September 1st, 2016, just one day after finishing the epic Matthes Crest Traverse, we were on to the next climb, no rest for the wicked! Had a casual morning as the overnight temps were chilly. Woke up and enjoyed several cups of coffee using my favorite beans, Copperhead Blend from Comeplling & Rich, roasted by buddy James, shout out!!!
Being my first time in Tuolumne Meadows it was suggested to see the famous Tenaya Lake, and what better way to see it than from high above it! I can't remember whose idea it was, but the objective became Stately Pleasure Dome and the means would be the ultra classic Great White Book, 5.6 R.
This is a perfect route for late Summer / early Fall because it gets great sun coverage in the morning. We pulled an the route is the most obvious on the dome. You can see this perfect crack driving right up the middle. This climb is 5 pitches and 450' up. The lowest red arrow in the photo below shows the start of the route, it's some 3rd class friction to get to the base and above the top arrow is another pitch or two of easy climbing.
It was fun reading the history of this climb from the Super Topo book on our way over. It has a relatively very late first ascent date around 1960ish by a woman named Hope. People were too afraid of what the climb was above their line of eyesight. A fascinating part of the history was the original route name "Great White Hope" which was a triple play on words from the extremely white aesthetic of this particular section of granite, her name being 'Hope' and of course the famous 1900's expression heavyweight boxing expression surrounding the seemingly invincible Jack Johnson. Ultimately to avoid any insensitively the route was dubbed "The Great White Book" being an incredibly literal name, being again, the rock route is bright white, and the anatomy of this type of climb is called a "book" or an inside corner of rock, with more than a 90-degree angle between the faces.
Me, Shim Daddy and Anne Marie geared up, and the stoke was high. There was nobody on the route, a theme of every climb during my trip (it pays to climb on the week days if you can).
I can't lie, I was pretty stiff and sore from yesterdays long alpine climb and hike out. The first pitch was greasy and tricky, my body was not loose. However after pitch 1 and 2, you get to the reward!
Above is the famous Fossilized Heeb prepping to lead the mental crux, an extremely unprotected runout of off-width chimney climbing. Shimmy is a boss climber, so never hesitates.
Above Shimmy shims his way higher and higher and below you can see me following. In an odd way it transitioned into an oddly relaxing climb, required little to no use of hands or upper body strength and I'm great with chimney techniques.
Below is Anne Marie loving this aesthetic line. Higher up on the book you can get some hands in the crack and goes for great, relaxing and easy laybacking up it.
Don't be deceived on protection, that crack is wide, you would need a #4 or larger to protect the majority of it.
Here we both are, just loving it! At this point my body warmed up an wasn't so stiff. Just having a blast with great company on a nice four-star Yosemite climb,
When we reached the top of book, the route became more of an adventure climb. We left the guide book in the car and just started winging it to get to the top. We ended up adding another pitch or so, one full rope of traversing and plenty of friction climbing.
Anne Marie is a king on slap, good choice in wearing approach shoes. Being mostly chimney and slab anything more aggressive would be useless.
Sitting above Tenaya Lake belaying Shimmy on the last pitch, how wonderful. From here we simul-climbed to the summit. So much fun.
Ubiquitous summit selfie, three-way!
Below is me and the Old Yid at the top of Stately Pleasure Dome, great view of Yosemite Valley from here. We could see that little pebble called Half Dome perfectly.
From here we thwarted any rumors of a sketchy 4th class descent, and found an insanely simple and forward 2nd / low 3rd class walk-off down an obvious gully with many cairns. The afternoon was heating up now.
When we reached the bottom of the dome and go back to main road we headed back to the car, but not before a pit stop at Tenaya Lake to dip our feet in the refreshing water. What a true way to unwind and just take in all the beauty of nature. Life at a slower pace. An excellent end to an excellent climb.
I joked about trademarking the name "Tenaya Lake" and renaming the place "Gabe Lake" inreference to the Yosemite Trademark Dispute of Curry Village and the Ahwahnee hotel.
Life is Good, see you next time Tuolumne Meadows, still on my list is Cathedral Peak, Tenaya Peak, Mt. Conness, North Peak, Daff Dome, Fairview Dome, Drug Dome, Dozier Dome, Dana Pillar and everything else out there!!