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Royal Arches-Take Two-Team Sh*te
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miker


Jun 10, 2003, 2:32 PM
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Royal Arches-Take Two-Team Sh*te
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Well I made a kamikaze trip to Yosemite this weekend to redeem myself and climb Royal Arches again, in proper style and with a modicum of speed. Detailed discussion here, but needless to say, it was gorgeous, we had fun and pictures will all be on my website in the next day or two.

If you have read my previous trip report, you will remember that we finished about midnight due to our slowness and a lot of crowding. I decided to go back with buddy Matt who had not been able to make the last trip.

Left work on Friday at 2:30 and busted over to Matt's in Redondo Beach. Dumped all my crap in his car and off we went. A couple hours to get out of LA and then 3 more hours to Fresno, where we had to get off the freeway due to a fire and get on at the next on-ramp, major delays and headache. Stopped in Fresno for a little dinner at Marie Calender's (crappiest steak I have had in a while) with my buddy John(Kevlar) who was helpful by phone during our last climbing trip. More driving and we hit the Valley at 11pm or so.

Gorgeous looming rocks, just barely visible above us, but you can feel the sheer weight and size of the rocks who's scale is hard to fathom in the daylight. We stop in Curry Village for a quick bathroom break and then off to the Ahwahnee hotel parking lot. We kit ourselves out with less gear then the last climb, but still with the necessities.

-Climbing gear-rack, 1 rope, harnesses, shoes and helmets
-bivy bags and liner but no sleeping bags.
-1 stove
-1 water filter
-dehydrated food for dinner on Saturday and breakfast sunday
-power bars and goo for the climb
-two sandwiches to eat for breakfast
-first aid kit
-2 Guinness
-layers and a fleece
-1 digital camera
-misc other stuff

So we hit the base of Royal Arches at midnight. The temperature is a balmy 70 or so and we are a little tired from the driving, but feeling very excited. We have decided to jump on the climb so we don't have to worry about being rousted by the ranger if we sleep in the truck and it also means we will be the first ones on the route in the morning.

Matt heads in to the first pitch, a 5.6 chimney which is surreal just by the light of our little headlamps. He runs up that and then hauls up his pack. I grunt up after and we are on the first big ledge. We move along the ledge until we find a reasonably flat spot and bivy for the night. A little adrenalized, but sleep still comes eventually. We are awakened by a couple climbers having their own epic above us as they try to find their way down Royal Arches in the dark. We are woken again by the first light in the morning, probably about 5:15 am and are off climbing by 5:30. The benighted climbers are above us and ask if they can use our rope to rap off once we get up to their level. We say sure and commence to climb.

This is where the first team of two comes up on us from behind and they are moving quickly and are hoping to do Crest Jewel as well today. We are planning that as well, but these guys actually moved fast, so we gave them the benefit of the doubt and let them run up parallel to us. They never hindered our progress and if Peter and Peter are out there, I just wanted to say hi.

When Pete and Pete hit the stranded party above us, they pointed out the rap anchors they could use with their own rope and they sheepishly rapped off and made it back down finally.

So now we climb. I let Matt lead the more interesting sections as he had not been up here before and I thought he would enjoy the moderate stuff. We tried to swap leads to minimize waiting time. I would catch up with him and then just keep running along the ledge while he took down the anchor and then followed me to the next leadable section. When we hit the end of the 6th pitch in the supertopo, I decided that we should simulclimb for a ittle while as the ground ahead was fairly straightforward. Simulclimbing, for those who do not know, is when two climbers climb at the same time with a rope connecting them. The lead climber will put in pieces of protection as he goes and the follower will collect them. This allows for moving quickly up the rock, with a modicum of safety. So we simuled up to the pendulum and I must say it felt really good, if not a bit adrenalizing. Not quite a free-solo, but the closest I will probably get at that height.

The pendulum is a fun little rope you use to swing past a hard face move which I again tried to do and could not quite get my feet to stick. The waterfall was much lower and we did not need to take off the shoes this time. We have had a party on our tail since we started simulclimbing, but it was a laidback guide with two folks following him and is not pushy. A welcome change from previous times up here.

So the last few pitches are fun, up to the final tree, turn left over the slabs and we hit the trees at 10:30 am. A time of ~5 hours if you assume the start at the top of the easy first pitch.

