The road stretched out before me as far as the eye could see. The left led to home and the right, Yosemite. I sat on the porch of “Latté Da” in Lee Vining enjoying an iced latté contemplating my options. With no climbing partners I could either head home or go to Yosemite to take pictures. I made two calls; one to my buddy Roger and the other his girlfriend Robin, as a last ditch effort for a partner. Then I waited.
Brad climbing in the Owens
Unique rock layering of the Owens
I had just come from Bishop and the Owens River Gorge where I was climbing with Brad Potter. The gorge was great. Filled with amazing climbs, well-groomed trails, and the occasional swimming hole. He gave me the royal tour through all the classic areas enjoying all the great climbing the place had to offer. Temps in Bishop were around 98 degrees, but conditions weren’t too bad in the gorge. Temps were still high, but shaded areas made climbing possible.
Roger rapping into the Muir Wall
We enjoyed two days of great climbing and camping at the gorge before it was time for Brad to head home. Bishop isn’t too far from Yosemite so before driving North, I went for a hike to Pine Lake. It’s a crystal clear lake filled with trout nestled in between the peaks of the high Sierras. I spent the afternoon at the lake and then continued my journey North where I found myself in Lee Vining.
El Cap and the Cathedrals
Roger jugging high on the Nose
Last belay on the Nose
Justin on Central Pillar of Frenzy, Middle Cathedral
I had been scrolling through the Internet for about twenty minutes when my phone rang. It was Roger and he was on his way to Lee Vining with some buddies for dinner. When I met them at the diner, everything started to fall into place. Roger would be busy doing some geological mapping of El Cap, but would have a little time to climb. His friend Justin however, was on the same program I was so we quickly made plans to climb. After meeting a few other folks, I had more options than I had time for, cragging in Yosemite, walling on El Cap, or the Whitney range. In the end, I decided to hang in Yosemite to experience the great climbing it had to offer.
Brad and Roger crushing the Dawn Wall, Day 3
Over the next week I ran around Yosemite climbing several of the classic lines. Our casual pace in the mornings had us savoring coffee and missing most of the usual traffic jams at the base of climbs. We would role in around noon and comfortably finish the climbs with enough time to enjoy the evening lighting from the valley floor. After a week of great climbing, our time in the valley eventually came to an end. With many more amazing climbs to experience, I look forward to my next visit there.