Forums: Climbing Information: Trip Reports:
An Epic in Tahquitz
RSS FeedRSS Feeds for Trip Reports

Premier Sponsor:

 


DLMeiresonne


May 16, 2010, 8:50 PM
Post #1 of 22 (5629 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 1, 2007
Posts: 11

An Epic in Tahquitz
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (4 ratings)  
Can't Post

by Deanna Lee Meiresonne

The alarm went off at 6AM; I was surprisingly awake. Following a 7AM train ride into Union Station Los Angeles, Mark from RC.com and I met up to commence the 2.5 hour drive up into the mountains of Tahquitz. In actuality, the whole trip had started approximately just seven hours ago, when Mark called me with the prospect of a possible day of climbing. Faster than you can put a harness on, we had googled train times and discussed my belaying abilities.

After winding our way further up into the mountains, I invested into a helmet and we began the treacherous 3/4 mile almost-completely uphill approach. Mark told me the legend of Tahquitz, the evil spirit who lives in the ground, and I declared between gasps that I would never smoke another cigarette as long as I lived. So far so good.

Setting our stuff down at Lunch Rock, we set our sights towards the APTLY named classic "Fingertrip". The day would involve something along the lines of a 1,000-foot, 4-pitch route with a lot of crack, wind, and unbelievable views, and a lot of feet trusting. A little bit of jam experimentation later, a lot of swear words, and a newfound love for granite, I managed to finish up the final pitch just as the sun was falling behind the horizon of mountains. The day was far from over.

A random couple, Chris and Christina, decided to head down with us as a group. Chris had been climbing for a year, we found out, and today was his first multipitch trad. Christina, a month old climber, had followed him on a neighboring classic 5.4. Our way back down became more and more elusive as the light diminished, and as Mark paced back and forth, the three of us followed doggedly, filing in the gaps with random questions. Despite the little we knew about each other, conversation came easy as we helped protect each other's falls.

A little bit of scrambling later, we made a rather dangerous decision. Mark was the only one with a headlamp, which soon disappeared as he made the leading rappel. Staring up at the shadows of Chris and Christina, it was my turn to head down.

I made my first rappel about 600 feet down at about 9 o'clock at night in the dark. I was scared out of my mind, I couldn't see shit, but damnit I had just bought a helmet that day and I've never seen the Milky Way more amazing. Los Angeles was starting to light up to, blinking at us from around the face of the mountain. One of the ropes had somehow gotten caught in cracked ledge half way down, so I had to occasionally adjust the drop in the dark. I could just barely make out the large mess of knots. At the steepest part of the rappel, I held on with my right brake hand, and untied a figure eight with my left. A couple yards later, it was something like a clove hitch, although I couldn't be sure in the dark.

After all of us were safely down, we made another, shorter, easier rappel, and got to start the wonderfully slippery descent down the rest of the mountain. We talked about Chaco's and 5.10 rubber, Christina's bare feet, and what we were all doing with our life that had us out on a mountain in the middle of the night.

Ironically enough, we finally reached the path and ended up chilling in the dirt, dreaming up all the types of food we were craving. Guacamole, burritos, pizza, ice cream, and I believe someone mentioned S'mores...After all that work to get down the mountain (and some discussion if we should just stay up there for the night), here we were, basking in the glory of the last 5 hours. Chris had a gash on his calf that he seemed pretty proud of, and I passed down to him the scared knowledge of using your chalk bag as a belt. We exchanged contact information, decided I was sleeping on Mark's couch that night, and parted ways. Time when we got back to Mark's gold Honda Civic? 11:38PM.

Somehow and for some reason, Mark and I decided to wait until we got back into L.A. to stop for food. As I babbled on about how I couldn't wait to get into the gym and conquer some routes, Mark marveled at how I was still awake. Picking up the biggest Banana-Walnut pancake I've ever seen, some tea, a cheese-avocado-and-egg tortilla, and an appetizer of guac and chips at 2AM, it was well worth the wait. We talked about tattoos and the fact that I eat a lot for a girl. I got a nice big sticker out of the deal, something tells me because I started dancing while waiting in line to pay for the food. Hopping out to the parking lot, Mark asked me again where I got all my energy from.

I finally got home the next day at about 9:30AM to find my housemate sprawled out on the living room floor. She asked me if I wanted to join her in doing workout OnDemand crunches. I could barely open my backpack because my hands were so bloody and raw, and I was exhausted from lack of sleep, but supremely happy and confident I could now conquer all my fears. After careful consideration, I told her I thought my abs had done enough working out.

