Yosemite Valley/Tuolumne Meadows (September 2008)

Agata and I fled the onset of the autumnal Seattle rains for the greener pastures, or more appropriately, meadows of Northern California. We flew in to San Francisco and spent the rest of the day and part of the following day visiting various local tourist attractions before embarking on the 4 - 5 hour drive east to Yosemite. Continuing with the tourist theme the next morning, we gawked at the usual suspects in Yosemite Valley and lunched at Glacier Point before making our way over to Tuolumne Meadows later that afternoon. We spent the rest of the week, despite reservations, sleeping on dirt, climbing, scrambling and generally soaking in the unusual and sublime beauty this land of granitic domes has to offer. By the time Agata's mattress popped (we fixed it), we finally became acclimated to living at or above 8500 feet and waking-up to 25-degree mornings. With the sheer number of quality climbs, reliable autumn weather and relatively inexpensive SEA-SFO flights however, a return visit or two is definitely warranted!

What follows is a collection of photos from various stages of our California trip.

With gear strewn all over the living room, I worry that our bags are going to exceed our weight limit while Agata wonders if we really need to bring that heavy no.5.

Setting sail for Alcatraz Island.

View from Alcatraz towards Golden Gate Bridge.

Rusty, green prison door and gaper.

A prisoner's view of San Francisco.

Transamerica Building pinprick.

Southwest Face of El Capitan, with The Nose in profile at right.

Southeast Face of El Cap.

Close-up of party on El Cap.

Looking up Tenaya Creek Valley with Half Dome at right.

Curry Village as seen from Glacier Point.

Glacier Point panorama.

Yosemite Valley with El Cap at left, Half Dome in background left and Cathedral Spires at center.

Looking northeast from Olmsted Point towards Tenaya Lake and Mt. Conness in distance.

R&R time in Tuolumne Meadows.

Cathedral Peak with Southeast Buttress in profile.

Agata takes the first pitch on Cathedral.

Looking down Cathedral's SE Butt. from second or third pitch.

Echo Peaks from Cathedral.

View to NNW from Cathedral.

Setting sun and Eichorn Pinnacle.

Rapelling from anchors at Bunny Slopes.

Tenaya Peak's Northwest Buttress as seen during the approach.

Looking down Tenaya's NW Buttress.

A hazy Half Dome looking southwest from Tenaya.

View over Tuolumne Meadows with Fairview Dome at center.

Looking east towards the impressive Mathes Crest.

East-southeast view toward Mount Lyell and Lyell Glacier in distance, just left of center (I think).

Taking in the view from Tenaya.

Agata with Tenaya Lake below.

Tenaya Peak with NW Buttress in profile.

On the shore of Tenaya Lake with Pywiack Dome at center.

Life at our Tuolumne Meadows camp.

Climbing Puppy Crack.

Lembert Dome lies just across the street from the campground.

Climbers on Lembert Dome's Water Cracks.

Tuolumne Meadows from Lembert Dome.

Boulder with companion rock on Lembert Dome.

Striations in the rock on top of Lembert Dome.

Tree with candy cane swirl.

Mono Lake panorama - we had to make a side-trip to Lee Vining in order to purchase a patch kit for Agata's mattress.

Beautiful Saddlebag Lake.

Grass circles near Greenstone Lake.

Near Conness Lakes with Mount Conness in background.

First good look of Conness Glacier and North Ridge at right.

The view after having just gained the ridge.

Approaching first tower.

Agata scrambles the North Ridge.

View north from Conness.

Hiking back down from Conness.

Back home in Seattle doing what I do best!

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