Trip Report
The Minivan Mountaineers
Friday August 23, 2013 10:54am
I don't remember the last time my wife and I did a multi-pitch climb together. Over ten years ago, sometime before we traded in the Subaru for a minivan.



Carseats and cragging gear.



Note the mountain goat sticker. We were determined to have an adventure worthy of the The Greatest Outdoor Ad Ever:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2197102/The-greatest-outdoor-ad-ever

So we choose the White Maiden's Walkway at Tahquitz. I had never done the route before but it seemed like a good choice for adventure.



We'd heard that route finding can be a challenge on the route, but a new copy Bob Gains' new guidebook, we had a all the beta we needed.

We dropped the kids off at Grandma and spent forever waiting for the traffic lights in Hemet. We made it to the crag around 10:30 and started the approach.



There's a point where the talus field seems to go on forever, but eventually we find ourselves at the base.

We found the start of the climb easily enough. After about thirty feet on the first pitch, there are number of possible lines to take. In the second half of the pitch I found myself making much of the upward progress on the twisted branches of a tree. We belayed on a small ledge that probably was not quite on route, but close enough. Another pitch up a corner and we were on a nice ledge.

There was a slow moving party above us - they were yelling back and forth quite a bit and seemed to make every belay command overly complicated: "Off Belay" - "Am I on belay" - "No I said Off Belay" and lots of that sort of thing. So we decided it was a good time for lunch. After the required cleansing with hand sanitizer we snack on some sandwiches.



Up a couple of pitches to the "improbable corner:"





Some more tree climbing and up another nice corner pitch, where we catch up to the party above us. From here the route starts to traverse right. The other party moves on, there's more yelling about a scary traverse but I can't see exactly where they are.

Another pitch, mostly traversing right to a ledge with a tree. This is where the guide shows three alternative exit routes: A 5.1, 5.3, and 5.7 variation. From what I can tell the 5.1 goes mostly straight right from where we are. I can't see the whole pitch from our ledge, but what I can see looks slabby and thinly protected. There's a traverse to a bulge, above which I cannot see the terrain. I check and re-check the guidebook but am not certain of the route.

Some clouds were forming and thunder was rumbling so I decide to go for it - thinking the 5.1 is the easiest and likely fastest way to the top. I start up the ramp and past a couple of bushes when it starts to rain, and then pour. The terrain is not terribly steep, but I was looking at about fifteen feet of soaking wet runout traverse, and I couldn't see beyond that. When the hail started, and it got really cold, I downclimbed back to the belay to wait out the storm.



Our route was now a small stream and looked pretty intimidating, even though it was supposedly 5.1. We put on our jackets watched the clouds move.





The minivan, with its heated seats, far below our cold wet ledge.



Ten minutes later the rain stopped and were were getting little windows of sun through the clouds. We waited for the route to dry, but it continued to look shiny and slick. I made another attempt up the ramp, but it just didn't seem right. Even if I could have managed it, I could not protect it well enough for the second. So we decided to try another path.

We moved the belay about twenty feet left on the ledge to the base of a wide crack. For some reason the rock was much drier over here. The crack was steep but easily bypassed on some slabs to the left. After about fifteen feet of unprotected slab, I moved right to the crack, found a place for gear and worked through a squirmy but easy offwidth. On the right there was a slab under an arching roof on the with a good crack along the base of the roof. After a slightly wet and delicate move onto the slab, I was on a low angle traverse with a nice crack for hands and pro. Thirty feet right and over a small lip took me to the trees on the summit.

Even after studying the guidebook and montainproject, I'm still not sure where I was on the last pitch. I think I was on the 5.3 finish, but perhaps it was the 5.1 finish and my initial line was completely off.



We had the summit to ourselves, for a few minutes until a soloist came along and asked if we got caught in the rain. He had started after the rain, so he must have done his entire climb in the time we were sorting out our last pitch. I don't know what route he did. I don't know who he was (one of you guys perhaps?) but he was definitely familiar with Tahquitz.

