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blueeyedclimber


Jul 31, 2011, 11:24 AM
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Too-all-u-mee...
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Yup, that's right folks, the 'n' is silent. At least, that what those helpful Yosemite National Park signs say. Our latest adventures took place in Tuolumne Meadows, which is part of Yosemite National Park, but has a much different feel than the valley.

For starters, at over 8000 ft. elevation, it's summer weather is actually pleasant to climb in. Second, and even more importantly, it's free of tourons looking for a "nature" experience. I mean, when you think of Yosemite valley, you think of waterfalls, towering granite cliffs, amazing wildlife, and stunning beauty. Oh yeah, and the amusement park food at Curry Village, the plethora of gift shops, and the tons of traffic on the loop road.

For those that read my TR about our Red Rocks trip, thanks. People in general, seemed to find it entertaining, but the one knock on it was it's lack of pictures. I assure you, there will be pics this time. Now, back to the story.

This story actually begins months ago with a conversation with my mother. You see, we have a tradition in our family that when someone turns 40, my parents fund a trip anywhere they want to go. Well I was born on September 19, 1971, which means this Fall I turn the big 4-0. I'm a teacher, though. I can't get away in September. "How about during the summer?" mom says. "Yeah, how bout it," I reply. It has to involve climbing, but I don't want to forget about my parents, who are funding the trip, OR my daughter who has given up climbing in her teen years. What to do?

Well, we decided to go to San Francisco for a few days and then my parents and Dakotah would fly to southern CA to visit my brother, while Tiff and I drove out to Tuolumne. San Fran was fun, but secretly I couldn't wait to climb. During our time in in San Francisco we visited Alcatraz, did some shopping on Fishermans wharf, did some MORE shopping on Haight street, and ate at variety of restaurants (all on my parents dime). Thanks, Mom and Dad! Here's my daughter posing in front of Pier 39.

Here's the three of us on Fisherman's wharf.


Alcatraz was pretty cool, until they locked me up, that is. I didn't do it! I swear!



When it came time for the climbing portion of our trip, the first step was getting a campsite. There is only one campground in the meadows and not having the forethought to reserve a site well in advance, we were relying on getting one of the first-come first-serve sites. My plan was to get there early enough on Sunday that we will get one that was vacated by a weekend warrior. We set the alarm for 3:30 a.m., picked up the rental car, and rolled into the campground around 9:30. Either I am smarter than I look, or I got lucky. Maybe both. We got a campsite.

Day 1 - I didn't have a huge ticklist. We had been here once before, but we were not that familiar with it, so I was just going to see what happens. One area I did have my eye on, however, was Daff Dome. It looked like every climb on it was a classic. One in particular was a climb called Blown Away (5.9). it takes the first 2 pitches of West Crack (5.9), then breaks far across the wall to the left side on slabby knobs. The final pitch climbs an airy arÍte to an overhanging dihedral. Sounds awesome! Well, I did not count on West Crack being one of the most popular climbs in the park. There was a line three parties deep. We just got here and there was no way I was waiting, so we decided to do Crescent Arch (5.10b) instead. It was empty at the moment, but as I was flaking the rope, 2 guys walked up and said, "So, you changed you're mind, huh?" You see, as we got out of our car, seeing that we were headed up to Daff Dome, they asked us what we we planning on doing. I told them Blown Away. That seemed to satisfy them, because now it was obvious why. They came to do Crescent Arch. Feeling slightly bad about that, and also grateful that they helped us find the trail, I offered to let them go first. They were super nice and they even ended up leaving a #4 cam for us that protects the first off-width. I'm an east coast climber. I'm not used to carrying big gear. I had neglected to bring anything bigger than a #3. Crescent Arch was fantastic! The guidebook we were using gives it 10b, although I have also seen it rated 5.9. Although the 10b section was very short, it felt way more sustained than that. The one rest you get is sustained 5.8 climbing, but most of it is hard 5.9. The 5.10 was almost a welcome relief.†Here's Tiff following pitch 2.

Here's the climb looking up, as well as our new buddies.


Day 2 - Our second day brought our longest day out. We wanted to do something a little longer or a little more remote. We thought about Cathedral Peak, but I wasn't crazy about the crowds. We thought about the Regular Route on Fairview, but both the popularity and the fact that we would have to get up super early (it was COLD in the morning!) made us think twice about that. We finally settled on The West Pillar of Einchorn Pinnacle (5.9). It is part of the same structure as Cathedral peak but you access it from the opposite side. At 5.9, it felt pretty stout, but then again I am basically learning how to climb off width this week (I think I'm doing pretty well). The approach time said 1.5 hours. I guess that means if you run. Now, granted, Tiff has asthma, and longer steep approaches carrying a heavy pack are hard because of that. But, we took every bit of an hour and a half getting out and I thought we moving pretty fast. Anyways, I'm glad I gave us a little extra time getting in. The climb gets afternoon sun, so with it only being 5 pitches, I saw no reason to start too early. This was a super climb. The combination of the approach, the lack of people, the more alpine setting, the route finding, the style of climbing, and topping out on something that was probably about 10 ft. X 10 ft. was pretty cool. The only people we saw all day were a group of backpackers on the trail and a party topping out on Cathedral Peak. By the time we got back to the car it was just getting dark. Good Day! But man, am I tired. Here we are at one of the belays.


Day 3 - Rest day. We went into Lee Vining and took showers, had lunch at the infamous Mobil Station (it wasn't as good as I remember), and took in some sites, such as Mono Lake.†



Day 4 - The only other time we have been here was about 5 years ago during a trip to the valley. One of the few climbs we did was On the Lamb (5.9) on Lamb Dome. This is one of the more unique climbs, not just in Tuolumne but anywhere, that we have done. It involves a 500 foot traverse about 250 feet off the ground. Well, when we did it 5 years ago, I had neglected to bring the camera, so Tiff wanted to do it again not just because we needed some pics, but it is her favorite climb EVAH!

