Sunday, August 7, 2011

Three Days in Tuolumne

I'm posting from a strange cafe in Mammoth Lakes, CA. Dirty, smelly, and tucked into a corner using every outlet within 10 feet. Lib and I just spent the past three days getting humbled by boulders in Tuolumne Meadows, and we're suffering through a bit of civilization before heading off to Rock Creek.

Day 1:

After resolving a few car issues we made it to the Meadows only to find that the campsite we were banking on was full. Through some kind words and a little luck, however we were able to camp in a semi-legal spot for a night before snagging an opening in the morning. The first night bouldering we found out what Tuolumne bouldering was all about. In a word: HARD. We got thrown form nearly everything we tried. Humbled, we packed up our egos and called it a day.

Day 2:

An all day bouldering marathon. Beginning with a short session at the Olmstead boulders I managed to wrestle my way up a V4 roof. It may have been the hardest V4 I've ever had the pleasure (read: granite burn all over my chest from whaling out the finish) of sending.

After a long lazy lunch in the shade we gathered what motivation we had left and made for The Knobs, an area known for its strange Diorite Knobs and classic Kauk problems.
A typical face in The Knobs.

Lib and I were surprised to find the climbing both unique and thoroughly enjoyable. After warming up we both tried Kauk's namesake problem, a slightly overhanging crimp face with a crucial heel hook that must have been futuristic back when it was first ascended.

Lib made quick work of the stand start, winding up on top on her first try and ticking off her first V5 flash! (No photo, but look for the flash footage in our Part 2 video!) I also managed to flash the boulder from a full value sit start at V6. With the psych setting in from flashing a piece of bouldering history we hiked around the post card surroundings and checked out a few more areas, though deciding to end the day on a high note.

Day 3:

After a long lunch waiting for the camera battery to charge (Thanks Wilderness Permit Rangers) we started a slow day at the Puppy Boulders. There is something so nice and relaxing about climbing in an area next to a river.
Taking a break next to the Tuolumne River.

When the sun fell and the shadows grew a little longer we rolled up our pants and crossed the Tuolumne River to the Kitty Dome Boulders in search of a tall, clean arete named Golden Rastafarian. Hiking four pads, a tripod, a few liters of water, and a camera up and over the dome left us winded, but once I saw the line edged in afternoon sun I couldn't put my shoes on fast enough.

The motivation must have been enough because I surprised myself with a flash of the V6(+++) sit start.
High off the deck on Golden Rastafarian SDS V6.

With the flash footage and a few close-ups in the can we hiked out, ate a huge dinner, and promptly fell asleep.

Day 4 (Today!): An early start left us packed up and ready to go well before the sun had reached the base of the trees. We debated whether or not to climb a tall V1 we had been driving by, and opted to take the detour. Flakes V1 turned out not only to be worth it, but quickly earned a high ranking in the best V1's I have ever done. If you're in the Meadows and you have a crash pad do yourself a favor and climb this problem. It was so fun I had to climb it twice, and would have continued if we weren't on our way out.

Finishing up the mega classic Flakes, V1

It looks like this strange cafe is about to close, so on that note off to Rock Creek!



  1. Good stuff man. Old school grades happen... sounds like you guys have been around the bloc (hehe) enough to not let it bother you and just enjoy the climbing.

    Looking forward to installment two of the video!

  2. Thanks! Yeah, Tuolumne was a history lesson for sure. It's great to be forced to climb not only harder, but with better technique.