Lucky Streaks 5.10d

 
  • Currently 5.0/5
Search
Go

Fairview Dome


Tuolumne Meadows, California USA


Trip Report
Tuolumne Adventures...or My First Weekend Trad Climbing (long)
Tuesday August 3, 2010 1:37pm
Preface

Just returned from my first weekend of trad climbing, I thought it only fair to share a trip report since I have enjoyed reading so many others. I am decidedly new to climbing, having just started in January (top roping indoors) and lead climbing indoors for about three months. My learning curve has definitely been aided by my previous life as a semi-professional ballet dancer (balance and core strength) and sometime circus aerialist (upper body strength) as well as my great good fortune to climb with very experienced partners. That said, I am still a neophyte climber, well aware of how little I know...especially when it comes to trad climbing!

My wife having company in town for the weekend (which rendered her unable to join us, much to her annoyance), I took the opportunity to join our friend Shaun for a weekend in Tuolumne. We knew Shaun from the climbing gym and have always gotten along well. He has been making the drive up to Tuolumne almost every weekend with a variety of partners, but this weekend it would be just the two of us. This was my first visit, having only been to the valley for the first time earlier this year despite having grown up in San Francisco. Better late than never!

The Approach

We got a later start of it than originally planned, leaving San Francisco around 5:30 (and thus in the midst of rush hour traffic). Happily, we nevertheless made reasonable time and found ourselves near the west entrance to the park around 10:30. Too tired to make it all the way through the park, we pulled off on Hardin Flat Road and found a place to crash for the night. This worked beautifully and come 6AM we were on our way.

Obligatory early AM approach shot with Half Dome in the background
Obligatory early AM approach shot with Half Dome in the background
Credit: aliebling

South Crack

Passing a completely quiet Stately Pleasure Dome at 7AM, we realized there was no reason not to start climbing immediately. We enjoyed the ludicrously short approach (as Shaun put it, "we could have belayed from the truck") and Shaun was quickly away on the first pitch.

Beginning of South Crack P1
Beginning of South Crack P1
Credit: aliebling

I found the climbing very easy, despite never having touched a real crack before. The easy nature of what was ostensibly 5.8 and 5.9 combined with the serene setting quickly quelled any fears I had about being able to transition to outdoor climbing.

Fog melting off the lake below the South Crack.
Fog melting off the lake below the South Crack.
Credit: aliebling

Arriving at the first anchor, Shaun was excited for my first pitch of trad. I was too, though also slightly awed by how quickly it had flown by...and of course, the smile would not leave my face! Revisiting the basics of the anchor and how to follow well (where to clip the pieces I was cleaning, etc...), we then continued onward and upward.

Shaun was excited for my first pitch of trad
Shaun was excited for my first pitch of trad
Credit: aliebling
The smile would not leave my face
The smile would not leave my face
Credit: aliebling
Still smiling!
Still smiling!
Credit: aliebling


Towards the top of the climb (P4 of the supertopo, though we had linked some of the earlier pitches with our 70m), I had my first taste of what Tuolumne runout can look like.

Pro?  What pro?
Pro? What pro?
Credit: aliebling

After the glorious topout, we headed down the slabs...

Finished my first trad climb!
Finished my first trad climb!
Credit: aliebling
South crack is A-OK!
South crack is A-OK!
Credit: aliebling
Down the slabs we go
Down the slabs we go
Credit: aliebling

...only for Shaun to realize he had left the rack at the top of the dome while helping me learn to tie the rope for carrying. Oops!

Shaun re-ascending the slab to fetch the forgotten rack
Shaun re-ascending the slab to fetch the forgotten rack
Credit: aliebling

Rack recovered, we headed off to the general store for breakfast and then tackled our next target, the direct northwest face of Lembert Dome!

Direct Northwest Face of Lembert Dome

After a slightly more involved yet still trivial approach, we arrived at the base of Lembert Dome only to find a party just beginning the Direct Northwest Face and another struggling on P1 of Cryin' time Again. We sat down to wait and were quickly joined by two other climbers, Phil and a female companion whose name escapes me. The time passed quickly as we talked about various topics, including Shaun's helping rescue someone in the Bugaboos a few years ago who may have been a friend of theirs.

