Archive for June, 2014

California 2014 Trip Report Part 3

Santa Cruz

We stayed in Santa Cruz for about 5 days, checking out some of the local beaches/restaurants/etc. I really enjoyed the city and had a fun time biking around and eating pizza (local place called ‘Pizza My Heart’, which was very good)-

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Surfing was a ton of fun and I had a blast. I got up once but fell a ton.

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We checked out a bunch of the local hikes and also went down to Big Sur, a really pretty area along Highway 1. The coastline was really really beautiful.

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We left Santa Cruz and went to San Francisco for 2 more days.

San Francisco Day 1

I’ve been to SF a decent number of times in the past; but only visiting family. When you’re visiting family, you don’t really do as many touristy things (in my experience). Furthermore, they all live in the Bay Area and not the actual city, so this was going to be a new experience for me.

We decided to go biking for the first day and wanted to bike the Golden Gate Bridge. We ate at a food truck area for the first day (Soma Street food trucks) and they were great. We tried Peruvian (Ceviche), Chinese (pork egg rolls), and Korean (Bulgogi tacos).I would say that we enjoyed the Bulgogi tacos the most and got 2 orders of them. All in all, the food truck experience was really unique and I liked the fact that I could get a variety of different foods for relatively cheap.

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After getting lost a bit because my google maps was being awful, we finally arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge. Side note: Along the way, we also tried this great ice cream sandwich called ‘It’s It’, which is two cookies with ice cream in the middle covered in chocolate. I would have liked to have tried the mint chocolate one but never had the chance.

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We enjoyed going to Sausalito, a small town across the bridge and then took a ferry back. After checking out Fisherman’s Wharf, we went back to our hotel and got sushi at Ryokos (, which we enjoyed very much.

San Francisco Day 2

We walked to Chinatown in the morning and went to a bakery/ate some lunch. I really enjoyed Char Siu Baos (Chinese BBQ pork in a sweet bun) and ordered a few. We also ate some traditional Chinese food, something I don’t eat as much (outside of home).

I’ve walked through Chinatown before and it always surprises me how different it is compared to the rest of SF. This isn’t my photo, but you can imagine what it’d be like:

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After Chinatown, we walked to the Mission to a place called ‘Pancho Villa’ to get a burrito. Although the burrito was good, I sort of regret not going to ‘La Taqueria’, which was recommended to me.

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We decided to rock climb at Planet Granite because we had a friend who had a membership there. I really wish there were gyms like this where I lived at.

We got finished around 6:30 and were indecisive for dinner. I originally chose the Slanted Door, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant. Little did I know, you had to have reservations (and they took no walk ins, even if the wait was long). Seeing as it was 8:00pm on a Sunday, our options were closing quickly. We decided to go to ‘Fresca’, an upscale Peruvian place. I thought the food was really tasty for the most part. My girlfriend ate a seafood platter and I had lamb atop cilantro fried rice.

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All in all, it was a good day.

My experience in SF was memorable. We decided to opt out of doing a wine tour- neither of us are huge wine drinkers and we decided that there would be better uses of our time. I thought the bike ride was probably my favorite part of the entire SF trip (aside from just eating nonstop).

We drove back home in a short 2 days and didn’t really stop much along the way. Overall, this trip was a success and I had a great time on it. Thanks for reading.

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California 2014 Trip Report Part 2

Yosemite National Park

After Maple Canyon, we headed to Yosemite, National Park. I’ve been to Yosemite once before and climbed at Cathedral Peak, in the valley, and also hiked Half Dome. This trip, we really only had Half Dome planned. We were loosely planning on meeting a climbing friend in the Valley to do some easy climbing (he was going to do Half Dome in 1 day the next day, so he wasn’t going to do anything hard).

We got there late at night and stayed at Hodgon Meadow. I reserved a spot earlier and was very lucky to get that (given I idiotically chose one of the worst weekends of the year- Memorial Day). My plan was to pretty much go to a first come-first serve spot the next morning.

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Our plan was to wake up and go to Camp 4, which was located in the Valley. We got there at 6 a.m. and realized we *could* be shit out of luck given how many people were already waiting in line. Flustered, we drove to the campground reservation area and waited in line there, hoping to secure a spot there. Once we registered in the lottery (after waiting for a few hours until they opened), we were told to come back there at 3:00pm to see if we got a spot. We were very happy to find that we won 2 spots in the lottery for Half Dome as well. If you don’t reserve a spot several months ahead of time, you need to go through the daily lottery system (where you’re chosen at random). Half Dome only allows like ~300 of these lottery members daily, so it’s important to keep applying if you’re in the area.

So that essentially tied us down for the day. We didn’t really have enough time to go on a massive hike and we had Half Dome the next day.

We decided to do some really easy hiking and take some photos.

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We went back to the office and were pleased to find that we secured a spot for the night. At the office, we met a guy named Peter who needed a spot for the night. He was alone so we let him share our spot, which was located in the lower pines campground. This spot was great because it was right in the valley. Once we set up camp and ate dinner, we drove up to Glacier Point to check out a meteor shower that was happening at 10:00pm.

