy about absence of crowds in this region

There were four of you on one climb!?! That's a SEKI traffic jam!

Killer pictures as usual

Trad climber
  Apr 24, 2013 - 07:48pm PT
Twice in one season? Congrats!

Nice TR!

Did the same about a decade ago, but getting snookered on the next two attempts in subsequent years served to dissuade me from going back. Your fine pics and report(s) have reminded me of how much fun the route is. Might be worth a visit next year...


Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Apr 24, 2013 - 07:59pm PT
Ice Monkeys,, Sweet climb!


Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Apr 24, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
Good lord, man, don't you ever sit still!?! You're like a climbing machine these days.
:). Phyl
Ps. Another great tr
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Apr 25, 2013 - 03:17am PT
Thanks guys. This route is worth many more visits. And Widows Tears will form again... :) Maybe we can do Widow's Tears ascent with the whole lulz patrollz next year, Burchey? haha
Brian Biega

Truckee, CA
  Apr 25, 2013 - 04:23am PT
Way to go V! On the Nose as well!!!

Cheers, Brian
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Apr 25, 2013 - 12:23pm PT
Sweet pics V, glad you didn't get avyed on. Careful out there!

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Apr 25, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
You made that look Vitaleasy!

Thanks for great Tr's, great photos and continual stoke man. Looking forward to meeting some day. If you ever need a place to crash in Fresno, look me up. Lets climb something finally someday!

See you out there,


Trad climber
under the sea
  Apr 25, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
Damnit I'm sick of watching the radness while I sit at work. thanks again though.

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
  Apr 25, 2013 - 12:54pm PT
Vitaly thanks for the excellent trip report(s), I think Dave Douglas accompanied John Hudson (RIP) on the FA.

Trad climber
  Apr 25, 2013 - 01:04pm PT
Rad thanks for this trip report!

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Apr 25, 2013 - 01:29pm PT
Just keeps getting better like a fine wine.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Apr 25, 2013 - 01:35pm PT
Damned man, your really getting after it, that is great, keep stoking us out, thanks for another cool TR

Gym climber
  Apr 26, 2013 - 09:51pm PT
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Nov 1, 2013 - 08:46pm PT
Hell yes! Psyched for ice brah, time to put our beanies on and send!
Andrew Barnes

Ice climber
Albany, NY
  Nov 2, 2013 - 05:21pm PT
Cool. it's great to see a cool ice climbing TR on this site.
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
  Nov 3, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
Very cool TR and wonderful photos. Nice to hear what a great route this is. John was a good friend, so it is nice to hear some respect. I don't recall his partner, but donutnational could very well be right. Dave Douglas was a very solid climber. Don't know where he is these days. Will have to inquire.


Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Feb 16, 2016 - 12:08am PT
Cool pics and climb and winter stoke bump
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