After finishing, we sat down at the top and had lunch. We then finished up the day at Drug Dome on a single pitch climb called Stemulant (5.10a).†

Day 5 - I wanted to go back to Daff and try our luck once again at getting on Blown Away. When we got up there, there was a party on West Crack and one waiting. I figure that's not too bad, so we decide to bring our stuff up to the starting ledge and wait. Now, I had my heart set on Blown Away instead of West Crack, not just because it looked better, but because everyone else seemed to be doing West Crack, which means we would only be behind other parties for 2 pitches. Once again, I will say that I HATE waiting for climbs, but it being later in the week, I was starting to get tired. If I had known how long we were going to wait, however, I would have packed it up and went elsewhere. The 1st party seemed a little slow, but not too bad. The leader of the next party started up but had to wait a while as the first party had not left the belay yet. While we were waiting we started talking to the belayer. Super nice guy from New Mexico (sorry, I'm horrible with names and I don't remember). We talked about where we're from, children (he has a daughter too), and climbing. Turns out, although he was older than us, he had only started climbing about a year ago. I thought to myself that this climb was kind of ambitious for him considering, but I kept it to myself. Now, once again, these people were super nice, so I hate saying anything bad about them, but they were slow. And that's putting it mildly. But, we've all been there. At one point, I was beginning to have doubts that we would have enough daylight to finish the climb, but at some point I decided that we were committed to this climb and we were going to do it no matter what. I'm not sure when I made that decision, maybe during hour 3 of waiting. Super Nice Guy had finally left belay one, so I started up the first pitch and was at the belay in a matter of minutes. He was still at the initial roof. In his defense, the roof off the first belay is super awkward and I'm not sure I would have been able to do it my first year of climbing. The book says 5.8, but I thought it was harder than any of the 5.9 moves. After struggling and falling and struggling some more, I had doubts that he would be able to make. I was encouraging him and giving suggestions, but I finally offered to climb above him and set up a haul. He wanted to give it another go. Good for him! By this time, Tiff had reached the belay, so we were both sending positive vibes his way. He did it! Although I was a little frustrated with the wait, it was very cool to see someone tackle something that was obviously a challenge for them and succeed. Once he got above the roof, he started moving a little faster and I knew that we now had clear sailing. At this point, I knew we had enough daylight to finish the climb, but I wasn't sure about the descent, so I wanted to speed it up a little. This may sound cliche, but I was Blown Away by this climb! It is the best 5.9 I have ever done! It had a little of everything. It was worth the wait!

Day 6 - Last day. We had decided to go cragging and a friend of ours had suggested Low Profile Dome. I picked out a climb called Shit Hooks (5.10b).

After I climbed it, I just felt tired. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe it was just the accumulation of climbing all week, but I lost my motivation. I climbed one more easy one, top roped a harder one, and then that was it. We decided to pack it up early and head to the valley for showers and food. We hit traffic on the way in which made me think twice about our decision, but when we finally got there, the showers felt good. The food was edible.†

Tiff and I had a full week and I probably left a lot out. For example, our marmot friend who we wanted to take home, running into a friend who now works for YOSAR, trying in vain to find a cell signal, discovering how much I like soup for breakfast, our weird rental car that for some reason kept it's headlights on for 15 minutes after you'd lock it, and realizing that people that stay in campgrounds are complete slobs and don't like to read signs (I.e. California is in a Drought - "Ok, I'll just leave this water running for 10 minutes"; Do not Wash your dishes here - "Ok, I will"; if Dumpster is Full, Do not Leave Anything on Top! - "Whatever!").†

Here's a few more pics to finish up...


It was a good trip!

Josh


lena_chita
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Jul 31, 2011, 12:17 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Too-all-u-mee... [In reply to]
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Nice TR, yet again! Pictures definitely add to it. :)

I have just come back from my first introduction to summer climbing at 10,000+ft, and i have to say, the awesome views and great temps more than make up for being a bit short on breath.


Partner macherry


Jul 31, 2011, 12:40 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Too-all-u-mee... [In reply to]
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enjoyed the tr. thanks


caughtinside


Jul 31, 2011, 2:27 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Too-all-u-mee... [In reply to]
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nice pics, thanks for posting. That Crescent Arch is an ass kicker. I nearly puked when I rolled onto that ledge after that slick 5.9 corner. The .10b was casual by comparison.


sungam


Aug 1, 2011, 4:56 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Too-all-u-mee... [In reply to]
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Awesome!

But... The "N" is silent?


wonderwoman


Aug 1, 2011, 9:59 AM
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Re: [sungam] Too-all-u-mee... [In reply to]
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It was so hard to come back to reality after spending time in such a beautiful place.

Here are some goofy videos that I took at some of the belays. It's just give you another idea of the Tuolumne scenery:

Josh on Shit Hooks:
http://www.flipshare.com/...80-b21e-dd5ec06a39e0

Waiting on Blown Away:
http://www.flipshare.com/...8b-9ae6-319607d30af1


Bag11s


Aug 2, 2011, 5:24 AM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Too-all-u-mee... [In reply to]
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Nice writeup of a fun week!


dagibbs


Aug 2, 2011, 12:38 PM
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Re: [blueeyedclimber] Too-all-u-mee... [In reply to]
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Awesome trip! Sounds like a great time.


gosharks


Aug 2, 2011, 1:05 PM
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Nice writeup. Its more Too-all-lum-mee though.


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