Trip Report
Tuolumne and Transitions - Tenaya Peak, Matthes Crest, (Buttermilks) and Fairview Dome
Thursday July 11, 2013 3:35am
I hit the submit button and within three hours was on my way to Yosemite. The quarter was finally over and I had exactly one week before it was time to pack my life into a moving van. It was also the only free week left before Ryan started his new job and I started my postdoc - I didn't want to waste a second.

The last two weeks had been all consuming. Between a paper resubmission, grading final exams, preparing to move and walking in Commencement, I had little time to think about what was now at the forefront of my mind - what the heck are we going to climb this week? My climbing this season has been sporadic at best, mostly involving repeats of short Yosemite Valley trad climbs that I had first done the previous year. I was feeling competent, but not particularly strong, though I was eager to test myself on a few longer climbs.

A climb that had been on my mind for a while was Matthes Crest - a perfect fin of rock that stretches on for almost a mile. Despite it's humble rating and primarily 4th class climbing, the Matthes Crest is no joke. A 3-4 hour hike at elevation brings you to the start of the climb, and once on top of the ridge completing it before dark generally requires simul-climbing, a technique I had no experience with.

I had enlisted Ryan, my husband and favorite climbing partner for this week-long adventure. Though I've been leading the charge in our trad climbing exploits, Ryan's support, enthusiasm, fearless following and willingness to swing leads on easier terrain have been invaluable.

I decided that our first objective would be to practice simul-climbing on the gently sloping Northwest Buttress of Tenaya Peak. Most of the climbing on Tenaya Peak is mellow - thus I figured it would be the perfect terrain to get comfortable with simul-climbing. What I had not appreciated is that Tenaya Peak itself is a very long climb. At just over 10,000 feet high and 14 pitches long, it is one of the higher summits in Tuolumne - and boasts a deceptively strenuous approach. With some adventurous route finding, we worked out the kinks in our technique, haltingly simul-climbing our way to the top. Feeling tired, but pretty good about our accomplishment we soaked up the incredible views of Tenaya Lake and the surrounding peaks.

Ryan on the approach to Tenaya Peak.
Ryan on the approach to Tenaya Peak.
Credit: kristyle
About to rope up, looking down on Tenaya Lake and something furry caug...
About to rope up, looking down on Tenaya Lake and something furry caught my eye.
Credit: kristyle
On our way up Tenaya Peak.
On our way up Tenaya Peak.
Credit: kristyle
Summit shot.
Summit shot.
Credit: kristyle
Summit views.
Summit views.
Credit: kristyle

Descending, we contemplated our next move. Rain was on the horizon, but we had at least two solid days of sunshine before the weather came in. Our idea was to backpack in to the start of Matthes Crest and combine the climb with a short side trip to Clouds Rest. After obtaining a backcountry permit and resting for a day, we packed up bright and early Saturday morning and with full packs made the trek out to Echo Lake. I underestimated both the mosquitos and how heavy our packs would be with both camping and climbing gear, but we made it finally around midday to the start of the climb.

Hiking on the Cathedral Lakes trail.
Hiking on the Cathedral Lakes trail.
Credit: kristyle
First views of Matthes Crest were intimidating to say the least.
First views of Matthes Crest were intimidating to say the least.
Credit: kristyle

Getting to the top of the ridge, was an off-route, loose rock sh#t show, but we made it. Once on top, it was nearly impossible to get lost and the feeling of traversing along the ridge was thrilling. We walked, crawled, climbed and butt-scooted our way along the ridge line. The views were incredible and Ryan snapped some amazing photos (another reason why I keep this guy around).

Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle


Eventually, we reached the notch between the South and North Summits, and as the sun was getting low on the horizon we started the rappels.

Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle

After navigating what seemed like an endless scree field our feet finally hit solid ground. Exhausted, we located our packs and sought out a campsite for the evening.

The next day we packed up camp and set off cross-country for the Sunrise Lakes.

Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle

We arrived at our destination, ate lunch and spent the afternoon working on some serious R&R.

Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle

The next morning we awoke to the sound of rain on our tent. We spent the morning huddled in our tent attempting to wait it out.

Credit: kristyle

When that didn't work, we broke down our tent, packed up under the shelter of our rain-fly and got on the trail. We knew the views from Clouds Rest would be non-existant with the rain, but we decided to check it out anyway. Sure enough, we couldn't see a damn thing.

Credit: kristyle
Taking in the awesome views from Clouds Rest.
Taking in the awesome views from Clouds Rest.
Credit: kristyle

By the time we made it out of the back country and back to our car we were wet, tired and foot sore. We booked it for the only place with warm weather and blue skies in the vicinity - Bishop. After a quick stop over at the Mammoth Lakes hot springs, we were lounging in shorts and tank-tops drying out our wet things at the Pleasant Valley Campground.