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We sadly did not make it to the meteor shower since we decided to drive back around 9:40 or so due to the Half Dome hike the next day.

Half Dome

Half Dome is one of the largest single day hikes in Yosemite and certainly one of the most renowned. Half Dome is a ~14-16 mile (round trip) hike with 4800 feet of elevation gain. The last 500 feet of it is on a pure granite face (Half Dome part) and you need to go up steel cables to get to the very top. It’s a beautiful hike that provides a wide variety of views and landscapes.

I definitely wasn’t in the best hiking shape and haven’t really hiked much over the past year. That being said, I was really just depending on my overall cardio/climbing shape to get me through. Knowing that I did it before also helped (albeit a few years back).

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About 3/4ths of the way up, I got a pretty bad cramp in my right leg. I’d assume it was due to eating pretty mediocre on the previous days (probably not enough food/the right type of food). I had to take some frequent breaks while going up.

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Finally at the cables:

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Snow atop it!

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A rock climber finishing Half Dome:

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The descent of the Half Dome hike was the hardest for me. I was in pitiful shape compared to the first time I hiked it (where I never thought the descent was an issue). We hauled ass while down and just wanted to get the car.

Our plan was initially to go climb with my friend after Half Dome. By the end of the hike, we were really tired and we also had to get to Santa Cruz (only about 2.5 hours away) that night. My friend was cragging in the Valley and I couldn’t really get a hold of him, so we decided to take a rain check on it. Overall, maybe a bad move but it seemed right at the time.

We arrived in Santa Cruz that night and slept for 10 hours.

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California 2014 Trip Report Part 1

Hey guys, so I’m back now and am going to give some of my trip reports now.

Our plan was a 2 week road trip out to California (Northern California). We were going to climb in Colorado and Utah along the way; go to Yosemite; and then finish up in Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

Colorado and Utah

Our first stop was in Clear Creek Canyon, Colorado. CCC is located right outside of Golden (which is right outside of Denver). It was easily accessible and the approach (walk to the climb) was 5 minutes >. We didn’t really take any photos of this spot but all in all, I enjoyed CCC.

Here are some photos of our drive:

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Unfortunately we did not secure a campsite since we gambled and climbed first/searched after. The result was us sleeping at a rest stop for a few hours and then driving on to Maple Canyon, Utah.

Maple Canyon has unique rock and I think they’re described as ‘cobblestones’. There are a TON of routes in Maple Canyon and the approach is all pretty easy. One bad thing about the park is that it’s pretty far out there and not super close to any major cities.

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Our first day, we did an easy 5.8 (and by easy I mean super tough haha…). Here is a reference for climbing grades: LINK HERE

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We went to the next area, which had a huge overhang. I wanted to do the best 5.12a in the park, a route called ’49’. Here is a link on MP on this route: LINK .This route was rated highly in both the guidebook as well as online (mountainproject). This would be the first 5.12 I’ve ever done outdoors and I was really excited.

Here are some pictures of 49:

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The wall:

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So the route was fairly sustained and very long. I used pretty much my entire 70m rope for this route and it being overhung didn’t help. I climbed a few clips cleanly and then proceeded to get takes on pretty much every clip. My endurance SUCKS right now and, although the holds were all pretty good, I still struggle with reading outdoor routes.

About 3/4ths of the way up, I hit a snag. There is a larger distance between the quick draws and a very strange move (you do 2 big moves up to solid holds and then grab a massive sloper where you shove your entire arm over it for more surface area and clip). Normally, my mental game in climbing is pretty strong and I’m okay with falling/getting takes/etc. But for whatever reason, this move really creeped me out and I bailed on this route (the draws were already fixed into the wall).

My girlfriend gave me a pep talk and then she climbed the route. Weirdly enough, I would say she typically gets a bit more spooked on routes than I do (on average), but she NAILED the move I got scared about and finished the route. I got my head straight and climbed the route again, finishing it this time. I took a few 15-20 foot whippers but still was happy to top it out.

All in all, I was very happy with how my first 12 went. I was nowhere close to getting it clean, primarily due to my endurance. The moves were all very doable and the holds were solid throughout. I would love to live somewhere close to Maple Canyon so I could climb more there.

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Maple Canyon Day 2

We mainly did easier routes on day 2 and explored a few different areas. The routes we did were very long and pretty cool. We went nearby the area we climbed at previously (with 49) and talked with an older couple. The woman was probably in her late 50s/early 60s and definitely didn’t look like she climbed super hard (which was surprising, since the area was pretty much all 12+ climbs). She proceeded to warm up on a 5.11c and went up super smoothly. I was both surprised and envious of her excellent footwork and endurance. I guess it just goes to show that you can be old and still climb really hard!

We took a few pictures of each other while belaying (pretty dangerous but we always made sure the other was ok/on really safe ledges before doing so).

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Anyways, we really enjoyed Maple Canyon (the hard areas). Some of the rock was pretty sketchy and we even had parts break off. However, it was really unique and I am glad I went there (thanks to Ian for referring me to that place).

I’ll write up the Yosemite TR soon.

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