Yosemite National Park
This weekend was what I dreamed my life would be like when we moved to California. Filled with spontaneous outdoor adventures and lots of climbing.
After a very late night arrival, We awoke not long after sunrise, made some hot cups of coffee and wandered around the valley in awe. The sun hadn’t yet burned away the mist and fog, so our surroundings were filled with drama, sun beams, and fog. With the sounds of early morning forest stirrings.
After a hearty breakfast we packed our bags for what ended up being a 10 mile hike. As we drove higher, we quickly saw that the rain that pounded on our tents all night in the valley had left a beautiful layer of snow in the higher altitudes (and to think, back home in LA we were missing a 100 degree weekend!)
Our hike took us from the Sentinel Dome Parking, west towards Taft Point, northeast towards Glacier Point, and finally, the summit of Sentinel Dome, before making our way back down to our car. I love summits, no matter how big or small, and Sentinel Dome was no exception. Regardless of how many hours a month I put in running and trekking, walking uphill for hours always becomes super mental for me. At some point towards the end, I’m usually suffering and wondering why I do this for fun. But then I reach the top, am blasted with emotion over the views and scale, and remember that the reward is everything.
The next day, our climbing sensai, Solon, picked a route on 5 Open Books, a 5.8 (thank god we started easy). Not only was this my first time climbing in Yosemite, and only second time climbing outside in my life, it was more importantly my first multi pitch climb! 5 pitches, 500 feet or so, and a whole day on the wall! DREAMS!
We caterpillarded our way up, and though slower than going in pairs, I appreciated the odd number for the belay ledge company. There were a couple scary moves (crossing over a massively huge vertical crack in the wall that went 20 feet deep.) and one scary fall. But we all topped out around 3pm and had a celebratory lunch before packing up and heading back down to earth on a “climbing path” - a glorified hiking trail, with a lot of sliding down rocks on our butts.
After spending an entire day on the wall with only 2 people, getting back down to civilization felt surreal. Passing by park guests with binoculars looking at the climbers, I realized how freaking special it was to be able to climb. It’s physically exhausting, and mentally terrifying, but the hard work is worth having unique vantage points that the majority of the park guests don’t have access to.
We grubbed extra hard at camp and passed out early. And that concluded my favorite weekend in Yosemite.