Trip ReportThe Very Big and The Very Small: A Humble 2012 Year in Review Trip Report
I am a blessed man. I am not a great climber by any means, but man I love it. I love the mountains. I love the smell of granite. I love zipping up my puffy, cinching down my harness laden with rack and Nalgene on a cold backcountry morning and stuffing my chilly hands into the first moves of a long route. I love bouldering. I like thinking about and talking about and dreaming about climbing and I especially dig meeting and fostering friendship borne out of shared love for the alpine lifestyle.
So here's my 2012 weekend warrior trip report synopsis. From ten foot boulders, to alpine extravaganzas, from 30 foot gym routes to bigtime Big Wall bail action. It shows a bit of where we've been, what we've climbed and what I got out of it all. I often envy the lifestyle of the "real" climber and wish I could get out more than a weekend here or there. But when I look back and add it all up, it kinda startles me how much fun and adventure we manage to cram into one year. Especially considering I'm a devoted husband and dad who has a full time job running a busy company. Behind all these trips is a supportive and caring wife who lets me feed my soul with all this nonsense and a savagely motivated climbing partner who's always stoked and ready to fan the flame. Thank you Kristie. Thank You Adam.
Ok, so here we go.....this is what a file containing the "Best of 2012" looks like.
WINTER 2012 DAY ONE
January One. Startin' out right. Top of Half Dome after a chilly New Years ascent of Snake Dike. The whole backcountry to ourselves. A one day frost fest. A real gift.
Here's the day in detail.
Nice days climbing above the Fresno fog up at Tollhouse Rock and Squarenail. The rock sits just below snow line, so winter days can be moody and chilly, or bluebell and tshirts. Some of the best routes there are the iconic Tollhouse Traverse 5.5, Elephant Walk 5.7, Nuts and Bolts (An old Mark Haymond route) and Falling Star, a handsomely runout 5.8 on golden sierra granite. All of these routes are 4-5 pitches of great stone and position above the sleepy town of Tollhouse. We often wear Mullets when we climb at Tollhouse. I have no idea why.
2012 is gonna be the year of the Bigwall for us. We are committed to climbing El Capitan before we both get out of our fortieth year, so preparations and committments are made. We start reading and practicing and gettin' our bigwall on in the gym. Early mornings at Metalkmark. Belay clusters and hauling snafus evolve to become streamlined systems of absolute perfection and big stone efficiency.
The South Face of The Column won't know what hit it. We'll probably send it in a day.
Here we are above the Kor roof on day two. Thanks Paul Souza for hiking up and getting some rad shots of us sending the gnar.
Here's Adam shredding the Kor Roof in style. And various other shots.
Um....yeah....and here we are bailing on day three.
http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Mark-Hudon-is-a-Liar-A-South-Face-of-The-Column-Trip-Report/t11551n.htmlBut all was going well until I DROPPED, yes, dropped, my aiders and jugs while rearranging things all nice and tidy at a hanging belay up in the alcove. What a pure, unadulterated drag. Such a failure. But we learned a lot and had a fun few days goin' big up on the steep steep stone.
There's even success in the failure sometimes
Sittin at the pizza deck with a hot slice in your belly, a cold root beer in yer hand and a bail on your mind is still better than a stick in the eye.
Summertime hits Fresno hard, so we head to the hills for a father and son's church campout up at Wishon Reservoir. WHile there, we spy an amazing little line that looks untrodden by the sheer moss and lichen of it. We revel in our first first ascent. Its a proud day. But when I get on Supertopo to spray about or sick FA, we find out it's been climbed by Scott Loomis and others...in lycra in the 80s most likely. The pain, ridicule and humility of it stings worse than the bail on The Column. We are still not first ascentionists. But it was fun that day thinking we were. It was rad heading out on new terrain, not knowing with guidebook asurity that there was a route there for sure. For a couple hours we were pioneers and heores in our own minds.
Next time I'll keep my mouth shut and brag about it only to non climbers.
HIGH SUMMER: Family Mountainfest 2012
My wife is a non climber. Yes, its true. She has a bona fide fear of heights and has the finger strength of a six month old. But she loves the hills and has always wanted to climb Mt. Whitney. I've always steered clear of the ol 14494 due to crowds, permits and packed trails. But Kristie loved the idea of a family assault so to the Eastside we went.
