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Tuolumne Trip

July 23, 2009

I left on Thursday to Oakland. The flight went well, mostly read Brooklyn Follies. Lino picked me up from the airport, we dropped off my lugage at the house and headed around the corner for some pizza and beer.  We chatted it up with Carmen Oches and drank more than we needed to.  Friday morning we were on the road by 5AM so Stephen could take a conference call.  I attempted napping. We stopped for the slowest cooked oatmeal west of the Mississippi.  I tried taking the wheel of the Subaru but failed to get past the first stop sign.  Eventually we stopped and picked up some food and Lino caught a cat nap in the parking lot.

We headed straight over to Olmstead canyon and warmed up on Ivory Tower. Lino lead an offwidth 5.8 up to a ledge. We hung the ropes over a nice handcrack and took turns practicing our jams.  Exhausted we packed up and hit the beach.

We then went looking for a campsite as the rain blew in around 3PM.  About 4 hours later we found a campsite outside the park.  The mosquitos were killing us, but fortunately Lino’s keen eye found two Slovinian girls willing to traid beer for repellant.  We went to bed early with big plans for Saturday.

We woke up at 4:15 Saturday morning and quickly ate some oatmeal and coffee.  We headed straight to Dana arriving at the parking lot at 5:30.  The approach to the climb took just about two hours with some dispute over where to go once atop the plateau. We decended the ridge and crossed snow in the cravas.  at 8:40 Lino was roped up and ready to climb.

Lino lead up the first pitched and misread the topo leading us to the far right of the pilar.  There is a bolt and a piton rap station.  A party came up behind us and I recognized one of the climbers from the gunks. I think his name is David?  I followed Stephen up and David was right behind me, going to the correct horn belay. At this point a light rain and dark cloud came over us.  I decided to press on.  After exploring the terrain above stephen’s belay I backed off, certain we were far off route (which I already knew). I taversed back left around the tower and brought stephen over. Light rain continued to fall and the sky darkened further.  We waited a bit as David negotiated the 2nd pitch.  We decided to fuckit and head down.  Sure enough by the time we traversed back to the rap station, reslung it with my cordolette and rap ring (need to replace) and got down the sky turned bright blue with some light passing clouds.  Fuck it. We slogged our way back up the ridge.  I had a killer headache and needed to take a shit anyway.  Frequently on the way down I stopped to sit and stick my head in some cold water.  I had not adjusted to the altitude and just wanted to lay down.

We picked up some bugspray and water and headed to the beach again. There was some more light rain. I laid down on the beach, had some advil but could not shake the headache or nap.  We decided to climb Phoboes on Sunday despite the gear beta. I picked up another #3 camalot.

We descended to Lee Vining Mobile station for dinner.  We picked up some beer and wine and headed back to the camp site. I finally felt better.

To our surprise the slovinian girls decided to stick around and we drank with them late into the night.  I woke up at 6:00 and sorted gear and got ready for Phoboes.  We broke down camp and headed up to Phobos. I was feeling much better than the day before.

The approach to Phobos was steep but we rocked up there in about 30minutes. I lead pitch 1 in bad style hanging off gear and left wondering WTF.   While there is a fixed bong and nut, one might be better off just placing there own gear and climbing strong through the roof into the stem position. Originially I was trying to save gear to link the 2 pitches but by the time I turned the corner I realized that would not be happenining.  I took a shitty haning belay and brough Lino up, he placed the 4 in the belay and I took everything else up the cracks.  The Supertopo recommends many #2, #3s.  We had two of each and two #1s and no comprobale sizes. Personally, next time I would bring three or four #2s and two #3s, and a #1 this would let you lead the double hand crack with ample protection.  Also, I did not know that there would be other gear options higher up. Ultimately I had saved one #3, #1 all the way. Unfortunately blew myself out trying to walk the #2s and leap frogging a #3 and took a hang.  The cracks are bomber though and offer great jams.  Start on the left crack/face, work the left crack and just as it all steepens and you get above the grass in the right crack, use both cracks for 15 feet of awesome climbing jam your left hand and foot in one crack and right hand and foot in the other and just go till the cracks merge and widen.  A bit further up there is a section that will stopped me dead in my tracks. There is a hard to spot jug on the right of the crack but I found it as no other options seemed to exist. There are plenty of gear options up here so no need to conserve large cams.  A top the parkinglot I found a slung belay and packed it up.  Lino took the last pitch which was pretty tricky for 5.6/5.8. The bouldery crux at the top 5.9, tore my shoulder up. OWE.

The decent was well marked by cairons.  At the base we ate our bagels, headed to scope Deimos.  We were beat, burned and out of water so we headed to the beach for one last dip before a drive home.

The ride went quickly despite the head on collision in the park between 2 SUVs.  There was also another good crash on 120 outside the park as a car went through a cattle fence into a boulder.

Once back in Oakland we talked to Lino’s neighbors who were excited to see him back home.  We checked out his goldengate bouldering wall,  grabbed some bar food and I crashed on the couch.  Stephen gave me a ride to the airport monday morning and I finished Brooklyn Follies.


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