Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer Solstice

June was a sunny yet bittersweet month here in the Yosemite. Pangs of 'homesickness' for various places interspersed with local drama made for some trying times.

I miss east coast early summer mornings, a promise of humidity in the air, birdsongs in the breeze, sleeping pressed to the screens on open windows. I miss Fontainebleau, afternoon escapes from working in Paris, solo sunsets in the boulders. I miss Bar Harbor, Maine, hiking with my family, picking blueberries, ice cream and fireworks and movies together. I miss Dad, gone three years ago this month. And I miss a good friend. I think a Portuguese word- saudade- describes it well.

But June was also a busy month of climbing. With the all the snow in May, I only got in two longer routes: the Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock with Ashley and South by Southwest on Lower Cathedral Spire with Zach. In June I got on a wall- the South Face of Washington Column, first with Steve and then with Riley; repeated Serenity and Sons (been a few years) with Trevor; had a monster day with Mike on Royal Arches into Crest Jewel on North Dome as well as a rainy day adventure on the Caverns into slippery Selaginella; explored more obscure routes and crags; and attempted a Dolt mission, had my first taste of Astroman (first 5 pitches), and got in some great cragging leads (Manana 10d onsight, Finger Licken 10d, photo below, with a few hangs, Cookie Monster, my first 5.12 lead, with a bunch of hangs!) all with my favorite local ropegun Ashley!

So lots of fun on the rock and I learned a lot too: pull rap ropes with long sleeves and jug with long socks. I am not a slab climber: I don't have the head for it, or the calfs, and I don't much enjoy that movement (definitely a crack climb addict, though techny crimpy faces are fun too, on TR :) And while I like logistics and problem solving, I am not an aid climber. I need to work on managing fear and finding flow on lead. And finally, I much prefer to climb with girls.

The brilliant sun and warm temps in June were perfect for dips in the icy Merced and I spent a fair amount of time at 'secret' spots along the river. I also enjoyed a 14+ mile solo hike from Tunnel View to Glacier Point via Sentinel Dome with the most amazing views along the way. It's summertime now, and while a month ago I couldn't imagine ever leaving the Valley again, I need some space and so it's time to drive. But come September, I'll be back.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Snowy Yosemite Spring

The month of May has flown by so fast in the Valley! Rest of the world- are you still out there beyond these granite walls?

I have always loved Yosemite, from my first visit in the summer of 2007 when I scrambled up barefoot to the foot of the Nose in over 100 degree heat; to a year later in 2008 when I climbed it and spent almost two months here; to biannual spring and fall vacation climbing trips ever since. I still plan to travel and explore the next few years but I can feel already that this will be my new home.

I spent May working as a visitor information volunteer for the Yosemite Conservancy. I went from working in a pinstripe suit and heels at 50 Rockefeller in NYC to jeans and sandals in a yurt in Yosemite, and I couldn't be happier!! Now I wake up every morning to views of Royal Arches, Washington Column, and Half Dome outside my tent and sounds of the Merced River flowing by.

Its been a snowy spring here and I've spent more time on (or trying not to fall off of) my bike (key to getting around the Valley) than on the rock, but I'm still getting schooled on Yosemite granite.

And a few bonus pics:

From desk jockey and jet-setter... rock pirate and NPS volunteer!