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.

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