Thursday night I and my friend Mike Z headed up 120 west, bound for Tuolumne. There was a roadblock preventing folks from entering the Valley. I'd read about the fire on the Taco.
It was pretty smoky at times. We could see ash blowing. As we drove on we could see the reddish plume from the fire off in the distance, and the moon seemed to be the color of blood. Wish we'd stopped for pictures, but I think that drive alone may have been equivalent to smoking a couple packs of cigarettes =:-O
Friday we decided to go in search of Coyote Rocks, a bit west of Mt. Hoffman. Turns out Mike had an older copy of the Reid/Falkenstein guide with outdated approach directions, so the approach was "interesting" :) Much bushwhacking in any case, some of it thorny. And then there was the scrub oak .. but hey, what's an adventure without a little suffering ?
We decided to go check out Upper Wall from Notch
(5.7) first, a laid-back looking route that goes from the notch between the rocks to the top of the higher one. My lead ..
The rock was pretty grainy in places, which is another way of saying kinda sandy .. but there were also some really cool plates and knobs. The views from the top were nice too.
There was a nice third class scramble off the backside. We pondered our next route, and looked around for Buckets of Blood
(5.8) which apparently is to the right of the amphitheater on the lower Coyote Rock. There was much thrashing through scrub oak. We noticed a fixed line hanging from the west end (hmm). Finally we decided to climb up a chimney-like thing .. well, Mike did -
The plates and knobs after getting out of the chimney were a lot of fun, rather like the third pitch of Hobbit Book
. Mike set up a belay in another wide spot. The next pitch looked interesting, so up I went. Wow, it was steep in places, but the pro was more or less sufficient considering how positive the knobs and plates were. Difficulties eased eventually and I slung a horn & brought Mike up.
There was a nice view of the upper Coyote Rock from here, kind of showing the route we'd started the day on -
In the meantime the wind was blowing smoke into the Valley -- we could hardly see Half Dome anymore ..
The book wasn't all that specific about the descent. We scrambled around the top of this thing trying to figure out how to get down.
From here we couldn't see an easy way to get to the fixed line we'd spotted earlier so we sacrificed a cordelette & leaver biner to the booty gods and rapped off into the notch with our single 60m rope.
We thrashed around through the brush looking for Acme Crack
(5.8), which supposedly is an 'obvious hand crack', but couldn't find anything matching that description. Or maybe we just got tired. In any case, we called it a day and thrashed our way back to the car. It was a nice adventure, but possibly better remembered than actually experienced :)
Saturday I wanted to go do some of the newly-listed routes on Dozier Dome. We brought my 60m half ropes so we could rap off without walking all the way down. I started off by leading Scandalous Summer
(5.7), a fun romp -
Mike then led Cheeseburgers and Beer
In the meantime some other parties showed up and started on Holdless Horror
. It was going to be a warm day, and a popular one at Dozier Dome. My big goal for the weekend was to do Bull Dozier
(5.7) since I hadn't climbed any decent cracks in Tuolumne all season. We scrambled up to the first ledge, and I took the first lead -
Mike took the next pitch -
I found the wide spot a little thought-provoking :) The next pitch was rather easy and I scrambled over to the anchors for Ripple
. Two raps with our 60's got us to the ground.
It was getting warm and we bemusedly had lunch & watched folks doing their thing. What next ? We decided on Isostacy
(5.8). Mike lead the first and last 5.8 pitches -
I took the easy middle pitch of course :) Three raps got us down and by then we decided it was time for dinner. There are still a bunch of climbs we want to go back and do ..
Yesterday we decided to take it a little easy and do some crack climbing, so we headed over to south flank of DAFF Dome. The Guide Cracks
seemed like a nice warmup -
From right to left, I think these are 5.5, 5.7 and 5.8 ? We took turns leading them and rapping off .. I led the 5.5 and 5.8, and Mike led the 5.7, though it felt kinda 5.8 to me. The last one was pretty heady for me, but I enjoyed it.
Some folks got on Alimony Cracks
(5.8) in the meantime -
I think she is leading the 5.8+ wide variation .. hard core. Mike headed up after them and led the hand crack variation to the left. I was pretty psyched to do this one.
After rapping off we decided to wander off and look for Doda Dome. I think we saw it off in the distance, and it looked pretty far. We were both a little beat. In the process though we ran into a family of four that had been climbing on the River Wall, so we went down there and sampled some of its treats -- we toproped Lion of Judah
(5.10d) and Zulu Lulu (5.9). I must say the latter felt really good after hanging my way up the former :)
It had been a fun trip and we'd both climbed a lot of stuff we'd never done before. On our way back down 120 we saw a fire crew hiking up the road and lots of equipment. The Valley roadblock was still in place. The smoke didn't look quite as bad, but there were a lot of ruddy-looking clouds. We counted our blessings and made our way west.