Yesterday morning, I awoke somewhat motivated, so
I drove up to North Lake to the Paiute Pass trailhead. The SE face of 13,225' Mount Emerson is so close to the car,
it practically counts as roadside cragging. This 2,000'+ route is just barely 5th class in a few spots,
with lots and lots of 4th class following prominent features on mostly excellent rock. This time I descended the South
slope, which seemed easier than the direct route down the Paiute gully that I took last year. It is a lucky thing to
have quality routes so readily available!
The tricky thing about soloing is that it is hard to get a good
picture of yourself, and shots of just scenery seem boring without a subject. The summit arete on this climb
dramatically traverses an abrupt knife-edged ridge for a while. I stopped and took this photo by waving the camera
around at arm's length. Look at how sharp that ridge is!
This weekend I drove over Tioga Pass to Yosemite to visit some old friends and get in
a little rockclimbing. The weather was very hot and muggy; the granite was too hot to touch by afternoon, unless there
was some shade. I awoke at first light each morning and did quick free-solo ascents of the classic "Royal Arches" route
before the sun hit the wall. Each ascent took about two and a half hours, including the notoriously trecherous
descent down North Dome Gully, across the so called "Death Slabs". I calculate that I must have done each pitch of the
climb in around three minutes average, for a sustained vertical progress of about fifty feet per minute, or about one foot
per second. Incredibly, by leaving early, I had this famously crowded route entirely to myself. The scary
descent was also done quickly, with lots of bouncing and surfing over exposed sandy ledges. My climbing day was
done before nine each morning.
The remainder of the days were spent people watching and aimless wandering. It
occured to me that I outta take some photos for an update here. Saturday evening, I told my friend Evan [who I usually
stay with during my visits] that I was going out to get some pics.
"Hey, Evan, iyam gonna go take pics of animals and stuff for my website- Wanna come along?"
"Nah..." Evan was seriously occupied with his crossword puzzle.
"Alright, see how ya are? If I see Bigfoot and take his picture, I
ain't gonna let you see!"
Funny thing; I was away less than ten minutes when I abruptly encountered this strange
creature at close range. "Bigfoot!" I exclaimed. Bigfoot did a little dance and high-fived me, then
I took his picture, before he vanished into the crowd at Camp Curry. I returned with my startling photo evidence
and lorded it over Evan. This is the photo that he wasn't allowed to look at:
Evan didn't so much as blink. "I allready took his picture a couple years ago.
Looky here...." This is what he showed me:
Evan also has quite a collection of Eric Bjeckfjiord style blobsquatches, with imaginary faces peering
from shadows and through brush. Maybe I'll post up a few someday......