on friday afternoon max, johanna, jeremy, and i left for tuolumne meadows. we ran into a bit of traffic on the way and didn't get to tioga pass road until about dark, but we were able, by some miracle, to find a free spot at the porcupine flat campground, and were in bed by 10:00
we got up at 5:00, and were in the car, on the way to the trailhead at 5:18, which is pretty darn fast in my book. we got to the trailhead about 20 minutes later, and started sorting gear and making breakfast.
it was FREEZING cold; there was frost on the ground, and our finger hurt so much that it made simple tasks unpleasant. as we were getting ready, three parties, one of two people, one of three, and a single guy headed up the trail ahead of us.
we headed out at about 8:00, glad to finally be moving in the morning chill, and excited about the adventure ahead. about an hour into the hike we met the single guy who had left before us heading back down the mountain. it turned out he had run up to the base of cathedral peak, soloed the climb, and was on his way back already!
cathedral peak. the route we took goes along the left skyline.
we started climbing just after 9:00, right behind a party of two, who climbed quickly and were soon out of site. we had decided that since we were four we would climb as two parties of two: jeremy would lead, since he had the most experience placing protection, and johanna would follow him, then i would lead behind her, and max would follow me, cleaning the gear off the route as he came. we'd then all meet at the next belay station, max would hand off the gear to jeremy, and we'd do it all again.
while this may have worked well for more experienced climbers it turned out that it made things pretty slow for us. our lack of experience meant that we spent way more time than we should have messing around with gear, and trying not to step all over each other at the belay stations.
during the nine hours it took us to complete the climb we were passed by a ton of people, including a bunch of soloers. i know that the climbing is not that hard, 5.6 or easier, and none of the moves are very technical, but the idea of being 700 feet up on a rock with no protection gives me the heebie-jeebies. we all agreed that the soloers were crazy.
jeremy heading up the 4th pitch.
at about 6:00 we finally got to the top. the summit is tiny, just about enough room for 5 people to sit, and the view was truly awesome. we had a 360 degree view of the yosemite valley and surrounding area, granite domes and peaks surrounded us as far as we could see. it was amazing.
looking back at the summit on our way down.
we spent a few minutes admiring the view, snapped a few pictures (i'll post them soon) and negotiated the short descent off the summit block to the trail that leads back down to the car. we got to the car around 8:30, and headed down to lee vining for a much needed meal and pitcher of sierra nevada.