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.