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Archive for the ‘Climbing’ Category

Date: Saturday, May 12, 2012

Location: Middle Cathedral Rock, Yosemite Valley

Climbers: Cuauh, Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: With a great weather forecast and climbing season back in full swing, Cuauh, Jon and I headed to Yosemite Valley for a quick day trip to climb the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock (5.10c) in Yosemite Valley. Included in Fifty Classic Climbs of North America by Steve Roper, the East Buttress is an extremely popular route and actually offers two variations with some chances to pass folks. The “50 Classic” Variation includes a 5.10a traverse that bypasses the 5.10c bolt ladder.

Cuauh had climbed this route before and wanted to try his land at leading the 5.10c bolt section and 5.9 roof above, so we went with that variation.

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Date: Saturday, May 5, 2012

Location: Lover’s Leap

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: Jon & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: Since climbing the Northwest Ridge of Four Gables with Jon in January, I have not posted any trip reports as it has been a non-eventful winter in Tahoe. That is not to say I did not get any skiing in – in fact, I got a handful of great powder days in. However, all of the days I did ski were entirely spent at Alpine Meadows or Squaw Valley. I just never seemed to time it properly for any backcountry touring as the snowpack was either (i) non-existent or (ii) dangerous due to the persistent weak layer we had all winter. Meanwhile, the weather in the Bay Area all “winter” was nothing short of spectacular, and I mostly hung around and did a TON of road biking in the Coast Mountains (and have generally been training for a couple of triathlons this upcoming summer and fall).

The great thing about the lack of snowpack this Spring will be the climbing access it affords. As of this writing, both Tioga Pass and Sonora Pass are open to the Eastside and many High Sierra climbs will have very quick approaches that are otherwise inaccessible without skis/snowshoes for much later in the season. Further, I suspect the alpine ice season this year is going to be nothing short of phenomenal.

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Dates: Saturday, January 14 – Sunday, January 15, 2012

Locations: Peak 12,542 and the Northwest Ridge of Four Gables

Climbers: Jon & Nick

Photos: As noted (with some processing edits on a couple of Jon’s shots from Nick)

Synopsis: With Tioga Pass continuing to remain open, the lack of snowfall this year continued offered a unique opportunity to those so inclined: access to long, granite alpine rock routes with minimal amounts of snow in otherwise “Winter” conditions. By “Winter” conditions I mean (i) very short days, (ii) very cold temperatures and (iii) very strong winds.

Jon and I were itching the entire week to undertake a true winter alpine route that would involve a bivy at a high altitude. We combed through the High Sierra Secor Guide looking for route descriptions. Our search had a couple of parameters. First, since we were coming from the Bay Area on Friday, altitude was a key factor. We were hesitant to bivy up around 13,000 ft. + on Saturday night for fear of getting absolutely worked by the altitude. Second, the weather report was not looking promising. While Saturday day and night called for great conditions, Sunday was anticipated to deteriorate rapidly with a very strong wind event moving in (with Sunday night expecting sustained 100+ mph winds along the High Sierra Crest).

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Date: Saturday, January 7, 2012

Location: North Couloir of North Peak

Climbers: Brandon & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted as Brandon, with some processing edits from Nick)

Synopsis: While the lack of snow in the Sierra has delayed the start of ski season, it has also offered a historical statistic of sorts – namely, Tioga Pass is currently open in January. According to data compiled by the Mono Lake Committee, since 1933 Tioga Pass has only been open six times post-December, with the former record being January 1 in 2000. Being an optimist of sorts, I was excited as this offers easy access to the High Sierra for one approaching from the West side of the range.

Brandon and I had our eyes set on the classic alpine climb of the North Couloir of North Peak (12,242 ft). With the lack of snow and constant cold temps at that elevation, we were hoping that the North Couloir would possibly continue to hold ice conditions – although we were actually expecting hard neve. In either case, the chance to climb the North Couloir in January with a mostly snowless approach in winter weather conditions (think (i) cold and (ii) very windy) sounded too good to be true.

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TR: Cascade Falls

Date: Saturday, December 24, 2011

Location: Cascade Falls

Climbers: Jon, Rachel, Tony & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted)

Synopsis: First, let me say that wanted to get this up much sooner to offer some good beta on current Tahoe ice conditions, but a hectic schedule around the holidays prevented that. So unfortunately I can’t attest to whether this is representative of the current conditions at Cascade Falls (e.g., there has been a rain event and general warming spell as of late).

Having said that, although Tahoe (and pretty much all of California, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado) has received little to no snow, December proved to be a very cold month. Consistent cold temperatures and lack of snow make for good ice conditions in Tahoe (as fickle as they can be).

While climbing up at 90-Foot Wall with Brandon the week prior, we spotted Cascade Falls from the road and it looked very thick. After some more research, I got some good beta on conditions, so Jon, Rachel, Tony and I decided to head and check it out.

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Dates: Sunday, December 4, 2011 (Climbing) & Saturday, December 10, 2011 (Lunar Eclipse)

Locations: 90-Foot Cliff, South Lake Tahoe & San Francisco Bay

Climbers: Brandon & Nick

Photos: Nick (unless otherwise noted)

Synopsis: With the severe lack of snow in the Tahoe and High Sierra this early December due to (among other things) a high-pressure ridge sitting off the coast of California, Brandon and I decided to test the weather last Sunday for some winter-cragging in the Tahoe area.

Our original intention was to head to the Leap and test out how cold it really was, but we were quickly dissuaded by the shaded aspects, strong winds and below freezing temps. Therefore, we headed over to 90-Foot Wall in the Emerald Bay area for a good top-roping zone in the sun.

As a bonus, this past Saturday was a full lunar eclipse that was best viewed in the Western U.S., with the peak occurring at 6:30 A.M. PST. Given that the next full lunar eclipse will not occur until April 2014, I felt the need to get up and combat the light pollution of San Francisco and try and capture the event.

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Date: Sunday, October 23, 2011

Location: Lover’s Leap

Climbers: Alex & Nick

Photos: Alex & Nick (as noted)

Synopsis: With the snow of the early October 6th storm long faded into memory and recent warming temps, I knew Sunday would make for a good day trip to the Leap. After many suggestions by myself and others, Alex has recently taken up climbing, with his first foray into outdoor climbing at Indian Springs and Donner Summit earlier in August.

With the stable weather and Alex fired out to get out of the climbing gym and back outdoors, I knew a Leap trip was in order. And with Corrugation Corner (5.7) and Bear’s Reach (5.7) on the agenda, I would dare to say that is about as good as it gets for a first trip to the leap for Alex! A nice welcoming to the world of exposure…

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