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Trip Report: Yosemite National Park

Trip Report: Yosemite National Park

Trip Report: Yosemite National Park

--When, Where, Conditions--
When: Sept Oct 2014
Location: Yosemite National Park
Conditions: AWESOME!
Duration: I planned on 6 different Big Wall routes and got on 4. South Face Washington Column, The Prow on Washington Column, The Shield on El Capitan, and Jericho on The Jericho Wall (Left of Glacier Point Apron).
Difficulty: A2 Aid Climbing

The Report: This trip to Yosemite started with grand plans and big objectives. Sometimes big plans turn into little plans.

We left Portland, planning on stopping at Lovers Leap on the way to Yosemite. We arrived only to find wet rock as a result of a rain storm. That did not detour us though as we still climbed one route: Knapsack Crack. Easy and fun just the way I like it. Even in the rain it was an easy climb, as the rock is so sticky.

We moved on to our next objective: Yosemite. We arrived to participate in The Facelift which is a grassroots trash pick up and special project event to give back to the park we all love. It is organized by the Yosemite Climbing Association.

My first climb was to be The Shield on El Capitan. My partner and a friend hauled all of our gear about 1000 ft. up El Capitan to Heart Ledges while I took my wife to the airport in Fresno to fly home. When I got to Yosemite, I grabbed my ascenders and jugged the fixed lines 1000 feet in the dark and then assisted in our last haul to Mammoth Terraces. I let my partner have the portaledge to himself as I thought he deserved the rest. He went out like a light. I slept on the ledge. Which was mostly comfortable.

Yosemite National Park
Oh how beautiful Yosemite is.

The next morning I checked the weather report to find out that there was a snow storm rolling in. We decided to bail and started the rappels to the ground. We arrived on the ground, with the bags in two hours. We thought that was a good measure of our ability to work together and work efficiently. The Shield on El Cap is no place to be in a storm and it turned out we made the right call as the storm arrived as predicted. Thanks National Weather Service!

I did some work with the Facelift event over the next couple of days and then it was on to our next climb. We planned on climbing the Skull Queen route on Washington Column as a party of three.

It didn't go so well with heinous hauling on pitch 2 and 3 which I tried to haul all in one 200 foot haul. That was a mistake. The 2:1 system had a bad pulley and the working cord stretched a bit. Also the nature of the slabby rock contributed to making that a 3 hour haul. I never stopped pulling for over the entire time. The ledge that we intended was over run by 10 Spanish climbers and while I was screaming and yelling my partner commented that it was nearly 2 a.m. I yelled at the top of my lungs that if the Spanish climbers wanted a good nights sleep that they should have gotten a room at the Ahwahnee hotel. Hey it was the heat of the moment. I don't even think they noticed. We bailed after spending the night on Dinner Ledge.

Next wall. Another party of 3 and more problems. One was we got behind another party and had only enough room to set up the double portaledge. So I put my partners in the ledge and then proceed over to the anchor I build and slept standing up with my daisy chains personal protection crossed in front of my chest. I got a least 2 hours of sleep, then woke up the next day and led Pitch 4 in the blazing sun. I took a good fall on that pitch but got up and finished it. I was done, baked, and frustrated.

Yosemite National Park
The long view up.

I decided that the next climb would be solo on the Dark Side of the Valley in the shade. Sometimes solo is easier so that is what I did. I got on Jericho on the Jericho Wall on the left side of Glacier Point Apron. It had only been climbed twice and so I would get the third ascent of the route. I made it to the top of Pitch 4 of the the 11 pitch route before running out to steam and time.

The crux is Pitch 4. I took 2 falls. One was a 30 footer when I tried to make a free climbing move off a hook while standing in the top step of my aiders. It turned out that I needed to place two more pecker type pitons to gain the anchor. The first ascentionists were working on the route next to mine. We spent some time on the ground hanging out.

I'm not too discouraged as I learned a lot. It was a recon of several routes and trying different styles. I got interviewed by a film maker about my solo last year of the Zodiac route on El Capitan. 

Also I discovered a whole new aspect of Yosemite Valley. The Darkside is where I will be next time when the Wall is hot and crowded. It was pure adventure for sure and that's what I'm really after anyway.
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