Across the scary slab from before, but now it is mostly dry and not a big deal and we are on top. A quick splash from the stream and a little food and major amounts of bug repellent, mosquitos are insanely thick out there.

We are both feeling a bit beat, but figure we will head over to check out Crest Jewel and even if we don't do the whole thing, we can at least look at Crest Jewel Direct and maybe play on the first pitch or two. So a 1000+ feet of scrambling and slab walking gets us close to where we think the direct starts and we search around and move up more until we are as high as we can get up the base of North Dome. We are both feeling major calf pain and decide a long slab climb is not happening, so why don't we go wander back down a bit and head over to where we can filter some water and setup a camp.

We run into Peter and Peter at this point who let us know we missed the start of Crest Jewel Direct and had actually been standing right at the base of Crest Jewel proper. They had run up the Direct section and decided they were done for the day as well.


We head back across the slabs high above Royal Arches and do a little bushwacking until we break through to more slab. Finally we find a relatively flat sandy spot and collect a little wood, filter some water make a fire circle and relax a little. I make a call to John(Kevlar) from Fresno who had said he and friend Randy might try to do Royal Arches today as well and then meet up and camp with us. He tells me they are still in the car and are definitely not making it up Royal Arches, but perhaps they could hike up the Yosemite Falls trail and bring us some beer and pizza. We respond with a resounding yeah baby.

Still being relatively early we decide to ditch the packs and do some exploring so we can figure out where the Yosemite Falls--> North Dome trail is at so we can give John directions to our camp. We head up more slabs and go as far as we can until we see the light diminishing and decide to head back to the packs. Still not having found the trail.

We make a nice fire, eat our dinner and generally relax. The Guinness are relatively cool from sitting in the stream and taste pretty darn good. Finally get a message on my phone from John letting us know that he and Randy are in Curry Village talking to some women and there is no way they will make it up to see us tonight. We shrug our shoulders and get to bed. Sleep is not hard to come by and we are out like the proverbial light. A little cold in the early morning as we traveled so light, but with first light we stoke up the fire and make ourselves some warm breakfast.

Now for our next decision, we choose to head for the Yosemite Falls trail as we are so far over on the slabs that going back across to the North Dome Gully just seems like a long way and I had never been up or down the Yosemite Falls trail so thought it would be fun....my mistake.

So not having found it before we figure on heading up at an angle heading over towards the falls. Matt wants to go more straight up and I want to go across, so we compromise and keep going. Much scrambling and a river crossing or two and still no trail until we come to a dropoff and realize we need to be much higher. Matt was right and I should never be allowed to make any decisions in regard to a descent off a route as has been proven numerous times before. So heading up and folllowing the river we finally get up to what must be the trail and we realize the Yosemite Falls trail goes all the way up to Yosemite Point and then back down the Falls, so we have a lot more up still to go.

Well to make a long story shorter, we follow the trail and eventually get up to Yosemite point and the gorgeous view of the valley and part of the falls and then back down the falls trail. We get to the point where the falls shoot out over the edge and can't help but admire the sheer power of it. Now for the grueling switchback down trail which seems basically endless. Starting to pass people who have come up the trail and hearing all sorts of comments like, were you guys climbing? Is that stuff heavy? Done Already? What was amazing was the variety of tourists and trailrunners and people who just are not used to exercise coming up this killer trail.

Along the way a couple stellar viewpoints allow us some great photoops and again those will be up on my website shortly.

Finally we hit the Valley floor and walk into Camp 4 at about noon on Sunday. We are beat, tired and our truck is still back at the Ahwahnee hotel 3-4 miles down the Valley. A quick water break and a glance at a boulder problem or two and then we head off to catch the shuttle bus back to the vehicle. Feeling very accomplished as we sit in between a gaggle of kids looking at us like we are from another planet, all dirt encrusted with wild hair and bits of gear dangling off all over.

Finally back to the truck and a cold soda followed by a cold beer and we fell a little better. Drive over to Curry Village, $2 for a towel and shower and now we feel even better and the capper to it all is a large pepperoni pizza and a couple schooners of Newcastle while we sit and admire the skimpily clad ladies and the buff boulderers and the fearless squirrel running up onto our table and everywhere else looking for a french fry to feed his starving children. We named him Bob.

