Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuolumne - September 2009

Trip Report - Climbing in Tuolumne Meadows
September, 2009

Our most recent trip to Tuolumne was on the last weekend the campsites were open for the season, which is a great time of year to go. Around this time the weather starts to get a little colder, the leaves start changing colors, and the rain storms have stopped coming so regularly. We met up with a bunch of people there, and had a fantastic time trying some new types of climbing. Eric and I are usually interested in crack or face climbing, but this time we took our mad skills over to some slabby rock. Nat was with us, and he finally helped us find the bolts on pothole dome.

Eric belaying me on pothole dome

Slab climbing is a lot different than other types of climbing, and requires some interesting skill. The routes we chose on pothole were not very hard routes, but they were challenging and fun! We had some outdoor newbies with us as well as some seasoned climbers, so we had fun showing off our mad skills while learning new techniques too! Nat, Kenneth, and James attempted a crazy 5.11b overhanging wonder climb, that ended up giving the fellows some trouble. The climb also took our rope as it's victim after Kenneth took a mean fall on it...but it was only six feet from the end so we can still use it for top roping. After pothole dome on the first day, we hung out at Tanaya lake for lunch before hitting up puppy dome for some super fun, and always challenging, crack climbing.

Nat on the crux of a 5.11b

Puppy dome is one of my favorite places to feel the happy stinging sensation of crack climbing. We took some newbie climber friends of ours to our favorite crack, and watched them learn some new techniques. Other climbers were on our favorite crack when we got there, so we attempted to climb another crack just to the right of it. We found this climb challenging, but Rosie was able to fight her way to the top in true crack climbing fashion! Our crack cleared of people after flailing on the first crack, so I scurried up it quickly before the sun finished setting. We were there until dark, and then scurried back to camp for some well deserved dinner and s'mores.

Eric repelling

On the last day we headed over to a climb that is just off the street near daft dome. Here the climb was an interesting mix or crack and slab, with the slab part giving us only little tiny knobbies to use for our hands and feet. It was definitely something I've never done before, but I had a lot of fun learning how to use each knob effectively. The trick seemed to be remembering to keep your weight over your feet evenly with out sticking your butt out too much. Tiny toes and sides of the feet came in handy for this, because it seemed that most of the control was gained in the foot placements.

Eric climbing the crystals

We will be heading to the Valley for our next trip, and this time it will be including our new dog, Mr. Dickie. We hope he loves Yosemite as much as we do, and look forward to teaching him how to boulder... just kidding, but you can always dream, right?

Photo Gallery:
Toulumne BACON+

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gear Review - AeroPress Coffee Maker

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Aerobie AeroPress
Innovative lightweight coffee press
Car camping, travel, breakfast

AeroPress magic
Last Christmas I received an amazing gift from Eric. It's my handy dandy new coffee maker for camping, the Aerobie AeroPress . Usually when we go camping I find myself drinking watered down coffee-flavored something. Our friends Dan and Shenoa introduced us to this new magic coffee maker when we went camping a little over a year ago. It looks like a huge syringe, and at first I didn't understand exactly how it works. It looks more like something you would find in a hospital than something you would find in a cafe. However, this crazy plastic contraption makes an amazing cup of joe.

The way it works is pretty revolutionary... I think. First you boil water, futuristic, I know. Next take one of the round filters and place it in the bottom removable part of the syringe. Next pour coffee (pre-ground) into the top of the syringe after screwing on the filter piece. Next wait for the water to boil.....When the water is done, place the syringe over a mug or sierra cup. Next, pour the water into the top of the syringe directly into the coffee grounds. Here comes the fun part- grab the plunger part of the syringe and push it into the other part of the device. Slowly press down until all of the water has emptied into your cup. The important thing is to go slow, because if you go too fast, the coffee will not have enough time brew during the process. After, enjoy it like an espresso with out adding any water to it, or make it an Americano by adding some boiling water to it. This will make it taste more like coffee and less strong. Add sugar, milk, sweetener, or powdered milk for added flavor. Enjoy!

Brewing sideshow
The cool thing about this device is that it is small, light weight, and makes amazing coffee. The filters are re-usable, so you can easily make two or three cups of coffee with one filter. The AeroPress is really most practical for car camping. It would be too bulky for backpacking, and also requires quite a bit of coffee. However, the AeroPress is a time saver because it only takes the amount of time to boil water to get a cup of coffee ready. It's practically instant coffee with real coffee grounds! We have even use the AeroPress at home on occasion, when we wanted an espresso type drink. This was definitely one of the best Christmas presents I ever got, and a great value for all the amazing cups of coffee it produces. A great buy!

  • Makes great coffee
  • Reusable filters
  • Time efficient
  • Easy to clean
  • Uses a lot of grounds
  • Not great for large groups
  • Brewing time - 1 min.
  • Minimum weight - 10 oz.