We finally got on the Direct Face and made short work of the first few pitches.

Shaun starting up the Direct Face of Lembert Dome
Shaun starting up the Direct Face of Lembert Dome
Credit: aliebling

The 5.10a layback forced me to take due to my inability to find the feet, but a second effort got me up it cleanly. The same cannot be said for the 510b fingers in pin scars which gave Shaun moment to pause and which I more or less fell up. The rest of the climb was fine and gave me my first real experience with airy belays.

Belaying on the Direct Face of Lembert Dome
Belaying on the Direct Face of Lembert Dome
Credit: aliebling
Top of Lembert Dome
Top of Lembert Dome
Credit: aliebling

We undertook the moderate hike down the back of the slabs (as opposed to the steeper descent route on the side of the dome) with me still marveling at the almost unearthly scenery.

Boulders atop Lembert Dome
Boulders atop Lembert Dome
Credit: aliebling

After refueling with gatorade, we proceeded to Western Front to do some top roping of the 10a slab. This gave us both fresh respect for the climbers who had first ascended many of the routes in Tuolumne as well as teaching me just how good small edges can be as feet...a lesson that would stand me in good stead the next day.

The evening and morning

It is clear to me that no trip to Tuolumne would be complete without a trip to the Mobile Station on the East side. The views of both the mountains and Mono lake as we descended were surpassed only by the food found so improbably at the gas station. Fantastic, do not miss!

Descending towards Mono Lake
Descending towards Mono Lake
Credit: aliebling
Food!
Food!
Credit: aliebling

We then drove back up the hill and pulled out somewhere on Tioga Pass Road outside the east gate to sleep for the night. The spot was obviously popular with climbers, as we recognized a number of the vehicles bivvied about us. sleep came early, as did the sunrise and by 6:30AM we were headed back in to the park. We arrived too early for food at the lodge, so had a nice stroll before enjoying breakfast with a senior crew of hikers down from Portland. We then hopped in the truck and headed for Fairview Dome in search of Lucky Streaks.

Lucky Streaks

It was still just above freezing when we arrived and another pair of climbers arrived more or less simultaneously to us. They hiked more quickly than we and we were happy to give them first go at the still cold wall...a decision we would later slightly regret.

Snow at the base of Lucky Streaks
Snow at the base of Lucky Streaks
Credit: aliebling
The pair before us preparing for P1 of Lucky Streaks
The pair before us preparing for P1 of Lucky Streaks
Credit: aliebling

The climb quickly devolved in to a game of hurry up and wait made only worse by the arrival of another pair below us. Soon we found ourselves waiting for the climbers above us to move on so we could make way for the mounting traffic following behind. Twice Shaun even led out only to have to stop short of the belay because the team wasn't done belaying the next pitch yet. To be fair, they were perfectly capable, just slower than we were (due purely to Shaun's confident leading and quick anchor building).

Amusing ourselves with shadow puppets while waiting at the top of P1
Amusing ourselves with shadow puppets while waiting at the top of P1
Credit: aliebling
Shaun at the top of P2 waiting for the pair ahead of us to move on
Shaun at the top of P2 waiting for the pair ahead of us to move on
Credit: aliebling

Shaun quickly dispatched of the crux 10c (now considered 10d?) move as well as the 10b lieback above it. Following, I fell twice on the crux move (once unsure of what to do, the second time getting my foot out in the indentation but not sticking the move) but had no problem with the rest of the pitch at all.

After more waits at uncomfortable semi-hanging belays, the sun peeked over the top of the dome and proceeded to sap our strength. The climb remained fun, but between the mounting heat, the pain of my toes (never had I worn my climbing shoes for such extended periods) and my desperately needing to go to the restroom (curse the lodge's delicious breakfast!), I was all too happy to finally top out after long pitches of truly delightful climbing. The 5.9 roof traverse was a blast (just thrilling enough) and none of the crack gave me any difficulty, which felt great. The 10a slab toprope practice the day before also made the crystals available for stemming seem positively luxurious and unquestionably made the climb more enjoyably for me.

