CLIMBING JOURNAL - Yosemite valley 2004

As I clean out the house in possible preparation for moving, I find more and more of Doug. When we were apart, we wrote journals for each other. In 2004, he went on this climbing trip with Bob, Jim and John while I went on a trip to France with a friend. The trips were simultaneous to minimize our time apart.

Here is his journal from Yosemite Valley. Note frequent references to early morning rising, food, cocktails, and awesomeness (this might be the most use of superlatives in all the journals.)

[The inside cover has a photo of me and Tenzing the Cat, under which I wrote "Come home safely to us!'

Wednesday, 07/07/04

Bet leaves for France - storm in Philadelphia - didn't leave. Comes home. Doug feeds bluebirds and puts up sparrow spooker. Big kudos.

Friday, 07/09/04

My flex day off [from work.] Wake up. Load garbage in truck. Get Tenzing ready to leave. Drop him off at parents at 9:00 a.m. He yakked on my hand and then I went to throw it out the window and it splattered all over the car and me. Folks are amused with him. I planned to go into the office but instead went to Bolton for tractor parts. Went home, fixed tractor, mowed lawn, packed, had a beer with Dirk. John and Bob dropped off a car. Went to bed at 8 p.m.

Saturday, 07/10/04

Up at 2:30 a.m. (Yuk) Drove to Bob's - Michelle drove us to Airport at Green's in Providence. Arrive at Airport 4:30 a.m. Security would not let our Coleman Stove go on board. Threw the gas pump out.

Saw Yosemite in the airplane - neat!! Now ready to land.

Land in San Jose, 11:30 a.m. their time. Haul sh*t to shuttle. Get rental car. Drive back to airport to get Jim. All together at ~ 1:00 p.m. Start drive to Y. Go to REI - buy new stove to replace Bet's. Buy a Daisy Chain. Go grocery shopping. In Yosemite at 7:00 p.m. The place is awesome. Rock mountains of granite everywhere. Crystal blue skies. Low humidity and in the 80's. Eat ->sleep.

Sunday, 07/11/04

Wake up at 6:30 a.m. Go down the road from the campsite to Mt. Lembert. We were supposed to find one climb but did something totally different! oops. 7 pitches of low 5th class. Views awesome.

Then go to another Dome Pywyck and do a 5.7. Slab and corner 5 pitches. This place is awesome.

Burgers/beer/wine for Din Din.

Monday, 07/12/04

Up at 5:30 a.m. and Tenaya Mountain - 10,300 feet and do a 14 pitch, 1,500 climb of a buttress. 5.5. Awesome!! Saw Half Dome in the Valley. Just beautiful - Granite climbs with wildflowers. Back at camp 2:00 p.m. Thought I lost my wallet - stuck under seat. [Doug was constantly worrying about where his wallet was.] Went to town and had a martini. ("Martini - Miner's Daughter. Every Miner's Daughter has a cherry!") Back at camp. Time to sleep.

Tuesday, 07/13/04

Wake up at 6:00 a.m. Objective is Cathedral Mountain. ~10K in height and Eichhorn ~10,940 feet. 2.5 mile walk in. Cathedral is the most frequently climbed mountain technically - did a very windy 6 pitch climb (climbed with John). A the top we descended and the rope got stuck. Both Cathedral and Eichhorn are pinnacle summits. Just just just awesome. Walked out -> back at camp - 5:00 p.m.

Drive to town for BBQ dinner - crash around campfire. Note we saw a smoke plume off in the distance.

Ground is hard. Back is stiff each morning.

Wednesday, 07/14/04

Wake up - guess what? Still sunny!! But -> the park is on fire!! Smoke is everywhere. No views today. Ash blows through the Valley. We climbed "Pothole Dome." Not too interesting. Then to "Low Profile." John led a 5.10 climb. Amusing - I didn't do any of it. Jim led a wonderful 5.7 crack on Crystals.

Back at camp now - drinking. Had more burgers, chowder and salad.

Thursday, 07/15/04

Stately Pleasure Dome [I love some of the names given to climbs.] John and Jim - West Country, 5.7, went well.

Bob and Doug 5.4 to 5.7 Bolted Dome.

Out after 5 pitches at 12:30 p.m.

Bet, lost my helmet. Can't find it - bought a new one. [He was probably feeling guilty about this.]

Go to an Auschwitz style camp and finally shower. Oh - squeaky clean - you know what I mean?

Off to town - had a wonderful hot dog at the BBQ restaurant at 3:00 p.m. Then went to the geologic formation at Lake Mono - blah blah blah...but it was really neat - pillars of "Tufa" formed when spring water from Ca++ crystallized in the lake. The locals took environmental charge and won a lawsuit against L.A. for stealing water and lowering the lake beginning in 1941. Good for them. The lake is now rebounding. It is salty and alkaline. Flies - Indians ate larva - butternutty taste. Mark Twain called it "desolate." Back at camp 6:00 p.m., long long day planned for tomorrow. PS Still smoky.

Friday 07/16/04

Went to bed Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. then up at 5 a.m. for a long day planned at Mathes Peak in the back country.

