Trip Report
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. Yosemite April 2014
Friday June 27, 2014 8:19pm
This April I finally convinced my boss that If I didn't get some time off I'd snap. I've been working way too much in the last while and needed a break. Work for me usually looks something like this:
BC Place
BC Place
Credit: JSmith
Or this:
Canada Place
Canada Place
Credit: JSmith
Maybe some of this:
Mosquito Creek.
Mosquito Creek.
Credit: JSmith
There was a lot of this:
Port Mann Bridge.
Port Mann Bridge.
Credit: JSmith
And way too much of this:
Stokke Cr.
Stokke Cr.
Credit: JSmith
What better place to blow off some steam than Yosemite? I packed the Red Rocket, my trusty 1990 Mazda 323, and hit the road.
The Red Rocket.
The Red Rocket.
Credit: JSmith
It's been 15 years since the last time I was in the valley, and at the time I just bouldered. That trip was cut short when I jumped off the mantle on Midnight Lightning and missed the pad with one foot, bruising my heel.
My partner for this trip was Tony "The Swoop" Mclane. A Squamish climber who's spent a lot of time in the Valley earning his nickname by helping clear trays at the cafeteria.
Tony experimenting with a new lighting system.
Tony experimenting with a new lighting system.
Credit: JSmith
Here we are plotting and scheming:
Oh hello.
Oh hello.
Credit: JSmith
First stop was Separate Reality for a warm up.
Tony at the crux.
Tony at the crux.
Credit: JSmith
Tony enjoying the view.
Tony enjoying the view.
Credit: JSmith
No tape was a bad choice.
No tape was a bad choice.
Credit: JSmith
The next day it was time for the intro to big walling in Yosemite, The Nose.
We started early to ensure a good spot in line and I was surprised to arrive at the base and find it empty.
0530 at the base.
0530 at the base.
Credit: JSmith
Heading in to the light.
Heading in to the light.
Credit: JSmith
Tony doesn't slow down to place pro.
Tony doesn't slow down to place pro.
Credit: JSmith
I think this is where we switched leads. Pitch after King Swing?
I think this is where we switched leads. Pitch after King Swing?
Credit: JSmith
Tony emerges from the Great Roof.
Tony emerges from the Great Roof.
Credit: JSmith
Somewhere up there.
Somewhere up there.
Credit: JSmith
Mandatory selfie from the last pitch.
Mandatory selfie from the last pitch.
Credit: JSmith
Nice view.
Nice view.
Credit: JSmith
East Ledges was fixed so the descent was quick.
East Ledges was fixed so the descent was quick.
Credit: JSmith
The Nose took us 12 hours camp to camp. We did it in 2 blocks. Tony led to just after King Swing and I led the rest. Could have been faster but the upper pitches were pretty wet. The amazing thing was that we not only had the route to ourselves, we had all of El Cap to ourselves. Magical.
After the Nose it was time for a rest day so we went and checked out some huge trees.
Thats a big tree.
Thats a big tree.
Credit: JSmith
The next objective was the RNWF of Half Dome.
We had one bike so we doubled from the Curry Village parking to Mirror Lake, crossed the river, and headed up the death slabs.
Tony fell in the river and did the death slabs in his boxers.
Tony at the base.
Tony at the base.
Credit: JSmith
A little wet in spots.
A little wet in spots.
Credit: JSmith
Tony decided not to try Honnolding.
Thank God Ledge.
Thank God Ledge.
Credit: JSmith
Almost out of light.
Almost out of light.
Credit: JSmith
The crux was the very last pitch which was soaking wet and covered in snow.
Dazed on the summit of Half Dome.
Dazed on the summit of Half Dome.
Credit: JSmith
We topped out just as the sun was dissapearing over the horizon. After a summit celebration we made quick work hand over handing down the cables, bouncing down the stairs, and post holing through snow to get back to the base. Then back down the Death Slabs, back over the river (we both fell in), and a quick double on the bike back to the Red Rocket. It took us 17 hours camp to camp. We were tired.
Tony and I did some cragging in the next couple days and decided to have a go at Golden Gate. I'd really wanted to try my luck at free climbing on the big stone.
I had been doing some bouldering in the evenings, working my way through the Camp 4 circuit with my mind on Midnight Lightning. The evening before we were going to start on Golden Gate I decided to have a few goes. I set up my pads and was quietly sessioning the problem alone, getting to the mantle, not quite feeling good, and jumping. On my last go of the evening I hopped on and started up the problem. Two guys who had been watching from about 20 feet away decided that this time I needed a spot and they ran up saying "we got you, we got you". I got up to the mantle and again didn't feel quite right so I jumped. This time instead of landing softly on my pads, my right foot hit the hole in the pads that my "spotters" had created. Crunch. Pain. Nausea. Sweat. I pulled off my shoe to see it quickly ballooning in size. Party's over.
That doesn't look good.
That doesn't look good.
Credit: JSmith
All though they were trying to help I can't help but feel a little bitter.
The hospital in Modesto confirmed that I had broken my heel and should see a orthopaedic surgeon.
My last few days in the valley were spent trying to figure out how to get home and generally taking it easy.
Being "that guy" in Camp 4.
Being "that guy" in Camp 4.
Credit: JSmith
There is no direct flights to Vancouver from Sacramento or San Francisco. We opted to stuff the Red Rocket and beeline back to Squamish.
The Red Rocket has never been so stuffed.
The Red Rocket has never been so stuffed.
Credit: JSmith
It's been 2 months since I broke the heel and about 7 weeks since I had surgery to put it all back together.
Nine screws.
Nine screws.
Credit: JSmith
Some plates.
Some plates.
Credit: JSmith
By all accounts my recovery is going quickly and I should be back on the rock in a few weeks, likely top roping.
On the up side my vacation got extended from the original 1 month to 4 months. I've been making lot's of music in my home studio and been able to achieve a lot that I wouldn't have been able to without the extra time off.
So yeah, 0 for 2 on Midnight Lightning. Next time I'm bringing more pads and maybe a dedicated spotter to make sure that random people don't move my pads.