Sunset from the Pleasant Valley Campground
Sunset from the Pleasant Valley Campground
Credit: kristyle
Living the life.
Living the life.
Credit: kristyle

That lasted about 5 minutes before we realized the mosquitoes were out for vengeance.

The plan to climb at the Happys the next morning was axed as temperatures soared into mid-80s by 8 am. We opted instead for the Buttermilks, which was deserted and wonderfully pleasant - especially in the shade. A fun tour through many of the classics was just what we were looking for.

Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle

By early afternoon, we were on our way back to Tuolumne hoping the rain had passed. It had and we enjoyed a spectacular evening in the meadows.

Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle

We had one more day before it was back to reality, and I wanted to make it good....but I also didn't want to get in too far over my head. I agonized over what our last climb would be, and ultimately decided on a few shorter climbs on Medlicott and Dozier Dome. However, when we passed the Fairview Dome parking lot the next morning and there was NOBODY THERE, I said what the hell and decided to go for it.

The first few pitches of the Regular Route were pretty wet, pretty exhausting, and really really fun. With nobody behind us we took our time enjoying the spacious belay ledges and expansive views.

On my way up the first pitch.
On my way up the first pitch.
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle

We swung leads up to the top of the 8th pitch, and then simul-climbed to the summit. Topping out Fairview Dome was without a doubt the highlight of the trip. The 360-degree views from the summit are amazing.

Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle
Credit: kristyle

Satisfied and feeling victorious, we walked off and drove home into the sunset - culminating a trip that was beautiful and epic beyond belief.

In a way, this trip was also the capstone of my time as a climber and graduate student in Santa Cruz. When I arrived I was 24 years old and now at 32, it feels like the end of an era. I already miss my friends and fellow climbers, but I have a feeling that this won't be the last I see of the Santa Cruz Crack Fiends and that more good times are still to come.



  Trip Report Views: 1,452
kristyle
About the Author
kristyle is a Santa Cruz climber who now resides in Brisbane, CA.

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

climber
Squamish
  Jul 11, 2013 - 04:37am PT
Nice one! Way to get after it. That's a pretty productive trip you had there!

I've never seen iron man traverse in the shade but I've also never been there in the summer.
johntp

Trad climber
socal
  Jul 11, 2013 - 09:00am PT
BBST! Thanks for the TR! Looks like a wunerful time.
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
  Jul 11, 2013 - 09:49am PT
very nice, thanks.
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Jul 11, 2013 - 10:06am PT
Sweet Trip!
TFPU
Tad
10b4me

climber
  Jul 11, 2013 - 10:18am PT
One of the best trip reports, of late.
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Jul 11, 2013 - 10:28am PT
Stellar!! what a great trip, glad you guys had a grand time, cool pics.
You guys make a great team.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
  Jul 11, 2013 - 10:29am PT
TFPU
Easy Wind

Trad climber
Oakland, California
  Jul 11, 2013 - 11:15am PT
Good stuff!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 11, 2013 - 11:44am PT
These Tuolumne Reports are KILLIN me! It's 109 degrees in Fresno......I can see the clouds up in the high country and they beckon me. Thanks for a great report. Nice send.

Scott

Credit: micronut
Zirkel

climber
Bishop, CA
  Jul 11, 2013 - 01:05pm PT
I love the impromptu trip up Fairview. It's like, um honey... The lot is EMPTY!
Stevee B

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
  Jul 11, 2013 - 02:07pm PT
Love the spirit of this TR. Getting after it! And great third shot on Fairview. Congratulations on starting a new life chapter.
Macronut

Trad climber
Fresno, Ca
  Jul 11, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
I second that partner, Micronut. Thanks for sharing I suppose. Stuck here in Clovis with unbearable heat. TM trip reports never get old and are the best thanks for sharing and good luck on your next chapter of life.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jul 11, 2013 - 04:00pm PT
These Tuolumne Reports are KILLIN me! It's 109 degrees in Fresno......I can see the clouds up in the high country and they beckon me. Thanks for a great report. Nice send. [Quote from Micronut]

Since Macronut already seconded those comments, I'll just pile on. Wonderful TR and great photos of several of my favorite climbs and boulders. I'm particularly envious of your having the Regular North Face of Fairview to yourself, though.

John
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jul 11, 2013 - 06:24pm PT
This fun madness must stop! :)
sullly

Gym climber
  Jul 11, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
What a cute couple! Love how photo intensive this report is.
Adamame

climber
Santa Cruz
  Jul 11, 2013 - 11:42pm PT
Ahh Yesss! the freedom of a good Sierra Nevada trip... especially after grad school. It must have felt like a shopping spree.
Weez

climber
East Bay, Ca
  Jul 12, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
great TR! Very entertaining. :-) Thanks for sharing.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 14, 2013 - 07:49am PT
A solid A effort,
Good luck on your
Postdoctoral studies!!!!!
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Jul 15, 2013 - 05:09pm PT
AWESOME! TFPU
10b4me

climber
  Mar 13, 2014 - 06:35pm PT
bump
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go