So I learned a couple things from my little epic adventure in Tahquitz. Things like, you don't need to know a person in order to share a completely profound, eye-opening and memorable experience them. You just have to be willing to take that risk, and trust them.

I learned that I have a love/hate relationship with my Katanas, it IS possible for Cliff bars to go bad, and you need to just suck it up and hurry your wimp-ass over the crux, because nightfall is coming down on us all, so make the most of the sun.

I learned that sleep is most satisfying and food tastes ten times better when you know you earned it, and the best way to top off a great day is a cool sleeping bag and tent sounds.

Sometimes our fears are what makes the experience ultimately worth it. The scraps, bruises, and exhaustion that we endure not only proves just how much you can withstand, but what kind a person you are to want to continually withstand those things for the what you love.

Whether you're a sport climber or a trad climber, beginner or pro; whether you climb corporate ladders or those electric towers on the side of the road to change the light bulbs...you can find your way, even in the dark, with one foot at a time. It's guaranteed you'll take a spill. Often times, it's never ever over when you think it is; but milk the rests, enjoy the jugs, get creative, and trust your feet. Stand up for yourself. Accept the thought of falling, you'll be okay.

Most importantly, look up. Sometimes when we're expecting the worst, we have the best view of what lies before us...soon or later you WILL find your way...

because we all need to come down from the mountain we put ourselves on.



dugl33


May 16, 2010, 10:43 PM
Post #2 of 22 (5581 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 6, 2009
Posts: 740

Re: [DLMeiresonne] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Nice trip report. Glad you made it down ok. Not to sound all fatherly but don't be leaving the ground without a headlamp climbing in Tahquitz. You'd have been seriously hosed had your partner not had one. You really ought to both have one. A petzl tikka is only a few ounces.

Tongue
Ok. Lecture over...


gblauer
Moderator

May 17, 2010, 2:53 PM
Post #3 of 22 (5497 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 3, 2002
Posts: 2810

Re: [DLMeiresonne] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

nice report. sounds like you had (exhausting) fun.


billcoe_


May 17, 2010, 6:16 PM
Post #4 of 22 (5453 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 30, 2002
Posts: 4668

Re: [DLMeiresonne] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Shit yeah! Way to get on it. 2 more things of note. 1st: if you are climbing, get a zippered chalk bag and toss a small headlamp in the zippered part. It's amazing how many times I had to feel my way down like a blind man having forgotten a lamp.

Next, the first person down has a grigri or jugs and there are knots tied into the rope ends as well. When they get to the rap station, they tie off the rope! It's a better feeling as you rap to know that you won't dirt out if you boff it.

Congrats on a memorable time, and thanks for sharing it.


billcoe_


May 17, 2010, 6:17 PM
Post #5 of 22 (5450 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jun 30, 2002
Posts: 4668

Re: [billcoe_] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Opps, most important, one more thing: at long established locations, it ain't whats on top of your head that will keep you safe - it's whats inside of it. 999 times out of 1000.

I'm dead serious.


altelis


May 17, 2010, 6:22 PM
Post #6 of 22 (5445 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 10, 2004
Posts: 2168

Re: [billcoe_] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

billcoe_ wrote:
Opps, most important, one more thing: at long established locations, it ain't whats on top of your head that will keep you safe - it's whats inside of it. 999 times out of 1000.

I'm dead serious.

Unless those "long established" places look like this:


Tongue


Gmburns2000


May 17, 2010, 7:01 PM
Post #7 of 22 (5425 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 6, 2007
Posts: 15128

Re: [DLMeiresonne] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Nice TR Deanna. That was a really enjoyable read.


DLMeiresonne


May 18, 2010, 10:09 AM
Post #8 of 22 (5353 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 1, 2007
Posts: 11

Re: [dugl33] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

dugl33 - i know! live in learn i suppose...you would be happy to know i went out and bought IMMEDIATELY the next day! that thing has come in handy so many random damn times by now ha


DLMeiresonne


May 18, 2010, 10:12 AM
Post #9 of 22 (5345 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 1, 2007
Posts: 11

Re: [billcoe_] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I like this billcoe! i'll have to use that sometime. I'm just starting to get to a point in my climbing or climbing mind set where I'm learning to make my mind a blank slate while climbing, and I flow with the rock as opposed to against more. Slacklining really helped this! But I totaly get your meaning. The result is me getting more picky about the people I do climb with, and me realizing the best camping advice is "bring your own"


dugl33


May 18, 2010, 10:34 AM
Post #10 of 22 (5330 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 6, 2009
Posts: 740

Re: [DLMeiresonne] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

DLMeiresonne wrote:
dugl33 - i know! live in learn i suppose...you would be happy to know i went out and bought IMMEDIATELY the next day! that thing has come in handy so many random damn times by now ha

Well, in the interest of full disclosure, I have had one unplanned bivy, an incident when I was quite lucky to find the fixed anchors in the dark on a multipitch descent, and a handful of sketchy walk-offs due to failure to bring a headlamp. Its a mistake I remake every now and then.

