March 18, 2016
Friday whizzed by as I ducked birthday celebrations at work and company offsites, trying to get on the road as fast as possible. Nika (@neekahbee) picked me up, having only met once before through a mutual friend, and we headed off for an early season adventure in Yosemite, plenty of time in the car to discuss how without climbing, it would be so odd to commit to multi-day adventures with a stranger. At some point I blurted out it was also my birthday. So we got tacos.
Saturday morning we cruised into the Valley ticking off some fun moderates. We arrived at the Five Open Books to find Munginella (5.6) free, I hadn’t climbed that one in a while so it seemed like a nice warmup.
Back at the base a significant crowd had gathered so we cruised over to Jamcrack (5.9). Nikki lead the first pitch, or should I say CRUISED it! She’s getting her trad-lead head on so it was the perfect test for her, and I never get tired of the upper pitch. Massive storms this winter (thanks to El Nino) led to some rock fall (or shifting?) at the base of Lazy Bum & Bummer. Now there’s a massive boulder tilted upwards the start of those routes, definitely don’t blow the opening moves! Two more thin classics I never get tired of running laps on, just make sure to bring your micro-cams and small offsets.
While we were there I also did a lap up Lemon (5.9), the undercling/lieback/handjam thing to the left - fun and burly but short. Thanks to who ever removed the dead tree that had fallen on it.
Finishing up we wandered back to Commitment (5.9), always a great quick multi pitch with some awesome climbing. The cracks on the initial pitches (link these) are a great warm up and turning the roof is always exciting to say the least. To reduce rope drag I try and place as few pieces as possible before the roof (get a solid sized Camalot in there and extend with a double length sling - BOOM!), but early season meant it was pretty wet getting to that point, and a fall would have been a pretty big factor 2 whip onto the anchor… Don’t want to blow that!
To finish the day we sauntered over to Bishop’s Terrace (5.8), which if that isn’t the best 5.8 in the world I don’t know what is. That one must be in the double digits of laps for me, and I love frightening new partners with the horror stories of folks getting their knees stuck on the off width bit (you don’t want SAR to have to come up their with cold water and a tub of margarine! They’ll never let you live that one down). The massive tree you used to rappel over has fallen and taken out everything near the base, which makes it difficult to move around, and opens the place up to a lot more light. It was balanced pretty precariously while we were there, be careful (more work by the storms this year).