Monday, December 5, 2011

Snake Dike

Got up to Yosemite last weekend for some last chance climbing in the valley before winter really settles in. It was such a beautiful time to be there: the sun was out, the temps were climbable (probably hovering around 40 degrees during the day) and it felt like we were the only people in the park. The main event was climbing "Snake Dike" (5.7 R), the notoriously run-out route to the top of Half Dome, Yosemite's most iconic formation.  

We woke up at 5am, had breakfast, packed up and quickly got going on the 6-mile approach to the base of the route. We passed waterfalls and enjoyed some stunning views along the way--I was so happy to be in the valley again. After only minimal trial-finding delays, we made it to the base of the route around 10:30am. 

The start of the route

I admit I started feeling intimidated by the climb once we started racking up to get going--I can't say that I particularly enjoy long run-outs, and on this route there is up to 75 feet between bolts. But once I saw how easy the climbing was (the super long run-outs are mostly 5.4) and felt the solid granite, I relaxed and enjoyed it for the adventure that it is. 

Blake on the third pitch

Me leading up the notorious run-outs

My calves were burning after the long hike and eight pitches of friction-y climbing, but at the top of the route we still had the "endless third-class slabs" to walk up to the summit. 

Anne on the endless slabs

It got so windy as we neared the summit! The valley decided to give us just a little taste of the alpine experience : )

Battling the wind

On the summit of Half Dome

After the summit we descended down the other side and made the nine-mile hike back to camp. I was so ready for dinner and my sleeping bag by the time we made it back. 

After all of the easy, poorly protected climbing on Snake Dike, we decided to climb something hard but well-protected the next day on our way out of the park. The perfect fit: top-roping "The Generator Crack", a heinous offwidth that can seemingly only be climbed through pure struggle, blood and bruises. It was a colder day, just around freezing, but we quickly warmed up through the physical effort. 

Trying to figure out what part of me will fit into the Generator Crack

Just a tight squeeze to go

No comments: