Tag: trad climbing

Tuolumne Meadows Climbing Pywiack Dome

A Weekend of Trad Leads

Tuolumne Meadows Dozier Dome Climbing

The first time I ever led trad was about a year ago. I got a crash course in placing nuts right before. My friend mumbled some stuff to me, patted me on the back, and headed up the pitch with another friend. I would meet them up there. I nervously adjusted the sling containing the alpine draws and nuts. I thumbed through all the cams and started to climb. My first piece was a nut, right off the deck. My second piece was another nut, perfectly slotted into a constriction right before a lieback. I didn’t trust it. I don’t know why. I was afraid of kicking it out. I froze. And then I lowered off it, too unsure of myself and my abilities to continue. The pitch was a 5.4 on low angle slab.

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Climbing the Matterhorn, Sierra Nevada, Sawtooth Range, July 2016

Climbing the Matterhorn

Climbing the Matterhorn, Sierra Nevada, Sawtooth Range, July 2016

I was too slow. I was too fat. Maybe my pack was too heavy. I shouldn’t have gone to the gym yesterday. Did I really need to bring my DSLR and tripod? Why couldn’t I keep up? What if he didn’t want to ever go on climbing adventures with me again? My trekking pole got stuck in a crevice. I yanked it out and subsequently knocked the handle into my eye. That was the final straw that broke the frustrated camel’s back. I tried to stop it, but one sniffle led to another. Then I was suddenly bawling on the last half mile section to our campsite for the night.

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Climbing Cathedral Peak June 2016

Climbing Cathedral Peak

Climbing Cathedral Peak June 2016

It’ll be easy, I said. It’s only a few pitches of 5.6, I said. We’ll be in and out with tons of time to frolick and lounge, I said. That’s how I talked my friend, Joe, into spontaneously driving to Tuolumne Meadows with Josh and I to climb Cathedral Peak with us one June weekend.

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Red Rock Rendezvous 2016

Reminiscing on Red Rock Rendezvous 2016

Red Rock Rendezvous 2016

Friday afternoon, a week before Red Rock Rendezvous, I frantically dialed the number of the dude organizing the entire festival. In the span of an hour, en route to Joe’s Valley, I managed to completely freak out and convince myself that my measly trad skills were too measly for an advanced gear placement and anchors class. I anxiously rifled through the website, hoping for something, or anything, to tell me that I’d be okay. But somehow things looked a little different from when I bought my early bird ticket back in November. And this time around? There were skill levels associated with all the descriptions. Crap.

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