After over 15 hours on the road, and two major detours on the long trek back to Yosemite, I finally made it. I drove into the valley and met Graham and Bryce at one of the crags (a climbing spot that normally has marked routes). As soon as I got there we jumped on a mellow but fun 3-4 pitch climb.
It felt good to get back out onto the rock and climb in such an epic climbing destination. The climbing in Yosemite is mostly all crack climbing. Its a tough style of climbing, but I really enjoy it. It was fun getting the hang of it and improving on my hand, foot and finger jams.
The next day we did a 6-pitch trad climb up the Higher Cathedral Spire. There was a long steep ascent up to the base of the route. We had to wait for a couple parties ahead of us to get up the wall before we could climb. Finally we started to go. We got up to the third pitch with Bryce leading the route. He got about 10 feet above his last piece of gear, and took a big fall. He fell about 25 feet before the rope caught him. He just barely made it through this notch in the ledge below him. He scraped his arm and banged his foot pretty good, but luckily nothing too bad happened. He couldn’t finish the route with his banged up foot, so he decided to rappel down and head back to the van. Graham and I continued to climb.
We heard a huge rockfall below us while we were climbing, which is always a little scary when you’re out on the rock. When we finished the climb and rappelled down, we saw remnants of the rock fall. We found a huge piece of rock split open, and a it even took out a massive tree that was left laying over the trail with chunks of wood that exploded everywhere. After we got back to the car and met up with Bryce we found out he accidentally set off the rock fall by stepping on a rock that rolled out from under him! Good thing no one was hiking below him!
We did a bunch of really fun climbs throughout the rest of the week. The climbing seemed pretty challenging for the grade. It could just be that I am not used to crack climbing, but it was a blast! On the second to last day as we were driving through the valley, we saw Alex Honnold! Alex Honnald is an extremely talented climber and free soloist. He is very famous in the climbing world. Then on our last day in Yosemite, we woke up early to get one more climb in before we headed to San Francisco. As we pulled into the parking lot next to the wall we were about to climb, Alex Honnold was just pulling in on his bike as well. We began to gear up and then went to chat with Alex for a bit. He was a super nice guy. We were stoked to hear him say that the Nutcracker (the route we were about to climb) was his favorite 5.8 in the valley. He also told us that his girlfriend was climbing the same route later on. It was so cool to meet such a huge climbing idol in Yosemite, the place that made him famous.
The Nutcracker was a super fun route, and Alex’s girlfriend and her climbing partner caught up to us on the route. We chatted with them for a bit. They were super nice and great climbers as well! We finished the route, and were sad to leave. We had amazing weather almost the entire time except for one day that we got a little bit of rain. I can’t wait to get back out to Yosemite to climb again!
Graham, Bryce and I drove up to San Francisco to hang out for a couple days. We stayed at Graham’s friend, Robbie’s place. We hung out at a park for the day, drinking and playing Ninja. We went out a couple times and had a good time. Now it was time for me to begin the long adventure back to the east coast. I had a couple stops along the way to see some more sights, and break up the drive.
From San Francisco I headed south and camped for a night in Death Valley. I arrived late at night and did not get to see much. I was exhausted after the long drive and did not want to set up my tent. This was the first night of my trip sleeping in my car. It was not a very comfortable night, but it worked. I woke up and was amazed to see the vast landscape of sand and rock. After driving through Death Valley I planned to drive back to Utah to go to Zion National Park.