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Vegastradguy' 1st Yosemite Adventure (Long)
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Jun 24, 2003, 3:42 PM
Post #1 of 5 (1688 views)

Registered: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 5919

Vegastradguy' 1st Yosemite Adventure (Long)
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Okay, so I just got back from my very first Yosemite trip. Never been there before. Damn, Iím a deprived kid, let me tell you!

Anyway, so hereís my trip report, my first to, so I apologize in advance if itís long winded and boring.

So, Friday the 13th rolls around and weíre trying to get the heck out of Las Vegas. Itís hot, work is over and Iím itching to get on the road. My partners and I (after some debate and fiddling around with packing) manage to meet on the outskirts of town around 7:00pm. After enjoying a Quiznoís sandwich, weíre on the road, heading for Bishop.

The plan goes something like this. Camp in Bishop (Horton Creek) for two or three nights, warm up at ORG and the Buttermilks before heading to Yosemite. That way weíre all dialed in.

We roll into Horton Creek around midnight, and itís empty! We pick out a nice little spot, pitch tents and crash for the evening. The next morning, we stumble out of bed, and pile into the cars, heading for Dennyís. We thought about camp food, but hey, weíre slumming it for a week, weíll have plenty of time for roughing it. After a nice meal at Dennyís, we cruise for Owens River Gorge. We turn off the 395, cruise up to the Gorge road, and thereís a ranger and a sign. The gorge is closed until the 18th of June. Seems they are changing the water level in the gorge (raising it quite a bit, from what I gathered).

So, after ho-humming and groaning a bit, we decide to hit the Buttermilks and annoy ourselves on boulder problems we cant do. First stop, the Peabody Boulders. I knew we werenít going to be able to do much on the Peabodyís themselves, but hey, like you can drive by them and not stop! Theyíre HUGE!

We messed around on some V0ís and my buddy sent a nice little V2 that none of us could start (crack climb, figures!). After that, we cruised over to pee-wee Peabody and started working the V1 problem on it. After 3 tries, I found myself on top! And I got a picture of me sending it! Woo! My first V1 outside! I was pretty happy.

The rest of the day was spent crusing around North and South lakes and trying to defend our camp from a rather large ant war. However, we were also sort of done climbing in Bishop, so we elected to head to Tuolome in the morning and camp there Sunday night before heading to the valley the next day.

After negotiating the Tioga Pass and about 3 hours, we arrived in Tuolome. Granite. And lots of it! And also, in a weird sort of twist, more or less completely empty! We saw about 2 climbers the whole trip through. The campground was closed, so camping there was out. On to Yosemite!!!!

How do you describe your first view of the valley as you make that last turn and come in sight of the Captain overlooking its domain? Are there any words that can even come close to doing it justice? No, so I wonít even try. Itíd take me several pages to even come close.

So, we come into the park. We see the Rostrum (closed for falcon nesting), the falls, the Captain, Half Dome, etc. Oh, the climbing to be done! We head to Camp 4 on the off chance that we may be able to get a spot. We were worried though, because Tuolome was closed and we werenít entirely sure where we were gonna crash if we couldnít get a spot. Turns out, that we were worried for nothing. Apparently, Sunday is a good day to get a campsite. We had our choice of campsites. Sweet! We camped in site 27, just a bit past Midnight Lightning (we watched a couple people playing on it that night).

First things first, must go climb something. Off to Manure Pile Buttress. We were going to climb After Six, but it was being top roped, so we got on After Seven. Okay, so I donít crack climb much, Red Rocks is featured, its just not necessary. Can I just say I was in HEAVEN! Good lord everything is perfect on this stuff. The pro is awesome, the jams are stellar, and everything is HUGE!

So, After Seven went well. The first pitch is the toughest, but most enjoyable. And after fumbling around a bit on the first few feet, I made it up nicely. My partner grabbed the rack from me and worked the next pitch for a minute, then after that we moved quickly and were back in camp before we knew it.

