I've started climbing in the Summer of 2000. Jason, my friend who taught me the ropes, so to speak, was very much into traditional, gear-protected climbing at the time (though nowadays, he's more likely to be found climbing 5.13 sport routes), and so I learned all about gear placement and trad climbing from the beginning. To this day, those are still my favorite types of climbs, although I enjoy all aspects of climbing, from top-roping and bouldering to run out alpine climbs.
In this page I plan to provide a subjective guide to my various climbing adventures with a selection of beta thrown in for the curious.
Tuolumne Meadows, in Yosemite National Park, CA is probably my favorite area to climb. The lack of crowds, the peacefulness of the alpine setting, the amazing granite, and innumerable other factors combine to make every trip there magic.
In October, 2005, Robin and I decided we wanted to have a nice and long (and not too hard) adventure. Tenaya Peak, a 10,280 foot peak overlooking beautiful Tenaya Lake, seemed to fit the bill just right with its 5.4 or so north face route (Roper calls it fourth class). The book puts it at twelve or so pitches, but, as with many climbs of this nature, that number is just a guideline.
The night before our climb, we bivied in our Subaru at a not-so-secret spot in Tuolumne. Of course, we got woken up sometime around midnight by an irate ranger who promptly kicked us out of the park. Darn. So we made our way out and slept at a slightly more discreet location.
Morning came early as it tends to, and we gathered ourselves, had some coffee, and headed to the parking area to rack up and head out. On the way up to the climb, we came across a couple of fellows who had spent the night on the descent as they had lost their guidebook. Brr!
After chatting with them, we continued on our way. A half mile or so later, we found the guidebook! Unfortunately, we couldn't see them anymore and didn't want to lose the daylight in tracking them down, so we took it with us. I did try to find them via the internet, but no luck. Oh well.
As we walked, the going got steeper. Soon we were heading up fourth class terrain. A couple hundred feet of this and we had already passed several parties who were following their topos more literally than we were. We roped up and the climbing began.
The climbing passed quickly. Robin and I swapped leads up the fourth and low fifth class terrain. We were roughly climbing parallel to a couple of other teams. After a few pitches, we reached a point where we all had to head up the same path. So we waited and chatted a little while. Once it was our turn, I headed up and encountered the one tricky move on the climb. A little magic, bolstered by a nice green Alien placement, and I was past, ready to belay Robin up. She lead the final pitch, and we were up.
After soaking in the views over lunch, we grabbed our gear and headed down. Midway down the west slope, we cut north and descended steeply down the northwest face on ledges and slabs. This got us down to the shore of Tenaya Lake, which we followed around back to the parking lot. As usual, it was a shock coming back from a long climb into the tourist world of a national park parking lot.
Robin has a nice page about our Tenaya Peak adventure.
Jonathan duSaint, Greg Barnes, George Ridgely; August, 2006. 5.10b.
As tends to be the case, Greg had had his eye on this line for some time when he recruited me to belay. We started the day with a run up the first pitch of Hoodwink (old school 5.8), then traversed over to the anchors of No Rock Nazis (not a traverse I care to repeat) to booty a cam. With that done, we headed over to scope the line out.
Greg racked up and headed up. The first real climbing on the route, about twenty feet up, was a dirt filled finger crack. Greg managed to clean this out enough to get some gear in and to do the moves up to the crux of the climb: a difficult mantel onto a small ledge. After getting a small cam in, Greg pulled the move and headed to the easier climbing above.
The rest of the climbing seemed to pass fairly quickly, although in the meantime, a fierce wind had come up and I was getting chilly. Greg put in the first of the bolts for the first pitch anchor and got ready to bring me up.
I managed everything to the mantel with no problem, but it took me a couple of tries (and my very long reach) to get past that. I sure wasn't cold anymore! I scampered up the rest of the climb, enjoying the fruits of Greg's labor.
Once up, I put the second anchor bolt in and Greg rappelled. I, meanwhile, stayed up there to put in the first bolt on the next pitch. Even with my feet in slings and a hanging off of a (not so good) cam placement, that bolt was by far the most strenuous I've placed. I had to hold the drill at my full reach and hammer as high as my arm could go. While hammering, my chest was so stretched, I could only take shallow breaths, so I had to pause often. It took me over an hour just to place that one bolt! In the meantime, Greg got to enjoy the wonderfully frigid wind.
We packed our gear for the day, intending to come back soon. However, I had to head off to Greece to get married, so I wasn't able to finish the route with Greg. But once I came back, I climbed it with him and got to see the upper two pitches. Fun climbing!
Route beta can be found on the Mountain Project page.
Greg Barnes, Jonathan duSaint, Karin Wuhrmann, Florence Scholl; October, 2006. 5.10b.
Greg Barnes, Jonathan duSaint; August, 2006. 5.10b R (P1 5.10a PG).
Greg Barnes, Jonathan duSaint; September, 2006. 5.9 or 5.10a.
Tour of the Classics
One of my favorite days climbing. Greg and I did Hermaphrodite Flake to the Boltway, West Crack, and Fairview Dome Regular Route.
Speed of Life
This climb was done as part of an ASCA project to upgrade the rappel anchors. Greg had been approached independently by both of the first ascentionists who requested that he add modern rappel anchors to the climb. Originally there had been a third class walk off from the top, but this had fallen off since the first ascent, and the current rappel anchors were in a very sorry state. Greg recruited Josh to be a rope gun for the crux second pitch, and I lucked out and got to flail up this amazing route with a nice secure toprope since I was in Tuolumne that day and know how to bolt.
Bishop Area Obscurities
The Kindergarten Area
Up near South Lake, through some woods and over a creek, is an area with a couple of easy climbs that have been bolted so that youngsters can safely lead.
Tungsten Hills Dome is a small dome located in the northern part of the Tungsten Hills. I first heard about it from Wormspew interesting climbs page. Robin and I were feeling like climbing something easy and adventurous one day, and it seemed to fit the bill. Although I'm not entirely sure that what we climbed was what was mentioned on that page, it was a nice adventure to have anyhow.
The dome is approached from the north via a rocky gully. There is a better way to get there, but since it goes through a shooting range, I'll leave the direction finding to the adventurer. Park just south of the sewage treatment ponds for the Conservation Camp on a dirt road that is accessed from South Round Valley Rd. Once at the dome, the route we did starts midway up the formation on a large ledge which is approached from climber's left. To climb it, ascend the obvious crack system. It's difficulty is low fifth class, maybe 5.2, but with some grainy rock to add to the adventure.