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Half Dome


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
The Gift: New Year's Eve and A Long Day on Half Dome
Monday January 9, 2012 1:49am
Dick Clark is getting old. And so am I. Its 11:15pm on New Years Eve and I’m doing my best not to be a party pooper. Kids run around in the living room, couples play cards and gorge on heavy hors d'oeuvres I sink deeper into the couch and stare dumbly at the shiny people on the television…..Ryan Seacrest babbles on, something about what Lady Gaga will be wearing, I dunno, and Dick Clark, looking very orange and speaking in slow nearly senile garble, looks like they have physically propped him up in his chair to eek out one more New Year’s Eve Live From Central Park Bash.

Credit: micronut

The ball will drop soon, but all I can think about is how hard its gonna be to stay awake two more hours after midnight. Two hours. That’s how long it takes to drive from my front door to the Valley. And yeah, we’re going tonight. I’m almost 40 years old and I’m already up way past my bedtime, but the night….and the tomorrow…are both very young.

You see, La Nina has given Adam and I a gift. A cold and dark but very dry and snowless gift. Usually by December 31, the high country is slammed shut from about six thou up. Any ideas of multi pitch adventures hibernate, tucked under a heavy snowpack until spring can thaw them out. We are husbands and dads. 9 to 5ers with jobs and kids with swim practice, horseback, karate, piano and youth group slots on our calendars. We don’t get as much alpine action as we’d like sometimes, but we have our priorities straight and if you ask us, the best of both worlds. By late September, our three day trip to Tuolumne usually signals the end of our climbing season. We ski, we train, we boulder, we dream of long routes in the sunshine. But this year…..this year, strange things are afoot in the hills outside of town. The roads are open. The trailheads are dry. Avalanche isn’t even in our vocabulary yet. We’ll take this strange meteorological event as a late Christmas gift. We’ll tear into it with reckless abandon and toss the wrapping paper over our shoulders. It could be sunny and clear up high or full on Himalayan Winter wrath. But in the words of Mark Twight, we’re ready to “Put up, shut up, or die trying.” Ok, maybe not, but we’re gonna at least pack enough warm stuff that we’ll be able to up there and have a look.

One day. Our calendars had synched up for one green light day of mountain business and the 1st of January it would be. We needed to go big. We had high pressure on the barometer, cold blue skies forecasted, and the gift of snowless terrain sitting in our lap. A New Years link up of Five Open Books? Naw…too pedestrian. The Regular Route on Fairview in Winter? Hmmmm….cold and burly…but too close to the road. Lets see……….

“You know man….I’ve never been up Snake Dike….” Says Adam two weeks ago.
“Dude….shut up right now or you’re gonna be in for a looong hike.” I say, knowing he’s way fitter than I am and secretly knowing how cold and painful such a long walk could potentially be in January.
“C’mon…what’s it like? And how cool would it be to grab a winter ascent”
“Ok….the runouts are loco…like you’ll fall for 150 feet and mangle yourself loco. But the Dike is soooo cool, like climbing a scaly magical dragon’s back for pitch after pitch of the tastiest stone on the planet, and the whole day yer lookin’ out over God’s country, big old peaks in the background, El Cap growing in profile as you climb higher….it’s money man. Big cash loco money. But like I said…its like 60 miles of walking for eight pitches and a thousand feet of calf burner. Your skinny legs would probably cramp up halfway through the approach.”
“I’m in.” He says.
“Shut up….Half Dome in Winter Adam…we could die. I just saw a photo on the Taco and the rivers are frozen solid. It could be full on K2 up there mate.”
“Yeah…I know. I’m in man, I’m all in….you had me at loco.”

And so it began. We would pack the down jackets, the baklavas and the hand warmers. We would face frostbite and falling ice and the risk of storm and the terrifying runouts and we would sneak into old Mr. winter’s locker and grab the first ascent of 2012 of Half Dome via Snake Dike. We would pass the test and return home to our wives and children The Heroes of Winter.

T-minus 24 hours to lift off. One of my favorite parts of pre-mission packing is watching my closet transform.
A blank canvas...
A blank canvas...
Credit: micronut
Alpine potential
Alpine potential
Credit: micronut
My favorite.  Once it looks like this...lift off is eminent.
My favorite. Once it looks like this...lift off is eminent.
Credit: micronut
I’m like a teenage girl before the first day of high school. I primp and plan and rearrange my clothes and spread out accessories……so long sleeve zip tee then R1 then storm shell?…or go just synthetic tee and R1 and nanopuff? Big Puffy for sure…its 17 degrees at 7000 right now. Light ice tool for reaching water in the creek and for potential ice on the cables. (At this point we had no intel as to the condition of the descent cables. If we had arrived at the summit with the cables under an inch of ice, we would have been in for an epic without something to hack with.) Gloves….yup, socks under the climbing shoes...you bet. Now how much GU? Twight, House and Backes had 50 packets each on The Czech Direct. Yeah, 6 will do just fine to “further justify my elitest attitude.”

