It’s taken me a while to write about my Yosemite trip, because it didn’t turn out as planned.
My friend flew all across the continent for 1 climbing trip, and in this crazy California drought that is going on â€”Â it rained on us. It rained on our only climbing day, cancelling our 6 multi-pitch climb.Â So before I get into the details, let’s back it up.
My friend Lori and I had met at the local climbing gym back home in Newfoundland, Canada 20 years ago. She’s my first climbing partner I ever had, so I trust her completely with regards to climbing, gear, and everything safety-wise. She wanted to come out to California and climb Yosemite for her birthday and asked if I was free to go with her. Um, YES. YES I AM. Now, I mentioned I was scared to do a multi-pitch climb, but I was ready to take it on and brave the Yosemite mountains. After all, that’s how you get over fears, right? Frig sakes.Â These are the things you only dream of, especially being on the opposite side of the continent. Never thinking you’d ever be one of those climbers who actually gets to go to Yosemite. So when Lori came to California, sheÂ rented a jeep and we had aÂ 4 hour girls road trip across the mountains to Yosemite.
Getting to Yosmite
We ended up using the google maps for GPS on my BlackBerry, which ended up taking us on every type of road you could imagine. It was getting to the point we couldn’t get deep into conversation because one would drive, the other would have to focus telling the driver “okay, in 5km we’re getting off this road, and onto another!” At first it was laughable counting at how many highways and roads the maps were taking us on (I lost count after 14) but then as it continued the entire duration of our drive, itÂ honestly droveÂ us a little nuts. After talking to a few other people after the fact, sure enough it’s the way to get to Yosemite from the Bay Area! Yeesh!
Arriving in Yosemite
4 hours later, we made the trek across the mountains and into Yosemite.
We arrived at our hotel, Yosemite Lodge and unpacked our belongings for the evening, thenÂ headed out on the road to get our surroundings inside the park before the sun went down. Oh, and of course check out famous Camp 4.
Sidenote, the trees are huge in California!
We stopped by to get a couple of snacks and groceries, and when we walked back out to the parking lot we noticed a couple ofÂ older looking surfer dude’s gazing up at one of the mountains with their binoculars. We joined in, and started chatting with them for a bit. Then, they got all creepy on us asking which hotel we were at and inviting us up to go hiking and drinking in the woods and whatnot. Silly me, I took off my wedding rings for the trip and left them back home, because I didn’t want to sever my finger off when rock climbing. So there was that. Back to what they were gazing up at. A couple of climbers were on top of the spire with their rope attached to the side of the mountain (think slack lining) wrapping their hands and feet around the line and traversing/crossing over to the mountain. It was crazy and super awesome â€”Â definitely wouldn’t be me doing it though.
Can you tell there’s a couple of girls in the hotel room? Lori laid out all her toiletriesÂ first, then I followed suit. Guess which one is mine.
Enough excitement for the evening, we headed back to our hotel with the snacks in tow. We got ready for a night in, changed into PJs and was in bed by 8:00 watching episodes of the Duggar Family. Shortly after arriving back to our room, we received a phone call from the front desk informing us that our power is going to be out the next day (our climbing day) as there was an electrical problem in a couple of the buildings we were staying in. Meaning, no hot water for the morning.
A little ticked off, since there was nothing we could do about it in the mean time so we laid our climbing gear out to pack away, slept on it and decide to tackle the issue when we got back to the hotel after the next day of climbing.
We woke up at the crack of dawn (for me, that’s 7:30), and realized the power was most definitely out. Lori ended up brushing her teeth with her head lamp on. I had to document that. We noticed the forecast called for rain that day, but we were determined to see what our hired climbing guide thought of it all.
We got to the mountaineering school shortly after and decided that in fact it was going to pour all day long, making our plans of climbing the 6 pitches dangerous due to the conditions.
Since Lori had travelled all this way, she knew she wanted to get in some sort of a climb that day. The guides were completely booked up the rest of the week, so it was out of the option to postpone the climbing for a day or so. After much deliberation, we all agreed on going out to do a crack climb.
We knew the rock was going to be slippery as it continued to rain on us. What I didn’t realize was how difficult crack climbing is.
Here’s Lori climbing in the green jacket.
For those that speak my language, we did the route called jamcrack and it’s rated at a 5.7. Incredibly novice, right? Add in soaking wet rock, aggressive climbing shoes, aÂ scared newf (me)Â and you’ve got yourself a difficult 5.9-5.10 climb.Â Basically due to the rain we made the route harder for us to climb. Obviously.
