From the Field – California Pt. 1

Last summer I got word that one of my good friends was engaged to be married. This was great news, because it meant a trip to California and a trip to California meant a climbing adventure. Within minutes of this news my friends Jonathan, Austin, Mike, and I started planning a climbing trip to the Golden State. Mike had moved to San Fransisco a year before so we would use his place as home base. Of course when you think of California climbing the first place that pops up is Yosemite. This valley was the playground of my climbing hero, Royal Robbins. I have spent so much time drooling over photos, styles, and books that tell the tales of him and his crew conquering legendary big wall routes. I couldn’t wait to walk in the valley where this storybook character was real. These next few From the Field posts are that of my trip to California, which included a reintroduction to trad, realizing my possible climbing future, and a naked dude.


Lovers Leap

After a year of planning and anticipation, we finally found ourselves on this adventure. A quick introduction to the crew;  Austin has always been the muscle and voice of experience, Jonathan the driving force, Mike the athlete that can keep up with anyone, and me ‘the runt.’ Somehow they always let me hang around while picking up my slack with no complaints. We have all been climbing together since college and work really well as a team. I mustn’t forget to mention Ajax, the city dog. This was the best week of his life.


We started our week out at Lovers Leap in South Tahoe. It was the perfect introduction to California climbing. Lovers Leap offered us a little bit of everything. We chose a sport route to start off the climbing, drawing sticks to see who got the first go at it. I drew the longest, which put some healthy pressure on me to start on the right foot and make a bold attempt at this first route of the trip. It was hard work but I managed to find success reaching the anchors atop this slabby 130ft route eloquently named Labor of Love. The next few days we spent our time on some trad routes. Easy stuff for Austin but super exciting for those of us who do not get to work the cracks that often. I learned a lot and am feeling really inspired to get more trad in this year. The campsite was a few minutes from the base so it made it easy for us to wind down at the end of the days with beers along the creek, playing around on the boulders, and chit chatting with other climbers. The Leap provided a successful start to our trip adding lasting memories to an already well stocked group of friends.


View of Main Wall

Bouldering at campsite + Austin


Austin on the wall

Boys on the creek


Continue to Pt. 2





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