Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekly Pano: Hidden Lake Goats...

Kimbo encountering the wildlife with Hidden Lake behind... off Logan Pass in Glacier National Park.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Kuwabara's @ the Grinnell Glacier

at the Grinnell Glacier after taking the last boat of the season across Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes and hiking 3.5 miles up to Grinnell Glacier past a rambunctious bull moose, a flock of bighorn sheep, and a tribe of mountain goats.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Quick Primer to Yosemite!

Tunnel View at night...
I moved out to California because of Yosemite.  Sure there were other reasons (getting accepted to the grad program at UC Berkeley, etc...) but I had other options.  After spending 4 years in St. Louis, I knew I needed mountains near by, and preferred big mountain, like the ones out west.  Growing up in Oregon... especially in a tourist town in S. Oregon (15 miles from the border) you gain a strong dislike of Californians, so I was a bit hesitant to move to California, but I was over that.... plus I knew that the Sierras are where I wanted to be.  But having been to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and the Sierras I knew I wanted real mountains (sorry Oregon, but your mountains are "cute"... nothing you can have adventures in year after year...)  So as soon as I got into Cal, I knew I'd be in California for a long time.

While driving through Tuolumne in GoodGirl last weekend after climbing Conness I started thinking about all the adventures, shared memories, torn finger tips, cold King Cobras, and uber stoke I've enjoyed in Yosemite over the last 10 years, and I figured I'd lay out a few of my recommendations, past trips, and future trips to do in Yosemite.

Things to do in Summer/Fall (Climbing Season):
A great time to visit the high meadows and get out into the backcountry.  At least stay out of the valley on the weekends... especially if there are bears... that'll be a 30 min traffic jam.  Or drive in late at night, do some ninja camping and leave early or late so that you won't have to deal with the tourists...

Get married!
The Wash U crew holding up the father of the groom!
Do some hikes/trail runs... get some ideas from lonely planet's hiking sierra nevada (the most organized hiking book of the area IMO).  Backpacking in Yosemite is also recommended, but this isn't my first choice as I can't take Mingus... (no dogs in the backcountry)... and it's crowded... and there are too many rules.
  • Future run ideas:
    • Run the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne (in spring... when it's really flowing)
    • Hike up Mt Lyell... and probably add in Mt. Maclure 
    • Northern Yosemite Loop (from twin lakes)

Hoeft, Kev, Kimbo and  I on top of Cloud's Rest... maybe the best view of the Valley?
Khalid and Sigman after hiking 20 miles... on our way back down to our car 50 miles away in the Valley...
Top of Half Dome...  
a few years earlier... 
The typical crowds gather on the "cables" pre-permit days... ugh.  
Jack Chase leading the way up the N. Coulie...
  • Climbs to do in Tuolumne: 
    • Drug/Mariuolumne Dome day: OZ/Gram Traverse to Hobbit Book; 
    • Fairview Day: Great Pumpkin to Lucky Streaks on Fairview; 
    • Tenaya Peak to Cathedral Traverse: up to 15 summits!  Unicorn Peak, Cockscomb, Matthes Crest, Echo Ridge, the 9 Echo peaks, Cathedral Peak and Eichorn pinnacle
    • Daff dome day: Blown Away (do 4th pitch of Bombs over Tokyo) to Cooke Book to Crescent Arch to West Crack?
    • Solo Tenaya Peak
    • SW Face of Conness...   
Hanging in the abyss... me ascending Leaning Tower
Funk trusts granite
  • Climbs To Do:
    • East Butt of Middle Cathedral (10c, 11p)
    • DNB of Middle Cathedral (11a, 19p)
    • My Favorite Things on Clouds Rest (10-, 15p)
    • Royal Arches (10b, 16p) - Crest Jewel Direct (10d, 5p) - Crest Jewel (10a, 10p)
    • Galactic Hitchhiker (11b, 39 p)
    • Moratorium (11b, 4p) - East Butt of El Cap (10b, 13p)
    • NW Face of Half Dome
    • Steck-Salathe (10b, 16p)
    • SXSW on Lower Cathedral (11a, 6p) - Reg Route on Higher Cathedral Spire (9, 5p)
    • NE Butt on Higher Cathedral (9, 11p)
    • Arrowhead Arete - Arrowhead Spire (9, 6p, 2 hr approach)
Things to do in Spring/Winter (Ski Season): 
an awesome time to visit the valley.  Actually it's a great time anytime... but the traffic between Memorial day and Labor day is no fun.  Spring time, the waterfalls are exploding, and you can do more water sports... like tube, kayak, etc..

The crew at the base of Yosemite Falls in the winter
Go Ice Skate on Ostrander Lake
Howard showing all of us how it's done.  (Courtesy of Bay Area Backroads)
Go ice skating!

Play tackle football on a powdery El Cap Meadow
Smitty throws like a girl!  Also... check our Roger's face. 
  • Future Winter Trips:
    • Ski out to the Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut -and Snow Creek Hut for a fun ski crossing... check out Bernard's awesome write of his trip with Kevin in 2010.  (Done, see above)
    • Ski some of the chutes off of Glacier Pt Rd down into the Valley.  Powder Magazine had a nice write up in their Oct 2011 issue (links JT Holmes, Pow mag)
    • Learn to be the honey badger of Skate Skiing and win the Nordic Holiday Race.  Yeah right... these guys do the 21 miles in 1.5 hours!  That's 14 mph.  That's like riding my road bike on that road in the summer... 
  • Go check out Horsetail Falls - late February
Places to Stay:
  • Evergreen Lodge - is awesome.  I've had a retreat here, and been to two weddings here.  A fun spot near Hetch Hetchy...
  • Yosemite Bug Hostel
  • Valley - Camp 4 (for climbers... a must stay... location of many bear encounters here... including one face to face), N. Pines, Upper Pines, Housekeeping (these are like mini-huts)...
  • Tuolumne - Anywhere is awesome
  • Saddlebag Lake - great sites just outside the park...
Places to see on the way to Yosemite...
  • Swimming holes
    • The first obvious one that comes to mind is Rainbow Pools (on 120 past Groveland)
    • But there are plenty of other swimming holes along the way... 

  • Hot Springs - tons of info online... I'll let you find these on your own... all on the E. Side along 395.  
First visit to the hot springs of the E. Sierra... and far from last... oh Red... how I miss thee...
Travertine Hot Springs at Magic Hour...
  • Mo Mart (on the Eastern Entrance) - a place every Tuolumne and E. Side climber/skier/dirtbag has been to and dropped 20$ on their fish tacos and cowboy burgers...

If this isn't enough to entice ya... here are some other links that will make visiting Yosemite irresistible for you: