Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. ~John Muir
I want to start off by saying please forgive me for the roughness of this blog. I’m trying to get the feel for what it’s like to create something such as this. And right now I only have the bones of it. The rest is slowly forming and like all good things time is the only obstacle.
So . . . on to Yosemite
My climbing buddies casually mentioned a trip to Yosemite a month or so ago. Immediately my ears perked up. I had only been to Yosemite once as a child. Now as an adult and a climber Yosemite held some kind of mystical legacy in my mind. So much of what we think of as modern rock climbing started in that valley. Of course I inquire about the trip because I’m planning on inviting myself along. My friends were taking a class from the famed Yosemite School of Mountaineering on a Saturday and then were going to spend Sunday climbing and of course I was invited. The next morning I called the school and signed up for a class and the adventure was set.
We set off from Santa Cruz Friday evening. My 4Runner was full of friends and high spirits. We arrived at Yosemite well after dark. Driving down the windy road thick with trees we could just make out the walls looming on each side. The dark outline of El Capitan stood regal in the darkness. Somewhere in the dark, so far high was the Wall of ‘Early Morning Light’ or as it’s know now the ‘Dawn Wall’.
We were camped in North Pines campground outside of Curry Village. The site was dotted with flowering dogwood trees. One of my favorites. The white flowers stood out against the darkness. It was chilly but not overtly so. I was in sandals and comfortable. Our main concern was the threat of rain for the next day that would potentially cancel our classes. Regardless we all fell asleep with happy hearts and the excitement for the next day ahead.
The next morning we awoke to this . . .
It had snowed while we slept! Such beauty took my breath away. We layered on everything we had and trucked through the fluff to Curry Village. As we thought our classes were canceled so we had an entire day in suddenly snowy Yosemite to play. We took a little walk to take in the sites. Towering rock walls on either side of the narrow valley covered in snow. If only Ansel Adams was alive to capture the incredible scenery. My pants were wet but I didn’t care. Nature was showing us her best and I’ll be damned if a little cold and wet would thwart me.
We made the best of the day. Decided to hike to the spectacular Vernal Falls. As we started on our journey is gradually got a little warmer and the snow that sporadically fell from the sky turned to rain. On the ascent up the hill we actually worked up a sweat and the layers came off. Vernal Falls was everything I wanted it to be. Raw and full or power like a waterfall should be. I managed to get a shot with my GoPro before getting too wet near the falls.
The rest of the evening was spent bbqing and chatting. Heading off to bed in anticipation for potential class and sunshine in the morning.
The next day dawned with a bluebird sky. The guys and I rushed off to our classes. My instructor from Yosemite School of Mountaineering was named Mark. He had this awkward edge that reminded me of Alex Honnold (or at least the interviews I’ve seen of Alex Honnold). We set off to Camp 4 to learn the fine points of anchors and more specifically anchoring big walls. Mark was a wealth of information and the day passed by quickly. There was some climbing, a lot of anchor building, and such an appreciation of life.
I learned so much. And it was such a treat to be having this experience in Yosemite Valley. The whole weekend was exceptional. Even with the surprise snow I wouldn’t of had it any other way.
“Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edifice of stone and space.” ~Ansel Adams
I think we all got what we wanted out of the trip. And Yosemite you’ll see me again. Snake Dyke on Half Dome . . . I’m coming for you