So that is the adventure. Back by Camp 4 for a few boulder problems before we are chased off by the mosquitos and then the long drive home.

Arrive in Redondo Beach at 11pm throw all my gear in my backseat and off towards home where I arrive about midnight, sore, tired and content to the core.


kevlar


Jun 11, 2003, 2:09 PM
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Re: Royal Arches-Take Two-Team Sh*te [In reply to]
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:( wow....you know I am jealous of you ...sorry about the bad steak in Fresno...The next time...dinner is at my home...along with some good beers...

It seems I have yet to gain the proper altitude to make it to the top of RA...but someday I too will have the pleasure of summiting RA...

Congrats to you an Matt on the summit in record time

rock on

John


ricardol


Jun 11, 2003, 3:19 PM
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royal arches is a super fun route ..

i manged it with a single partner from car-to-car in 12 hrs on memorial weekened (sunday) .

.. i thinkn at the end of the month we're going back ..

this time i want to ro RA on saturday -- bivy at the top, then climb north dome on sunday .. and descend via the NDG ..

.. we had 6 parties ahead of us on the sunday i climbed it..

-- ricardo


miker


Jun 11, 2003, 4:20 PM
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Yeah, bivying and doing ND the next day is the way we are hoping to do it next time, unless we can get our calves whipped into better shape. I mean they still burn a little on my way down stairs and it has been three days!!!

I think I might try to go climb something else first though. ;) I am ready for another challenge, maybe Snake Dike!!

I will take you up on that beer Kevlar.

miker


vegastradguy


Jun 11, 2003, 5:21 PM
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We're doing Royal Arches (assuming all goes well) on Tuesday. We'll be doing it in 2 parties of 2. I'm really looking forward to this route, it looks stellar and sounds like alot of fun.

We'll be in the Valley on Monday and staying until Friday. With any luck, we'll also get Snake Dike and Serenity/SOY in. woo!


moabbeth


Jun 11, 2003, 6:02 PM
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Thanks for the trip report Mike, great read. Sounds like you had a blast. Living in LaLa land like you, I'm envious. Wish I'd done that last weekend :lol: ! Oh well, soon enough. I'll be there a week from Saturday.

Were the mosquitos still that bad higher up the rock? I heard they're pretty bad this year.


miker


Jun 12, 2003, 2:00 PM
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Yes, the mosquitos are horrendous near any water. On the route they were not bad, but around the stream up top and in Camp 4 they were thicker than you can imagine. I recommend some kind of bug repellent which did help us survive, but we forgot to reapply after our showers and I am still scratching because of it.

Have fun vegastradguy, I am jealous. Let us know how it all goes. Especially Serenity/SOY as I have heard a lot of good things about them.

miker


vegastradguy


Jul 3, 2003, 3:41 PM
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Woo! Royal Arches, what a route!

Well, it went well! I actually thought that the chimney was the hardest thing on the whole route. We simul-climbed to the base of the vertical climbing, then headed up and more or less climbed quickly and without incident. we were passed twice (free soloers and simul-climbers). we started around 8am and finished around 2pm. Our 2nd party was moving slow due to an injury, so the raps took a while, but other than that, it was incident free.

we didnt get to SOY due to the injury mentioned above, but check out my trip report for what we did get to.

Yosemite Rules. I can't wait for next year!


fern


Jul 11, 2003, 10:43 PM
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it's nice to know that me and my friend alasdair are not the only people dumb enough to 'descend' Royal Arches by way of Yosemite Point! We climbed RA on 26 June and didn't encounter anyone all day :) ... it sounds like you guys found the trail from North Dome pretty early, we ended up bushwhacking to within 1/2 mile of YP before finding it. The mosquitos were brutal, but overall it made for a pretty fun day. Highly recommended for anyone complaining about crowds in the valley :P


herm


Sep 6, 2003, 1:16 PM
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Really otta scope the downclimb before you start up a big route. Taking a ton of crap with you only slowed you down.


brutusofwyde


Sep 6, 2003, 9:56 PM
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In reply to:
Really otta scope the downclimb before you start up a big route. Taking a ton of crap with you only slowed you down.
:roll:
Good advice about scoping the downclimb. But sounds like you guys had a great trip! Reminds me of the first time I did Arches -- I was carrying a 40 pound pack. (knocked off Crest Jewel the same day) Thanks for the read!

Brutus


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