Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A "Trad-Venture" and some High Sierra Camping

It's been a crazy week or so since I last wrote. The day after climbing at Low Profile Dome, we headed to Pywiak Dome for one of our last days of dome climbing before a backpacking trip. We decided on the route Zee Tree- a 700-ft 5.7, tightly bolted, probably one of the easier ones for a relaxing last day.
Well, things started off just fine. We were on (a) route, found the first bolts, clipped in, and set off again.
Scott led over far to the right, and after the first set of anchors we found ourselves in the middle of no-man's land. Scott wasn't too concerned:
and we just kept going farther and farther up, figuring that we had to end up on route at some point. I finally saw some anchors far to the left of where we were:
and eventually we got back on route for the last two pitches. After a long hike down the back of the dome, we contemplated the guidebook and figured out where we went wrong. We did the first three pitches and rappelled down in the rain and wind, calling it good.
For the weekend, we decided to take a break from climbing to rest our arms and give our legs a nice workout with some backcountry hiking and backpacking.
We started up the Rafferty Creek Trail, pretty psyched to be hiking in such beautiful areas with rivers and trees and... and...
and then it all turned to snow. It was still beautiful, but the trail disappeared under a few feet of solid snow with small snow cups all over the place. We did about 8 miles gaining 2000 feet of elevation, with over half of the time in snow balancing on slopes and mildly wishing we had either crampons or trekking poles. We had fun anyway, especially since Scott was sporting the rolled pants, pulled up socks, and a pair of my Dad's old ski sunglasses from either the 80's or 90's.
Pretty much awesome.
We found a beautiful little knoll at 10,500 feet to put base camp at, then after resting up took a day to hike up to a 11,500 ft. peak: (Scott on the summit)
Took in the incredible view of tons of mountains around the park: (me on the summit)
and had fun on the glissade back down the mountain. :)
We hiked around Evelyn Lake before enjoying the peace of the mountains with no one else up there. The hike down the next day was nice and quiet as well, and we were both pretty psyched to get back to civilization.
Next stop- a full rest day and being tourists in the gorgeous Yosemite Valley...


Mark said...

Scott looks like a rock star in those sunglasses. Oh wait - he IS a rock star (just a different type)! Your guide is showing you some beautiful back country, and you are obviously getting some great weather to be able to enjoy it (what's a little bit of snow for Duluthians?) Can't wait to hear your reaction to Tunnel View in the tourist section of the park (& whether it tops what else you have seen from the cliffs etc).

Mark said...

9,687 feet of knitting, I see, and 11,500 foot cliffs. Is there a competition for most feet in 2011 between your knitting and peaks? Would my Norwegian 1980 Olympics sweater put you over 11,500 feet, if you finish it? :- )