Tuesday, August 23, 2005


friday night p. and i drove up to tioga pass in yosemite national park. we left the city around 7:00 pm and got up the eastern edge of the pass by about 12:30 am, crashed in the woods for a few hours, and went back down to the lembert dome parking lot for breakfast around 7:00.

the plan was to spend the day climbing, and that's what we did. we started out on phobos, a 3-pitch, 5-star 5.9. the approach is pretty steep, and by the time we got to the route we were hot and the sun was pretty fierce, but we counted on there being a breeze a little higher up.

(p. led all the climbs we did; he's a veteran of yosemite climbing, and there is no way i am up for leading trad 5.9)

the route starts off with a really burly couple of moves from under a small roof, and then moves into a crack system where you actually climb two parallel cracks at the same time. those then merge into one crack (the most sustained part of the climb) after which the angle pitches back to go through a weird little squeeze, and then an easy walk to the last 5.9 move to top out.

the first pitch of phobos, it starts in the shadow in the lower right corner of the picture

i am not a crack climber. it's not a skill i've developed, and i did a fair amount of grunting and flailing around, and hung on the rope a couple of times trying to remove recalcitrant pieces of pro. (p. made it look so easy, he just fired them in with barely a pause in his upward progress. bastard).

more of phobos

after phobos we walked across the road to aqua knobby, a 3-pitch, 4-star 5.9 (depending on who you talk to) that was in the shade.

aqua knobby. if you look closely you might be able to see a rope and a couple of people in the right part of the picture.

it starts off with a 5.6 slabby approach pitch, which was fun, and then the real climbing starts with another little roof before moving into some fairly steep, really knobby, face climbing. this was way more my kind of thing, and i had a blast on that section. then there's a ledge where the belay is, and the route follows a left-leaning, perfect hand crack, that was sheer joy to climb.

by then it was 2:00, so we grabbed some lunch, and drove over to the daff dome to get on crescent arch, a 4-pitch, 4-star 5.9 that's impossible to miss driving east on 120.

crescent arch. the route follows the obvious line.

the first pitch starts off with a really awkward, slick, flaring offwidth crack that i had no idea how to climb. i groveled and cursed and sniveled and hung on the rope, but eventually made it out. next came a little underclingy traverse, which wasn't too bad, followed by a perfect dihedral that was all lay-backs and stems, with very slick feet.

the second pitch follows the arching roof, and is also all lie-backs, before moving out onto a head-trip of an undercling traverse, then back to more lie-backs and underclings before coming out over a little roof for a little bit of face climbing.

the arching roof section.

just before the scary undercling traverse.

last, desperate section of undercling. i fell off about 3 seconds after this picture was taken. i was too torched to hold on to the great knobs that were coming up.

the pitch is sustained, strenuous, hard on your back, and feels long.

the last pitch doesn't count, as it's a walk-up to the top of the dome.

p. on top

looking east from the top of crescent arch, you can see tuolumne meadows in the distance.

two quick rappels and an easy walk around the base of the dome and you're back on the road.

after we drank about a gallon of water each, had a couple of beers, and ate everything we could get our hands on, we drove back down the pass a little to try to find a different place to sleep, one where we wouldn't wake up covered in frost as we had saturday morning.

we found what looked like a perfect spot, put our bags down and… it was too hot. and there were mosquitoes. and they got worse. it sucked.

we toughed it out until about 2:30 before making the 30-minute drive back to our original spot.

sunday morning after we ate we went for a run, starting where yosemite creek crosses 120. we did a 16 mile loop, and by about mile 14 i was hammered. dehydration and lack of sleep had caught up with me, and it was a slog to get back to the car.

too exhausted to climb any more we stuffed food in our faces and bolted for the cool fogginess of san francisco.

of course, to get there we had to cover several hours worth of baking inland valley, and my ac doesn't work, so that was a bit of a pain in the arse, but we made it.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

posting from ms word

so, apparently its now possible to publish to your blogger blog from microsoft word. I’m not thrilled about the microsoft part, but hopefully blogger will come out with a version of the plugin for openoffice as well.

for now, it’s a nice way for me to save and organize my posts on my laptop, without having to do the copy/paste stuff I currently do.

the plugin can be found here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

rivers and trains

k. met me a logan, and we took the t into boston proper and got off a havahd squayah. it's been a long time sine i last visited boston, and i'd forgotten how lovely it is; lumpy brick sidewalks, old stone and brick buildings, and trees everywhere.

k. lives in somerville, less than a mile form harvard, and she's doing her internship at cambridge hospital, a 10-minute walk from here house. it's really nice neighborhood, lots of little streets with small houses on them, and a couple of different shopping/restaurant districts within easy walking distance.

we hung out on saturday night, went out to dinner and walked around a bit, and then packed it in. the next morning k. had to work, and after she left i went for a run. i figured out how to get to the charles river from her house, and did an easy 90 minutes along it's banks. the weather was almost perfect; overcast with a little breeze, and the run was great. there were boats and buildings to look at, and a nice dirt trail that paralleled the river.

k. was supposed to get off at 12:30, but because she's a lowly intern she was required to cover for someone until 7:00, so i borrowed her bike, rode around a little bit, picked up some beer and a book, went back to her house and sat in the really lovely garden in the back, drank the beer and read the book. it was great.

after she got off work we went out to dinner again, and then to bed.

i woke up early to see her off to work and say goodbye, and since i had a bunch of time before i had to catch my train to springfield i decided to go for another run.

i went back down to the river, but ran upstream this time. there was a light rain falling, not enough to soak me, but enough to offset the humidity and keep me from melting. there were guys in racing shells training on the river, a couple of old men sitting patiently in the rain waiting for fish to bite, and lots of canada geese.

when i got back i stopped in harvard square for a muffin and latte, went back to the house to pack, and grabbed the t to train station to catch the train to springfield to meet my dad.

trains, as inconvenient as they are in this country, are still great, and are probably my favorite way to travel; there's stuff to look at, plenty of room to stretch out in, and the comforting sway as they roll along the tracks.

add a good book and ben watt laying down some seriously deep grooves and you have an all-around great travel experience.

the back garden

water feature in the garden

one of the lilies