After four years of climbing I finally got the chance to visit the international climbing mecca and birthplace of American climbing, Yosemite Valley. I felt a bit intimidated by the history and difficulty of climbing here but I was also humbled by the beauty of the valley and amazing climbing feats of climbing these big walls. Although I would love to climb the big walls and camp on a ledge I will probably stick to routes that can be done in a day.
I drove into the Valley from Oakland on Sunday. I passed a kid thumbing it on the roadside in Oakdale. By the time I turned around to pick him up he was gone. I hoped he had gotten a ride. When I made the final turn onto highway 120, there was the kid again. I picked him up and he was so excited to get a ride from a climber and on the last 60 miles of his first trip to Yosemite as well. His name was Elliott and he had hitched 700 miles from Bend, OR in one day. Quite a feat. We rolled into Camp 4 pretty late and saw the rangers giving the evening registration check and tent shake down for those not registered. After they left we crashed in the lot and prepared for an early rise to get in line for sites at Camp 4.
I slept pretty light for my mind had thoughts of ranger and bear invasions throughout the night. Elliott also startled me as he spotlighted a raccoon that was interrupting his slumber. I was fourth in line at 5:30 AM. Two Germans were at the head, Michael from Montana third, myself, a Norwegian behind me and then Elliott. Quite a diverse group here in the Valley. We all had to wait until 8:30 AM for the ranger to show up but I got a site. The restrictions here are a bit silly even more so than at Hueco Tanks. But just like the Tanks, the climbing is worth the hassle.
Michael, third in line, and I struck up a conversation and quickly realized we both needed a partner to climb with and were on a similar page with climbing and the Valley. So the fishing for partners began. Pretty easy here in Camp 4 and one can be fairly assured that the majority of folks know how to climb. I would climb and hang out with Michael and some others from Montana in the coming days. He turned out to be great partner and fun to hang out with. We climbed Bishops Terrace, Church Bowl Tree, Church Bowl Chimney, Energizer with Allan and his fun tree stem beta, After six and Nutcracker.