My quest for mountainous life, adventure and bliss has landed me in the mecca of the Eastern Sierras. An endless plateau of desert, extending far past the realms of possibility, spied upon by enormous ridge tops, rock faces, gullies and couloirs of the Sierras. The vastness has no curtains, no privacy, drawing your eyes to gaze toward the horizon, and challenge your reality. The greatness of these skylines brings you through metamorphosis, turning your once significant self into a single celled microbial in the shadow of the world. It’s a wonder how humbling and soul enriching a 40 min drive twice a week on the 395 is,
My place of residence and refuge from cities has landed me in Mammoth Lakes, CA. A beautiful oasis of hot springs, big mountains, climbing and easy living. I moved up here as a ski instructor, as ironic as that seems with almost no snow pack, the resort empty and an already broken wallet. I’ve made due, thanks to much help from a very supportive and rad family and great collection of close friends. But hell, I never came to the mountains to strike oil or find a buried chest of jewels. However, the treasure hunt for life experience, brilliant days of climbing and getting high up in the sierras is perfectly in order.
I’ve made some great progress with my personal climbing development since my last blog post. Finally after much diet and training, my strength on the rock has reappeared. When I first returned from Patagonia, I struggled my way up routes, flailed on low to moderate grades, and possessed almost no confidence. I’ve changed myself back to the climber I once was. Strong, confident and clean. Onsighting a couple v4’s, redpointing v5’s and working through v6’s, my body is feeling lean and fit. My confidence as traditional leader as well as improved since the start of my course. Recently I accomplished my first big lead climb of the Yosemite Valley on its most famous rock formations, half dome. My partner Pete and I set out the day after thanksgiving to climb one of the classic moderates of the valley on half dome, Snake Dike. A 5.7 rated R beaut. A year ago, I never could’ve imagined dealing with the first 40 feet of soloing with no pro, 80 foot run outs and featureless and exposed friction climbing where one bad foot placements is all that is in order to take a really bad fall and potential injury. A great stepping stone to more adventurous leads in my life.
The next objective for this month is the North Couloir of North peak. About 4 to 5 pitches of low angle alpine ice up a narrow chute of the 12,242ft peak, this will certainly be a great intro to Sierra alpine mountaineering and future climbs.