Subject: A Grand Day Out
Date: 1999/10/07
Newsgroups: rec.climbing

My partner and I were going to join Karl Lew and some other rec.climbing lurkers in Yosemite for a three day weekend. We had plans for Saturday and Sunday, but nothing for Friday. I contacted Karlee Baba to see if he was available to show us around, and he was.

We traded a bunch of email discussing what to climb. The goal was a mellow day of trad climbing; Pat has gotten bummed out the last few times we've climbed outdoors, feeling pressured and frustrated, mostly because we've been trying climbs that are too hard. Throw into the mix that she doesn't like face climbing very much, and that neither of us is terribly good at cracks.

Yeah, right, the Valley is filled with moderate routes for bumblies like us, right?

Karl and I went back and forth about several ideas, and finally agreed on Munginella. Seemed like a perfect place to start - a couple of grades below what we regularly climb in the gym, and "a spectrum of 5.6 challenges". We met early, parked, racked up and started the approach.

A Grand Day, indeed
It was a perfect day. Karl was careful to urge us along the desired path, and I could see that he was carefully evaluating our skills well before we got to the base. We were the first party to arrive and started up. Karl led, I seconded trailing a rope, Pat followed and cleaned. He taught us about rope management at crowded belays, cleaning jammed cams (broken Camalot trigger wires strike again!) and was careful to get feedback from us as we moved up the climb. As others have pointed out, climbing with Karl isn't a situation where you're told what to do and better do what you're told - it's climbing with a more experienced partner who's out to help you get better at climbing.

After the *lovely* descent from Munginella ("Hmm, here we can go left or right. Both ways suck, but left sucks less..."), we went over to Knob Hill and did some one-pitch climbs to work on crack and face techniques. A perfect progression up the grades - a step up in challenge, but not too much to handle - just enough to build confidence. (And build confidence it did - on Saturday we both climbed a good portion of Jump For Joy, 5.9 face, something we would *never* have tried...)

We climbed until our feet gave out, and Karl had the perfect solution for that, too - we drove over for a dip in the Merced near the base of El Cap. A great way to finish the day, feet cooling down while watching parties moving up the big stone ...

Thanks, Karl!

back to the mountaineering page