After a quick email promising summer type conditions in the valley, I convinced Jason Wells to book a last minute flight from Boulder to meet me in So Cal. The thought of, "El Cap in December" Psych continued for a couple of days. Although after 14 hours of traveling, for some reason I noticed Jason's mood change a little as we drove past the, "chains required" sign with snow on the road and the car showing 22 degrees temps as we pulled into the campground at 9PM on Friday.
Our original plan of starting the Nose at 7AM quickly dissipated as the lodge opened their doors at 6:30, and we found ourselves trying to warm up with large quantities of coffee.
Unfortunately, the temp gauge wasn't helping with my promise of a guaranteed El Cap Tan.
Fortunately, an inversion was in the forecast and I kept reiterating that the temp is going to be 30-40 degrees warmer on EC than in the Valley. I kept Jason entertained for the next few minutes as I let my Juggs soak up the fresh heat from the dash board of our car.
In usual form, Jason took the sharp end from the get go and short fixed every pitch up to the pitch below the Great Roof while I held onto my jugg's.
Fortunately, at around 9AM the sun hit us and immediately we were able to work on the winter tan.
The temps continued to be perfect...as if we were in Hawaii.
We couldn't believe that every hour, the snow plow would come through the Meadow allowing the cars to drive through who would stop to open their window long enough to get a quick photo of the magical stone.
It was quite surreal to be climbing under perfect temps in the midst of snow all around us. It was great being on lead starting with the Great Roof while Jason would Mini-Traction off my short fix.
The winter light was amazing.
After topping out, we hit some snow and ice on the descent, but were still able to get down in a couple of hours. Tons better than expected.
Since I didn't need to get home until Sunday night and Jason didn't fly out until 8AM on Monday, we couldn't resist to hitting the SFWC under perfect conditions on Sunday.
The Valley is quite spectacular in December!