Devo's Climbs

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Valley / Tuolumne / Bishop: Sep 26 - Oct 10, 2010

In some ways this was a stressful trip. The weather was less than ideal: too hot the first week, then it rained for five days in The Valley. So - in an attempt to get some climbing in - we ended up escaping to Bishop for three days. I hit a buck driving through Tuolumne along the way, then Tioga Pass closed (due to snow) and I wasn't sure when I'd get back to The Valley! Fortunately I was able to return for three days of good weather and climbing and got to spend a few evenings camping with my sister's family. Didn't do any long routes because of the weather, but still climbed a bunch of new stuff, particularly of the wide variety - chimneys and off-width cracks. It was a "blue-collar" kind of trip and I came home with many bruises and scabs. Fun!

Week one (Sep 26 - Oct 1) - temp's were in the mid 90's. Kurt and I climbed in the shade and took long siestas in the afternoon heat. Highlights were:

Super Slide (II, 5.9)
Five nice pitches (in the shade before 11am!) with a beautiful splitter off-fingers crack for the last 40 feet.

KURT ON THE SPLITTER FINGER CRACK, PITCH FIVE OF SUPER SLIDE


Cathedral Peak, Southeast Buttress (III, 5.6)
We escaped the heat and went alpine climbing in Tuolumne Meadows. Too many features to chose from - I've never climbed so many sweet knobs! We didn't really follow any of the standard routes - I just followed knobs, making sure there were cracks for pro and ran out some long pitches, five total. Cool summit too.

CATHEDRAL PEAK


KURT FOLLOWING PITCH FOUR


DEVO ON TOP


LOOKING UP THE SOUTHEAST BUTTRESS FROM DESCENT TRAIL


The following Saturday afternoon the rains came.

MY UBER-TIGHT TARP SETUP TO THWART THE DELUGE


STORM CLOUDS AND WATERFALLS ON ROYAL ARCHES


Week two was split between sport climbing at Owens River Gorge near Bishop and cragging in The Valley. Our time in the Eastern Sierra was pretty chill: sleeping in, checking the weather online at the Black Sheep Cafe and climbing in the afternoon, dodging a few thunderstorms along the way.

DESCENDING TO THE MIDDLE GORGE


SETH LEADING ABITAROT (5.10a)


GREAT WALL OF CHINA


LEADING CHILD OF LIGHT (5.9)


MIKE LEADING IF I TOLD YOU I'D HAVE TO KILL YOU (5.11a)


By Thursday the forecast had improved and I drove back to Yosemite Valley. My sister had arrived that morning with her family and spent a few days camping with me.

DRIVING TO THE VALLEY: SNOW ON CATHEDRAL PEAK


POLLY DOME, TENAYA LAKE & TENAYA PEAK


FUTURE ROPE GUNS: NEPHEWS IAN & LUC


Highlights from my last three days in The Valley:

Reed's Pinnacle (II, 5.9)
We climbed Reed's Pinnacle via the first two pitches of Reed's Direct and the final two pitches of the Regular Route. I led the first and third pitches - a 5.9 steep hand crack and a spooky 5.8 squeeze chimney traverse. Seth led the second - a burly 5.9 endurofest crack, and third - a short 5.9 finger-to-hands corner.

SETH LEADING PITCH 2, REED'S DIRECT (5.9)


CLIMB TO THE LIGHT: THE SQUEEZE CHIMNEY TRAVERSE


SETH THREADS HIS WAY THROUGH THE SQUEEZE CRUX


Seth climbing in the chimney:




Lunatic Fringe (I, 5.10c)
Seth onsited this one - 140 feet of steep, clean crack requiring a wide variety of technique: fingers, off-fingers, thin hands, wide hands, lieback, flakes, more hands and fingers, and finally thin fingers and knobby face. I was proud to follow it clean, removing each piece as if I were leading it myself. Maybe I'll lead it someday.

SETH LEADING LUNATIC FRINGE (5.10c)



Higher Cathedral Spire, Regular Route (III, 5.9)
A wonderful adventure with jaw-dropping exposure and spectacular views. Compared to other 5.9 routes in The Valley, this one felt pretty casual. The second pitch - with it's dynamic move over a strenuous bulge - was the crux, and it was short. Every time the exposure started to ramp up, another ledge appeared around a corner. The summit rewarded us with a commanding view of El Capitan and Yosemite Valley. Super fun!

SOUTHWEST FACE OF HIGHER SPIRE


SETH PULLING THE STRENUOUS BULGE ON PITCH TWO


LOOKING DOWN AT THE BELAY FROM THE TOP OF PITCH THREE


THE TRAVERSE OUT ON PITCH FIVE


VIEW OF LOWER SPIRE FROM PITCH FIVE


THE FINAL 5.8 STRETCH TO THE TOP OF HIGHER SPIRE


SUMMIT OF HIGHER SPIRE


Summit footage:



Werner's Ant Tree / The Surprise (II, 5.10c)
A nice climb in the Five Open Books area. Seth led the alternate start to The Surprise (5.10a) via Werner's Ant Tree (5.10c), which involved some slick 5.10 liebacking to a face crux protected with small cams and nuts - the bolt shown in the topo had been chopped. Attempting to link pitches 2 & 3, I led a long pitch of sustained 5.8 crack and stemming, stopping short of the off-fingers crack at the top of pitch three because I'd run out of gear. Seth then linked the rest of pitch three to pitch four - a delicate 5.10a finger crack, and I took us to the top via a short yet enjoyable 5.7 stem.

SETH MAKING SURE HIS RUBBER STICKS ON WERNER'S ANT TREE


SETH SENDING THE .10c CRUX ON WERNER'S ANT TREE


SETH CLIMBING THE OFF-FINGERS CRACK, PITCH 3 THE SURPRISE


LOOKING UP THE .10a FINGER CRACK, PITCH 4 THE SURPRISE


VIEW OF HALF DOME FROM FIVE OPEN BOOKS



Mañana (I, 5.10d)
My final climb of the trip was Mañana, an overhanging off-finger crack. Seth on-sighted it - a strong effort I must say. I TR'd it and fell at the crux until I figured out that strenuous but solid ringlocks were the key to this climb. A great crack for working this technique, Mañana takes solid gear and could easily be french-freed. Definitely on the repeat list for future Valley trips!

MAÑANA


More photos: view all pics from my trip in my Yosemite Fall 2010 collection on Flickr »

Video montage of climbing in Yosemite & Bishop, Fall '10:

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