Iíve got a story for your entertainment about first ascents and Mt. Goode.
Four years ago I climbed with a guide, Zeke Federman, at Rock Creek. I was trying to solidify my 5.9 trad leading. Afterward, like the good teacher he is, he gave me three homework assignments. Lead the third pitch of Hobbit Book, which he called the best 5.7 in Yosemite National Park, climb the Regular Route on Fairview, and grab a friend and climb the North Buttress of Mt. Goode, which he said was not 5.9 but 5.8+ max. This was after climbing with me for the day so I found the downgrade significant. Hereís a photo.
The classic route in the guidebooks does the drop of water thing. You climb up the buttress to the summit. There are variations at the start and one that goes up the northeast side of the buttress. When you are ready Dirt, everything else in the picture is open for first ascents. The buttress to the left, the buttress to the right, even that wild right leaning arÍte next to the long snow chute on the right side of the picture. And all the cold, cold chutes.
So anyway, soon after I swing leads on Fairview. A year later I lead the third pitch of Hobbit Book, which is the awesome runout plate hike advertized. One assignment to go. About that time the shop at work gets moved to a new place. Across the shared driveway is a metal worker who is working on a pair of 20 foot bronze gates. All twisted braches and ribbons. We get to talking and catching my ďbouncing puppy vibeĒ about climbing he tells me he used to climb back in the day. So, I look it up in the book and sure enough heís got first ascents in the valley with Werner, Sylvester and the gang from the early seventies. He spins casual stories about first ascents, about Rowell and Beckey. I decide maybe he wants to climb Mt. Goode. He agrees but tells me, ď Iím really busy with work. Just pick something out and weíll go climb it.Ē Mt. Goode.
Heís not the only busy one. Our chosen Friday night we both get off late. We crash after midnight near Mono Lake. After about three hours of sleep, a package of Swenhards sweet rolls and some 24-hour gas station coffee we are parked at the trailhead. He chooses the rack. Iíve got a massive selection to pick from- cams, hexes, stoppers, the works. Itís just the same as with the other old time piton bangers Iíve climbed with. I mean why would you ever take more than one piece of each size? At least itís not too much to carry.
We fire off down the trail at 5:00 Am. Iíd been on the trail to Bishops Pass a few years before. I mean, the thing is a freeway. Kids, dogs, fishermen, the works. Iím not too worried about the trail. About fifteen minutes into the hike the trail splits to the left. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, maybe the unfamiliar darkness, maybe it was because JC starts telling me this hilarious story about guiding in the deserts of China- the luggage all lost on the flight, the scouring the town for rice, millet and a live goat, the packing of everything in the fortuitously saved box of Hefty garbage bags, all securely wrapped in good desert twine and tied on partly domesticated wild cattle, the start of the trek and the inevitable contact with actual wild cattle with the ensuing stampede and ejection of bags and goat in all directions. Anyway, I miss the frickenĒ turnoff.
When the sun finally comes up I donít know where the hell we are. Just about then we see Mt. Goode in the distance between a couple of small hills. My partner says,Ē Thereís your climbĒ. Iím thinking the angle of this view is somehow wrong. But hell, thereís the climb. We keep going until the trail runs out.
We contunue, bouldering over talus. We finally end up at a huge meandering Circe with a small tarn surrounded by endless talus looking up at what is clearly not Mt. Goode. The realization that we are lost is long past. My partner, by now understanding the extent of my blindering, and generously trying to salvage the day, looks around at the 800-foot cliffs surrounding us and suggest we just climb something. A first ascent.
So here I am with a real old school Yosemite rock dog ready and happy to fire up an unclimbed wall and I get all rational on us. I point out that when we get to the top we wonít know where we are. We donít have any bivy gear. We just arenít prepared. Am I spouting common sense or just piles of wimpitude? Or both?
We start an endless traverse to the East. We hack our way up a talus ridge, look down on a pristine lake of perfect, shimmering blue. We scramble down to it and then haul our way up the next ridge to look down on another sweet lake.
Each lake more untouched than the last. After what seams like endless scrambling we reach the ridge where I took the picture of the Mt. Goode shown above. By now itís after 11:00. Weíve been moving for six hours and Iím starting to feel the altitude. We gauge the time to climb the route, the amount of daylight and the time for the descent. We decide to take a nap.
After our nap we hike out, on the now located trail, in a couple of hours. We go to Mono Lake where my buddy proceeds to describe every species of bird there. Afterward we have a glass of wine on the porch of the Mono Lake Inn overlooking the lake. Followed by a nice dinner. Another good climbing day.
Hey Dirt, When you come out, if you donít hook up with Ed, Eric and the gang for a FA give me a call. Maybe I can get you to the start of a climb?