We hiked down the friction route. It was wet in a few spots but not enough to cause any difficulties. After the seemingly endless switchbacks on the lunch rock trail we made our way back to minivan.

Credit: Dave Kos

Back to grandma's house to pick up the kids...

  Trip Report Views: 983
Dave Kos
About the Author
Dave Kos is a social climber from Temecula.

Comments
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Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
  Aug 23, 2013 - 11:55am PT
Fun day, thanks for posting. That drive through Hemet is never ending. Years ago we would go the back way through Anza to avoid Hemet, but Temecula is just as bad now.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Aug 23, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
Nice break! Good for you for making time to do something together.
Phil_B

Social climber
CHC, en zed
  Aug 23, 2013 - 01:10pm PT
Good on ya for getting out there.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Aug 23, 2013 - 01:13pm PT
excellent!!!!

you cats are brilliant for having packed rain gear

10b4me

climber
  Aug 23, 2013 - 01:25pm PT
ah yes, the old talus approach. the quickest way to the northside routes.
I have been caught twice in deluges in Idyllwild. Once on Tahquitz, once on Suicide. Both times the route I was on became a waterfall.
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
  Aug 23, 2013 - 02:03pm PT
RightOn. . .yer gonna LOVE your Sienna!

Rippin' the middle seats out ROCKS!

:-)

photo not found
Missing photo ID#317553

photo not found
Missing photo ID#317555
jstn

Trad climber
monrovia, ca
  Aug 23, 2013 - 02:19pm PT
Nice to read a TR more at my level. thanks.
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
Maestro, Ecosystem Ministry, Fatcrackistan
  Aug 23, 2013 - 02:26pm PT
Good job Kos, but who who are those people in the photos? I was expecting something more like



Thanks for posting your adventure.

DMT
Dave Kos

Social climber
Temecula
Author's Reply  Aug 23, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
Good one DMT!

I always wanted to redo our bedroom in that retro decor, but my wife isn't going for it.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Aug 23, 2013 - 04:01pm PT
Cute wife!

Hans Florine drives a Sienna so it must be the climber's minivan.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Aug 23, 2013 - 04:13pm PT
Thanks for the memory flashback,
That was my first lead at Tahquitz in the early 70's
and yer right many variations can be done.
TFPU,
Tad
wstmrnclmr

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
  Aug 23, 2013 - 09:22pm PT
Nice report......interesting seeing a clear to rain to clear situation. I learned something interesting at Taquitz in the same conditions. I learned that shoes stick really well in flowing water. Not so good when just wet. Never forgot that. Finally you get to climb with your better half.......
S.Leeper

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Aug 23, 2013 - 09:30pm PT
Looks like a great time with your wife!

I always wondered what you look like in the flesh.
MisterE

climber
  Aug 23, 2013 - 09:35pm PT
Nice TR David!

Looks like a great time with your life partner - nothing better than that!

Erik
johnboy

Trad climber
Can't get here from there
  Aug 23, 2013 - 09:44pm PT
Safely up, an safely down, sounds ideal for every climb.


LOL, I've got one of those BackCountry stickers on each one of my vehicles.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Aug 23, 2013 - 09:50pm PT
Yo9ur guys flashed that pretty well for not having gotten out on rock together for so long. Have any plans to do another route this summer?

Thanks, too, for the oppo to visit the WMW. I've never even looked at it as a reference point for any others of the climbs I've done there.
That was a good TR, too. Pics helped lots.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
  Aug 24, 2013 - 08:01am PT
It's been 40+ years since Matt Hale and I spent five days or so at Tahquitz, so thanks for the memory boost!

We were there during the week and there were no other climbers at all. That's probably changed...

Looks and sounds like a great day out, with a little (but not too much) adventure thrown in to spice things up.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 24, 2013 - 03:30pm PT
Nice write up and great little adventure. Yall just need a little lift kit and some mud tires on that minivan and you'll be the envy of the crag. It was nice to read and get a feel your personality via being outside on the rock rather than on the political/religious threads! Thanks for sharing this excellent day out. Keep em coming.
Scott
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