Climbing: May 10-11, 2014 (Yosemite Valley)
Photo above: Jay climbing on Glacier Point Apron with Yosemite Falls right behind him.
May 10, 2014: Royal Arches 5.7 A0
Jay and Ian joined us in Yosemite and we decided to climb Royal Arches since Jay nor Ian had done it before and John wanted to try descending the North Dome Gully. The water was really flowing on the route so at times we had to be careful about not getting the rope into water. The climb went pretty quickly even with Jay and Ian going off route. I thought that the last slab traverse pitch went pretty smoothly for me! From the last pitch we headed left and little up to some wet rocks which easily traversed. A little hiking up led to an obvious climber’s trail that went right to meet up with the NDG descent trail. Using the Supertopo’s beta on the descent we descended the trail with only a few head scratching moments. There was really only one part of the descent that was truly awful (slip sliding down a very loose and sandy gully). The vast majority of the descent was obvious and not sketchy in the daylight. I would definitely say that doing the descent in the dark would be slow and a little scary. Another benefit of hiking the NDG descent in the daylight was the amazing view we got of Half Dome.
Photo below: Half Dome and a half moon from the North Dome Gully descent.
Amusingly, I think the end of the NDG descent was somewhere near the notorious offwidth climb called Bad Ass Momma, which John and Jay have attempted.
By the time we got back to the Ahwanhee Lodge parking lot where were had parked the car, the last bits of twilight was fading.
Glacier Point Apron
The next day we headed out to Glacier Point Apron, which has the shortest approach ever (YES!). We wanted to check out the crack climb Mr Natural but it was occupied to we walked down to the left side of the Apron to climb Harrey Daley 5.8 which is two pitches. The first pitch splits off with the right side being the continuation of Harrey Daley and the left becoming a separate route called Chouinard Crack 5.8. We climbed both routes. I thought Chouinard Crack was really high quality and very fun! I think it would even made a good lead for me… at some point. You know, when I’m in the mood to lead. 🙂
Ian and Jay headed home so John, always struggling to head home on Sunday evenings, and I drove over to the Le Conte boulder near the Le Conte Memorial building to practice aid climbing. Although I’m not too interested in aid climbing for any extended period of time, John keeps bringing up climbing the South Face of Washington which is kind of the The First Aid Climb for most Valley climbers. The long and very steep Kor Roof scares me. I definitely need to practice some aid climbing on roofs as well as cleaning gear. I had heard the the Le Conte boulder provided some good practice (but that it’s not like the Kor Roof!). (Terrifying!) Me trying to aid climb was a good old fashioned Gong Show for me. See?