Tag Archives: Mike Banach

A Change of Pace: Big Wall Freeclimbing in Yosemite

Yosemite Valley is to rock climbers what Mecca is to Muslims. Being a devout trad climber, I have been long overdue for a pilgrimage to the place where it all began, the home of the world’s most famous long, free routes. With exactly one week of vacation, a friend-climbing-partner, and a car packed with equipment, I set out to experience the soaring granite cliffs of the High Sierras, Tuolumne, and Yosemite. There were some very powerful moments on this trip. On day one, climbing Positive Vibrations (5.11a) on the Incredible Hulk, I caught our rope in a crack and ripped the sheath when I swung to free it. Dangling 600 feet up on a rock wall, I had some rather grim visions of what possible outcomes; confidence was shaken, we decided to retreat. This very humbling experience prepared me for the very full week of adventure to come… The next day, climbing in Tuolumne, was my favorite of the trip. I loved the variety of movement, the exposure, the acute sense of wilderness, and the endless high-quality rock. We climbed Lucky Streaks (5.10d) on Fairview Dome and had the route to ourselves, while groups jockeyed for position on the Regular … Continue reading

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