That night around the campfire we met some of the locals, including a climbing bum whoís slumming camp 4 for the summer. He was helping a photographer document the Huber boyís Zodiac Speed Ascent that day. While we were cruising up After Seven, Alex and Tomas cruised the Zodiac in 2 hours, 31 minutes. I believe it was Alex who fell on the headwalls, but they still made a new record. Cool!

Early the next morning, we were woken up by our neighbor trying to chase a bear out of camp with a pot and pan. Ugh. The bear later came back and stole some of their food that they left out. Oh well.

Later in the morning, two of our partners did Braille Book while my other friend and I took the day to cruise Curry Village, have some pizza and ice cream and just generally enjoy the day. My two friends ended up taking the 5.10c variation on Braille Book by Ďmistakeí (it had better pro) and had themselves a nice epic day. I picked them up just as it was getting dark and bought them pizzas to celebrate!

Tuesday arrived and my friend and I decided to cruise up Munginella while the other two were resting from their epic. What a cool little climb! The first pitch involves some hand jamming, finger jamming, off-widths and a bit of lie backing to reach belay. The protection is a little thin, but its solid. I led this one and then my partner started off on the second (crux) pitch. Itís only 5.6, but itís a little committing. It involves traversing out on slopers and then sort of manteling onto a large ledge. Not tough, but the holds were greasy from traffic. She decided that she didnít like it and lowered off. I grabbed the rack and cruised up to where she stopped. I plugged a cam and pulled the sloper mantel. From here, I equalized a cam and a nut and set off on 40 feet of pristine granite lie backing (5.6ish). I stopped halfway through at a stance to put in a piece and then headed for the top.

That night we relaxed, played chess and watched the boulderers work the Columbia Boulder.

Wednesday dawned and we found our way to Royal Arches. My buddy C and I decided we would climb this while my partner from Munginella would climb it with B behind us. As C started off on what would be the hardest pitch of the day (a greasy 5.6 chimney with hardly any features) in our opinion, B headed to the stream to wash his hands. C had me on belay and I was just starting up when I hear a yelp of pain and soon after B comes limping up the trail. He had sprained his knee badly and was limping. I asked him if he was okay, he mumbled yes and finished racking up.

After simul-climbing the next few pitches we reached the base of the vertical climbing. By this time, B was far behind and his knee was starting to swell. I discovered later that he would have to aid this 5.7 pitch using slings. What a trooper.

So, we cruised up this thing, I was enjoying myself, the climbing was easy and the views kept getting better the higher we went. We got to the penji (my first) and although short and easy, it was exhilarating since I had never done it before. (btw- some kind soul has replaced the line, so its fresh for this year) I clipped in low on the rope, grabbed on and walked across, and grabbed the jug on the far side. Easy.

Watch this pitch, its still wet. Lots of standing water. Thereís an old fixed piton above one of the puddles. We clipped our lead and trail lines into this so they wouldnít get wet. At the far side of this ledge is a huge tree. Nice belay. We stopped for lunch here.

B was hurting by now. He had pretty much lost all use of his leg and he was leading everything as E wasnít feeling up to the lead. We offered to switch partners so that I could lead for B, but he decided he was going to climb it all if it was going to kill him. So, off we went on the next couple of pitches.

C led the next pitch and worked the awkward 5.7 moves below the tree at belay. I cruised past him for the next pitch, stepped over the void and headed upward. We had to simul-climb the last bit of this pitch, but if C had belayed about 30 feet further on (and he easily could have) at the base of the next tree, we would have been fine.

Two more easy (and really run out) pitches and we were at the raps. Itís bolted for a single rope rappel, but we had two parties, each with two lines, so we would set one line, rappel down, and set the other lines. Leapfrogging like this got us down in about 90 minutes, even with Bís bad knee.

All in all, a stellar day.

Thursday was a tourist day. Yosemite Village, gifts for mum, dad, and girlfriend (yes, she didnít come with meÖ). Good food that night and off to bed. B was crippled, but the swelling was going down by the end of the day.