  Trip Report Views: 2,867
JSmith
About the Author
JSmith is a climber from Squamish.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Jun 27, 2014 - 08:55pm PT
That it is dude, and rough, Heal up and have at it.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
  Jun 27, 2014 - 09:01pm PT
What kind of climbing trip can you say you've done if no bones were broken?

So heal up and get back on it.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jun 27, 2014 - 09:13pm PT
Great tr Jeremy, I heard about your story on Midnight Lightning. Bummer dude!

Still a proud trip man, thanks for posting.
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jun 27, 2014 - 09:15pm PT
The amazing thing was that we not only had the route to ourselves, we had all of El Cap to ourselves. Magical.

I'm so sorry about your heel, but I hope the memory of ^^^ outlasts the heel screws. shit!

Darwin
Leggs

Sport climber
Made in California
  Jun 27, 2014 - 09:21pm PT
Great TR ... wonderful narrative and photos.
So sorry to hear of your injury... Heal up fast and get back out there!


~peace
Rudbud

Gym climber
Grover Beach, CA
  Jun 27, 2014 - 09:25pm PT
Sucks it ended the way it did, you where kicking ass up until those dip shits moved your pads. Way to get after it, more pads for sure next time.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jun 27, 2014 - 10:01pm PT
Duct Tape that sh#t and keep going!!

Strong work there fellas!
Hawkeye

climber
State of Mine
  Jun 27, 2014 - 10:06pm PT
damn good job up until the crash, hope you heal.
Mark Force

Trad climber
Cave Creek, AZ
  Jun 28, 2014 - 05:47am PT
Separate Reality as a warm up? Damn!

