Sunday, August 22nd, 2004

Bunny Slopes and Low Profile Dome in Tuolumne

On Saturday morning, we arrived at Bunny Slopes at 11 am. Surprisingly, there was only one party on the right side, and we went left. Wild in the Streaks (5.7) was supposed to be easy, so I picked up the sharp end (i.e. I took the lead). Looking up, I couldn’t see a bolt until 40 feet up, which seemed to be pretty unusual for a climb listed in SuperTopo, but since the start looked easy, it didn’t bother me. However only when I got there did I see that it was simply an older hanger on an old 1/4″ bolt. Even worse was that I couldn’t find another bolt anywhere within my sight. Could the bolts be hard to spot among the knobs? Could SuperTopo be wrong? I continued up bearing the hope to run into a bolt unexpectedly. I did, but only another 50 or 60 feet above my first clip. I had a feeling that I was on a wrong route, but pushing up on the knobby wall seemed like a better option than down climbing. Finally, I spotted an anchor 20 feet to my right, and I happily traversed over. I had only 15 feet of rope left at that point, and there were only two clips on two 1/4″ bolts between me and the ground. Allen followed up and joined me at the anchor. On my way rappelling down, I found 5 shiny and sturdy 3/4″ bolts that belong to Wild in the Streaks. I just climbed an old runout route Black Uhuru (5.6R/X). Fool me once, shame on you! We were not to be fooled a second time. Allen led Wild in the Streaks correctly and we toproped the runout route to its right, Black Diamond (5.9R). The party grew bigger to our right. A teenage girl was crying out loud nervously somewhere in the middle of Hot Crossed Bun (5.6) while her belayer and spectator (her parents?) enthusiastically and patiently encouraged her.

It was only lunch time, but Allen was ready to call it a day. My high spirit failed to arouse him, so we retreated to Tuolumne Meadow. He pulled out his ridgerest and pillow as soon as we parked and disappeared in the meadow. I pulled out my map and compass, took a bearing with my compass towards a bush and walked towards it (about 127 steps). Then I walked 127 steps following the back bearing. Guess where I was? I was back to my car! That was a big achievement in my navigational skill! (Yeah, I agree, a car is a little big for such test.) Sitting in the middle of the open meadow, I also tried to use two bearings from two known peaks (Lambert Dome and Fairview Dome) to find out where I was on the map. After drawing two lines, I found out that my current location on the map–the intersection of the lines–should be in the middle of Tenaya Lake. I was a little lost. Allen woke up and timely reminded me that I was not in Tenaya Lake, but rather in Tuolumne Meadow.

We drove to our camp site and pitched tent. Allen immediately went to his second round of napping while I made soup with ham and real vegetables. Kirsten and Karl, whom we would share the camp site with, showed up around 5:30 pm. Although their proposal to go to the famous Mobile station for a delicious meal sounded appealing, I felt too much lack of climbing to resort to dinner yet. So I convinced Allen, rested and stomachically satisfied by now, to go climbing with me. We jumped into the car and drove to Low Profile Dome. After a 5 minute approach, we were at the base of Darth Vader’s Revenge (5.10a) (150′). We started climbing at 6:50 pm and by 8 pm we were back in our car. It started to get dark.

Loving the short approach and the large comfortable ledge, we returned to Low Profile Dome on Sunday. I wanted to lead Darth Vader’s Revenge which I followed yesterday, but someone was already on it. Allen said matter-of-factly, “why don’t you lead Shit Hooks (5.10b)?” I thought he was joking, but was eventually brainwashed by him to believe that I could lead it. And I did it — I led the 150′ climb in one pitch. That was my first 5.10b onsight. Another milestone after Little Sheeba (5.10a). Allen then led the 190′ Orange Man (5.10c) in one pitch. We moved over to the “Steep, burly, and pumpy” Memo From Lloyd (5.11b), which Allen onsighted and I followed clean. Oh, the Reid’s guide had it rated 5.10d. I agree this climb is a bit soft for 5.11b. If you are looking for a confidence booster, this can be a good one for you.

There is another popular route, the 180′ Golfer’s Route (5.7R), which stayed crowded whole day. Instead of waiting, I decided to lead another not-so-popular route to its left, Family Affair (5.9R). Not paying close attention to where I should go, I ended up being 20 feet left of its first of the only two bolts on the route. Having placed protection in the crack below, rope drag would become unavoidable as soon as I made the traverse, but I didn’t want to bother myself with back cleaning. On the last 50 feet of the 195′ climb, I regretted this decision with every step up I made because it felt as if I was carrying a 40 pounds load on my waist. It was a great relief when I reached the anchor.

Allen got the turn to lead the sweet Golfer’s Route. Before he stepped on the route, I said to him, “go set the speed record”. He finished leading the 190′ route in 12 minutes, but he didn’t really take my challenge seriously because he even took his time to place a huge nut in a flaring pocket in a funky sideway right above the last bolt (in the 5.4 terrain) just so that I would laugh at it later. When it was my turn to climb, I looked at my watch. 3:10 pm. I yelled up “climbing”, and started windmilling my feet up the wall. Seeing so many extruded knobs on the wall, I casually placed my feet on one knob after another without checking. 10 feet off the ground, I suddenly slipped on a slick foot hold and started sliding. With 9.5′ (5% of 190′) of rope stretch, I decked softly on my butt. I stood up shocked and yelled up “climbing again.” This time, I made sure every foot hold I used was a good one, and when I reached the anchor, it was 3:18 pm. In my rush, I didn’t get Allen’s nut joke tho gh.

P.S. I don’t have more photos for this weekend. That is because Allen managed to fill up the 128 MB memory card in the digital camera on his Sawtooth Ridge Traverse trip the previous weekend. To him every photo is a masterpiece and should not be deleted to make room for new photos..

P.P.S. When I told Allen on the phone that I was working on my trip report, he asked “what can you write about? We only did a bunch of short climbs!” I then told him that I already wrote it and I was working on making it shorter. It’s midnight now, so I’m giving up. You must be a person with abundant patience reading thus far. Thank you for reading.

Mei clicking the first bolt on
Black Uhuru 5.6(R/X)

Sunset I witness on my way down Darth Vader’s Revenge. Mount Conness is in a distance in the left