I love trip prep. Did I mention that already? I love shrinking Supertopos and laminating them with packing tape.
Credit: micronut
I love reading approach beta over and over and over and calling Adam every hour on the hour for two days straight prior to lift off. We have stupid little conversations about weather and food and gear and clothing over text and phone and e-mail. We’re heading to battle and the prep is full of adventure and possibility and prevention. I have a new toy too. A SPOT tracker. Wives and kids….remember? Its kinda sobering to type in the custom messages.

Credit: micronut
Message 1 “All is well. We’re having a great day in the mountains. Check us out on the topo!”
Message 2 “We’re late but safe, will get home when conditions and safety allow.”
Message 3 “HELP. HELP. Call 911 and Search and Rescue NOW. We need immediate assistance”
Hopefully today will be all Message 1’s.

12:41am. New Year’s Eve. By the time we get home from the party, Adam is asleep in his car in front of my house. Gunshots and fireworks go pop pop in the distance through the bitter, foggy, downtown Fresno night. We’re Northbound within minutes, breaking free of the city as cars fly past us full of drunkards heading back to Fresno from garish technicolor foothill casinos.
Credit: micronut
Chuckchansi Casino on 41North.  I used to quail hunt these lands as a ...
Chuckchansi Casino on 41North. I used to quail hunt these lands as a kid.
Credit: micronut


But soon we reach The Promised Land and the adventure is under way for real.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
At what temp does water freeze at again?

We manage to pass the time between the entrance tunnel with idle banter about routes and missions from the past.
"Ok......Which route was cooler....Tenaya Peak Northwest Buttress, or CastletonTower's North Chimney?"
"Ok....you only get one route for the rest of your life...and its gotta be a route we've done.....Regular Route on Fairview or Eichorn Pinnacle stacked on top of Cathedral on top of Royal Arches?
"No fair.....that's a mythical route, it doesn't count!"
And on and on
We're in the tunnel in no time.
Credit: micronut

We hit the Valley floor at 2:29am. Brrrrrrr. Cold so bitter it hurts your feelings. We allow ourselves a quick snooze, maybe an hour won’t hurt……the quiet purr of an alarm rings deep within my subconscience…..”Go back to sleep the temptress voice whispers….ssssleeeeep….its too cold out there for you. Sleep a few hours then spend the day in the Valley, sipping hot chocolate….climb a few routes over in the sun if you want…..hang out in the Mountain Shop……the deli….it will be such a nice day……..”

“NO! DUDE! WAKE UP! We’re LATE! Like full on LATE”
Its 4:39. We throw open the FJ doors and an icy winter wind of 2012 fills the vehicle like an evil spirit, sucking the warmth right out of our souls. There is only one way to ward off such horrific malice, and that is to throw on the packs and walk….walk directly into the face of the monster. The blood in our legs will warm us and our stoke will crush the very life out of this cold dark sinister night. We're on the pavement in minutes. There is nothing happy about the road to Happy Isles at this forsaken hour in these temps.
Credit: micronut

Signs like this are for the weak and the fearful and the meek. We are none of these things and we take a few moments to show it. “Oh no….Its closed…..what are we gonna do! Bah!!!”
Credit: micronut

Walking silently across the bridge at Happy Isles feels like crossing a threshold. There is no turning back. The cold cannot stop us now. We will ascend. We may suffer. But up we will go. The launch button has been pressed. Upward into the night.
Credit: micronut
We're Gunna Die
We're Gunna Die
Credit: micronut
Oh we plan to.
Oh we plan to.
Credit: micronut
Dreamscape.
Dreamscape.
Credit: micronut

The stairs to Vernal Falls are ice free but I’m ready to puke within minutes. We've been hammering non stop up these unforgiving steps for a while now...feeling kinda dizzy from the exertion and constant upward tempo.