We scored a permit first day there and took four fun days to cruise it in style.
Day Two: Outpost Camp. Yeah, we're averaging about 2.5 miles a day. So what? Hangin' out in God's country is the whole point isn't it?
Sierra (13) "Don't worry Dad, I'll keep an eye on mom and make sure she stays hydrated and full of snacks. That's what she always tells you to do when you take me climbing."
Me and the boys headed down and played in The Alabama Hills a bit before picking up the girls on the last day.
Gabriel (10) "Dad, I'm glad we came down and did some real rock climbing. Mt. Whitney is just a walk up anyway."
We have been scratchin an itch for a couple years now. Its a deep, hard to reach, itchiness somewhere way down inside both of us. No, its not exczema, poison oak or ghonnorea. Its called The Matthes Crest and it's shut us down twice. This year is different though.
After a day of chillin in The Meadows and gettin' our vibe all straightened out by the cool waters of the river, we are ready to send.
Matthes Falls like a house of cards.
Summy Summy Summy!!!
What a fantastic place. Splendid. Truly a one of a kind route. Bullet stone. Liver turning exposure. The unknown is just around every corner. Spicy but not too spicy. Like a good enchilada. Just keeps you wanting more.
Still high on the success of our Tuolumne mission, I call an old buddy from high school who used to spend a lot of time in the hills but has now grown all citified and is now a venture capitalist in Pasadena. I tell him we're only gettin' older and that he needs to get up to Fresno asap and that we need to go climb something or risk dying the sedentary old death of men who's dreams have become dull visions of yesteryear.
He calls me back and we are soon northbound. Headed back to Tuolumne. We crash at Ron's magic camp by the river and are gettin' our chi back in no time.
Jason does great and gets back on the pony like a champ. He's stayed fit enough over the years to enjoy the day and he keeps shaking his head at each belay....."man...its been too long...I'll never stay away this long again. Thank for the call Jett...man I needed this..."
A good day out for sure. And man....how good does it feel to soak your feet in Tenaya Lake after that descent. Blissful is the only word that comes to mind right now.
So with the first snows looming and the kids heading back to school, one might think the climbing season of an old weekender would be just about over. Well, my kids are homeschooled and California's in a drought, so the show must go on. SO I rally Jason (the Tenaya Peak buddy) and Kal (my once alpine hero and hardman gone soft and civilianized and boring.....fallen prey to a somewhat sedentary lifestyle of wine tasting and insurance sales). We grew up backpacking together and it was in the cards to get back together and climb a peak. We had always had our eyes on Mt. Hooper, a pretty and seldom climbed summit East of the Florence Lake drainage. Three days of humping big packs, nice meals, fine trout and happy hour nightly.
So that's it pretty much. Not bad when I look back on it. Our first Big Wall attempt. Our first FA....kind of. A vendetta on Matthes realized and put to bed. Some fun cragging, some alpine action with my children, a summit for my wife and rekindling the mountain stoke with two old friends.
So yeah, I've got a mortgage, a lawn that needs to be mowed and a business that keeps me working after hours when I'd often be climbing, but hey, it suits me fine. I don't think I'm full on dirt bag material anyway. I like coming home to the wife and kids and bragging about my hardcore adventures. They always seem impressed and they don't really know 5.8 isn't the top of the grade scale. They love the fact that Dad's training for El Cap this Spring and they ask me every few days what it's gonna be like. With fans like that who needs 5.12.
Well, 2013 is upon us, and look what just showed up in the mail from Mark Hudon.
An hour later this text comes in from Hood River.
Yeah, 2013 is gonna rock. What are your plans? See you out there. Be bold, be safe, and may your days on the stone be many this year.
Oh yeah, here's a sneak peak at my winter project for this month......I found this thing across three closed gates on a lead by my little brother who is a hunter and a motocross racer. Its big. And 20 minutes from my mom's house. We hiked out there with the kids on Christmas Day. ANd yeah...it goes. Cool eh?
Full TR to come soon.
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