Coiling the rope after topping out...by the end of the weekend I could...
Coiling the rope after topping out...by the end of the weekend I could do it serviceably if not to Shaun's impeccable standards
Credit: aliebling
Atop Lucky Streaks
Atop Lucky Streaks
Credit: aliebling
Descending Fairview Dome...with the rack
Descending Fairview Dome...with the rack
Credit: aliebling
Lucky Streaks
Lucky Streaks
Credit: aliebling

Departure

After a quick lunch (and a merciful trip to the bathroom) at the general store, we hopped in the truck and made our way back to San Francisco. the trip was filled with discussion of life, love, work and of course lots of climbing...and plans to make it back to Tuolumne soon!

Recap

I felt great about my first trad climbing adventure. I got up what would be considered some fairly difficult pitches with relative ease and felt right at home with every aspect of the multipitch climbing process. The next step will be to learn to lead on the easy stuff and just keep climbing as much as I can. Improving my crack technique will definitely be important, too.

I also learned not to eat too much before getting on a long multipitch route. High-stepping when in desperate need of a toilet is not fun!

Total damage for the weekend: 2 nuts I couldn't clean and one dropped carabiner (I think the gate got caught in my jacket and then popped off when I went to stow a cam)

I hope everyone enjoyed reading this and special thanks to Shaun for his always able and endlessly patient leading.

  Trip Report Views: 2,603
aliebling
About the Author
aliebling is a newly addicted trad climber from San Francisco, CA.

Comments
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Aug 3, 2010 - 01:55am PT
Thank you! Looks like another lovely weekend in the Meadows.

There seems to be some sort of dark spot intruding on some of your photos - it almost looks like a bird.

The purists here will hasten to mention that you were simply climbing, or if you like rock climbing, and that there's no such thing as "trad" climbing - there's simply climbing, and 'sport' climbing.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Aug 3, 2010 - 02:04am PT
Nice TR!

You had a great introduction to climbing.

Mucci
aliebling

climber
San Francisco, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 3, 2010 - 02:11am PT
Whatever we were doing, it was fantastic!

Apologies for the dead sensors in my camera. Time for a replacement, I fear.

Glad you enjoyed the trip report!

Aaron
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
  Aug 3, 2010 - 02:15am PT
Wow...Lucky Streaks on your 1st trip to Tuolumne. That's impressive.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Aug 3, 2010 - 02:24am PT
That would be a satisfying weekend for most, what an amazing first trad/ Meadows weekend! Thanks, and congrats!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Aug 3, 2010 - 07:51am PT
Cool first weekend climbing in the Meadows. Nice, classic routes.
rhyang

climber
SJC
  Aug 3, 2010 - 10:19am PT
Great pics and hilarious narration :)
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 3, 2010 - 10:36am PT
Great intro to climbing! You should follow up with a trip to Indian Creek to hone your crack technique.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Aug 3, 2010 - 10:50am PT
great pictures and good commentary. Cheers to Shaun for shairng the outside.
Prod

Trad climber
  Aug 3, 2010 - 11:37am PT
Nice!

Also don't harsh too much on beginners (or lesser experienced climbers), some day you'll be out there without Shaun having to make your own way, over your head, sweating, cotton mouthed, cursing yourself, doubting yourself, shitting yourself, cursing the fast climbing Shaun below you, begging for good gear, wishing you’d have taken the even pitches not the odd ones, staring at a move you know you can not make, looking at the gear below your feet, “watch me”, “f*#kin a I said watch me close”, ah the joys of the sharp end….

Prod.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 3, 2010 - 11:42am PT
Couldn't have said it better myself Prod. The sharp end rules supreme.
aliebling

climber
San Francisco, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 3, 2010 - 01:39pm PT
Thanks for the reminder Prod. I realize I'm spoiled by having Shaun to follow and apologies if I sounded overly critical. The climbers we were behind were absolutely fine (and very nice guys)...just slower than was ideal for the day we had hoped for (trying to get up and off early so we could get a headstart on the drive home). I fully realize that this (and much much worse!) will be me soon. :-)

A big part of what I appreciate in Shaun as a climbing partner is his overall great attitude and good-natured patience with me as a beginner. I'd like to think I can share the same with others.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Aug 3, 2010 - 01:55pm PT
Painfull toes, dropped gear, stuck nuts, and long days in high country bliss. Welcome to "Real" climbing. We don't call it "Trad Climbing." Just Climbing. The gym is just a place to excercise. You guys fully rocked it. Now stay safe out there, learn the basics of the mountain environment, self rescue, weather and the intricacies of multipitch systems. It can get ugly and dangerous REAL fast. Well done! Thanks for the report. A lifetime of routes awaits you.