Credit: micronut
From out of the stillness above, something massive is rumbling. An invisible crashing noise reverberates through the canyon. The clambering of thousands of pounds of something falling a long way. We keep moving up in the Tolkienesque landscape, feeling vulnerable to the crashing anarchy around us. By the time we are pin high with the falls we realize the source of the sound. Massive chunks of ice are tearing free from the top of the flow above the lip of the falls, sliding over the falls and crashing into the snow cone at the base. Its comforting to know but its still kinda creepy. We are makin’ time by the top of Vernal and I stop to take a tourist shot in the night.
Look honey...There's a rainbow!
Look honey...There's a rainbow!
Credit: micronut


The rest of the hike to the top of Nevada is pretty much hazy. But I remember feeling my face go numb at some point and Adam taking a loooonnnng time behind a boulder for some reason. He made some comment about frozen cheeks but his baklava seemed to be fitting fine on his face. I don't get it.

Getting water from the Merced might take a bit of work today...so we keep puttin' shoe to dirt.
Credit: micronut

The first strokes of blue begin to bleed across the sky in the east and we break left at the big boulder above Liberty cap. Little Yosemite Valley is dead silent. Not a breath of wind stirs. The falls above are frozen solid. The cross country route to Lost Lake goes quickly and we only get “lost” for about ten minutes. Its still pretty nippy, but by this point we are in R1s and base layers. Perhaps Jack Frost will let us off easy today. Half Dome begins to take shape above us, ominous in the steel cold morning light. What a sight to behold.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

Things get a little weird above Lost Lake. I realize my new Cannon t3i is low on batteries and that all further photos might be from our i-phones. This demoralizes me briefly.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
We wander around a bit, following trail ducks set in place by other people who were lost at some point. Who makes these things? Lost Boy scouts and people on shrooms I’m pretty sure. I back out of the branches of a bay tree dangling over a 200 foot drop and tell Adam I think we’re not totally on route. I’m pretty sure this is how you get Lyme’s Disease so we scoot back down, losing altitude, and aim for the ledges and brush heading East.
It’s no fun but we are eventually heading up the proper approach. Here’s a few photos to show the civil way to approach Snake Dike.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

Just after this photogenic little fourth class traverse, with the base of the route in sight, the leg cramps begin. Ho man…..I’ve never really had leg cramps like this. Big boy leg cramps. The full calf, quad, thigh, glute kind. The kind that bring you to your knees and make you breathe like a woman in labor. It feels like a schoolyard bully has my leg squeezed above the knee in a charley horse with his meaty oversized hands. Threatening to steal my lunch money.
“Owwwrrrrggggaaaaahhhhh…….” the moans of a stricken man echo down the approach slabs, through the chasm between Liberty Cap/Broderick, down the mist falls trail and onto the Valley floor.
A woman in room 314 of the Ahwahnee sits upright in her bed and nudges her sleeping husband.
“Honey, did you hear that?”
“Hhhmmmwhat?”
“It sounded like a woman screaming!”
“Probly just the wind….go back to sleep…there’s nobody out there….its Winter.”
She falls quickly back to sleep but 4000 feet above her, siting on a ledge at the base of Half Dome, a man in his late thirties begs for mercy from the pain and for just a moment thinks about sending out an SOS on his shiny new Spot tracker. He foams at the mouth through clenched teeth, frozen snotcicles streaked across his cheeks. He chokes down two packets of GU and a wad of beef jerky and wills his legs to carry him upward. He will not concede defeat here on this grassy knoll. He will rise and smite the bully. Nobody will steal his lunch money today. Upward he climbs.

Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
The base of Snake Dike is a wonderful spot. The morning sun shines just right…..we take off some layers to dry the sweat and take a moment to relax and enjoy the view. There is not another human for miles and we revel in the silent pride of a hard uphill hump done well.
Hey Adam……”HAPPY NEW YEAR!”
“Oh yeah, you knew it, you knew I’d be ready to party today!”
Credit: micronut
"Here, I brought you a party hat too, but I only got one kazoo-horn-thing, so you're outta luck. You're not sharin' mine."
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
We take a moment to enjoy the first sunrise of 2012. Warm granite soars for thousands of feet above us, peaks glimmer in the distance to the East. Tendrils of smoke rise from morning fires in the Valley below. The only sound is that of our breathing and the click-clack of gear being racked. We’re thankful for the blessing of being right here, right now, as the first light of 2012 shines on our faces. What a place to start the year. What a gift. We’re racked in minutes and we stand quietly, like we always do and say a quick prayer before taking the first step onto the route.


