Trip Report
TR 2011-09-011 Rainy Day Adventures in the Valley
Tuesday September 13, 2011 4:51pm
The weather forecast put the kibosh on our planned grudge match with Geek Tower. We got to the valley late Sunday morning, imagining some play on the Gollum hiding out from the dire rains. But the weather looked good, our spirits were high, and we settled on a little bigger adventure: SKI JUMP!!!

I had never heard of Ski Jump (III 5.7) until le_bruce asked around about it. There's a decent line drawing of the formation in the Roper Red guide. Some key words from the Green guide hooked me:
the last of which goes up an incredibly loose chimney... Despite the loose rock, this is a rather nice climb and makes for an adventurous day.

We didn't have the topo or description with us, but I felt pretty sure I knew where it was. We parked in the turn-out after Cathedral area, and headed up east across the huge U-shaped long valley.

Near the base of The Inconsolable Buttress (oops, my bad) we sorted ourselves out and scrambled the half mile back over to the massif of Phantom Pinnacle, Hangover Buttress, Harris's Hangover, Ski Jump, and Spireview Point.

Hangover Buttress, Harris's Hangover, Ski Jump
Hangover Buttress, Harris's Hangover, Ski Jump
Credit: nutjob

Nice views of El Cap from that side:

I was slower coming up the hill behind le_bruce, so he entertained himself thusly:

We third-classed the first pitch or so, roped up when it became more steep and less secure, and cut right a little too early (but still fine). Here's looking back after our first rope pitch:

This area is my new favorite part of the valley! Very loose stuff, decaying smashed tree stumps, thick lichen and poor friction in places. I did catch the jet-whining sound of an inbound granite missile (not much bigger than a golf ball) just before it pinged into my thigh, and I dodged a lot of bark and logs falling down. But we were close to really good looking rock above and the overall position and surroundings are just unbeatable:

Church Tower in foreground:

Higher and Lower Cathedral Spires, Higher Cathedral Rock poking out in between, some glimpses of Middle Cath and Church Tower:

Having fun is what it's all about! We really enjoyed a new (for us) part of the valley.

le_bruce choosing a well traveled path as usual:

Check out this glorious tasty morsel!

The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed, if not for the courage of the fearless crew, the Minnow would be lost...

Sadly, it was time to go.

We reached the ground just before the rains started, but it was never really an angry rain. Just a nice companion for an afternoon hike to check out Phantom Pinnacle and the canyon above there:

Artsy time.

So it was a good day. But the day wasn't over yet. I was too lazy to head over to Gollum at 5pm, but Bishop's Terrace is close to the road. Let's make the most of this training day! Imagine if you are 17 pitches up something with a last pitch of 5.8 tasty crack when the heaven's open up on you. OK, here's a gentler version of what it might be like:

Wringing the extra water out of my socks before launching up...

Racked and ready to launch...

In the rain, the first bit off the ground was a little cruxy, but not too bad. The little face traverse after the optional belay was the worst part for me:

Right about this time it stops raining!

It's a wonderful crack, but I was over-gripping like it was wet and my life depended on it.

At the top, I settled in for a MAGNIFICENT display of mother nature. The camera can only capture so much:

Time to bring le_bruce on up.

What a frikkin awesome day!

We capped it off by forgetting our headlamps, deciding to rap down the crack system instead of the right-side free hang, getting the rope stuck a bunch and an extra hour of dicking around in the dark, going back for headlamps, impromptu leads and gear tags and belay device tags, etc. Just some more typical "pretend we were having a cluster-fudgesickle epic in the cold/wet/dark." It was a beautiful moonrise. Not bad for a day trip to the valley! Good times.

  Trip Report Views: 2,641
About the Author
nutjob is a climber from Berkeley, CA.

Some people call me the space cowboy yeah
Some call me the gangster of love
Some people call me Maurice
'Cause I speak of the pompetous of love

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Johnny K.

  Sep 13, 2011 - 05:03pm PT
Good ole fashioned adventure wet climbing,excellent stuff!

  Sep 13, 2011 - 05:14pm PT
What a frikkin awesome day!

What a frikken AWESOME TR!


P.S. But. . . I didn't like the snake!
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Land of God-less fools
  Sep 13, 2011 - 05:15pm PT
And to think I stayed home because it might rain....

Way to keep the epic count up!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Sep 13, 2011 - 08:21pm PT
Great Stuff Nutjob!!

I've done a LOT of climbing in that valley but never there.

Looks cool, and you guys pushed through for a little extra instead of just splitting.

Way to grab!!
David Wilson

  Sep 13, 2011 - 08:25pm PT
great TR - love the spirit of exploring the valley we tend to think we know so well. gotta add that cliff to my list
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Sep 13, 2011 - 08:33pm PT

Bob Harrington

Bishop, California
  Sep 13, 2011 - 08:35pm PT
What a coupla' kooks! Sounds like a great day!

