I took a quick weekend trip to meet my climbing partner, Bob, and his friend, TY, in Yosemite to continue our Everest training. We did a quick day (short climbing day due to crowds) on the Apron in Yosemite Valley on Saturday, followed by a full day of climbing on the classic Southeast Buttress of Cathedral Peak (10,911′) in Tuolumne Meadows on Sunday. It was a beautiful day with bluebird skies and mild temperatures, especially for late October. Cathedral Peak is a fun, sustained 5.6 rated climb over 6-8 pitches (~700 feet of technical climbing) up perfect Yosemite granite. It’s a beautiful peak, with stunning views, which makes for a really fun day of climbing. We were a little slow since we were a team of three, but were still car-to-car in 11 hours, including a 2-hour approach and 2-hour descent. The video below will give you a sense of the experience on the face of the buttress. Good fun.
This past weekend was low-key from a training perspective, but I still enjoyed some time in the high country. My girlfriend, Carla, and I went to Aspen, CO, for the weekend to catch the last of the fall foliage and to celebrate her birthday. We had a great weekend and did a couple of hikes in the Maroon Bells area where we enjoyed the raw weather and scenic beauty. The last of the Aspen stands are turning gold and soon the last leaves of autumn will be on the ground, ushering in the start of winter. With the recent snows and the return of La Niña, it promises to be an early, snowy winter, of which I look forward to taking full advantage. It should make for some great training and mountain fun in the lead-up to my trips to Patagonia and then, of course, Everest.
Bob and I headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) after waking-up at 3:45am on Sunday morning for an alpine start to climb the NE Ridge of Spearhead in Glacier Gorge near Longs Peak. We were on the trail by 6am and started on the 6-mile hike to the base of the climb. We made good progress in crisp fall temperatures for much of the morning. We finally arrived at the base of the climb a few hours later where we found snow on the north face (essentially where we were planning to climb) and cold temperatures at 11,500′ with significant wind and windchill. After a brief deliberation, especially since the climb is on the north face and therefore completely devoid of sun, we decided to save this one for next summer. We ended up doing 12-miles with our 35-40 lb. climbing packs and gaining over 3,000′ of vertical, so overall it wasn’t a bad training day, we just didn’t get to do the fun part of the climb that we had planned. Such is life in the mountains.