“Lord, thank you for a great day already. Thank you for your amazing creation and for your active presence in our lives. We are grateful for our families and for wives who support us on these adventures. Guide us today and protect us. Thank you for this friendship....may we have many more days just like today in the coming years. We are humbled by your mercy and all you do for us.
Please give us strength and courage and clarity of mind on the climb ahead. We ask all of this in your Son’s name. Amen.”
“Amen.”
“LETS ROCK AND ROLLA!”
“Game. On.”
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
The first pitch is super cool. Adam leads up 50 feet or so, places a finger sized piece in the horizontal above and down-climbs about 20 feet. He pauses for a minute or two, then starts the delicate travers left, keeping his heels down, scoping for slight ripples in the face. He inchworms left and upwars, aiming for the far left corner of the roof. The angle is gentle, but a slip would be nas-t with a capital T. He’s soon over the lip, the rope swaying in a gentle forty foot arc out and down to his right. He motors to the belay, placing a couple pieces in the tasty finger crack ramp on the way to the belay.
Credit: micronut
I grab the rack and head out on the second pitch, traversing out into the void, when the calf-quad-hammy cramps strike again with full on authority. “Vwowch!”
“Dude….watch me..I’m comin’ back….yeeouch….oh man…my calves are in a vice grip!”
I steadily work back to the belay, cramps seizing both legs simultaneously, taking the breath right outta my chest. Probably……..…just…..menstrual…” I eek out as I clip back into the bolts.
Credit: micronut

“I’m yer Huckleberry.” Says adam and he grabs the rack and heads back out. Its probably best anyways. I’m a better photographer and had I been on lead he probably would’ve taken a fuzzy shot of me too close to the belay to look any good. Instead, he works bravely across the traverse and I snap a few shots that will look good in his den someday. Nice climbin’ kid.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

We’ve got two pitches under our belt and the Wicked Winter Witch we worried about hasn’t showed up. She seems to have stayed home today, maybe nursing a cold. Or perhaps she got the memo that Micronut and Macronut were comin’ to storm the castle today and that they came ready to wage full on Himalayan alpine war and that she might as well just stay in bed. Or maybe it has something to do with the high pressure system sitting over the entire Western United States for the past nine weeks. Whatever the cause, we’ve put the down jackets deep into the packs and are climbing in no more than long sleeves and shells. We decided early on not to chip ice from the river for water back at the falls, and for the first time we realize that water might just become an issue today. We’ve each had maybe a litre and we each have a litre left. But we’re a long way from home and my “contractions” are coming more often and getting closer together.

Adam strikes out on the third pitch traverse left to the dike, supposedly the mental crux of the route.
He tiptoes across, not even stopping to contemplate a fall, and is hootin’ and hollerin’ over at the dike in no time flat. Here’s a couple shots of the crux smears.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
With the sun high in the sky and The Dike in our grasp, we know for the first time today that we will be triumphant over the La Nina of 2011-2012. Nothing can stop us. The dike is an amazing geological feature. Its like climbing the spiny white back of some prehistoric serpent. To my left and to my right, nothing but air and shiny smooth granite. Way off to my left, the big wall routes fall away below us, adventures for another day. Somewhere to my right, the terrifying South Face routes lurk. Southern Belle, Autobahn, Karma. Routes we’ll never do. We motor upward, laughing at the insane run-outs, soaking up the exposure and enjoying a perfect day in the mountains. Its al grins at the belays. Adam is climbing like a champ and I’m keeping enough salt and GU and water in my gut to keep the cramping at bay. El Capitan slowly grows out of the Valley floor as we climb higher. Its pure mountain perfection. A horn honks deep in the valley below. A crow caws somewhere in Little Yosemite. The rope sways gently in the wind, Adam is 130 feet above me with one quickdraw between us. We can’t stop smiling. High on Half Dome on January 1st. What a gift.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
70 feet out or so on Pitch 4.
70 feet out or so on Pitch 4.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

We finish the final pitch, deal with a little stuck rope fiasco for a few minutes, then I join Adam at the unroping spot. Congratulations are in order.
Credit: micronut
We slam some GUhors d'oeuvres (pronounced Guor-dervs) prepare to head upward, into the third class slabs forever portion of the route. Chris Mac has never written four more accurate words than those scribbled in the upper right hand portion of page 149 of Yosemite Valley Free Climbs. “Class 3 slabs forever.” They really do go forever.
Credit: micronut

Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Half way to the summit I am reduced to taking 30 steps then stopping to fist pound my cramping quads like a butcher tenderizing a slab of beef. I wretch with the pain. I moan and wail inside, trying not to let Adam see the vulnerable shell of a man that I have become since unroping hundreds of vertical feet ago. There is not enough water in the Nalgene to provide me the hydration I truly need. I hurt down to the actin and myosin filament level. I am a prisoner in my own solitary world of pain. A marine crawling back to the bunker on nothing but fumes and fear and a will to survive. I press on, fighting for altitude, knowing that the only relief lies on the summit. I think of my heroes and how they behaved on hard days before me…Rebuffat near the summit of Grand Jorasses…..Rick Ridgeway on K2 in 1978, Bachar, Kauk and Long on Astroman…..House and Anderson on The Rupal Face…… more recently Mark Hudon’s inspiring long solo days on Tribal Rite. I think to myself, dig bro, dig. Make these guys proud. There’s good stuff up there on that summit.

