Note: I’m a bit behind on all the blogging, so here’s chapter two of my American Adventures, back in October.
After cruising around Southern California for a bit, it was time to head north and get serious. We were headed to Yosemite Valley to climb some of the most famous routes of all time. But first we swung by Tuolumne Meadows. (after trying to pronounce Tuolumne for about five minutes, Pez nicknamed it Telemetry Meadows.)
First things first upon arriving in Tuolumne, I wanted to climb a slab. James Peet and Rene were less than convinced. After lunch and some discussion, Pez and I ran off for the classic Northwest Books (5.6). Due to slight reading error, we managed to end up on the wrong side of Lembert dome and after trying to pitch the route out, we gave up, put the rope away and just ran to the top. Up high, we were a little chilly in our t shirts at well over 10,000 ft (3000 m) of altitude. It was awesome to stand on top of a dome up there though.
Tuolumne Meadows consists of a series of domes with various access. Most of the routes are more varied than in Yosemite valley and the classic climbing consists of slabby knob covered faces.
In the US, they accompany the technical grade i.e. 5.8 with a warning such as PG, R or X which describes the seriousness of the route. The letters come from their film rating system. Basically PG is kinda runout and by R if you fall off you might get hurt. The slabby stuff of Tuolume pretty much all has an R next to it.
So, down off Lembert Dome, we drove around some more debating sorting out where we would sleep vs climbing a route with or without an R in the rating. Eventually, Rene talked Pez and I into climbing the pretty good looking Hermaphrodite Flake (5.8) above Lake Tenaya on the ‘Stately Pleasures Dome’. I’m not even making these names up.
That route was interesting.
I can honestly say that chimney was one of the weirdest hardest pitches of its grade i’ve climbed. The inside was a slick low angle slab, but you couldn’t get your feel low because of the back wall. The whole thing was not attached clearly at any point and was at least the size of a bus. Knocking on it just made a noise you never want to hear. After that fun pitch we rapped, just as it started to spit a little rain/sleet.
On down the road we headed, to Yosemite Valley proper.
Next Up: Camp Four and Yosemite Valley.