Since my last blog we have changed our tune once again. To pick up where I left off, I was trying to finish off Gentleman’s Project, a great line with a very shouldery crux followed by a deadpoint to a good hold. After writing my last blog I had a very frustrating day where I climbed through the crux first go and then fell at the lip when I got my hand position wrong, and not realising why, couldn’t do the final move! So annoying! I then fell time after time on the crux until I was too tired to keep going. Disappointed to make it so close, but also encouraged that I could climb it, I took a rest day. Invigorated by a shower (and some bakery delights from the Food Ranch), two days later I returned and, despite some nerves, did it first go. I was so happy, this was my favourite climb in Joe’s Valley and we left for Bishop that night. Video to come!
Driving to Bishop was an experience in itself; Nevada is HUGE. Hundreds of miles of nothing but landscape; paradise for an agraphobic. We arrived in Bishop and went to look at the Buttermilks area. We had heard very mixed reports of Bishop; it seems to be the ‘marmite’ of climbing areas. Some friends have loved it for the awe inspiring lines while others have disliked it for the lower rock quality. I have to say we veered into the second group. There is no denying the impressive sight of the Buttermilks; the tall, majestic granite boulders against the beautiful setting of the Sierra Nevadas. However, the rock quality leaves a lot to be desired and the climbing, although good looking, didn’t inspire us physically.This may have been influenced by the temperature, it was incredibly hot. I suspect that the holds and climbing feels a great deal more conducive to enjoyment in colder temps. Perhaps we have been spoiled by Fontainbleau, Switzerland and trips to amazing places like Rocklands, but Bishop fell short of our expectations. I still wanted to check out the line that I have swooned over for years and at 7:30am I went to try the Mandala. A complete non-starter. Discussing the problem in Boulder with Alex Johnson, she had said to me: “If you can make the first big move you will do the problem”. This now made perfect sense, the first move is massive. The problem was originally done a different way, a shorter but apparently harder move, before a crucial hold broke. This break lowered the grade but, as far as I can tell, increased the span required. I could just reach between the holds but the power required to make the move is something I doubt I will ever possess. So, within 15 minutes, a lifelong ambition had been crossed off my mental list; I will admit I was pretty disappointed. With David not psyched for the rock in Bishop and both of us excited for what Yosemite Valley had to offer, we dicided to cut our losses and make the 3 hour trip across Tioga Pass.
So now we are in Yosemite. We have been running around looking at boulders and we are both inspired and psyched by the beautiful granite lines that Yosemite Valley contains. A rest day and a shower today, I can’t wait to get started! A great LT11 film here shows some of the classics and I think it showcases the bouldering scene well: