Monday, May 11, 2009

Granite Ditch Season Opener

Trip Report – Yosemite Valley
April 3rd – 5th
Guest Blogger: Scotty Ellis

Yosemite Falls in good form!

Hi! My name is Scotty and I am a recent addition to D & D’s group of adventurous friends. I am writing this trip report to add some new blood to the D & D blog postings. Our recent trip to Yosemite was my first trip with the D & D crew. The plan was to leave and arrived early Friday, the 3rd, to do some XC skiing. Then after skiing, to head back and set up camp and prepare for a weekend filled with awesome Yosemite granite climbing.

Eric xc-skiing near Crane Flat

Well… because I am as bad at skiing as this Australian is at differentiating between kangaroos and ninjas, I decided to pass on the XC trip (I was later told by Eric, Amber, and Kenneth that it was awesome and that they are going to miss the snow once the season is over). Thus, I am going to start this report at the point when we (my girlfriend, Katie, and I) began: Friday night.

The trip began Friday night with the perfect introduction, food from Sonic “America’s Drive-In”. After we clogged our arteries with jalapeno poppers and cheesy tots, we were ready to start our weekend full of climbing. We finally arrived at the Lower Pines campsite around 11:00 PM where the whole crew was trying to stay warm from the night’s chill. Our group had campsites 10 and 40 reserved (they are nearly back to back sites) so we had the perfect setup for the weekend.

The approach to the Valley can include several cool tunnels!

When we arrived, we were told by everyone that the bears were being really active and to watch out. Sure enough, a bear approached our campsite that night and almost stomped our tent (probably smelled the deliciousness of Sonic on our breath). Thank God that Dirk was around to scare off the bear.

The next day, we all woke up around 9 am and had a nice Noah’s Bagels breakfast. All carbo loaded up, our group (Eric, Amber, Shenoa, Dan, CJ, Jackie, Katie, and myself) left to top rope and boulder at Swan Slab while Kenneth went to the base of El Cap to do some aid climbing. The short trip to Swan Slab was beautiful. Due to the snow thaw, the waterfalls were gushing which created a picturesque scene.

Picturesque indeed! (Katie and Scotty)

Our little friend!

Our group was very productive once we started climbing: Shenoa led a nice 5.6 climb, Dan led a tall 5.8 route, and there was some awesome bouldering done. We got back to the campsite around 6 PM and Eric prepared his famous Texas-Style Chili for dinner (which was delish!).

Shenoa leading near Swan Slab

Katie, Scotty, and Eric bouldering near Camp 4

Eric also provided some entertainment.. He had “I’m On A Boat” stuck in his head and was rapping while he worked. By the end of the night he had us all rapping, “I’m on a boat and it’s going fast and I’ve got a nautical themed, Pashmina Afghan.” I am pretty sure that we all had dreams of being in our swim trunks with our flippy-floppies that night. Since we knew several other groups of climbers around that weekend, there was a massive campfire Saturday (and no-one got busted!).

CJ climbing near Swan Slab, Sunday

On Sunday, we all awoke to some cheesy grits and juice. After eating, packing up our tents, and loading gear, we were ready to get back on the granite. Shenoa, Dan, CJ, and Jackie decided to head back to Swan Slab while Katie, Eric, Amber, and I decided to go boulder in Curry Village. We chose to go to Curry Village because it was close to the Lower Pines campsite and we also wanted to check out the destruction from the last year's rock fall. The rock fall had some devastation but it also brought some joy to our world: the possibility of new untouched boulders to climb!

Kenneth approaches a belay station with partners looking on

We climbed for a couple of hours before we all headed home. What a fun filled weekend it was!