Adam takes a shot of me 100yds from the summit and I give a nod to Vince Anderson on his summit day on Nanga Parbat.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Ok, Nanga Parbat to Snake Dike is a bit of a stretch…..but I’m hurtin’ here people, give me some literary license.

Soon though, the world spills beneath me and the summit is ours. We sit and mellow out in the warm sunlight. All is well in the universe.

Took these last few shots with the SLR.  Such a bummer to lug it aroun...
Took these last few shots with the SLR. Such a bummer to lug it around all day and only get a few shots with it. The t3i is a really nice rig.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

We gawk at the silly exposure over the diving board. We don’t say much. The moment speaks for itself. Sure, eight pitches of 5.7 isn’t much to brag about, but the day adds up. From the fear of the winter unknown, to the glorious sunrise, to the wonderful climbing to the summit vibe….the sum of the experience is a worthy prize. We still haven’t seen the cables, so we don’t know what we’re in for as far as ice on the descent is concerned, but for a few minutes we just sit and relax and savor the gift of success.
Credit: micronut
“Happy New Year, kid.”
A firm, chalky handshake always feels good on top.

I send a Spot message to friends and family and I make sure its message #1.
Credit: micronut
“All is well. We’re having a great day in the mountains. Check us out on the topo!”
Here’s what it looks like. Its good down to 10meters. There we are, right there by that red balloon. 2:36pm, Jan 1, 2012. Makes the wives happy, that’s for sure.
Credit: micronut

“First ascent of Half Dome of 2012. Not bad eh?”
“Not bad a-tall.” Says Adam. “Not bad a-tall. Now lets get out of here.”
And he promptly heads due west, nowhere near the start of the cables.
“Yo Macronut! The cables are over here!”
“Oh. Yeah. Ok.” And he does a hard left and starts heading Eastward, heading home.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Well, the cables turn out to be bone dry and we make it down without much sketch.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
I start compiling a list of stuff we brought that we never really had to use, and I’m thankful.
-8000M jacket
-second rope
-Hand warmers
-matches
-long underwear
-large gloves
-ice tool
-vicodin
Credit: micronut
The last hours are a bit of a blur, but I remember Adam getting cold at some point and both of us seeing things in the dark on the way down.
Sunset overtook us somewhere near Liberty Cap, but we got one final look at the route in the evening alpenglow.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Twice I jump as my headlamp sweeps across what I thought to be a big marsupial/critter sitting on its haunches in the dark. Just a rock. Creepy.
Yeah...I'm hurtin.
Yeah...I'm hurtin.
Credit: micronut
Down down down we pound, and just when the hot spots start to gnaw at our toes, we hit the flats and grind our way back to the FJ. Done. Shortly after 6:30PM, my bird is cooked.
Back at ABC
Back at ABC
Credit: micronut
Its getting cold again, the temps are dropping and its now hovering near freezing as we limp towards the Pizza Deck. Deep down I knew it was too late in the day and too late in the season to expect the Pizza Deck to be open, but I just had to see for myself. Yup. Closed. We hobble inside the cafeteria and there’s not much other than a couple bowls of chili and we tear into it like refugees. The chili settles and brings warmth into our cold, empty bones. We have returned from the breach. I lean back in my chair and wrap my frozen fingers around the steaming bowl, thinking about the day, climbing in general, heroes and stuff like that. Snake Dike is not an impressive climb to many. Its not difficult nor adventurous nor proud to lots of climbers, but for us today, we found a little of all three of those things. Difficulty, adventure, pride of line. These are what unite all of us who climb rocks and snow and mountains. We each seek these things in different ways. But its what inspires all of us isn’t it? We’ve all got heroes. And as I’ve grown older I’ve had the chance to somewhat get to know a couple of mine. I had lunch with Ron Kauk a couple weeks ago…..I chatted briefly with Laird Hamilton on a flight….Mark Hudon e-mails me big wall tips…..John Long may even read this. I've shaken hands with Eric Beck, one of the FA guys who's responsible for the existence of this very route. Thanks for a great route Eric. I’ve found that we all inspire each other and that the experiences we gain from big days like this is what we all share. It’s not the numbers or the name of the route. Its what we bring back from the other side. We stand on shoulders of those who came and went before us. We share the stoke. We pass the torch. I make a 2012 New Years Resolution to share more of these adventures with more people. To gather up my kids more often and tell them the epic tales of my days out in God’s Country. This year, I will share The Gift more often.