Not only that, crack climbing has a whole different technique of its own, something I had never practiced doing before, especially with my La Sportiva Miura’s (an aggressive shoe). With climbing cracks (heh), you need the most comfortable pair of climbing shoes, a pair that feels like a set of slippers on your feet. Because you’re going to be shoving your feet into the cracks sideways, then bending your knee back over so it meets up with the opening of the crack. Make sense?
Can you see me at the top of the climb? My ankles were sore for days. I didn’t trust shoving my hands into the wall crack, even though we taped them up before heading up the route. Luckily Lori nor I had to do any clipping or placing gear, we top roped up as our guide did the dirty work for us.
Here’s us rain soaked and done our single climb of the trip.
We taped our hands since we needed to shove our hands into the crack for balance.
Needless to say, it was a memorable climb. Scary for me, but super fun looking back on it.
Unfortunately, we only got to do one climb that day, since it started raining harder after I came down (as I climbed after Lori). Shivering and soaking wet, we called it a day, packed Â up our gear and headed back to the hotel. Yet, the power was still out. Long story short, the Yosemite Lodge suggested we can either move to another room in their hotel, or check into the fancy smanchy $500/nightÂ Ahwahnee Hotel for the same price. When in
Rome Yosemite! You betcha we took that opportunity to check out the famous hotel.
Tea time at the Ahwahnee Hotel in our grubby climbing clothes
After heading back to the mountaineering school and getting half the money back from the guided climb, we checked into the Ahwahnee around noon, which may I add was fancy on the main floors but I much preferred the Yosemite Lodge rooms. Little did we realize the rain would let up a couple of hours after we cancelled our climb, and the rocks seemed to have dried up completely. Talk about bad timing! It was far too late for us to go back to the mountaineering school and get our guide back. He lived out of the park, and was most definitely gone for the day. We were the only climbers that ventured out in the rain, everyone else who were probably staying later throughout the week cancelled.
We checked in, and warmed up in the most massive robes known to man. The hiking boots add a nice touch, don’t you think?
The Ahwahnee front desk told us to come back down in a few hours to have some free coffee/tea and cookies. Music to our ears. But first, we needed to have a bit of lunch. Lunch that we bought for ourselves, thinking we would be eating on the top of a ledge in Yosemite, after a couple of pitches. But since that didn’t happen, we brought our failed lunch back with us, and ate it in our hotel room, eating in silence, thinking of what we missed out on.
4:00 came around and we headed down to this grand room. We didn’t end up changingÂ to head downstairs. Hey, I don’t have to impress anyone. Seriously, we looked like dirtbags in our old climbing clothes, and rained on frizzy hair while lining up for some free hot coffee, tea and a couple of cookies. It was so fancy you guys. A man with a bow tie was playing mellow classical music on this grand piano in this fantastically large room. We were so out of place, but eating it all up for what it was worth. Our big trip was cancelled and darn right we were going to make the most out of it. So, we went back for seconds.
The rest of the evening and the next day were left for sight seeing around Yosemite, checking out El Capitan, and Half Dome which was incredible to finally see in person!
Lori standing in front of Half Dome
Then El Cap (the photos are a little out of order but you catch the drift)
Some of the residence in Yosemite
Lori next to Lower Yosemite Falls
Shortly after the rain had stopped
A gentleman asked if we wanted out photo taken. It was so crookedÂ I had to crop it so much, so there goes the top of El Capitan.
Since we couldn’t climb, we took a ton of picturesÂ at both Half Dome and El Capitan.
Before our drive down, Lori knew another Newfoundlander living here in the Bay Area who loaned her some of his climbing gear which included a rope, quick draws, and lucky for me â€”Â a helmet. Before we made the 4 hour trek back to my place, Lori wanted to get one more climb in at Yosemite.Â I admit, I wasn’t comfortable doing a climb with only the two of us considering I didn’t own any gear besides my shoes and harness.
We had to drive out of the park slightly, to get to the climb Lori wanted to do. Little did I know we’d be sliding down a 200 foot cliffÂ on our butts to get to the base of the climb.Â I get scared easily, especially considering I never outdoor climb. So I was angrily telling her I’d never do this again. HAHAHA. I was terrified we’d end up rolling down the cliff and no one would ever find us.
Anyway, upon leaving Yosemite, Lori bought a climbing guide book to see exactly where the climb was, and she alsoÂ kindly bought me a new ATC and locking biner as an early birthday present. So, I took the helmet, put it on, and belayed her up a route that we found after buying a climbing guide book at the mountaineering school. No real pictures of her climbing, considering I was paying full attention to her as she did her climb.
