Ladies & Gentlemen

Peak Bagging: Matthes Crest

Posted in Uncategorized by MW on November 17, 2013

August 31, 2013

Unfortunately for all the world, and especially Jared, parts of hwy 120 to Yosemite and the surrounding areas were in flames due to the Rim Fire. It was like his little baby was in danger and there was nothing we could do about it. However, there is always a will and way to go rock climbing with Jared. We drove through Sonora Pass and after five hours we finally got to our pull out on the east side entrance next to Tuolumne.

We woke up early the next morning and drove into the park. It was the most eery scene, like something out of the Steven King movie The Stand. There were a few empty cars parked along side the road and the whole valley was full of a smokey fog. No humans in sight, no birds chirping, was this a bad idea to climb while a fire was blazing on the other side of the park? Maybe. Regardless of the creepy surroundings though, we set off to do our climb.

I didn’t realize the impact that the smoke had until we started our up hill hike. At all times during the five mile to the base of the climb we were surrounded by the settled smoke cloud. This came as a major let down as one of the reasons to even get through the approach is to see the beautiful lakes, trees, and green scenery. I was almost saddened by the whole thing when I turned to my left and saw the cutest, wild, bunny eating. It gave me hope that not all the animals in Tuolumne turned to mutants or died off because of the fire.

mc3mc9As we got nearer to the base I looked up in amazement at the climb we were about to do. I was feeling exhausted from the hike, but pushed on as this climb was also on my bucket list. We started the climb around 11am and it was a breeze. Perhaps it was the smoke hiding the daunting elevation gain, but I was almost jogging across the ridge. Jared even had us simul climb and let me do the last “pitch” to our summit. I never get to summit first so this was a big deal. We made it to the south summit, had lunch, down climbed and then climbed the north summit. Once we signed the log book we rappelled and headed back.

mc10mc11The hike back was brutal and Jared had to coax me along if he wanted to eat dinner that night. I was fine just dying in the woods and told him to go on without me (I can get pretty dramatic after an 14 hour day hiking and climbing). I suppose he likes me too much because he held my hand practically the rest of the way. We finally reached the car around 10pm and quickly drove to our spot, set up camp, ate, then fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning we woke to the beautiful sun shining and the nearby river babbling – the wind must have swept the smoke northward and out of our midst. Thankfully the east entrance is very close to Lee Vining so we were able to grab a proper breakfast of pancakes, eggs, hot chocolate, biscuits, etc., the meal after climbing is always something to look forward to.

We spent the rest of our day exploring Lee Vining, back roads, less traveled routes through unknown towns and unfrequented ice cream shops with mom’s and pop’s. It was the perfect, long weekend we needed, minus the smoke. We’ll be back for Matthes Crest…just not during fire season.


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