Back in the Valley

I decided I needed to get away from work again for a while. What better place then Yosemite. After a few e-mails with some of my climbing buddies, I found Michael Dong was going to be up there in June so I planned a trip so we could meet up for few days. On Friday June 7th, after work, I headed up the 395. I got tired about 11:30 and pulled off the road just outside of Bishop and slept next to my car for a few hours. Just before 5 AM, I woke up and hit the road again. On my way through Tuolemne, I got this cool pic of Half Dome from Olmstead Point.

I wanted to make sure I got a spot in Camp 4 so I kept on driving. I reached the parking lot of Camp 4 at about 7:45 on Saturday morning. There was already a line but it wasn't too bad.

The ranger arrived at 8:00 and I got a spot for 4 days without a problem. I wasn't meeting Michael until Sunday so I setup camp, grabbed some breakfast, and headed out. I decided to take YARTS (FREE buses that run around the valley) for the first time and check out the valley. I had never been on YARTS before. It's actually pretty nice for getting around the valley. I took a few pictures, stopped at the Mountain Shop in Curry Village, and just sort of wondered around all day. At the Mountain Shop I rounded out my Falcon Guide collection and bought several Yosemite and High Sierra related guide books.

I got this cool picture of Lost Arrow Spire and Yosemite Falls somewhere along the way that day. Click on it to see a larger version. You can't tell in either picture, but there was a party doing the Tyrolean Traverse when I took the picture. I have a close up picutre you can see them in but it is pretty blurry so I didn't put it on the site.

It was still early in the afternoon so I headed back to C4 for some lunch. I met the rest of the people at my site, 2 Kiwis, 2 Brits, a guy from Salt Lake City, a very quiet guy that never talked to any of us, and me. Not sure how this happened, each site is only meant to have 6 people and we had 7. Doesn't bother me.

With the afternoon to kill, I headed to El Cap meadow to see what was happening. There were very few teams on the wall. I went over by the river and took a nap under a pine tree. This was the view I had from the tree. Click it for a larger image (good wall paper).

Last time I was in Yosemite, I killed my knees by hiking up Half Dome. I wanted to hike to the base of El Cap but didn't feel up to it. Not the case this time. Here I am at the bottom of El Cap near the start of "The Nose" which is towering over my head. Hopefully someday I will have a picture of me on top of El Cap.

Still a lot of daylight left after tramping around under El Cap so I got on YARTS once again and just explored. I got this pic of Half Dome once the light was on the face. Click it for a larger image that would make good wall paper.

My pictures are out of order but when I was at the bottom of El Cap, I also snapped this picture. Click it for a larger wall paper sized image.

It finally started getting dark so I headed back to C4 and ate dinner. I talked with the Kiwis as they were the only ones in camp. Turns out one of the guys busted his foot the day the arrived. They came all the way from New Zealand and couldn't climb. That would suck. They still had 2 weeks so they were just going to hang out and hope the foot got better before then.

Sunday finally came around and I met with Michael at "Midnight Lightening". Yvonne and Sierra were with him as well. They were all on a family trip. I have to thank Yvonne and Sierra for letting Michael climb with me for 2 days.

After listening to Link speak about the current events in the valley, we headed to El Cap. All 4 of us hiked up to the "Little John" area. Michael freed a route and we all TRed it. I set up a fixed line, jugged up the pitch and practiced hauling my bag. I have officially climbed on El Cap - WOOOHOOOO! Here is the view from the bolts at the top of Little John. Pretty cool. Hopefully next time I am on El Cap, I will have a view from higher up.

We spent a good portion of the day on El Cap. We packed up and headed out in late afternoon. We drove down the the Rostrum to look for the Peregrine Falcons that were nesting there. We couldn't find them. We headed back to C4 and went over to the cafeteria for some food. We closed the place down. I headed back to C4 and Michael, Yvonne, and Sierra headed back to the house they were staying at.

In the morning, Michael met me at my camp site. We packed up a lighter rack and headed to Knob Hill. I guess people at the house were saying we just had to go there. Originally we were going to go to Reeds Pinnacle, but Lisa talked Michael into Knob Hill. I was just happy to climb and really didn't care where. Even better was the short approach, about 5 minutes. Below is a picture of the first three routes. We did the right crack, left crack, and the face Michael is rappelling down. I hadn't been free climbing since last fall and it showed. My feet no longer work. I couldn't get up the face at all and ended up drifting into the crack. The 2 longer routes we did were to the right in the trees.

Here we are on top of the longer two routes which share an anchor (1 pine tree + webbing). Behind us is the Rostrum, although you can't see most of it.

We headed down in mid afternoon to meet Yvonne and Sierra at the turnout off of the 120. While we waited we talke about food. Fortunately for us, Yvonne read our minds and showed up with some sandwiches. We ate and headed down to the river. It felt good to get in the water after 3 days of not showering. I even stuck my head in the freezing water. Michael took a picture and titled it "How Tony Became Retarded". Many would disagree it actually happened many years ago as I have been climbing since the early 90's. As soon as I get a copy I will add it to this page.

They dropped me off at C4 and my adventure was over. I started packing up and headed out about 8 AM the next morning. I can't wait to go back. As usual, I stopped at "The Mt. Whitney" in Lone Pine for a burger. I also stopped at Schat's Bakery to pick up some bread for my wife. 2 loafs of Sheepherders bread for 5 days in Yosemite sounds like a great deal to me.