Dirt faces and all, we packed up our gear, crawled back up the 200 foot cliff and walked back on the highway to the rental car and drove the 4 hours back home to the Bay Area.
Man, I gotta say. It was suchÂ a weird trip. A memorable trip. But not the epic climbing adventure that was supposed to happen.
Guess that means we have to do it all over again :)
Ah man, I’ve REALLY been wanting to plan a climbing trip, but I’m afraid I’m not experienced enough. Yosemite is on my short list of places I want to visit. Beautiful pictures!
My goodness, you ladies had quite the adventure! Winding up in such a luxurious room was a nice blessing after dealing with the disappointment of the rain and the power outage. I can just imagine eating that lunch in silence as you were both pondering the events of the day. Sounds like it was a memorable and adventurous time for both of you.
Shirley Wood recently posted..Rain Barrels: DIY or Buy
Oh my God this is an experience i’d love to have. My mom is little scare when i talk to her abuot all this kinda experience i wanna have. the pictures are just perfect.thanx for sharing
Brook Devis recently posted..CHINA GLAZE by CLARISSA NAILS
I have been to yosemite, but not for climbing. Wow, your pictures are amazing and it looks like it was a FUN adventure! I love the picture of you hugging the tree! The rock climbing pictures were so neat, what a great thing. Great way to exercise and a great way to enjoy nature! ;)
Can’t control Mother Nature! I understand the feeling of having gone so far for something and then to not be able to do it. It’s frustrating, but you gotta listen to your gut. Stay safe and all. :) Hooray for free upgrades to fancy schmancyness and free coffee/tea/cookies.
suki recently posted..Eat SF : Exploring the Mission with Avital Tours [giveaway]
@suki: Oh mother nature and her dang tootin’ rain the one day out of our entire trip haha. Oh well, what can ya do.
Nancy recently posted..Shop Santana Row this Mother’s Day!
My oh my, look at that view. THe rock you guys are climbing looks wet, wasn’t it slippery? I have never tried climbing rocks before but it looks fun! Looks like both of you had a great time!
Chubskulit Rose recently posted..The Slide that Made Me Sick to My Stomach
@eChubskulit Rose: Yes! I wrote in the post it was pouring rain and it was the only climbming we COULD do because it was a little sketchy climbing a multi-pitch in the rain, so we resorted to this one. It was crazy hard to do, especially in a crack climb.
Nancy recently posted..Shop Santana Row this Mother’s Day!
You are incredibly brave! I cannot imagine climbing ANYTHING LOL. Sometimes our trips donâ€™t go as planned, but kudos for making the most of it. And that Ahwahnee Hotel looks absolutely amazing. Glad you were still able to have a good time.
Wow, what a great adventure. I visited Yosemite with my mom when I was a little girl…would love to go back so that I can actually appreciate it. I am not as brave as you to go climbing there, but a hike sounds great!
Amanda recently posted..Family Classes at Gratitude Yoga
Looks like you guys have a fun climbing trip! All of your photos are looks really fun and cool! I wish I could go there not for climbing but to see all of views and let me take a selfie hehe.
Oh my gosh what an amazing rock climbing experience. I love to travel and explore new areas, Yosemite is one of our favorite parks. What a great girls weekend and exploring trip you two had!
tammilee Tips recently posted..New Disney Tomorrowland Behind the scenes video!
That’s a bummer that you didn’t get to have the trip that you planned but it sounds like you guys still had a really fun trip and made the most of it. I have never done any rock climbing but it looks like you two are pros :)
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What an experience indeed, shame about the rain, the lodge and not being able to do what you wanted on your planned day but I am sure you both enjoyed each other’s company. The trees do look really huge, and I am so jealous of your afternoon tea not done that in forever. Hope next time everything works now and shame about those hiking boots.
Wow, what an amazing trip you had! Yosemite always looks like such a beautiful place whenever I see any pictures of it and yours are no exception. You’re so brave climbing up that rock face :)
Oh wow! What a fantastic adventure you had! I love your photographs! It really showed the beauty of Yosemite and the fun time you were having. I want to go back there with my family. Perhaps this summer. We might even try rock climbing like you!
Cara (@StylishGeek) recently posted..My Piece of the Cloud with WD My Cloud EX2100
OOOH, what a BUMMER. It sounds like you two made the best of it though! And had a lovely time!
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