Thursday, July 25, 2013

Climbing with kids: Chapel Pond, 07/14/2013

Daniel climbing the lower portion of Tilman's Arete. The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
What seemed like a weeks-long rain cycle followed by a weeks-long heatwave made it hard to enjoy being outdoors during the first part of the summer, but we managed to squeeze in a day of climbing at Chapel Pond. I was mentally prepared for the worst, expecting mud, damp rock and horrendous mosquitoes. We must have picked the right spot to climb though, because the rock was dry, mud and bugs were nowhere to be found, and a pleasant breeze off Chapel Pond kept us cool all afternoon.

Our expanded group heads in from the Chapel Pond parking area.  The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
Our plan was to meet up with friends from Vermont and set up a top-rope or two somewhere in the Chapel Pond area. Then our party of 6 nearly doubled in size when by chance we ran into 5 more friends from New Paltz at the Chapel Pond pull-off. So we all headed to the far side of Chapel Pond and took over the Tilman's Arete / Shipton's Arete crag.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Climbing at Tuolomne Meadows, Hobbit Book: 06/27/2013

Mariuolomne Dome, Yosemite National Park.  Hobbit Book is the huge crescent-shaped corner that splits the dome.  Photo credit:
With its huge granite domes, soaring peaks, and the largest sub-alpine meadow in the Sierra Nevada, the scenery and the climbing at Tuolomne Meadows are world-class and at the same time completely different from Yosemite Valley. There are enough classic climbs at Tuolomne to fill a weeks long road trip, but we had just one more day. So we turned to some climbing friends for route suggestions and settled on Hobbit Book.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tenaya Peak, Yosemite Nat'l Park: 06/26/2013

I love hiking and I love climbing. But in places like the Sierra Nevada, with relatively easy off-trail travel, my favorite way to experience wilderness may be peak scrambling, a hybrid of hiking and climbing that adds in the challenge of route finding and the rewards of solitude and exploration. So, with a couple of classic Yosemite Valley hikes already ticked off, we consulted our maps and guidebooks for some trailless peak possibilities in the High Sierra surrounding Tuolomne Meadows, and settled on a route that included an ascent of 10,300’ Tenaya Peak.

Looking up at the northwest buttress of Tenaya Peak, from Tenaya Lake, Yosemite National Park

Monday, July 8, 2013

North Dome, Yosemite Nat'l Park: 06/25/2013

Incomparable view of Half Dome's sheer north face from North Dome.

The Saratoga Skier and Hiker, first-hand accounts of adventures in the Adirondacks and beyond, and Gore Mountain ski blog.
North Dome's straight-on, close-up view of Half Dome

With its unsurpassed view of Half Dome from directly across Tenaya Canyon, North Dome is the perfect complement to hiking Half Dome. This moderately strenuous hike (between 8.8 and 10 miles round trip, depending on whether you believe the map, the guidebook or the trail signs) had long been on my Yosemite must-do list, yet our hike on Tuesday was something of a gamble as a departing storm had yet to fully clear.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Half Dome, Yosemite Nat'l Park: 06/23/2013

Beth and I just got back from a week of hiking, climbing and peak scrambling in Yosemite National Park. This and the next few posts will be from that trip.

Vernal Falls
With its sheer face rising more than 4,800 vertical feet above Yosemite Valley, Half Dome is an icon that belongs on every hiker’s must-do list. Though it appears inaccessible without technical rock climbing skills, cables up Half Dome’s steep east face provide hikers with a spectacular route up the final 400 vertical feet to the summit. The hike’s popularity, along with a history of fatalities, led the National Park Service to establish a permit system in 2010. When we scored a permit in this year’s pre-season lottery, we planned our Yosemite trip around hiking Half Dome.

Hiking towards Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail, en route to Half Dome