The last few months have been...different. Working for Rope Partner has been a great experience in many ways (read: money in the bank account) but has been challenging in others (hotel rooms and work versus campsites and climbing). So there are pro's and con's and hopefully in a few months the pro's will outweigh the con's.
My good friend Luke tells me that the beauty of being gone for work for long stretches is that it focuses your goals when you have time off. That is exactly what I tried to do the last three weeks, figure out what I want to do more than anything, and do it.
Luke and I wanted to climb in the Sierra and it seemed like there was a lot of buzz about Merriam Peak. Peter Croft and Lisa Rands' new routes had caused a stir. The peak looked ripe for more first ascenting and adventure, so Carmen, Luke and I headed into the back country for a few day stay.
Headed in from Pine Creek
Merriam Peak and Royce Peak
Luke catches a view
The Southern Royce Lake, Royce Peak and Feather Peak on the left
Merriam Peak, The East Buttress
Out at Merriam Peak we spent 4 days camped by the lake, adventure climbing and drinking whiskey. The day we hiked in Luke and I charged up and climbed the classic Northeast Buttress.
Oh how sweet the views
We decided to solo until we needed the rope
Halfway up the route, a short pitch below the classic corner, we roped up
Fire, Fire On the Mountain!
Over the next two days we established two (probably) new routes. The first, 'The Last Resort' was the last ditch effort while trying to access the beautiful splitters on the far right side of the peak. We did manage to break through the impressive roofs at the base of the headwall at about .11c (and probably R).
Starting Out 'The Last Resort'
Busting left from the Bear Love into the chimney corner.
On the third day we managed to climb a great route we dubbed the 'East Buttress'. All in all it delivered 9 pitches, 7 were 5.10, one 10+, and one spectacular 5.8R face climbing pitch. We may have joined the 'Silver Cloud' on the east face, but the description from the Secor guide doesn't quite match up, either way, we had a great time adventure climbing and exploring.
The objective, the leaning wide crack in the lower third, and up from there...
Luke on the impressive 10- tips first pitch.
The tricky step over to the belay
Me headed up the left side splitter that wraps into the amazing serrated flake lieback
This was one of those great pitches where giant face holds kept leading upwards and blowing our mind.
Luke busting out the crux pitch
I headed up and right into the incredible hand and finger crack corner.
Eventually we rejoined the NE Buttress and finished out on the ridge traverse.
Spending the week in the High Sierra was just what I needed to forget work and remember what life is all about. We had a great time, weathered a massive lightning storm that was striking in our basin and loved life.
And then back in Yosemite....
After we hiked out we headed up to Tuolumne Meadows to see friends, rock climbing and hang out. Luke and I needed to get our big wall fix on so we took a quick jaunt down to the valley to climb Wet Denim Daydream. We took a look at the speed record beforehand and saw that, as usual, Ammon held it at 5 hours and 6 minutes. So we did our best and manage to come in close with 6 hours and 10 minutes. It rained on us as we topped out, but we were loving life and had a blast.
Oh My God! Are we big wall climbing?!
Luke on the A3 corner a couple hours into the route, the steeps above...
Oh I do love big wall climbing!
I'm not scared!
I think this is the best roof in all of Yosemite Valley, not that hard, but outrageously wild
The steeps below
Nothin' like a quick jaunt up a classic wall.