Author : Peter Adamson
We are currently in Tuolumne, getting ready to move down to yosemite valley. We have been staying at yosemite creek campground. Tomorrow we will go to camp 4.
Today we climbed and chilled in the valley. We woke up early, in order to ensure that we would get a spot in camp 4.
We met a great group of people while in line for our site. One couple was 6 weeks into an 8 week road trip. They started in Massachusetts and had driven to Yosemite. Another father and son team were up from Southern California, and were going to hike up half dome.
Then it was time to climb. I found an area in the guidebook known as Knobby wall. It was described as very steep and very hard. Perfect.
It turned out to be a bit difficult to find. we drove up and down highway 140 trying to find it, to no avail. By pure chance we stumbled upon a traveling hermit climber named Joey.
Joey was indeed a character. A very odd, but very nice guy, he showed us the way to knobby wall. It was everything i had hoped for. Ridiculously overhanging and hard.
I decided to warm up on one of the easier routes there, a 5.12a known as Shaft of the Penetrator. After 3 tries, I pulled off the redpoint. Dad also tried it, and could redpoint it with a little work.
I then moved one route to the right, an unnamed 5.12a. A few hard moves led to a huge rest jug. I then moved up and back down to the jug a few times finally committing to the moves. Another series of hard moves followed, but I pulled through, and got my second 5.12 onsight. Once again, Dad could get the route with a little work.
The next climb we tried was supposedly a 5.12b, but it was harder than Access Denied, 5.13a. That route didn't go so well for us. I think it was called something like Hastings hole.
After that, we tried another, slightly easier 5.12b, although I didn't get this one either, due to an unnerving runout at the end. I think it was named Chongos Cabrones.
We said goodbye to Joey, and went to do some laundry. Armed with an arsenal of clean clothes, it was off to Church bowl for more climbing.
Dad recalled a very nice "5.8" crack, known as Bishop's Terrace that he had climbed 20 years previous. After a rock, Paper, Scissors war, I won the right to lead. I would later wish I had lost.
The first bit was tame enough. 5.6 jugs and crack led to a slightly harder, but still not bad 5.7 corner. At the end of this corner lay a gorgeous 5.7 finger crack for 60 feet, which took bomber pro the whole way. Naturally, I chose to step right at the top of the corner instead, into a 5.8/9 offwidth variation, rather than take the beautiful finger crack.
Unfortunately the crack was at least 7'" wide, and my biggest piece of protection was 3" wide. I stuffed a tipped out #3 camalot in at the bottom, and that was all I would get for the next 50 feet.
After groveling up 20 feet, looking down at my last piece a long ways away, I was feeling a little scared. Luckily, the crux was still ahead of me. Oh, joy.
Smearing my right foot on the edge of the offwidth, I tentatively stood up to a small left hand crimp on the face. I smeared my left foot above my right. Very scared now. I reach up and up, waiting for my feet to skate out from under me, sending me for a career-ending 50+ foot fall.
Instead, my hand latched onto a jug. I pulled up and slotted in a #5 black diamond stopper at the first opportunity. Safe, at least for now. Near the top, I started to run low on pro, but no problem because it was easy right? I put in a tipped out #1 camalot, my only piece for a long ways. Also, the last piece of protection I would get until the top, 30 feet away. Luckily, the jams were solid. Not quite so lucky, fate had another twist in store for me.
15 feet above the cam, I put in a jam with my right hand. As I went to weight it, I felt a pop from my fingers, which sent extreme pain throughout my hand. I unweighted the jam, and something popped back into place. The pain was blinding now.
Somehow, I made it to the anchor, and clipped myself in. At this point I had broken into a cold sweat, and all I could see were stars. The pain started to subside, and I belayed dad up using my ATC-guide in auto-blocking mode in case my hand stopped working.
Once down at the bottom, we met another climber. We didn't get his name, but we chatted and swapped stories for a while. We may meet him again in camp 4.
I put 5.8 in quotations, since it was really more like 5.9 or 5.10. However, it was still phenomenal, and I would do it again, but without the offwidth.
Sorry, no pictures from today, but here's a great view of el cap.