We drive home that night stuffed on chili and the gluttony of a successful mission. Our bellies and hearts are full. We’ve been awake for nearly 40 hours by the time I crawl into bed, kiss my wife and feel the wonderful stillness of zero inertia wash over me. My body has been moving for so long either on foot or in the car that the sudden calm is almost overwhelming. I’m asleep in seconds. Apparently I continued to cramp up throughout the night….my wife says I moaned and rolled around in bed comically every hour or so. She found it amusing. The next morning, with wide eyed kids in jammies around the breakfast table, I begin to make good on sharing The Gift….

“So there we are…..at Lost Lake…the thing is frozen solid….sunrise is upon us and the massive granite beast of Half Dome rears above us…daring us to take one.. step… closer…………….”


Happy New Year's Supertopo.
Credit: micronut
Micronut. Out.

  Trip Report Views: 6,480
micronut
About the Author
micronut is a trad climber from fresno, ca.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
  Jan 9, 2012 - 02:00am PT
Yet another awesome TR from Micronut!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jan 9, 2012 - 02:10am PT
Tremendous!
LuckyNeck

Trad climber
the basement of Lou's Tavern
  Jan 9, 2012 - 05:02am PT
First paragraph almost sounds like Palahniuk. Nice.

"Strange things are afoot at the...". Ha ha, Bill and Ted?

Nice report, the cramps sound terrible.
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jan 9, 2012 - 08:08am PT
Soooo cool! May this climb be the first of many more great experiences for you guys in 2012!
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
  Jan 9, 2012 - 08:15am PT
Love it! Way to bring party favors!

Josh
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jan 11, 2012 - 11:12pm PT
Dick Clark is getting old. And so am I.


Yeah right.

I’m almost 40 years old and I’m already up way past my bedtime

See, I told ya.

Cold so bitter it hurts your feelings.


K, now yer stretching it....but I LOVE that line!


The blood in our legs will warm us and our stoke will crush the very life out of this cold dark sinister night.


Ooooo, another good one!


The kind that bring you to your knees and make you breathe like a woman in labor.

BWA HA HA hahahaaa!!!

Ok, I gotta go do some of that daddy stuff. I'll read the rest later.
Dude you missed your calling as a bromance novelist!
tenesmus

Trad climber
slc
  Jan 9, 2012 - 09:19am PT
Very fun!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Jan 9, 2012 - 09:24am PT
Outstanding.

DMT
YoungGun

climber
North
  Jan 9, 2012 - 10:03am PT
Micronut does it again! Love the party hats. Sick TR and well told :)
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jan 9, 2012 - 10:23am PT
Nice, way to get after it!

We hiked up there new years day '76, but decided against it and bailed.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Jan 9, 2012 - 10:50am PT
Outstanding men!
Gene

climber
  Jan 9, 2012 - 11:22am PT
Cold so bitter it hurts your feelings.

I loved this line as well. Great TR!

g
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
  Jan 9, 2012 - 11:45am PT
excellent.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jan 9, 2012 - 12:31pm PT
Love it, but I miss the Mullets.....:)
Ropeboy

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jan 9, 2012 - 12:32pm PT
Wonderful story telling. I can feel the cold and the cramps and the sun and the glory.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jan 9, 2012 - 01:06pm PT
Make these guys proud.

Exactly why I do it! If Steve House wasn't my facebook friend, I would quit this sh#t long time ago!

jk

Very nice write up!
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
  Jan 9, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
That was pretty damn nice. Congrats on a great start to 2012!
Double D

climber
  Jan 9, 2012 - 01:19pm PT
Excellent TR!
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Jan 9, 2012 - 01:27pm PT
You did it ----and I am inspired by your effort and adventure,




.....so much so I won't tell you about what 51 hours of back labor feels like. Loved the trip report and your willingness to lay it all out there.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Jan 9, 2012 - 02:26pm PT
Ha! That was SO excellent! So very excellent in all regards!

But I have to say it…You guys are Nuts!
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jan 9, 2012 - 09:23pm PT
Great TR and happy new year!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jan 9, 2012 - 11:29pm PT
awesome commitment shared with great writing!

dig it!
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Jan 10, 2012 - 12:21am PT
Nice work Micronut it was everything I had hoped for and more. I agree with Ezra tho, I missed the mullets too. :)

pFranzen

Boulder climber
Portland, OR
  Jan 10, 2012 - 12:22am PT
Ok people: we have 357 days to beat this trip report, but until someone does I think it'll remain the best of 2012. That was fantastic!!
altieboo

Social climber
Das Blase
  Jan 10, 2012 - 01:45am PT
Best tripping I have ever read hands down. Awesome writing. Good photos. Psyched.

mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jan 10, 2012 - 02:18am PT
Sweet dudes!

