Well our first week in Yosemite has been nothing short of exhilarating…little crowds, tons of climbing, unplanned-familiar faces, wonderful new friends and endless adventures in the vertical world! Casey and I have been thrilled to have one of close friend’s, Jared out here with us. When we arrived this past Monday, Jared and I decided to take off on a short multi-pitch route to get the back of our hands calloused up for all the crack climbing and heels turned down for the continuous granite smearing. Original plans led us to the base of the Middle Cathedral looking up at the madness of the ‘Central Pillar of Frenzy’ and the tempers flaring due to a massive traffic jam. It was Plan B time. Kor-Beck? 100 yards east. Perfect. But no topo, no route description, possible loose rock. Is it too soon to get into some trouble? After the first 2 pitches of groveling through a gully-like chimney we were awarded with 4 mega classic pitches. The 6th highlighting liebacking, jamming, scumming, body smearing and chimneying with the most epic body position. Fantastic start onsighting a true Layton Kor work of art [and typical sandbag].
The next day called for a 6am start to shed the stresses of our team of three, other parties or a possible night descent. El Capitan’s East Buttress, a much less committing free climb up the grandest granite wall I’ve ever laid eyes upon. We were psyched to learn we were the first and only party on route but quickly thrills turned to fears as splashes of Horsetail falls bombarded us. The hot, sunny day was replaced with shivers and down jackets. Doubt and questions arose as we squinted to see the path of the interfering water ahead. Horsetail falls flows in early spring, ~ 100 yards down cliff but as a routine west wind blows up Valley (typically around noon) the East Buttress becomes saturated with rain drops. Egos challenged rationalization but soon humility triumphed as we began rappelling. Tails tucked between our legs, we left safely with the fond memories of the day and the drive to finish what we started in a few days time.
The following day, we were due up for some rest so we settled into re-grouping, slacklining, social media posting, feasting, lounging and other mundane activities. Our muscles and bones cherished this long forgotten time. Yet another sunrise start was in the works for the next morning.This time with plans for a new home on the wall. We set off down the trail; gear packed, water jugs filled and confidence in our stride. The South Face of Washington Column came into view. This was it, our first Yosemite big wall and our first night sleeping on the wall. A magnificent experience it turned out to be! Casey and I had climbed several walls before but not here in the Valley. And the Dinner ledge proved to be a lush bivy for settling into our home away from home and shedding some early jitters out.
Can’t wait for the happenings of week two… Stay tuned!
Joseph Hobby 5/3/15
Brave Explorations. Soulful Discoveries.