Go to Another Vacation
California Climbing - September 1996
Drove to Happy Isles and hiked the long hike with spectacular views. Bill carried the haul sack and Cori carried the ropes up the agonizing trail. When we arrived, there was water at the spring, so Cori filtered water while Bill led first pitch and fixed it. There was a couple from CO ahead of us with a portaledge (note to get our own if we do this again). At night, when moonlight hit face of Half Dome, we could see a rendition of an Easter Island face left of the first two pitches. It was pretty creepy. There were a couple of guys on Big Sandy and couple of guys who climbed through the night to beat the weather. A party began an A3 route on the right.
The weather was crummy. Bill and I jugged lines but it poured
rain so we rapped and put on rain gear. Two guys we hadn't seen earlier
on the route rapped down. The couple ahead of us rapped down.
The A3 guys bailed. We waited to see what the weather was going to
do and at 2 p.m. we all jugged
up. I led the 2nd pitch and Bill hauled sack to pitch 1 while Cori pushed out from behind. Bill cleaned pitch 2 before the weather turned for the worse. We
were not going to make the bivy site above pitch 6 before dark.
We decided that the rain was not going to stop soon, so we cleaned up a lot of garbage at the base of the climbs and hiked out to the main trail. We climbed the cable route while Larry waited below to witness us being struck by lightning. At least we saw the top of Half Dome.
We hiked out quickly and showered and ate at Curry Village in Yosemite. We saw rescue helicopters trying to find the remains of a person who went for a swim in a stream and ended up taking a several hundred feet fall over the Nevada Falls. This was the second one in three weeks to do this. Drove home to Poway and arrived at about 3 am.
Did the Open Book (5.9) at Tahquitz with Larry as lead for all pitches. Wet rock at one point on the third pitch made things interesting. Summitted in moonlight but the evening was nice. Unfortunately Bill left the headlamps at the base of the climb to lighten his load.
Camping in JTree in September is a solitary activity. We were the only people camping in Ryan Campground. We chose that campground because there are climbs behind some of the camp sites that we had not climbed yet, so we took advantage of the empty area. It was unfortunate that a horrifying snake prevented us from getting a few more climbs in that day. It was worse when we lost track of the snake and wondered if he was trying to get into our tent for the evening!
We saw one other German couple several times while we were there, but that was about it. The wildlife was abundant however; probably due to the lack of people. We were even fortunate enough to see a mountain lion.
Walk on the Wild Side was a great 3 pitch climb complete with a mountain lion at the bottom. Rappel was horrifying but real bolts have been installed since then.
We were supposed to go climb Clyde Minarete, but we were still a bit beat from half Dome so we opted for something a little easier to get to. We packed Bill, Cori, Mike and Larry into the car and drove out and up to the freezing Peppermint campground. Wish we brought winter sleeping bags!