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PGVIP and Kor-Beck

Fought traffic out of the Bay Area last Friday afternoon (5/15) heading back to Yosemite.  Note to self: try not to leave at the same time all of those folks that have jobs are on the road!  Met up with Clemens and Josan in Los Banos, where we fueled up (me with caffeine and my truck with gas) before caravanning our way up to Yellow Pines in Yosemite.  Luckily traffic wasn’t too bad other than on US-101 exiting the Bay Area.

Arrival in Yellow Pines found us a new hassle… Mosquitoes!  There is a lot of standing water (and running water) in the volunteer campground, and the mosquitoes were pretty heavy.  I was pretty beat, due to a cold I have been nursing for a couple of days.  It was starting to hit me pretty hard on Friday, so I went to bed early.  Saturday, I was miserable.  It was HOT, and my cold was definitely at it’s worst.  To top it off, we were doing construction on the SAR cabins in camp 4, in the miserable heat (and with lots of mosquitoes!).  Needless to say, I had to work in bursts, separated by resting to regain some energy.  Some of the PGVIP crew went to move a bunch of picnic tables, and it turns out that the mosquitoes where they were working were epic-lly bad!

The project ran a bit late, so we didn’t start climbing until probably 4:30 or 5:00 PM.  Since there was a big group of newish climbers, we went to Swan Slab where I put up Lena’s Lieback (5.9) and Grant’s Crack (5.9).  From the Grant’s Crack anchor, I also TR’d the unnamed 5.10c to the right, via the direct start (Supertopo picture shows it splitting off from the 5.10a) .  With the heat, mosquitoes and my cold all trying to knock me out, and darkness approaching, that was it for me.  I wanted to climb the “Aid Route” (5.11b or 5.10a A0). but there was a party on it already.  The start looks interesting and difficult.

Sunday, Clemens and I got a non-alpine start on the Kor-Beck (5.9, 6 pitches).  The Supertopo said it gets morning sun and afternoon shade, so we thought it would be a good choice (which it was).  Again, the day was scorchingly hot, so the shade was being counted on.  Alas, we got there too early for shade on the first two pitches.  Talk about burning toes!

A Spanish party was on our heels for the first couple of pitches, until they finally got the hint (it took several attempts) that we would all enjoy the climb better if their leader wasn’t following five feet behind our second.  We had to tell them to stop sharing the belay stations several times.  Eventually they rappelled (as did the party on their heels).

The climb was great!  I would rate it on par with Central Pillar of Frenzy (5.9) which is a bit further right on the same cliff.  This climb felt way more sustained than Central Pillar.  It starts with some broken face, followed by some interesting moves through a broken roofy section followed by an easy chimney.  Clemens led this pitch, then decided enough was enough and handed the sharp end to me.  The rest of the climb was really fun.  It was pretty cruiser most of the way, with a few difficult spots, until the last two pitches.  I ended up linking them — initially unintentionally.  The final pitch felt very sustained, and was pretty difficult or maybe it was just the fact that I didn’t have enough of the right sized gear, so I had to run it out a bit.  Rappelling was uneventful, and we were back on the ground by 5pm.

Since Danielle was flying home to visit her family on Wednesday morning, I decided to head on home and spend a couple of days with her and catch up on work around the house, before blasting for El Cap…

Which … is another story… Stay tuned!

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