Gettin it done.
DanWenger

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Jan 11, 2012 - 12:20pm PT
Great story and photos. Thank you. Next time remember to take a hand full of TUMS. The cramps are most likely due to lack of calcium. Pop a TUMS in your mouth and away go the cramps.
climbinginchico

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
  Jan 11, 2012 - 12:43pm PT
What, no mullets?
dugillian

Trad climber
Vancouver
  Jan 11, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
Awesome TR! Great way to start the year. Brings back some awesome memories of climbing the Dyke. When we got to the base one party had already backed off the 1st pitch and we watched as another party flailed around and then backed off the 1st pitch as well. Pretty crappy after hiking all the way in but it left us with the route all to ourselves :}

Super fun.
spoonman

Mountain climber
  Jan 11, 2012 - 01:13pm PT
We decided it was too cold in Mid October- spent the day at Swan slab instead.
seth kovar

climber
Reno, NV
  Jan 11, 2012 - 01:26pm PT
Awesome tr as ususal...
Aerili

climber
SLC, Utah
  Jan 11, 2012 - 02:39pm PT
Great TR! Made me wish I was with ya for a few minutes...well, maybe. ;)
burp

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
  Jan 11, 2012 - 03:31pm PT
Great stuff!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Jan 11, 2012 - 03:36pm PT
Didjya ever notice how Micronut looks like the Doritos pug taunter?





I'm just sayin....!

DMT
tahoe523

Trad climber
Station Wagon, USA
  Jan 11, 2012 - 05:55pm PT
A+! Another excellent report! Thanks, Micronut. Looking forward to the next one.
william wilkey

Trad climber
greenville sc
  Jan 12, 2012 - 08:40am PT
quite possably the best trip report i have ever read.
fsck

climber
  Jan 12, 2012 - 10:46am PT
dang, what a freakin stellar winter you ditch-dwellers are having. if i'd known better i would've planned a mid-december trip out west and enjoyed a nice romp up The Nose.

great TR, micronut.
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Jan 12, 2012 - 12:58pm PT
Kinda like Avatar.
I may have heard the story before but the way this one's done adds a whole new dimension. Brilliant!
Great job and great report!
SGVP

Mountain climber
Sunland/Tujunga
  Jan 13, 2012 - 11:16pm PT
Awesomeness. Thanks for the TR and photos.
moosedrool

climber
lost, far away from Poland
  Jan 15, 2012 - 02:51am PT
Another fantastic report on an excellent adventure. Way to star a new year!

Happy New Year micronut!
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Jan 15, 2012 - 12:54pm PT
What are you two Nuts or something?

Excellent job.
PAUL SOUZA

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Jan 15, 2012 - 01:02pm PT
AWESOME!! Loved the TR!

Glad you guys got down safe and didn't have to battle with ice and snow! I don't think that there is any other time when you can have Half Dome all to yourselves!

Well done gentlemen!

P.S. We need to rope up sometime! ;)
cmclean

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
  Jan 17, 2012 - 09:06pm PT
This TR rocks, thanks for sharing! Love the morning light on the south face, the party favors, and the Vince Anderson impression. You guys are hilarious. Way to get out there and have some fun!
BriGuy

climber
black hills, south dakota
  Jan 18, 2012 - 01:55am PT
Five stars.

Thank you.
Calival72

Social climber
San diego, CA
  Jan 20, 2012 - 12:53am PT
terrific adventure, made me feel like I was right there! Great pix, even better imagery and story telling, I could even feel the cold and the cramping. I too have shared time with Ron Kauk and have eaten the canteen chili...cannot wait until May when I turn 40 & attempt my first ascent of Half Dome. I tried last year early May and cried all day at camp as my buddy had to go up without me due to my shin splints which were so bad I had to ask a ranger to drive me to the restrooms in Housekeeping in the early hours after some serious hikes and no rest days over the long weekend. Thanks guys!!! Please, keep writing!!!
wallyvirginia

Trad climber
Stockholm, Sweden
  Jan 24, 2012 - 01:37pm PT
Super inspiring, thank you!

BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
  Jan 29, 2012 - 12:02am PT
Nuts!
viejoalpinisto

Social climber
Pahrump, NV
  Mar 19, 2012 - 01:29pm PT
Cold so bitter it hurts your feelings.

