September 27, 2015 Valley Update

The season is off to one hell of an enormous start here in Yosemite.  It’s been hard to keep track of all the adventures and exciting things happening all around me since I’ve arrived, so I apologize if this post seems rather dry.  It has indeed been wild.

The truck has come together quite nicely since the remodel of the bed, and after a test run in Tahoe, I’m proud to announce that the comfort of the bed is surprising heavenly!  After two days of hard work, the bed of my truck is now a temporary and cozy home for this filthy dirtbag.  The only thing I had left to do now was hit the road.  So south I went, toward Tuolumne Meadows.

Taco overlooking Mono Lake on a bluebird morning.
Taco overlooking Mono Lake on a bluebird morning.

For my first order of business, I was to meet up with my good friend and climbing buddy Tito Krull, a bedreaded young man with oodles of stoke and energy, at the Tuolumne store to go climb the classic Regular Route on Fairview Dome as quickly as possible.  After racking up and marching down the short approach and smoothly sliding my harness up my leg as we conversed, Tito abruptly broke into laughter and asked me what we forgot.  Confused, I replied to him “I have no idea?”  Without taking his eyes from me or laughing, he retorts with “Look at my back.”  No rope.  I, too broke into absurd laughter, shaking my head at myself not at all surprised that we forgot such a crucial piece of equipment.  As I sat laughing, Tito took off full-stride back into the woods to grab the missing nylon cord.

Tito Krull looking stoked after realizing the error of our ways with the Regular Route looking stoked behind him. Stoked.
Tito Krull looking stoked after realizing the error of our ways with the Regular Route looking stoked behind him. Stoked.

With rope now in hand, we tied in, double checked ourselves, and off I went up the first 5.9 pitch of the route.  With the first and most difficult pitch behind us, we tied ourselves together to simul-climb the rest of the 12-pitch route without stopping.  2 hours later, we stood at the top of the iconic formation against the backdrop of an epic High Sierra sunset.  The fall climbing season has now officially begun!

Tito Krull blasting off the for the summit of Fairview Dome from the top of the first pitch. 2 hours for the onsight!
Tito Krull blasting off the for the summit of Fairview Dome from the top of the first pitch. 2 hours for the onsight!
NEVER forget to look down. Never.
NEVER forget to look down. Never.

With this initial test-run out of the way, I returned to Tito’s residence in Whitewolf to catch up, eat dinner, and watch Valley Uprising on my laptop.  It didn’t take long for me to hit the sack, however, as I was going to be required to wake up super early to pick up Lis Cordner from the airport in Fresno.  To my ultimate benefit, the cold woke me up at 4 am and I hit the road shortly thereafter, too excited and cold to sleep anyway.  At 11 am, I stood in the Fresno airport with a small sign in my hand reading “Lis Cordner,” waiting patiently for this big wall virgin to come bopping down the jetway.  I was unbelievably excited as I waited patiently, looking at each and every female walking out of the terminal.  Before I knew, a small girl wearing a green Schlitterbahn hat and bright, gray eyes was squeezing me in an unforgettable embrace.  It was now go-time.

Lis enjoying her first evening in Yosemite Valley with the stellar Half Dome show captivating her attention.
Lis enjoying her first evening in Yosemite Valley with the stellar Half Dome show captivating her attention.

Since we have arrived in the Valley, we have spent an incredible amount of time on the rock, taking turns leading and following pitches in as short a time as possible.  Since we’ve arrived, we’ve successfully climbed Bishop’s Terrace (5.8), Commitment (5.9), Munginella (5.6, Lis lead the whole thing), Ranger Crack (5.8), Guiding Light (5.10b), Snake Dike (5.7 R, Lis lead the crux pitch and the longest of the runout pitches on the route), and even spent three days on Lis’s first big wall, the South Face of Washington Column (5.9 C2).  I’m not going to take up the rest of this post describing our experience on the wall, that’s to come later.  Stay tuned.

Despite what you may believe, this picture was in fact taken under moonlight at the top of Half Dome after cruising up Snake Dike, both sisters' first times on the monolith.
Despite what you may believe, this picture was in fact taken under moonlight at the top of Half Dome after cruising up Snake Dike, both sisters’ first times on the iconic monolith.
One of the locals mocking our use of ropes and cams for protection.
One of the locals mocking our use of ropes and cams for protection.
Lis cruising up the splitter hands of Bishop's Terrace late one evening.
Lis cruising up the splitter hands of Bishop’s Terrace late one evening.
Waking up at the Devil's Bathtubs with this lovely lady.
Waking up at the Devil’s Bathtubs with this lovely lady will leave you smiling like this, too.
Lis blasting off pitch 2 of Commitment.
Lis blasting off pitch 2 of Commitment.
Pitch 3 of Commitment-just past the Commitment Roof.
Pitch 3 of Commitment-just past the Commitment Roof.
On approach to Washington Column.
On approach to Washington Column.
Our new friend Adam looking stoked on South Face!
Our new friend Adam looking stoked on South Face!
Lis's sister Evelyn came to pay her sister a visit. So we decided to take her for her first multi pitch- Snake Dike.
Lis’s sister Evelyn came to pay her sister a visit, so we decided to take her for her first climb- Snake Dike.
Lis making pitch 2 of Snake Dike look easy with the epic skyline in the background.
Lis making pitch 2 of Snake Dike look easy against the epic Sierra skyline.
Snake Dike sunset.
Snake Dike sunset.

Alas, all good things must eventually come to an end.  I sit here now at a Starbucks in Fresno, thinking about the girl I left standing in line at security at the Fresno airport.  I didn’t expect it to be so hard to say good-bye to her this morning, but the memories and experiences we shared this week will forever put a pure smile on my face.  But, with every good-bye, there is always a warm and greatly-anticipated reunion just around the corner in this crazy maze of life.

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An incredible climber, incredible partner, incredible girlfriend. I don’t think she possesses the ability to not smile or laugh.

Now, back to the Valley I go!  Big things are on the agenda this week, and I cannot wait to see what kind of crazy shenanigans will exist in the next blog post.  Thanks for reading if any one actually read all this.  Take care and be well!

Climb on!!

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One thought on “September 27, 2015 Valley Update

  1. Thanks so much for sharing Yosemite with my daughters! I spent many happy trips there in my youth (not on the rocks!). Your photos are gorgeous and are especially appreciated since I don’t see the girls often enough. Good luck on your next adventure!

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