Sat: Get a site somewhere in Yosemite Valley so we didn't have to hike and camp. Climb Commitment and Church Bowl Lieback. Catch evening alpenglow on Half Dome to quell any doubts of a summit attempt.
Sun: Wake up early, hike a lot, climb Snake Dike, descend, take pictures and drink tasty beer
Chilly breeze blowing down from Little Yosemite over Nevada and Vernal Falls made for perfect temps to scale the 2500' approach between 0500 and 0830 PDT.
As soon as the sun came up on the southeast side of half dome, it was shorts and tee-shirts...oh California, your weather is inimitable.
After first pitch shade, cloudless skies with a slight breeze kept temps ideal. Sunscreen? Yes, please.
Many Bolts on pitches two and three appear as originally placed by the first ascent party, and inspire no confidence of withstanding a leader fall. No problem, the granite is uber sticky.
After pitch 2, it's pure dike glory for a solid four 60m rope lengths. Forget the runout, the holds are so bomber and the views so unworldly, you don't even notice.
Combine pitches two and three with a 70m rope/strategic runner placement for more immediate dike access
If rain is in the forecast, bring a second rope to bail, as topping out requires endless 3rd class friction where the only thing stopping you from tumbling down the route you just climbed is the coefficient of static friction between your shoe and half dome's granite.
Being surrounded by the immense, shear granite escarpments and cascading water falls in Yosemite Valley is an ethereal experience. So much so that it seems every time you go back, it's like seeing it again for the first time. Nature, history and geology join forces, creating an aura that is at times indescribable, some objects that are tangible, some that are not, and all of it undeniably unforgettable.
There is a sweeping left hand turn at the valley entrance when you emerge from the canopy of deciduous and coniferous trees to be struck with monstrous view of El Cap that may very well be the best left-hand turn in the United States of America. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
Undoubtedly there will be many people at the park...expect it, given it's stature as a climbing mecca, and America's most beloved National Park.
Peanut butter Co.'s Dark Chocolate Dreams is a gustatory manifestation of heaven
Quote of the day, observed of a foreign visitor on the decent while watching in awe as thousands of gallons of water gushed over Vernal Falls: "This is what I love about America, everything here is so f*ing big."
You will rub elbows with some of the best climbers in the world here at some point...either at one of the crags, walls, the market or camp 4...and you probably won't notice.
Surrounded by the Valley's climbing history, and its sustained magnetic attraction and challenge is like eating humble pie with a polished crust made of excitement, energy and anticipation.
Though it was a climbing route, I still don't feel justified in saying "I climbed Half Dome." Climb, to me, is the verb reserved for those few who can scale one of the routes on the venerable Northwest Face
That dike was amazing.
Why isn't there a more strict no car/bus policy in the Valley like Zion?