Smile


kennoyce


May 18, 2010, 11:12 AM
Post #11 of 22 (5294 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 6, 2001
Posts: 1309

Re: [DLMeiresonne] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Nice TR, I'm not sure how much of an epic it was, but good story none-the-less. As far as the whole make sure you have a head lamp thing, you made it down safely and have a good story from it, so its all good. I know I should always bring my headlamp, yet I always seem to forget it. Lets see, I'm trying to remember when the last time was that I should have brought my head lamp climbing, didn't do it, and ended up needing it..............oh yeah, last night.

Well anyway, thanks for the TR.


DLMeiresonne


May 18, 2010, 11:32 AM
Post #12 of 22 (5271 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 1, 2007
Posts: 11

Re: [DLMeiresonne] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

You know, all this talks of headlamps and I almost wanna write a book devoted to stories simply on forgetting your headlamp...seems to make every night a bit more interesting...unless you're trying to cook, that just sucks.


jt512


May 18, 2010, 12:45 PM
Post #13 of 22 (5227 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 11, 2001
Posts: 21892

Re: [kennoyce] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (6 ratings)  
Can't Post

kennoyce wrote:
Nice TR, I'm not sure how much of an epic it was....

It's E1.

In 2002, I wrote:
Descending from Tahquitz yesterday with daylight quickly fading, it occurred to me that we need a system to rate epics. The one I propose here is based on the severity of having an epic at Tahquitz; consequently, I am calling it the Yosemite Epic Scale (YES).

The YES scale is as follows:
  • E0 Have to use headlamp on unplanned night descent from Lunch Rock.

  • E0+ Headlamp batteries run out 5 minutes down the mountain. Have to make way down using Bic lighter.

  • E1 Bic lighter runs out.

  • E1+ Get down to car in dark. Car keys left in locked car. Break into car by smashing window with rock.

  • E2 No, the keys are up at Lunch Rock. Leave pack at car. Climb back up.

  • E3 Arrive at Lunch Rock. Heavy rain begins. Rain gear in pack at car.

  • E3+ Rain changes to hail.

  • E4 Nearby lightning begins.

  • E4+ Lightning sets nearby tree on fire.

  • E5 Fire spreads. Descent blocked.

  • E6* Solo Tahquitz at night in T-shirt and shorts with no headlamp in thunderstorm in approach shoes to avoid dying in forest fire.

*Theoretical grade.

Jay


jbro_135


May 18, 2010, 2:30 PM
Post #14 of 22 (5165 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 14, 2009
Posts: 662

Re: [jt512] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

I clicked on this thread thinking "oh great a jt reply telling someone they are a gumby" but then i was pleasantly surprised


5 stars sir


DLMeiresonne


May 18, 2010, 2:51 PM
Post #15 of 22 (5151 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Jul 1, 2007
Posts: 11

Re: [jt512] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Holy mother this is awesome! I'm gonna hafta save this Epic rating scale on my computer somewhere - you get some credibility for that! I could sure use this rating on some of my other adventures as a guideline. great idea


kennoyce


May 18, 2010, 3:07 PM
Post #16 of 22 (5136 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Mar 6, 2001
Posts: 1309

Re: [jt512] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

in 2002 jt512 wrote:
Descending from Tahquitz yesterday with daylight quickly fading, it occurred to me that we need a system to rate epics. The one I propose here is based on the severity of having an epic at Tahquitz; consequently, I am calling it the Yosemite Epic Scale (YES).

The YES scale is as follows:

* E0 Have to use headlamp on unplanned night descent from Lunch Rock.

* E0+ Headlamp batteries run out 5 minutes down the mountain. Have to make way down using Bic lighter.

* E1 Bic lighter runs out.

* E1+ Get down to car in dark. Car keys left in locked car. Break into car by smashing window with rock.

* E2 No, the keys are up at Lunch Rock. Leave pack at car. Climb back up.

