Yosemite! - Finally!
After living in California for 4 years and climbing for much longer then that, I finally made my way up the 395 to Yosemite! I had never been there before. My buddies Michael and Bob were going to be on El Cap that week so I decided I needed to get away from work for a while and I headed up there after a quick swing through Reno to visit an old college roommate. I drove in from Lee Vining, which isn't the quickest way, but this allowed me to see Tuolemne Meadows which I have also heard a great deal about. I didn't really have any plans other then try to meet up with Bob and Michael and try the cable route to Half Dome. On my way to Reno I made a quick stop at the Mono Lake visitor's center just to say I had been there, done that. I took this picture of Mono Lake.
After a good deal of driving, I finally go to the valley. This was my first site of El Cap and Half Dome.
I couldn't believe how large the valley was and how small it was when compared to the overall size of the park on a map. I headed down to Camp 4. The ranger wasn't due back for a 1/2 hour so I went down to do some shopping. I bought various merchandise for my self and friends. I then headed back to Camp 4 where I waited in line for about 1/2 hour to get a spot. I finally got my site for the night and shared my camp with a Brit who liked to pick his nose and eat it, 2 Chinese guys that spoke very little English, and 2 guys who just bailed after one of them got spooked. So basically, I had no one to talk to in my camp. That was fine. I headed down to El Cap Meadow to see if I could find Bob and Michael. They were going to do Tangerine Trip but ended up on Muir Wall. I got them on the radio and found them pretty quickly. They were just below Gray Ledges. My original intention was to hike in from Tamarack Flat and meet them. I figured they had another 1 1/2 days on the wall. I lost contact on the radio before I could be 100% sure if they were going to top out the next day or not.
The next day, I woke up around 7 AM, ate breakfast, and packed up my camp. I headed over to the parking lot by Upper Pine Campground and hiked up to Half Dome.
I took the route passing Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. It was a great hike, but long. I got to the bottom of the cables and was coughing like you wouldn't believe. I rested for a while and then headed down. I did get to see the paraplegic climber who had just topped out on Half Dome. His partner had sprained his ankle during the climb so neither could walk. There were several people coming up to help them down. On the way down, I was passed by the horses coming up to take them down. I got this picture about 1/2 mile below my high point.
After the long hike down, I went back to El Cap to see how Bob and Michael were doing. I couldn't find them anywhere on the route and couldn't get them on the radio after trying for about an hour. I left a note on Bob's car that I was going up to Tamarack Flats for the night and then heading home. I didn't see them at all. The only 2 goals I had for the trip didn't work out but that's how climbing goes. I did manage to get some good pics and really want to climb El Cap someday.