Another 10K mountain that is a knife edge traverse for up to 14 pitches. 900' drop either side. Wonderful climbing. All told 3 hour approach, 4 hour climb, 3 hour hike back to car. Exhausted. Sore. But feeling great. Took a swim, had tuna melts for dinner.

Bob and I go to a nearby store, sat on the park bench for 1 hour watching (making fun of) people.

There was a ranger performance that I forced those guys to go to and they liked it!! It was on John Muir, R.R. Warren Harding and Lynn Hill (climbers on El Cap and Half Dome.) And we sang:

Stow stow stow your food, safely away from bears, Bearily, Bearily Bearily Bearily, Food left out is theirs! [Note: this became an oft-repeated "saying."]

At midnight, John's Girl Sydney came by. She writes and climbs 5.11's. Can pick her foot over her head. (Weighs 95 lbs.) Ugh. I can't touch my toes.

Saturday, 07/17/04

Starts out as a day off - heading to Yosemite Valley and see Half Dome and El Cap. More later.

I miss you and love you so much....

Went to Yosemite Valley. Took about 2 hours to drive there even though it is a 12 mile walk to it through the mountains. Another beautiful day but still a little smoky. (At least ash wasn't flying.) See Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite Falls, El Cap, Half Dome and 80 bazillion tourists from every country on the planet!! Ugh.

Have pizza and cocktails in curry village. Do some shopping. Leave and head to a Sequoia Forest - the largest tree. (Bristlecone Pine is the oldest, Redwoods tallest, but Sequoia is most weight.) They are huge. A car tunnel was cut into one tree (that died) in the 1880's. Trees are 3000 years old. Come back and eat tuna melts - bed at 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, 07/18/04

Up at 6:00 for an 8 hour day up Echo Peaks (9 of them at 11,000 feet.) John and Sydney climb Cathedral Peak. Wonderful climb, skies threatening so we didn't do everything. A marmot came up to me and took a sh*t. Climbed Echo Crest 11,200 feet. Back at camp 4:30 p.m.

Gino and 2 nephews (young boys) show up. (Guys Bob met on last trip in Peru.) He is divorced for the second time and heading to Mexico to start an outfitting/camera career. Good lunch. The boys are spry and we watch then boulder hand moves until 9:00 p.m. In bed exhausted. Hopefully I can call you in the morning and catch you.

Monday, 07/19/04

Entire group leaves camp circa 9:00 a.m. to go to the Bunny Slopes. Great climbing (one pitch) all next to each other, 5.6 to 5.9. Sunny and getting a little burned. Leave there at 2:20 p.m.

Then John, Bob, Jim and I go back to Lembert and do a multi-pitch 5.6 (northwest Book.) I led a really fun pitch. Back at camp at 6:00 p.m. Hot dogs on the grill.

Tuesday, 07/20/04

Woke up at 6:00 a.m. Today - leisurely pace. Out at 12 p.m. for a back country climb at Mt. Conness. Get permit - Doug, Jim Bob. John stays with the rest and boulders etc.

100 yards from our initial walk from camp, we eat at the burger place. Last real meal for 1.5 days. Walk into Young Lake - 7 miles. We bivy in a beautiful alpine meadow with wildflowers. Watch sunset. Dinner was a P.B. sandwich and turkey jerky. Starts out - saw Big Dipper - really bright.

Wednesday, 07/21/04

Wake up at sunrise. Cool temps. Camp is at 10,000 feet. Conness is 12,600 feet. We have a wonderful breakfast of one PowerBar. Bushwhack about one hour to the base of the technical climb. All told, maybe 14 pitches - on and on. Finish on the West Ridge. Summit about 1:30 p.m. Beautiful views back at what we climbed over last week. Marmot climbs with us. Then the long descent back to our sleeping bags - then a 7 mile long hike back to T.M and get back, dirty and exhausted. Dogs for Din Din. Swim in the river. climbing is over now. Can't wait to come home.

Thursday, 07/22/04

Wake up. Call you. Pack up. Time to leave. Drove to a saloon (Iron Door) with real swing cowboy doors. Oldest bar in California. Then off to Freemont and Best Western. Sit in jacuzzi, get a haircut with Bob. I treat to Din Din - have salmon. Bob and I go to Applebees for a night cap. The 50 year old man next to us is wearing Osh Cosh Jumper Suit, Mork & Mindy sneakers, drinking out of a sippy cup. Crash and watch "Dear Cindy" or something like that.

Friday, 07/23/04

At airport a little early. John said the car place took his insurance for the missing hub caps.

Animals seen

1. Western Bluebird
2. Marmot
3. Pica
4. Blue Jay (Big one)
5. Deer
6. Bear scat


[The end]

When Doug got come from these trips, he usually arrived exhausted, with lots of dirty laundry, wet stinky climbing gear, a earsplitting smile on his face and a huge bouquet of flowers for me. I poured him a hot bubble bath and a glass of wine, and scrubbed him down while he shared all the stories. Then we read each other's journals in bed. I never grew tired of the amazing slide shows of their adventures that Bob put on afterwards.


Posted 03/04/2012




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