If Hemingway never wrote that he is wishing he did! Thanks. Marvelous.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Mar 19, 2012 - 01:48pm PT
I love your trip reports, and this is a great example of why. Very well done.

If you ever want to feel young again (i.e., if you want to climb with someone over 60), give me a shout -- well after I recover from my Achilles tendon injury.

John
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  Mar 22, 2012 - 11:09am PT
Thanks for the replies everybody. I'm glad yall like to read this stuff. Its fun to write, and hearing fun responses makes me want to write more TR's. Its hard to impress around here, what with guys sending actual big and hard routes all the time. It ain't no Third Pillar or Winter Evolution Traverse, but it sure tickled our fancy.

mwatsonphoto

Trad climber
Culver City, CA
  Mar 22, 2012 - 03:49pm PT
really enjoyed the TR! good job guys.
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
  Apr 17, 2012 - 01:23pm PT
Bump for an amazing TR! Anyone been up Snake Dike recently? Looks like good weather this weekend...
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  May 15, 2012 - 06:17pm PT
I just heard some dudes waited three hours to get on this route a few days ago. What a bummer. Made me think about this day a few months ago. Nobody ...I mean nobody around for miles. Not even another soul in the wilderness on the way in or out. Just the quiet sway of pine needles in the breeze and the sound of our own hearts and voices. I wish more people could have the same experience on Snake Dike. But alas....so many climbers and so few easy lines like this one.


mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  May 15, 2012 - 06:58pm PT
I got bored as sh#t on this climb. It's still one of my favorites, though, because it was one of the last long routes I did. I got the summit photo framed with me and Jim and Mt. Clark.

Bump for Chris and Eric and Jim.

Fifty-year mass assault party assembles at dawn during the July 4th holiday, I think? 1965-2015.
Phil_B

Social climber
CHC, en zed
  May 15, 2012 - 07:00pm PT
Yeah, Cleo and I were in the big conga line on Saturday. However, we ice climbed in Tuolumne, then did South Crack and ice skated on Tenaya Lake on New Year's 2012, so that's a good trade for me.

I was feeling really wimpy on the hike up too. I'm so glad we had a lot of food. I still can't believe people go up and down the cables without being tied in.

Micronut, I love your TR's. Good job man
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  May 16, 2012 - 08:07am PT
rE-Bump!
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
  Sep 26, 2012 - 03:44pm PT
More climbing bumps!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  Jan 8, 2013 - 05:38pm PT
Self bump. I just re-read this to my kids by the fire.

Bek(6) "Dad if we go when I get bigger....you BETTER not get quad cramps."
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jan 8, 2013 - 07:27pm PT
Thanks for bumping, I missed this one! Really fine.
Andy Fielding

Trad climber
UK
  Jan 8, 2013 - 07:40pm PT
Brilliant, loved it, even if I am a year late!
labrat

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
  Jan 8, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
Just read it......again! Really fun!
Vegasclimber

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
  Jan 8, 2013 - 08:24pm PT
Holy cow. Great report, great writing. Thanks for the super-stoke for the year ahead!
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Jan 9, 2013 - 12:06am PT
Micronut I can totally relate to mancramps taking total control over your legs. Went on a big ski touring day last year, and didn't bring enough water. Needless to say you can't just stop when in the backcountry you must continue. Lesson learned! A 4 liter dromedary bag now comes with me wherever I roam, and although it may not always be full at least I have the option. Way to push on during a big day!
harryhotdog

Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
  Jan 12, 2013 - 09:40pm PT
Great read and a great way to start the new year,lovely hike getting up there also.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Apr 1, 2014 - 06:33pm PT
Friend was talking about this TR yesterday. Got a blank stare from me, which slowly turned to an angry snarl: "I DON'T MISS MICRONUT TR's."

Now rectified. Sweet TR, Micro! A gift indeed.



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Half Dome - Snake Dike 5.7 R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Snake Dike follows an amazing feature to one of the most incredible summits in Yosemite.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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Regular Northwest Face, 5.12 or 5.9 C1
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The Regular Northwest Face.
Half Dome - Tis-sa-ack A3 5.9 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Tis-sa-ack, A3 5.9
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Half Dome - Zenith A4 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Zenith, A4 5.8
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The first part of the route is hidden.
Half Dome - Blondike 5.11b R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Blondike, 5.11b R
Half Dome
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Blondike is the red line and Two Hoofers is the Blue Line.
Half Dome - Two Hoofers 5.12 or 5.10b A0 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Two Hoofers, 5.12 or 5.10b A0
Half Dome
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Two Hoofers follows the blue line.
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