Snake Dike had been the plan for Friday, but E was not interested in climbing and B was out of commission, so C and I decided to play on Nutcracker, since we hadnít done it yet and itís a classic.

So, we hopped on the Standard start (the lieback fest) since the 5.9 start was taken. This is an interesting pitch. Itís a nice start, moderate liebacking with decent feet, good hands and some features so you can stop. Then up to the 5.7 lieback which is tougher and less protected. Lots of fixed gear on this pitch, which I wasnít cleaning because I was working it at the moment. At the top, the 5.8 crux section was spicy for sure, thin hands, long reaches and a guy who was kind enough to fix a cam in the last good handhold before the lip, making the move harder and more annoying.

After waiting around for the crowds to clear, we started up the 3rd pitch with its nicely exposed step right and spectacular crack climbing (it was a little wet toward the top). I got this pitch, and after setting a nice hanging belay (I should have gone a bit higher, but I was cozy in my Yates), C came up and set off on the 4th pitch, which turned out to be tougher than we thought. The roof was fun and it was thin for sure. C ran it out and set belay below the mantel.

The mantel, I was not expecting where it was. For some reason, I thought it was higher on the pitch. After protecting the bottom of the bulge and the crack below the mantel, I scooted up the thin corner and reached up to the only jug I had found in Yosemite so far. I had two thoughts. 1) Oh yeah, a jug baby! And 2) Oh crap, itís the mantel. So, I stemmed up the corner, rolled my arm under me and pulled the move. I slammed a yellow alien in a horizontal crack right away and cruised to the top. Stellar, I was really happy with my performance, what a great cap to the trip!

The last part of Friday was spent up on Glacier Point taking pictures and talking to people about climbing. We also checked out Bridaveil Falls and the tunnel view, which was neat.

Saturday morning, we woke up, broke camp and headed back to Las Vegas. We stopped at Whitney Portal and Death Valley on the way back, and sighed heavily as the heat descended upon us as we returned to the desert.

Note: I apologize again for the length, but I'm so pumped from my Yosemite trip I just had to report it! Woo! Also, sorry for any grammar problems!


Jun 24, 2003, 4:58 PM
Post #2 of 5 (1688 views)

Registered: Jun 17, 2002
Posts: 4723

Re: Vegastradguy' 1st Yosemite Adventure (Long) [In reply to]
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Dude! Me and Smithclimber (Wes) were right behind you on Nutcracker! We had the Ranger (Laura) and her partner, Jim right in front of us -- and we were the ones talking with Brandon (I think that is "B"s name, correct?) at the base regarding his incredibly F'ed up knee. I was the stocky, bald, ugly bastard behind you and we were climbing in two groups of two. Wes and I got to the top of P2 and hung out for HOURS while we were qued up for the rest of you slackers to get moving! :wink: The other party we were with (they were directly behind us) wanted to bail, so we ended up rappeling from the ledge to the ground. Oh well, the rest of the climb looked stellar. Can't believe I didn't actually meet you. Hell, and I was in Camp 4 at site "C" all week.

Good to hear you had some fun!

Epic Ed


Jun 24, 2003, 5:08 PM
Post #3 of 5 (1688 views)

Registered: Aug 28, 2002
Posts: 5919

Re: Vegastradguy' 1st Yosemite Adventure (Long) [In reply to]
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yeah, turns out there was a party of 3 above us that was moving at a glacial pace. once we left the top of P2, we didnt stop or slow down for nothing. we never saw another party below us after that. we were cruising...

and yeah, it was fun! :P


Jun 24, 2003, 5:14 PM
Post #4 of 5 (1688 views)

Registered: May 29, 2002
Posts: 8588

Re: Vegastradguy' 1st Yosemite Adventure (Long) [In reply to]
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No better place for a "trad guy" to be than Yosemite!

I'm a sport muffin and I still loved it there! Jam, crank, paste, repeat!


Partner missedyno

Jun 24, 2003, 5:57 PM
Post #5 of 5 (1688 views)

Registered: Nov 21, 2001
Posts: 4465

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can't wait to make it there. great trip report, man!

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