Thursday, May 29, 2008

overcoming wintery weather woes

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend (and Jascha's visit) the temps plummeted and the storm clouds rolled in, leaving a fresh blanket of new snow in the High Sierra, nice for the backcountry ski crowd but not so good for us fair-weathered alpine rock hounds. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of the lowland options between the showers.

We hit the Gorge on three days, only completely getting rained out once.
After one failed attempt due to wet rock, the rain held out long enough for us to climb my all-time favorite Gorge route, Sendero Luminoso. Thanks to Dave's Rope Gun Development Program and Jascha's enthusiasm for climbing, my sport climbing skills are once again on the upswing. I was pleasantly surprised in being able to lead Warning Signs. Sadly, I don't think that I've led a 10d in the Gorge since the 90s.

Saturday we checked out some of the abandoned mines in the Tungsten Hills. Due to my shoddy memory of the mine depth from my recon trip I neglected to bring a second rope for the rappel. Luckily Jascha found a side entrance that allowed us to reach the mine floor and explore the side tunnels. Inside one of the caves we found scheelite and smoky quartz encrusted walls, along with a pile of pellets from the great horned owl we startled on the way in. That evening we headed over to Tricia and Matt's for one of their glorious potlucks. Our Bay Area friends (and bearers of succulent Bay Area treats, like Zachary's pizza), Mayumi and Erika, were in town, not that justification is required for a Bishop potluck.

On Monday we headed out to the Sad Boulders in the Volcanic Tablelands. The weather was perfect for bouldering and we saw a plethora of freakishly large and colorful insect life, including beetles and sphinx moth larvae.

In all we had a great time despite the stormy skies.

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