Monday, July 12, 2010

Tuolumne

Tuoulumne Meadows is surrounded by skyscraping granite domes with awesome mulitpitch climbs that top out with stellar 360-degree views. After hours of pouring over the guidebook, I had a ticklist nearly as tall as El Cap and managed to drag Jason off the boulders long enough to do some climbing. Here he is after clipping manky old ¼ inch bolts on The Boltaway on the Stately Pleasure Dome.

And one of the epic dome decents

As a bonus, my parents came down for the long weekend for a visit. We managed to do a bunch of hiking and touristy stuff, but the highlight was probably climbing the Lembert Dome with them. Here's my mom and Jason on the top of the second pitch. You can see Cathedral Peak off in the distance.

The hike down from the dome was a bit of an excursion.

Early on in this trip, we met some guys in Arkansas who raved about how great Cathedral Peak was. An almost alpine setting, 700 feet of climbing and a top out on a tiny pinnacle. And after we arrived in Tuolumne and saw the peak off in the distance, it seemed impossible to leave without climbing it. So after taking a few days to acclimatize (seriously, the air up here is thin!), we figured we were up to the challenge.

The approach was pretty grueling, 4.5 km with a huge elevation gain and a fair bit of snow to hike through. The second crux of the climb was defending ourselves from the marmots, who will eat absolutely anything you leave on the ground, are unafraid of people and seem to climb at least 5.6. One followed Jason to the top of the first pitch.

The climb goes up a massive featured slab, through an narrow chimney, up a series of cracks and then tops out on a pinnacle the size of a kitchen table. And the views from the top are pretty impressive.

In the distance below you can see Lembert Dome, which seems tiny from this angle.



After tens days, five domes, an awesome peak and a great visit with my parents, I’m a little sad to be leaving Tuolumne. But, the temperatures have warmed and the mosquitoes have moved in, so it’s time to head west.

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