Heal well!
bbbeans

Trad climber
  Jun 28, 2014 - 09:17am PT
wow! nose is 12 hrs and rnwf half dome. well done! thanks for the reminder why i don't boulder! heel quickly! (pun intended)
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Jun 28, 2014 - 09:18am PT
TFPU.
Bruce Kay

Gym climber
BC
  Jun 28, 2014 - 09:28am PT
oh man good luck with that thing! At least you had the perfect trip by Ghost stadards!

Harsh standards we all stack up to occasionally at least by the busted bones measure. Ouch
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Jun 28, 2014 - 10:09am PT
Wow, impressive! 12 hours car to car onsite on the nose, i"d give my left nut to do that.
John M

climber
  Jun 28, 2014 - 10:41am PT
This needs a two part trip report.

The first part so I can go…. wow.. way to rock it!


And the second so that I can go..

Ouch.. sorry man.. I hope you heal up quickly.


But damn.. you sure sent the first part of the trip.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Jun 28, 2014 - 11:03am PT
You guys are the Red Rockets!
I'm exhausted just reading your TR. Sorry about the ankle. That really sucks. Good luck for your recovery.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Jun 29, 2014 - 02:14am PT
holy crap, a calcaneal fracture is a devastating injury
lucky you didn't also break your back
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 29, 2014 - 01:28pm PT
Nice TR,
Sorry about your foot.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 29, 2014 - 02:59pm PT
Kickass TR, and sorry about your heel. I would have probably flipped if that happened to me. Did you climb in Sequoia.Kings Canyon when you checked out the big trees? That place has some good stuff too.
snyd

Sport climber
Lexington, KY
  Jun 29, 2014 - 05:01pm PT
Wow! Super Trip Report!! Sorry about the heal...
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jun 29, 2014 - 09:06pm PT
what a TR, it was like a movie for me...

I gasped (SR as a tape-less warm-up!?!), I cheered (charging up the Death Slabs in boxers after falling in river), I laughed, (it happened again, to the both of you?), I cried, (your broken heal curbed the momentum, you were on a tear!!! and I even shouted at the screen "Dudes, you never touch another man's pad!"

Get well soon!!


W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Jun 29, 2014 - 09:24pm PT
Thanks for sharing and heal up fast!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Jun 29, 2014 - 09:31pm PT
hey there say, jsmith...

wow, as to this quote:

It's been 15 years since the last time I was in the valley, and at the time I just bouldered.

wow!!!! glad you got back to yosemite!
say, also, glad the heel is healing... :)


happy travels, for the future and thanks for the really neat
trip report and photos, and friendship share...
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 3, 2014 - 09:49am PT
Want to bump it cuz its awesome
JSmith

climber
Squamish
Author's Reply  Jul 3, 2014 - 02:46pm PT
Thanks for all the kind words.
Here's a few more Half Dome photos I was able to get from Tony.
Still in the shade.
Still in the shade.
Credit: JSmith
Good times in the wide.
Good times in the wide.
Credit: JSmith
Off Big Sandy?
Off Big Sandy?
Credit: JSmith
westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
  Jul 3, 2014 - 03:09pm PT
First part was SICK! Way to send.

Last part made me a little sick. Get well soon.

Thanks for the TR.

Wes
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 3, 2014 - 03:28pm PT
Thanks for all the stoke, hope for a quick recovery. Lots of hangboarding for now and you will send that thing.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jul 3, 2014 - 03:47pm PT
Wow, from the Really Good, to the Really Bad.
I hope you are healing up OK so far.

Did you climb in Sequoia.Kings Canyon when you checked out the big trees?
Vitaliy,
Those big trees are probably within Yosemite, close to the Valley.
(Check out Mariposa Grove, Tuolumne Grove, etc.)
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/mg.htm
thekidcormier

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  Jul 3, 2014 - 03:59pm PT
Thanks for the report Jeremy.

Good seeing ya the others day.

Glad to see your stoke is still on high despite the injury.
The Larry

climber
Moab, UT
  Jul 3, 2014 - 05:53pm PT
Arrgggg! Great TR. At least you got some classic climbing in.

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