YOur story about selecting gear reminds me of a climb I did with Mr. Stegg last summer or spring.
It was good friday, we had gone to look at this route I wanted to finish:
Soup pillow. But it was running water and so Stegg says, what about this line here? And it was a line he and I and I and Corbett had looked at before, and remarked that it would be good, EXCEPT for all the poison ivy. Well in the past year I had killed a lot of it off, at the base and as high as a yard rake could reach, and steg claimed he did not get PI, so, it was his lead, cause I get it, bad, and up above the rake line there were lots of vines, and the crack was crusted with em.
Because of all the PI, we decide to rap clean a little then TR and see if it would go at all. It went. So, steg decides, it needs a bolt at the crux, because the rock under the roof is like potato chips-- flaky and crispy. well we discuss but you can't win that argument with Stegg and he gets his bolt in, and goes a little higher, and starts to put in another bolt. This is not long after someone had dropped a huge limb on him at work, nearly killing him, breaking his back and screwing up a lung and other things, so it's understandable that he wants to play it safe for a while.
The only thing is, there is a horizontal that takes perfect ballnuts right there.
So, being the gear whore that I am, and having a pile of ball nuts right there, I say,"Man, why you putting a bolt there?", and he replies, "Because it's my movie." And I say, but that horizontal will take all kinds of ballnuts". And he says, " I don't have any ball nuts." And so there's two bolts there, haha.
You can't tell an old schooler anything about what gear they need, am I right?
Sorry, no pic of Good Friday, but it's a fun route. And it is very safe at the crux, LOL.
And if I can get out there in any sort of shape at all, I'll take you up on that offer, serioiusly.
Thanks again Zander, you helped make today a lot better. See my post at the end of the Hey Karl thread. No trips for me.
Climbing stories feed on each other. Or is it build on each other? Anyway, I am looking at the picture of the roof you posted and thinking I should leave right now to go climb that thing! See ya.
There is a true free hanging aid only line of that 25 foot roof just to the right of what's in the pic. Mandatory nailing I believe. The crack is there but it is tiny tiny tiny. I think I will get one more Yates Wall Ladder and try the three step system on it some day. Except I hate free hanging aid. But I love yates wall ladders. I'm torn!
WHen Stegg and I finally got our dry day, (no rain all summer and fall there, all the springs in the mountain dried up) that wet traverse went from seriously hard to downright fun. OF course I ahd spent a good 45 minutes scrubbing and washing it the spring before this past one, with Snippiegrrrl holding the rope. it had a good inch of slime, mud, algae, and moss on it. The first times through, I had to French Free both coming and going, and I had about 6 pieces in, LOL. After standing in cold water for a while, I decided to come down that day.
Oh yeah, it took a long time just to get the vines off that stupid thing. and there was poison ivy, as well as briar and trumpet vine. I mean, there was so much vinage you could not see the crack LOL.
The dry day, there were still two fixed nuts at the start of the traverse, and I leaned out and stuck a number 6 friend in the wide bit, and just traversed across. When slimy and wet, the footing is precarious, the holds are slick. When dry and clean, it was maybe 10a.
The waterfall variation goes up the waterfall, (5.2, unless the water is running, then the lack of pro and the presence of slime makes it dubious at any grade) and steps back over onto the grey face for some nice 5.4 to the top, a little runout but it's soon 5.4 or less.
The guillotine variation, yet to be tried, because I am afraid the guillotine blade will come off and kill the belayer, would be the true crux. IF the blade stays in place, you could put pro above it. I am thinking of adding a bolt to that mini-roof just so if the blade does come off, you will not pendulum backwatds into aht wall behind you, and at the same time, a bolt there would stop the blade from cutting the ropes. But I am too lazy to drill over head by hand, so maybe I'll just go for it and see if the blade comes off. I already pulled out some choss above the blade, heh. it makes the hollow noise. Probably weighs about 500 pounds.
That proposed line would be pretty zig-zaggy, but it can be rigged with those newfangled roller biners so that there is no drag. I tried that on the waterfall variation, and it worked great. put a big Z in one line with a couple of the rollers and it pulled just great. Those things really do have a use, and I got mine cheap cause nobody would buy em, hehe.
The small roof at the bottom is an interesting deceitful 9+ move, and the crack up to the roof is a lot of fun, with a few ten moves on it.
When and if the algae and slime and moss grow back on the traverse, it will be very hard to free, but it could be done. The number 6 friend is bomber. When the weather was wet n cold, I didn't realize that I could lean way out and place the cam. mabye hte holds were too slick to do it at that point, but I think I just didn't know that the Friend would fit so well and I didn't want to fall off taht wet stuff on gear in slime encrusted placements, so I plugged in a lot of stuff.