Here's couple Tuolumne Photos from the last couple years...
Fairview in evening light <br/>
Fairview in evening light

Credit: micronut

Approaching Eichorn Pinnacle
Approaching Eichorn Pinnacle
Credit: micronut

Gettin psyched on Pywiack Dome
Gettin psyched on Pywiack Dome
Credit: micronut

Early Morning in Paradise
Early Morning in Paradise
Credit: micronut
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Aug 3, 2010 - 03:48pm PT
Nice TR!!!!
BrianH

Trad climber
santa fe
  Aug 3, 2010 - 06:26pm PT
jeez louise I hope you Californians appreciate how good you got it!

Thanks for the TR.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Aug 3, 2010 - 06:36pm PT
Yeah, but Brian they get big calves from all of those slabs and everyone knows how hard it is to pull them up overhangs.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Aug 3, 2010 - 06:41pm PT
Good place to start!!! No looking back now.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Aug 3, 2010 - 07:00pm PT
It's great to hear when someone new gets the awesome experience of climbing. It's only for certain people, but what fun adventures await those so inclined. Beautiful locations. Challenge. Partnerships with friends and the Earth. What a great sport!!

I moved to Cali for the skiing, and then discovered climbing, and yes I know how good I've got it. I just returned from beautiful upstate NY, lakes, way more green and in some ways even more beautiful than Cali, I could build a home on my parents 100 acre farm for free, but I just can't leave Cali.
EdBannister

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
  Aug 3, 2010 - 09:06pm PT
Great tr thanks.

Climbing, to some, is seeing a line, starting up, aware of weather gear, safety, and the scope of the climb and the capacity of the party. and then the process of looking at stone never before seen, perceiving the holds, or combinations, how and it what order to use them, and moveing to where there is more perception that there was from below, in a rhytmic way, enjoying the movement, but more, the process of figureing it out, some, try never to do the same route twice, because to them only the first time, is "climbing."

congrats and hope you enjoyed the stone as much as it looks like you did!
SCseagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Aug 3, 2010 - 11:41pm PT
really enjoyed this report. Definitely a route I want to do now. Thanks!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 4, 2010 - 12:13am PT
Nice! Only question now is when's your first lead?

(Hey Shaun, put him on something burly)

Great TR, and welcome to the Tribe (channeling DMT)

Edit: Prod that was so right on and true, nice vignette of most of my leads near limit.
sullly

Gym climber
  Aug 4, 2010 - 01:15am PT
Really like your pics and writing. So humble and appreciative. I envy how dancers and gymnasts take to climbing more quickly than those of us coming from other sports do.
Fluoride

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA/Joshua Tree
  Aug 4, 2010 - 01:27am PT
Full congrats. What an amazing first outside trad weekend. Thanks for sharing.

And doing Lucky Streaks nonetheless. Impressive.
sempervirens

climber
  Aug 4, 2010 - 01:31am PT
did you clean that booger off your lens yet?
phile

Trad climber
SF, CA
  Aug 5, 2010 - 07:08pm PT
Nice! Good to meet you guys @ Lembert. Blame Shaun for placing brass nuts--that's a dirty trick to pull on the new guy. It took me quite a while to clean the one on DNWF. Here's my write-up of what we got up to the day after we met you:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1233660/Gear-Review-Balega-athletic-sock

cheers,

p.
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go
Fairview Dome - Lucky Streaks 5.10d - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Greg Barnes
Other Routes on Fairview Dome
Fairview Dome - Regular Route 5.9 - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click for details.
Regular Route, 5.9
Fairview Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Fairview Dome is Tuolumne's largest steep face.
Fairview Dome - Great Pumpkin 5.8 R - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click for details.
Great Pumpkin, 5.8 R
Fairview Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5