Devo's Climbs

Friday, October 14, 2011

Road Trip: Yosemite - Sep 25-Oct 9, 2011

My seventh annual Fall trip to Yosemite, this year I was joined by Kurt, Tony, Matt, Seth and Dave. I spent most of my time in The Valley, with one foray to Tuolumne.

Week one began with a mix of cragging and an ascent of After Six (5.7) on Manure Pile Buttress with Kurt and Tony. An early high point was my lead of Revival (5.10a) at Church Bowl. That Wednesday Tony and I, along with Matt and his friend JP, climbed Royal Arches (5.7 A0), spending about five hours on route and two hours on rappel. I've climbed R.A. four times now and I still love it.

TONY LEADING THE PENDULUM ON ROYAL ARCHES


MATT APPROACHING PITCH NINE, ROYAL ARCHES


THE FIRST OF MANY HOT RAPPELS ON ROYAL ARCHES


Thursday morning I met fellow guiding compatriot Seth in Tuolumne. We had our eyes on the Regular Route on Fairview Dome, but when we arrived the line was already several deep, so we continued on around the corner to Lucky Streaks (III 5.10d). Considering this was my fifth consecutive day climbing and Seth was fresh off a day of rest in Lee Vining, I quickly claimed the .10a second pitch for my lead, leaving the .10d pitch for him. That was a good call: I lead the thin finger crack in solid style and followed the powerful .10d crux pitch clean, but the remaining 5.9 pitches up wonderful granitic knobs were more challenging than usual. Fatigue had set in and my feet were screaming by the time we topped out. Despite it all, this is a stellar route; I'd love to climb it again when I'm fresh so I can enjoy it in its entirety.

SETH NEARING THE CRUX ON PITCH TWO OF LUCKY STREAKS


SETH LEADING PITCH THREE ON LUCKY STREAKS


Friday was a cragging day, but I was so worn out that I didn't lead anything. It was also very warm and we bounced from crag to crag seeking shade. We hit Sherrie's Crack (5.10c), Highway Star (5.10b) and Generator Crack (5.10c).

SETH LEADING HIGHWAY STAR


TONY ENTERING THE SUFFER-FEST OF GENERATOR CRACK


TONY: "OFFWIDTHS ARE HARD!"


SETH INSIDE THE GENERATOR CRACK


POST-OFFWIDTH SETH: "I THINK I'M GONNA' HURL"


That evening Tony, Matt & I spent some time at El Cap Meadow performing the "El Cap Lieback", scoffing some brews, watching climbers on The Captain and reminiscing over our exploits of the past week. Tony began building his list of valley projects for next year - he's hooked!

TONY & THE CAPTAIN


Saturday was a rest day. I drove to the Fresno airport, dropped off Tony and Kurt and picked up Dave. By Sunday afternoon I was feeling up to climbing something, so while Dave and Seth ran up Royal Arches, Matt and I went over to Middle Cathedral to climb Central Pillar of Frenzy (5.9). We arrived around 12:30 pm, hoping a late start would be our ticket to a hassle free ascent of this popular climb, and it was: we were the last party on route and everyone in front stayed in front!

MATT ON PITCH ONE


YOURS TRULY CLIMBING PITCH TWO


MATT SENDING THE ROOF ON PITCH THREE


MATT LEADING PITCH FOUR


MATT FOLLOWING THE FIFTH AND FINAL PITCH


Monday morning found Seth and I waking up early to climb the East Buttress of El Capitan (IV 5.10b). We'd been itching to get on this route since last year when poor weather chased us out of the valley for three days. We'd estimated a ten hour car-to-car timeframe, but we ended up doing it in under seven: a 30 minute approach, 5:20 on route, and an hour descent (thanks to fixed ropes on the rappels!). We didn't dilly dally, so I didn't take any photos on route, just a few before and after. It was a challenging route in some ways - lots of moderate yet slick face climbing, often runout. We both freed the crux face moves on pitch two (Seth's lead) but I found the "sleeper crux" to be pitch eight (my lead), and I had to french-free a few moves to get through it. Have get back up there some day and get that one clean, grrrr!

APPROACHING THE EAST BUTTRESS


ATOP THE EAST BUTTRESS


Tuesday found me physically wasted, but the weather forecast was calling for rain Wednesday and Thursday, so I went out cragging at Five and Dime cliff with Seth and Sam (another AAI guide who was staying in Camp 4) anyway. Seth led Five and Dime (5.10d) clean - impressive effort after the E. Butt! I tried it on TR but couldn't get more than half way up before I was smoked. Sam led Keystone Corner (5.8) and I managed it on TR, but it felt like 5.10 to me and I called it a day. Seth and Sam climb a couple nice looking sport routes and then were done.

SETH LEADING FIVE AND DIME




ENJOYING THE CAMPFIRE AT LOWER PINES


The forecast for Wednesday and Thursday held true and no climbing was done. Did get some nice post-storm landscape shots though.

SNOW DUSTED HALF DOME


YOSEMITE FALLS FLOWING AFTER THE STORM


Friday was dry and cooler. Dave and I went cragging at Pat and Jack's Pinnacle and climbed Nurdle/Knob Job (5.8) and Sherrie's Crack (5.10c) - a splitter finger crack that we first worked on TR then led. On Saturday Dave and I were initially looking to do the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral (IV 5.9 A0), but our efforts from the previous day had taken their toll. Instead we lounged around camp and rested, which meant I was able to bid a final and fond farewell to my favorite campsite neighbor, Marley the basset hound.

MARLEY - MY FRIEND FOR TWO WEEKS


Later in the afternoon we did some leisurely cragging at Swan Slab on Grant's Crack (5.9). I also TR'd a nearby unnamed face rated at 5.10c.

Needless to say, Sunday morning came too soon. We slept in late, packed up and moved out of Lower Pines 59. Dave and I began our journey homeward, stopping along the way at Manure Pile Buttress to test our luck on the ever popular Nutcracker (5.8). But it was not to be - we managed to climb three pitches before we were brought to a grinding halt by several slower parties above. Oh well, there's always next year! :-)

View all my photos in my Yosemite 2011 photo set on Flickr ยป

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