Oh, lord, what has this girl gotten herself into this time??
I've never been accused at going at things half-assed. Deb was back in town after a few trips out of the country, and asked if I wanted to try my first multi-pitch climb in Yosemite, where her husband, Chris, is a climbing guide for YMS. She had picked Tenaya Peak , on the eastern end of Tenaya Lake, and after hearing the layout, I decided to give it a go.
So here was the scoop: we were ascending the NW Buttress, which summitpost lists as a 5.5, which is the average for the whole route, I guess. According to Deb's Yosemite guidebook, as well as Chris, there were a few sections/spots of 5.6 on our route. Now, I suppose when most people hear 'multi' they think of a few, maybe 3-4. Remembering that I usually jump in with both feet, hands, body, etc: We did 12. (Even Richard's eyebrows went up with that one!)
The approach from Tenaya Lake is brief, maybe 30-40 minutes around the cliff band to get to the toe of the buttress. Once there, wonderful sticky granite slabs line the lower portion of the buttress, gradually steepening to the faces below the summit. We roped up early due to my inexperience on Class 4, where Deb could show me a bit on placing pro, good belay technique, and so I felt really confident just scrambling around on the slabs. We both had trail shoes on for these sections.
At a good ledge for I think our 5th pitch, I decided to change to rock shoes as the angle increased. Deb (and later Chris) wore their approach shoes the whole time. Being comfortable on rock has its advantages! All at once I looked down to see a few tour busses parked at the Lake, and a strange thought occurred to me: In all the years of camping and hiking in Yosemite, I always would look up and try to see/photograph climbers on the walls. Now I was the one being looked at! We were caught up by a few other groups, but at least everyone was polite and gave plenty of room. Chris arrived, having free climbed up (and would continue to do so to the summit) and was dubbed photographer for the afternoon.
The scariest (read: whimperfest) spot was an open slab with two more on top of it offering no 'holds' just 'balance'. Hmmm... Chris downclimbed to give me some pointers as I tried to tough it out, and, while not as scary as the glacier and ice last weekend, it was enough to get my heart pounding! Upon reaching Deb at the belay anchor, I mentioned that section being quite frightening. "Good!!" She said, "The whole point is to challenge yourself!" Once around, it was an enjoyable scramble to the top up cracks and traverses with outstanding views ! In fact, I think this was the clearest day I've seen all summer up here!
The walk-off was just a bit tedious, mostly talus and heading down through the forest and slabs back to the lake, so no worries. I think this was a perfect intro to this style of climbing, although I think I'll stick to Class 3 a bit more overall! :grin: Thanks, Deb and Chris, for such a great day!!
A few more moments from the day:
Rest of the pics are here .
From the luckiest girl in the world: Climb Hard, Be Safe.
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