Hot to get away from the rain in the NW, David and I decided a trip to Yosemite Valley was in order. It would be a bit of a homecoming for me as this is the place that I first really pushed myself to be a better climber, and solidified my desire to do the “big routes”. I used to spend months at a time there as a teenager, dirtbagging and doing as many big walls as I could. Along the way, I hooked up with some great free-climbers and my leading ability improved. Those days were amazing. The first half of “Routes, Page 1” on the top of my homepage will show a few of the adventures I had then.
So, it had been 26 years since I had been to the Valley and I was in a reminiscent mood, telling David some of my favorite stories, and excited to try some more classics with him. We found out early that the place was awash with huge snow melt. It would be up to us to try to find dry routes and risk going up a few wet ones too.
After driving in 1 single push, we spent day 1 waiting for the rain to stop and dry out enough to go into the 5 Open Books to warm up on a 3 pitch route called Commitment. Very fun route that goes through a couple of roofs.
Day 2: Again it was raining in the morning, but the sun came out and we had enough time to do an 8 pitch classic called Serenity Crack to Sons of Yesterday. The old pin-scars at the start were insecure and hard to protect, but the crack opened up into 1000 feet of splittersville cracks. The crux 3rd pitch (5.10d) was a sand-bag for someone with large fingers like myself.
Day 3: At first, it seemed like a good idea to take a rest day after doing 14 difficult pitches. While resting in the afternoon though it became apparent that we didnt have enough time to do our big plan of doing the Royal Arches to Crest Jewell Direct way up on North Dome. So we ran back to camp to furiously pack for an overnight adventure that started with doing the 15 pitch Royal Arches route at the late start time of 3:30 pm! The plan was then to camp on top of Washingtons Column that night and do the Crest Jewell Direct route the last day we had available.
The Arches were a big stuggle to get off of the top due to the waterfalls we crossed and the one at the top that we could not. I did a 5.10R lead up a steep prow to get us out of the muck and to the top just before dark.
That night we had a great dinner and spent the night under the stars. It was superb.
Day 4: The morning was clear and cold, and we were off to the Crest Jewell Direct route.
It is a 15 pitch friction route that doesnt let up much.
We had a great time on this route, though we got so tired after 45 pitches in 4 days, that we decided to spend another night out before heading down and back home. Another great night atop the Column! What an amazing 4 days.
Note: I will be adding a video later so check back!