* E3 Arrive at Lunch Rock. Heavy rain begins. Rain gear in pack at car.

* E3+ Rain changes to hail.

* E4 Nearby lightning begins.

* E4+ Lightning sets nearby tree on fire.

* E5 Fire spreads. Descent blocked.

* E6* Solo Tahquitz at night in T-shirt and shorts with no headlamp in thunderstorm in approach shoes to avoid dying in forest fire.


*Theoretical grade.

Jay

Thanks Jay, I guess I'm still a noob as far as epic ratings go.


alleyehave


Jul 26, 2010, 6:17 PM
Post #17 of 22 (4693 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 13, 2005
Posts: 461

Re: [DLMeiresonne] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Nice TR, but just out of curiousity, why'd you rap down? If you rapped down the very short section(s) of 4th class on the friction descent then thats understandable...but rapping from the false summit of Tahquitz(i'm assuming that's where you topped out) is not standard practice nor safe with what sounds like 3 beginners...


jcrew


Jul 26, 2010, 8:44 PM
Post #18 of 22 (4648 views)
Shortcut

Registered: May 11, 2006
Posts: 673

Re: [alleyehave] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (1 rating)  
Can't Post

alleyehave wrote:
Nice TR, but just out of curiousity, why'd you rap down? If you rapped down the very short section(s) of 4th class on the friction descent then thats understandable...but rapping from the false summit of Tahquitz(i'm assuming that's where you topped out) is not standard practice nor safe with what sounds like 3 beginners...

yeah...what he said.

i'd like to suck up to you like the rest, cause i think you're proabally a babe, but it sounds like you kinda noob'ed it.


illusiondweller


Sep 10, 2010, 11:10 PM
Post #19 of 22 (4314 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Apr 21, 2005
Posts: 124

Re: [jcrew] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

That was the first thing I thought of while reading the TR...why did they rap off of Tahquitz? Then again, that's what beginners survive sometimes then have memorable stories to tell around the campfire.

Pretty cool epic scale!


(This post was edited by illusiondweller on Sep 10, 2010, 11:13 PM)


socalclimber


Sep 11, 2010, 3:19 AM
Post #20 of 22 (4278 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Nov 27, 2001
Posts: 2432

Re: [alleyehave] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

alleyehave wrote:
Nice TR, but just out of curiousity, why'd you rap down? If you rapped down the very short section(s) of 4th class on the friction descent then thats understandable...but rapping from the false summit of Tahquitz(i'm assuming that's where you topped out) is not standard practice nor safe with what sounds like 3 beginners...

I have the same question. That had disaster written all over it. It also sounds like you folks started rather late in the day.

Glad everyone got off ok,


Xterra


Oct 29, 2010, 3:27 PM
Post #21 of 22 (3905 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Oct 29, 2010
Posts: 1

Re: [socalclimber] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (3 ratings)  
Can't Post

Obviously N00B. Who starts late at Tahquitz without a headlamp?! I can't believe no one busted you for saying Fingertrip is 1,000' - far from it, try 500'. Whodunit isn't even 1,000' and it's 8 pitches.
Last I knew, ropes are approx 200', so unless you tied four ropes together and stretched the hell out of them - you sure as crap didn't rappel 600'.
This TR is bullshit and filled with stupidity, yet you're getting lots of glory yelps here....whatever. Go back to the gym.


curt


Oct 29, 2010, 4:22 PM
Post #22 of 22 (3877 views)
Shortcut

Registered: Aug 26, 2002
Posts: 18229

Re: [Xterra] An Epic in Tahquitz [In reply to]
Report this Post
Average: avg_1 avg_2 avg_3 avg_4 avg_5 (0 ratings)  
Can't Post

Xterra wrote:
Obviously N00B. Who starts late at Tahquitz without a headlamp?! I can't believe no one busted you for saying Fingertrip is 1,000' - far from it, try 500'. Whodunit isn't even 1,000' and it's 8 pitches.
Last I knew, ropes are approx 200', so unless you tied four ropes together and stretched the hell out of them - you sure as crap didn't rappel 600'.
This TR is bullshit and filled with stupidity, yet you're getting lots of glory yelps here....whatever. Go back to the gym.

You created a whole new account just for this?

Curt


Forums : Climbing Information : Trip Reports

 


Search for (options)

Log In:

Username:
Password: Remember me:

Go Register
Go Lost Password?
$10.85 (10% off)
$7.16 (10% off)
$40.46 (10% off)
$14.36 (10% off)



Follow us on Twiter Become a Fan on Facebook