Climbing: July 26-27, 2014 (Tuolumne)

July 26-27, 2014: Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

Photos left to right from top: John leading the last pitch of Oz 5.10d; the clearer sky on Saturday with Fairview Dome on the left side of the photo; the smokey sky (from the El Portal fire) on Sunday as seen from Low Profile Dome; Monica on the 3rd pitch of Oz.

Saturday July 26, 2014

  • Oz 5.10d, Drug Dome, Tuolumne Meadows
  • Mmm…Crackahol 5.9/5/10a North Wall of Mariuolumne Dome

On Wednesday we ran into our friend Leslie (you may remember him crushing a 5.12 in Indian Creek) at the gym and we got to talking about the upcoming weekend. He had plans to go to Tuolumne Meadows as did we. I casually mentioned that John and I were kind of running out of classic routes to climb in our pay grade in Tuolumne. He quickly responded by saying, “It’s time to up your pay grade!”

On Friday evening we rolled into the Climber’s Gas Station (aka the Valero in Oakdale) and who was there pumping gas but Leslie himself. Vinnie appeared shortly later after buying an ice cream from the store. He mentioned something about his campsite reservation not actually materializing so we invited him to stay with us at Jim’s campsite. Well, we all ended up sleeping at site G 13/14 (13 is a crappy site that got rolled into 14) and by the time John and I woke up Leslie and Vinnie were already gone.

Maybe something got to John’s head but we ended up decided to head to Drug Dome to try to climb OZ which is a 5.10d. Yes, 10D. Oh boy.

On the approach the climb presented itself in all this clean corner crack glory at which point I got googgly eyes. It’s difficult to overstate how beautiful the climb look from afar. We were third in line. While waiting a 4th party approached and one of the climbers let out groaning “FUCCCKKK!” when he saw the line of climbers. He promptly asked if we had a book and he flipped through to find an alternate, nearby route. (He chose Crystal Meth.) The second party played Bob Marley’s “Jammin” which I am pretty sure is the number 1 most played song in climbing areas while they started up the first eye-opening pitch. It’s always fun when you have tricky pro placements right off the ground.

The second pitch is the tightly bolted 5.10d face climb which I thought John climbed pretty darn well. The pitch was very reachy for me and the holds were tiny! The hold were all there but just barely. I did end up pulling on a quickdraw through a tough section after a few falls but hey, sometimes it’s best not too struggle too much. Also, I needed to save my energy for the googly eyes induced long corner crack on the 3rd pitch.

The 3rd pitch was slightly overhanging at times and long but thankfully you could find rests along the way.

The 4th pitch started off with a traverse past a bolt and around the airy arete before moving into easier but sometimes loose terrain.

On the way down we hiked around looking for the North Wall of Mariuolumne Dome which is a 200-foot wall down the descent gully from Mariuolumne. It took a bit of searching but we eventual found it and climbed Mmm…Crackahol 5.9/5.10a. It was a really nice route and we climbed both variations.

Sunday July 27, 2014

  • Crescent Arch 5.10a, DAFF Dome, Tuolumne Meadows
  • Bombs Over Tokyo 5.10c, DAFF Dome, Tuolumne Meadows
  • Golder Route 5.8, Low Profile Dome, Tuolumne Meadows

On Sunday we decided to climb with Jim and Katherine. Jim spent much of Saturday night in camp rhapsodizing about Crescent Arch (which Mountain Project seems to call a “5.9+”) which John and I have already climbed. I wasn’t too crazy about the route since it has a good amount of traversing, which is Type 3 Fun for me. Anyway, we all made the short hike over to DAFF Dome (or just DAFF?) and racked up. John and I went up first. John marched up the easy but unprotect able 5th class fairly low angle knob section like it ain’t no thang but I didn’t make Jim look too confident. Then Jim looked even less pleased to see John setting up a hanging belay in an awkward looking chimney (oh, I remember you, Mr. Awkward Chimney). Jim started up the pitch mumbling something and started yelling to me that he was going to set up a belay and head back down. After some yelling back and forth, Katherine and Jim agreed to meet us at the South Flank of DAFF where there are a variety of one pitch climbs. Having done this route before, John was pretty confident that we could githerdone quickly. When I saw Jim and Katherine walk away it was 11:30am. By the time we were done and rapped off the backside of DAFF it was 1:00 or 1:15pm. (We hustled at the very end because a few raindrops scared us.) When we got down to the South Flank, no Jim and Katherine! We asked a climber at the base and she said she hadn’t seen anyone who matched the description of them. Well, crap.

We walked back to the car. No note. Not knowing where the heck they had gone we drove slowly towards Lembert Dome, checking the various parking lots to see if their car was around. Nothing. We had lunch at Lembert Dome, where a couple punk ass kids nearly pegged us with some rocks. After escaping head injury, we went back to DAFF Dome and climbed Bombs Over Tokyo 5. 10c which is right next to Cooke Book. Wow, what an amazing crack line!!! Definitely up there on my list of favorite crack climbs!

With still more daylight left and that sense of dread of the weekend coming to end, we headed to Low Profile for a quick run up Golfer Route  5.8 which I had never climbed before. It’s really awesome! It’s super knobby and fun although it’s quite runout at parts.

As the raindrops started to come down on us and rain clouds and smoke from the El Portal fire darkened sky, it was time to wrap up the weekend and head home.

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