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Posts Tagged ‘rock climbing’

Vertical Hiking at Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Peak

Tenaya Peak

I have a feeling it might be self-indulgent to post about rock climbing for a largely non-climbing audience — it has a distinct ‘Look at me, I’m on top of the rock!’ quality — but there is clearly some connection between my interests in stonework and rock climbing, so I’ll go for it. In any case, what Anita and I do is often not so much rock climbing as it is vertical hiking, long climbs that are not particularly difficult but very scenic. We recently managed to sneak in a trip to Tuolumne Meadows and the Tenaya Lake area to do some absolutely beautiful vertical hikes before the fall planting season swallows us up for a while¬†(55 lbs. of bulbs coming, among other things). It doesn’t get much more scenic than the area around Tenaya Lake.

Tenaya Summit

Tenaya Summit

Tenaya Peak was probably the highlight. The view from the top includes Half Dome and all of the peaks of the Tuolumne area, and the climbing is low-angle and easy. The approach morphs into the climb and eventually you think, ‘Maybe I should put on my Spiderman rock shoes,’ and then a while later you think, ‘Maybe we should rope up,’ and then later you realize, ‘ Wow, I’m on the top, what a view.’ Rubberneckers in the parking lot and other non-climbers never believe me, but all that’s needed is a pair of sticky-rubber shoes with someone to manage the rope and anyone could do this climb. It’s truly beautiful.

Tenaya Lake

Tenaya Lake

Foxtail Pine on Tenaya Peak

Foxtail Pine on Tenaya Peak

There’s always a surprising number of plants growing on the rock. We got to to hang out with one of the poster children for global warming, the pika. Pika’s can’t deal with heat and for the most part retreated up onto alpine peaks a long time ago. Now that the climate is warming even more, they are stranded on those peaks, unable to migrate north to cooler locations.

Pika!

Pika!

Stately Pleasure Dome at Tenaya Lake

Stately Pleasure Dome at Tenaya Lake

We climbed a few of the other domes in the area. The Stately Pleasure Dome is appropriately, if a bit grandiosely, named. Great White Book, up the white dihedral near the center of the main face, is one of the most enjoyable climbs I’ve ever done. Pywiack Dome is another dome we climbed, an almost unbroken slab. It’s all some of the most perfect granite I’ve ever seen.

Pywiack Dome

Pywiack Dome

Can you spot the climbers?

Can you spot the climbers?

Looking around on wikimedia, I found some photos that zoom in on climbers on the dome. You can click to enlarge.

Can you spot the climbers?

Can you spot the climbers?

Climbers on Pywiack Dome

Climbers on Pywiack Dome

That’s not us, but we did rappel from those same anchors.

Glacial Erratics at Lake Tenaya, by Edward Muybridge c. 1870

Glacial Erratics at Lake Tenaya, by Edward Muybridge c. 1870

I also found this copy of an old stereoscope from the 1870’s. That man clearly wishes he had my sticky-rubber shoes to climb that boulder with.

Look at me, I'm on top of the rock!

Look at me, I'm on top of the rock!

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Yosemite National Park, especially the Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya area, is my favorite place in the Sierras. Pam at Digging is of the same mind, with a post calling Yosemite the most beautiful place on earth. She’s writing about national parks this week and compiling a list of posts from other bloggers. Check here to see the ongoing collection.