Monday, 23 June 2014

Bishop, Tuolmene Meadows, South Lake Tahoe And The Beginning Of The End

Tuolmene Meadows

After Cath headed back to Australia to hopefully get more reliable treatment and recovery, I headed to Bishop to meet up with some friends we had made earlier on the trip, Chris and Pam part of the Ontario crew. 
Salt Lake out side of Salt Lake City

The drive to Bishop was long and uneventful but as usual very beautiful. I arrived early in the day in the amazing town of Bishop, which is surrounded by beautiful mountains and an abundance of great climbing. We all met up, including Karin a friend of Chris and Pam’s in a nice little coffee shop on the main strip.

Driving to Bishop

Ancient Bristlecone Pine

The next few days we spent sport climbing in Owens River Gorge 
which is a great local crag with hundreds of climbing, mostly sport but some mixed and trad lines as well on river washed granite. We spent our time mostly doing onsight mileage.
Chris on the mega Classic Sheila 10a at Pine Creek

While on a rest day we went up on to White Mountain and visited the ancient Bristlecone Pines, some of which are over 4700 years old. There were spectacular to see. Looking almost dead except for a small part.

Pam crushing a 5.10d in Pine Cre

Me on the stunning arete of Eclipsed 5.11d

After Owens we headed up into the mountains a little more and spent the next few days at Pine Creek Canyon, which was amazing!

Again it is mostly granite sport climbing, the granite is perfect, the walk in is short and the setting is spectacular and it has beautiful free camping to boot!

Karin crushing a 5.10d in Pine Creek

After Pine Creek we changed things up a bit and spent a day bouldering at the Buttermilk boulders. It was a bit to hot to spend any large amount of time there but it was a must to visit. Pam and I promptly climbed till our fingers were raw and we couldn’t bear to touch the rock any more. The bouldering here is fantastic and we only scratched the surface.

Pam Bouldering with Chris spotting at the Butermilks, Bishop

The day after the Buttermilks was my birthday and although I was missing Cath a lot, Chris and Pam made up for it by taking me climbing at little Egypt, which was a fun little granite trad crag and then on to a natural Hot tub that looked out over the mountains.  They made burgers for dinner and bought me sweet cake for desert. All in all making it a very lovely day.

Birthday Hot Springs Hot Tub

We spent that night at the hot springs and had another hot tub in the morning (saving on showers) before we headed to Tuolumne Meadows

Mono Lake with its crazy stalagmites on the way to Tuolumne

Tuolumne is a magical place located above Yosemite at above 2600m. Cath and I had always wanted to go here together ever since our first visit to the states way back when. It was hard being there with out her, as I knew how much she would love it!
Pam’s neck was unfortunately playing up and therefore took time off from climbing while we were there and went hiking instead.
Chris and I could not contain our selves and headed of climbing on some of the best granite I have ever climbed on.

Chris seconding the amazing stemming pitch
on OZ/Gram traverse
Day 1 we did Oz/Gram Traverse 5.10d on Drug dome, which followed an amazing corner system to an enormous roof that we traversed under and passed on the other side of.
We finished this with time to spare before Pam returned to pick us up and decided to do On the Lamb a massive traverse across Lamb Dome just across the way. Unfortunately we got lost on the climb and climbed to high before traversing right and missed it altogether. We managed to summit however and still had a great time!

Chris points out OZ/Gram Traverse 5.10d a 5 star route! Heads up the big corner system then heads right 
all the way under the big roof to then head up again at the end

Rock ice axes on the approach to Lucky Streak 5.10d.

Day 2 we decide to do another 5 star 5.10d called Lucky Streak on Fairview Dome, which again was stellar climbing on immaculate rock.
Can you spot me on Lucky Streak? I'm leading the crux Pitch.

Unfortunately the camping at Tuolumne Meadows was not open which meant we had to drive up each day, which made for long days and a lot of money on fuel so we made the call to head to South Lake Tahoe/Lovers leap area.

We spend the first couple of days in this area climbing and camping at the Phantom Spires. A series of smaller outcrops with a mix of sport and trad routes.
The climbing is really fun but we soon feel like we want to move on to some other crags in the area particularly Lovers leap.

Pam leading on the Phantom spires
Me climbing the basket ball sized nobs
on the Phantom Spires

We took a rest day and head over to lovers leap, where my good friend from Oz, Mark Kendrick who was over attending a conference arrived to join us for the weekend.

Mark either angry at the sand bagging
or yelling for joy/relief after Traveler Butters,
Lovers Leap 
Me struggling on the Mega classic
Space Walk 5.11c, Eagle Lake.

We head up to climb at lovers leap, planning on some multi pitches that looked good. However I had forgotten that I have been climbing for nearly 9 months straight and completely sandbag Mark from the get go. We did manage to have a good day regardless and climb the excellent Travellers route on the main wall of Lovers leap and summit in good time.

The next day we head to the spectacular Eagle Lake Creek climbing area which is just stunning with a load of high quality single pitch trad routes right above Eagle Lake.

Eagle Lake

That night Mark headed back to his conference and the next morning Chris and Pam started their long drive home to Ontario. I headed to San Francisco to start the process of selling the Love Boat and prepare for the journey home.

Our amazing adventure is coming to an end.

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