Monday, October 18, 2010

Season of the Monkeys

Storm clouds roll off El Capitan

Sentinel Rock shrouded

AJ on the Rostrum Highline

Libby showing off mad steez

Peter sending

AJ walks at Sunset

October brings sun, rain, and monkeys to Yosemite Valley Cali. Its been a blast sharing tales and laughter with many, many friends in this great gathering ground. After nearly a week of drizzle and downpour, inevitably the sun returned to the stone, and psyche was high throughout the Valley. Rappelling Border Country with Cody Simms, we counted over 25 separate headlamps on The Cap'n! The seam between sky and wall blurred as the lights mimicked the stars. Border Country is a classic climb on the right side of Middle Cathedral. We're grateful for the many hours put into equipping this stellar line by the FA team: Mikey Shaefer, Dana Drummond, and Cory Richards. After six pitches of fun 5.10ish climbing, the headwall rears up, providing four more pitches of delicate face climbing interspersed with fun orange jugs reminiscent of the Tuolumne Meadows rock. Go do it!!

My good friend Peter Thompson showed up on the scene ready to do some of Yosemite's famous highlines. Highlining is an offshoot of slacklining where one walks a tensioned piece of webbing strung between two points, in this case HIGH off the deck!!! A harness and safety tether keeps the slacker alive should he lose balance and plummet. I went out with the crew and shot some awesome images of the Rostrum highline.

Later, jokester Colin Haley and I climbed the Rostrum Regular North Face in a very enjoyable outing. After doing this route two years ago with Joel, it was awesome to come back and remember those classy stacked cracks!

After finding a motivated partner, James from the UK, we went big on the Direct North Buttress of Middle Cathedral, a route infamous for its heady runout face climbing and potential for unplanned bivouacs. The climb was excellent! Only a few sections of heads up climbing, pitch after pitch of glorious rock, and hundreds of feet of chimneys to cap it off. We started the route with Mikey Shaefer and Kelley Cordes, having a fabulous time of it and practicing our best "proper English, mate". And then, Kelley dislocated his shoulder on a tough roof traverse!! It wasn't going back in, so they quickly bailed...we were totally "gutted" for him. James and I finished the route as darkness fell and found the notorious Kat Walk, a hyper-exposed 4th class traverse across the upper wall of Middle Cathedral. Perhaps it was better not to see the 1500+ feet of air beneath our feet as we grabbed trees, bushes, and rock, gingerly making our way by torch and giving a few "meows" now and then. The monkeys on the Cap'n surely saw our path as they went off with a cacophony of calls to which we whimsically wailed in reply! The descent went way smoother than we were expecting and made it back to the car quickly, about 12 hours car to car, yeah!

With another blitz of rain on the radar, it was time to make my exodus before Tioga Pass closed shutting off contact with the East Side of the Sierra. My travels continue into the great Colorado Plateau, switching medium from granite to sandstone...

1 comment:

Brando said...

Sick nasty photos Neil! Climb on buddy!