  Sep 13, 2011 - 08:41pm PT
Right on!

"Having fun is what it's all about!"

Oakland, CA
  Sep 13, 2011 - 10:48pm PT
Scott, first thought is that my forearm looks like it could crush a planet in one of those photos. That is awesome. I'm going to go get my wife and daughter to show them right now. "Behold." Probably frame it and put it up in Eva's room. And one for Marcia's office. Should I print one for you and Irene?

Second thought is that whenever I see TR's of something off the main track we've done I think "Oh no, now it'll get crowded." But then I realize that no, no it won't.

Great pics you got.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 13, 2011 - 09:33pm PT
Awesome pics, way to make the most of a rainy day!!!

Trad climber
  Sep 13, 2011 - 11:17pm PT
Super duper! Great photos.

  Sep 13, 2011 - 11:29pm PT
You guys are my heros.
(Now if I can just rope one of you into helping me finish the last 40 feet of Phantom Pinnacle.........)

Trad climber
LA LA Land
  Sep 13, 2011 - 11:33pm PT
Love the spooky cloud shots. Well done!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Sep 13, 2011 - 11:33pm PT
They don't call in the Incomparable Valley for nothing!
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
  Sep 14, 2011 - 12:14am PT
4 thumbs up! (and I think the snake is cool)

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Sep 14, 2011 - 12:35am PT
Nice job! Never judge the day by the weather. Looks like you may have been a little off route getting up to the jump, could be wrong. There is a low and a high traverse. The high one is the correct one (from my fading memory). Doesn't matter, looks like you got there any ways. The next pitch above your high point is a bit loose. After that the climbing is quite good. The pin on the pitch after that has only half an eye left on it but is sound as long as you don't fall on it. The head wall pitches are excellent and not as hard as they look, but there are a couple of big things that are loose and just require a little patience to get around. Bring some bail slings for the decent witch is it's own adventure. Hope you make another run at it. Great job getting out there, and no, it wasn't my book you found, but thanks for checking. -Eric Gabel
tom Carter

Social climber
  Sep 14, 2011 - 01:56am PT
Good on you two.

That's the spirit!

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 14, 2011 - 02:55am PT
Right on! Way to stay after it. Here we are on gettin' off The Regular Route on Fairview up in The Meadows right as it came in.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

Oakland, CA
  Sep 14, 2011 - 04:09am PT
Eric, 10-4 on the book. And yep, we traversed early - it went ok though, a mantle to handcrack takes you back up to the route. Side note: we kind of consider everything we climb as training for your route up Middle Brother, TBA.

Micronut - skin of the teeth! Great photos.

More pics from the day:

We left Oakland at 6:30am and Scott was Gleaming The Cube by 8:30 in Groveland


60% chance rain? Pfft.

Evidence that you've been climbing something dirty.

Another day, then.

Back home to Oakland by 1:30am, only regret was that we missed Agave on the way back and settled for Taco Bell.
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Sep 14, 2011 - 08:33am PT
Diggin' it.

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Sep 15, 2011 - 08:57am PT
Raıny day recon ıs never wasted. And who doesn,t love some wet 5.8 crack?
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Mar 29, 2013 - 12:27am PT
This is worthy of Bumping.

Adventure is the soul of mountaineering.

Sport climber
Made in California, living in The Old Pueblo
  Mar 29, 2013 - 12:30am PT
This is worthy of Bumping.

Adventure is the soul of mountaineering.

Amen. This was AWESOME.
David D.

Trad climber
  Mar 29, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
Those shots at the end are beautiful. Thanks for bumping!

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Mar 29, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
wow- i am so psyched to climb bishops in the rain now.... yes!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Apr 13, 2015 - 01:01pm PT
Bump- to remember the days when it rained in California!
looks easy from here

Ben Lomond, CA
  Feb 15, 2017 - 12:53pm PT
Obscurity + current weather + great pics bump.

Though this one makes my head hurt:
Credit: nutjobagain

My brain keeps trying to make the forested talus slopes into the Valley floor, so it keeps trying to tilt the perspective, but then le_bruce and the foreground tree keep tilting it back.
Dan McDevitt

Social climber
tioga cliff or fifi buttress
  Feb 15, 2017 - 05:37pm PT

As good as it get's right there brah!
Thankyou for the great TR!!!


Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Feb 15, 2017 - 07:45pm PT
Ho man, I miss my amigo with planet crushing forearms! I should have gotten that framed picture but this report will have to do. I still remember how awesome it felt sinking perfect jams in hot wet and steaming crack. That must sound really bad to a non-climber.

I'm sooo looking forward to getting back into adventure mode again, when I get myself disembroiled from work stuff! But now I got myself a new hobby so my miniscule adventure time has to be split between climbing and skiing. And kayaking. I guess this should have been posted in the first world problems thread.

Batrock, you might have to be patient with my flailage on the first few outings when I get back to it. And you can't laugh at my belly.
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