Thursday, August 1, 2013

Penguin Huddles, Annie's Mac N' Cheese and Waffle Wednesdays

Mark and I by our campsite for the night
 This post will be an overview of the past several weekends. A lot of climbing jargon may be used. I apologize. The summary is: I'm slowly getting better at trad climbing. Much progress has been made since this past October thanks to patient, knowledgeable mentors.
I climbed Regular Route on Fairview Dome, and had to rescue a poor guy that got in over his head. To his defense, the holds were soaking wet, but the locks were bomber.
Top of Fairview
I asked if he needed help, and then getting the affirmative, I threw him the slack I had in the rope from my belay and reeled him in the last 20ft.
He refused to meet my eyes once he was on the solid 2x7' ledge, and just said "Thanks, I really need to pee now, that was terrifying". Not sure what he found so scary, but always nice to help someone out when they're gripped.

I got my partner and I a ride back to the Tuolumne Meadows campsite within a couple minutes. An old guy in a Prius picked us up.
Doing what I do best. Getting rides. All that Alaskan practice has paid off. 
 There are a surprising amount of Dartmouth alums hanging around. I met up with Ben F '10, Mark D '10, Diana W '11, Monica B '10?, Sarah I '95, M. Vishnevskaya '11, Laura K '12, Matt '07 and more. Not surprisingly, no Middlebury alums surfaced. Surprise surprise.

Here is Ben cutting up some corn for dinner at Diana's sweet SAR set up. We didn't host Waffle Wednesday (because of an early alpine start), but we made some delicious rice and veggie burritos.


And here is Sarah Inwood, a Dartmouth '95 DMC grad that learned to climb from John Joline. She was hilarious to climb with and an awesome person to hang out with as we discussed the moral implications of working for an oil company. Currently she lives in her own motor home and climbs full-time after quitting her engineering job in Silicon Valley. Living the dream.


I climbed with a French retinal prosthesis researcher. I suggested we climb something easy to covertly find out if he knew what he was doing (hey, a girl's gotta be careful when choosing climbing partners). Turns out he climbed in the 8b range. Humbling. No wonder he cruised up our climbs from the weekend. Unfortunately I didn't bring a camera on the climbs we did, but they were all fantastic: Cooke Book, Third Pillar of Mt. Dana, Crescent Arch.

Relaxing post swimming in Tenaya Lake and climbing Crescent Arch
Here is a photo of the most amazing pitch I think I've ever climbed in the alpine: the last pitch of the 3rd pillar of Mt. Dana. It is not my photo (stolen from somewhere on the internet), but it was unbelievable. The hour plus approach was nothing compared to the lengthy, confusing approach for Conness. A big shout-out to Mark Davenport for suggesting, no insisting, I climb this.


On a day when I couldn't find a climbing partner, I climbed up a really easy barely-5th class slab called NW Buttress of Tenaya Peak. I met a pair of Texans that were simul-climbing it and they were courteous enough to share their trail mix and snap a photo of the summit. 

Top of Tenaya Peak 
I got on my first Off-Widths at Olmsted Point and even got a lesson on making taped gloves. 
My 1st pair of gloves!
I climbed with an awesome rope-gunner Jon, who led a lot of sick 5.11 cracks for me to follow. We climbed as a leisurely group of three with Sarah at this point. 

Here he is killing it on Black Angel. A bouldery beginning to fingers. 


Notice the awesome black streak to his right as well. 


 Jon is also a fantastic cook. Sarah and I were greeted in the morning after climber's coffee this past Sunday by bell pepper, onion, cheese, egg breakfast burritos. Glorious way to start the morning.

A man and his onion go a long way. 
Showing off his concoction. 



 We also climbed Blues Riff and Scorpion. Apparently the belays were cold (or I took forever following, he wouldn't say). That's what you get if you decide to climb shirtless, Jon, so no complaining.

"I'm cold!" 
 My camping situation has been a mixture of sleeping in cars of various degrees of comfort, to comfortable tents, to sleeping in borrowed sleeping bags (mine is in NH---gotta travel light!) or using a hotel blanket from my apartment (not very warm, I don't recommend it), to sleeping in parking lots on deflated sleeping pads. Variety is the name of the game.

By far the most comfortable night was spent in Jon's truck outfitted with crashpads, blankets, multiple sleeping bags and even pillows. Slept like a baby. I want one.

Chosen by popular vote as one of the 'most comfortable sleeping arrangements'
 We climbed something called Techno Tango on Medlicott Dome that the first ascentionist had put up a few weeks prior and recommended we climb. Gorgeous, slabby, bolted 5.10+.

Techno Tango

 I climbed Bombs Over Tokyo my second weekend in Tuolumne. Easy for small-fingered folk, and involves a roof.

 

Then there were all the other climbs that I can't remember or were easy, long moderates. All in all, this place is pretty amazing.
On top of a boulder on Daff Dome
Then Mark came and visited, which pretty much made my summer. 
I dragged him up Blown Away for his second multipitch ever. He handled the roofs and the slab traverse like a champ. 
Here's a picture of him on our lazy, late-start Saturday morning on the drive into Yosemite. 


Here he is looking like a gnome the next evening cooking us up a meal. 

But even looking like a 10 year old, he made some delicious Annie's Mac N Cheese, which I had never had before. I'm sold.

We had a few hours to kill by the lake we were camping at, so we took some photos.

 Here is my best squirrel impression:


Mark channeling his inner explorer: 


Here I am modelling my workhorse old rope. 


And below is a picture of a child on Christmas morning with all his presents:


We climbed Blown Away the next day. 
You can see the crack we followed as well as me chatting with the group ahead of us at the start of the climb
Mark was a little concerned after he fell at the first roof and wanted to continue the 'easier way', but I convinced him that a 5.9 traverse was much easier than 5.6 fingers. He believed me. 

Looking for holds for his hands and not finding that many
 I coached him along, and he did really well on the crux pitch of the climb.

On the traverse telling Mark that 'you totally got this'
 Super fun weekend of climbing with a great friend. More of you should come visit me!


After climbing Blown Away the next day, Mark was ravenous, so we stopped at Conrad Anker's Cafe on the way back for some food.
He was psyched about finally getting his chicken sandwich.


And didn't waste a minute to dig in.



And that's all for now! Heading to corporate headquarters in Minneapolis to give a presentation to the leadership team on my engineering findings on Cheerios, so unfortunately no climbing this weekend. 

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