It’s 6:30 AM, which makes for a pretty late start generally speaking, and my climbing partner Dave and I are headed to Tahquitz Peak for his first multi-pitch climbs! We’ll spend two days climbing on Tahquitz helping him familiarize himself with being on a wall and working on speed and efficiency.
On day one we’ll make our way through as many classics as we can, probably starting out his first climb on either Finger Trip or the Coffin Nail to Traitor Horn Link up. If it’s not crowded we’ll just do both back to back. If it is crowded we might just do Left Ski Track Direct Finish. We’ll also get acquainted with the Friction Descent, which is an excellent introduction to 4th class descents which are rather common in the multi-pitch trad world.
On day two we’ll start looking to spice things up maybe warming up on Mechanics Route or Open Book, and then taking a look at Camino Real–that one will very likely be empty. As is ritual for me, we’ll likely finish the day sprinting Right Ski Track or heading back and doing Angels Fight or Jensens Jaunt. It’s nice to find climbs where you lose vocal contact with your belayer, that way when we get into a less controlled situation–meaning a climb I’ve never done–that will be one less thing to deal with. Also, my first multi-pitch climb that happened, and I just sat there for like 10 minutes feeling like an ant on a giant monolith suspending by a 7mm cord. It was pretty freaky.
During this stay we’ll also be able to get a feel for if the shoes he’s wearing will be sufficient multi-pitch shoes. I didn’t really say anything to him about that, but there’s a Nomad Adventure right down the street from the crag, so we’ll adjust as we need to.
Tahquitz Rock is superb granite, and has been serving as a teeth cutting multi-pitch trad experience since the golden age climbers Royal Robbins and Yvon Chouinard and even their predecessors started pioneering technical climbs up it which prepared them for the walls of Yosemite, and eventually the great mountain ranges of the world. It’s been said that if you climb through the grades at Tahquitz you will be pretty fit to climb just about anywhere in the world. It serves as a perfect place to hone all techniques from thin face climbing, blank slab smearing, flared finger crack jamming, perfect hands, world class laybacks, and some pretty outstanding chimneys and offwidths.
This is the place that I learned to climb, and it holds a special place in my heart. It’s also the place where I really started to get comfortable without a rope. However, the past few trips I’ve really dedicated most of my climbing time to rope climbing, and this will likewise be the same until we get into the alpine on our way back.
When we leave Tahquitz we’ll be bound for South Lake Tahoe and spend the remainder of the week at Lovers Leap. I hope that you’ll stay tuned, because I think this is going to be a great trip and experience. Also, if you happen to be around any of the areas we’ll be going through contact me through the comments! There is plenty of psych to go around in this party!
A list of possible destinations: Yosemite Valley, Tuolomne Meadows, Temple Crag, Bishop Area, Whitney Portal Area (Mithril Dihedral), Kearsarge Pass (Charlotte Dome), and then a final stop at the Needles. We might stop through Holcomb Valley on the way back to wind down a bit.