Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Climbing: Serenity Crack, Sons of Yesterday, Cookie, Generator Crack

Erik and I had been away from real climbing at Yosemite for so long (two years?) and were itching to get back on some multi-pitch climbs. We were having a hard time picking one though because his favorite, the Rostrum, was still closed in order to provide privacy to a few big birds making babies, and we did not feel strong enough to get back on Astroman yet. When the idea of doing Serenity and Sons popped up in my head on Thursday, I was really happy because it saved me from agonizing over options. I'd followed Serenity once before and remembered it being hard — I thought I hang at the crux on the third pitch last time although I couldn't find any mention of it in my old trip report. Last time, we also skipped Sons of Yesterday despite the fact that Supertopo calls it a crime.

My alarm went off at 5am in Ron and Liz's dungeon room. I got up to make coffee and breakfast while Erik was sound snoring — he had had a long week at work and had been sleep-deprived. However, the clicking of my camping stove and pan woke him up. He was grumpy for quite a while until we got to the base of the climb. Poor guy.

My slowness in getting ready cost us the first place in line; however, I was happy that we beat the next two parties by two steps. When Erik was reading a closure sign on the climbers' trail, I heard voices approaching and urged him on. The people behind followed us all the way to the base of the Serenity. As it turned out, they were a bunch of really friendly folks I recognized from our local climbing gym, which made the wait at the base fun. The party in front of us were Matt and Nolan from the Bay Area. Nolan was belaying when we arrived. I quickly worked out a deal with him — we would each climb on one rope and on the way down we would share our two ropes for the long rappels off of Sons of Yesterday. This way, they didn't need to carry their tag line up and we didn't need to drag our second full rope up either.

Erik and I moved at a good speed behind Matt and Nolan. They were not slow climbing, but I noticed that they spent a lot more time at each belay station changing over. So, most of the time, despite our wait at various belay stations, we kept catching up with them. They were kind to mention that we could pass them, but since we would be sharing ropes going down anyway, we just enjoyed our wait. I followed Erik the whole way — just didn't feel like leading. But this time, I felt solid on the entire climb. The finger crack at the crux on Serenity felt a lot easier than I remembered.

On a side note, I just read recently on Supertopo that someone had put a bolt back on the first pitch of Serenity, which triggered a long discussion. It was still there when we climbed it, but Erik didn't clip it — instead, he placed a bomber red camalot (#1) in the crack at the same height of the bolt. In his word, the camelot was "belay quality."

Higher up on Sons of Yesterday, the wind was quite strong. I got a little chilled. That's the beta I'd like to offer to anyone reading this — bring a wind breaker even if it's toasty at the base.

On Sunday, we went cragging at Cookie, hoping that Ron would be able to join us. But at the peak season of Yosemite tourism, the Bed and Breakfast was keeping him very busy. We took this chance to run laps on Outer Limits and Crack-a-go-go. I had trouble in my first two attempts top roping Crack-a-go-go, but after taking a break, on my last try, I managed to climb it without falling. Whooohoo!

As I had planned, we went to Generator Crack before calling the day. Having poison oak rashes all over his left shin, Erik decided not to do it. But being a considerate and supportive husband, he kindly climbed up the rock and set up a top rope for me (and later took it down). I was anxious to find out how my wide crack climbing ability had deteriorated after two years of break, so it made me happy that I was able to climb it without any trouble starting from the tree. However, I had a hard time starting from the ground — I couldn't get my left knee over the restriction (will post picture later). Now I can't wait to get back again because I just read my own beta that I posted more than two years ago.

We didn't get home until almost 1am because we stopped by Ron and Liz's place on our way out. Time flew by when we happily chatted. But hanging out with our good friends made the weekend even more perfect (correct English?).

Photos:

I forgot to put the camera in our packs on Saturday, so we don't have any pictures from Saturday even though the view of the valley was great from Serenity and Sons.

Here are a few pictures from Sunday.

Is this the famous Separate Reality. Click on the image to see the full sized picture. You can see that fine line across the roof. Taken from the parking spot for Cookie Cliff.

On Supertopo, someone reported that a boulder rolled off the base of Generator Crack. Well, for what it's worth, here is how it looks now. The board is still there.

The start of Generator Crack. Right in the middle is the restriction I was talking about — too narrow for my knee to fit in.

That's me inside the crack. You can barely see me.

Oh, the fun chimney section near the top.

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