Sunday, September 4, 2016

Mt Starr King

This labor day long weekend was our 7th wedding anniversary. I have been away for so many weekends in a row, this one was all for Teresa!

We decided to do a day of sport climbing at Hawk Dome, to climb an easy mountain, and then take a rest day. Sounds like a great way to celebrate. 

For the mountain, we set our sights on Mt Starr King. I though it would be an easy day, but ended up being a harder day than I expected.

Anniversary climb - Mt Starr King. 
We started on Saturday with a day of sport climbing at Hawk Dome. Very fun, we climbed about 6 climbs. The highlight for me was on-sighting a 5.10c sport climb.  Although I have led many 5.10c, I have rarely been able to on-sight them, especially if they are steep like this one! We also did a couple of really nice 5.10a and some easier climbs.  I also explored the West face of Fresno Dome, looks really good.

After climbing we meandered down to the local, easy to find swimming hole, and splashed in the water. 

Cool swimming hole

Puppy relaxing after a swim 
On Sunday, we woke up really early and headed to Yosemite to climb Mt. Starr King. Sometimes called the "other Half-Dome" Mt Starr King is a large granite dome that is actually taller than Half-Dome, and located a few miles north of its more famous neighbour.

The approach started off really easy on the Mono trail, we made good time, and I thought the approach was going to be a breeze.

Yup that's it. Not too far away.
After ~4 miles on trail, we headed cross-country towards the dome. We ended up in a field of Manzitas, and the bush-whacking began. 

Bush-whacking begins
We headed up a Manzita filled gully towards a saddle the left of the South summit. It was a big of a slog. Spirits dropped a bit. After thrashing up the slopes for a 90 minutes of so, we made it to the saddle, then time for some class 2 slabs. Finally away far the bushes!

Up the class 2 slabs.
We arrived at the south summit, and then we had to descend to the SE saddle, below the headwall leading to the higher north summit. Teresa took a brief nap, while I scouted the route. Looked really fun! About 120 meters of low 5th class slab. Perfect.

Looking back at the South Summit
Headwall to the North Summit. Fun rock climbing to be had
After Teresa's nap, I racked up and headed up the climb. Very easy climbing, I only placed a single cam in a full 60 meter pitch. Very conveniently there was a webbing and cord in situ for an anchor.

Top of the 1st pitch
Then a second pitch of easy climbing, another belay, a few hundred feet of 3rd class, then the summit!


Alpinist wife
We then rapped the route, and began the long hike out.

Comfy rap stance
Cool tree on the descent
A great day, and a great way to celebrate 7 wonderful years being married to my partner in life, science, and adventure.

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