It’s difficult to determine just where to begin this trip report because the trip was so spectacular. Being in Yosemite, climbing a mountain crest that no one ever sees except from the top of Cathedral Peak, with a fun group of people…………what a fantastic climb we had.
Suggestions were made to just send in tons of pictures and let the trip report be one-liners that described the weekend. Lines like: Tech Talk, No bugs, Coyote howls, Blue-Blue…Pull the Blue Rope, perfect weather, what’s on the other side??? We have to down climb that? Just don’t look down, and many, many “This is Great!!!” exclamations. And, of course, on the way out there were lots of John Muir quotes. If I had words that could describe what puts permanent smiles on everyone’s faces, then that would describe our trip.
I had the pleasure of climbing with Steve Thaw (John Muir, Jr), Steve Aho, David McReynolds, David VanHorsen & Paul Morash . Friday our hike started at Cathedral Lake trailhead and we hiked into our campsite above Echo Lake. Saturday morning we got up at 5:00am and were at the base of the South end of Matthes Crest by 7:00am. The teams were: Paul Morash & David VanHorsen, Steve Aho & me, David McReynolds & Steve Thaw. Paul, David, Steve & I all simulclimbed as two separate teams the entire route. David McReynolds and Steve Thaw belayed the pitches but Steve was in his running shoes all the way until the last pitch up to the North Summit.
Matthes Crest is a beautiful mass of granite, from above Echo Lake it looks like a sleeping monster. You would never know it had a razor thin crest just from looking at it from the west side. It is approximately ½ mile long on the crest with a South and a North Summit. Each group was on their own pace and everyone moved pretty quickly along the first part of the climb. On the south Summit we rappelled to the notch and climbed up to the North Summit. From reading the register our group was the first one on the North Summit this year. Everyone else’s dates were from last September and October. Around 4:00pm we started our rappels off the North Summit down to the snow and then onto the scree heading back to camp. It turned out to be a 13-hour day. We had perfect weather and the mosquitoes were just starting to show up.