FLOYD HAYES
ROCK CLIMBING
 
     While working at Camp Wawona, a private summer camp in Yosemite National Park, in 1982, I was introduced to rock climbing by Mark Spencer. Rock climbing quickly became my second favorite hobby next to birding. As of December 7, 2008, I have made 3828 ascents (including 115 multipitch climbs and 483 leads) on 1132 completed (plus several incomplete) technical routes (many repeated) of up to 5.12b (free-climbing) and A3 (aid-climbing) in difficulty, and up to grade IV in length (a long day), in California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Oregon, Virginia, Tennessee, West Virginia, Washington, Wyoming, Wisconsin and Paraguay. Nine “first ascents” in Yosemite National Park have been published in climbing guide books. I have also climbed five of the Fifty Classic Climbs of North America (according to Steve Roper and Allen Steck, published by Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1979), including Royal Arches, Lost Arrow Spire, Middle Cathedral Rock–East Buttress, Fairview Dome–Regular Route, and Devil’s Tower–Durrance Route.
     Most of my climbs were short routes (one pitch) that were often top-roped or free-soloed. However, I led many routes, especially on multipitch climbs. My worst fall was a 30 footer while leading the first pitch (5.10) of ANCHORS AWAY on Glacier Point Apron, Yosemite Valley, CA, when I suffered some bad scrapes. A 25' fall while leading TOUCH AND GO I 5.8+ (I was out of shape!) in Eldorado Canyon, CO, also hurt when the rope flipped me upside down. Numerous other lead falls were relatively uneventful and rather thrilling. I’m just grateful to have survived them all!
     Regrettably my climbing adventures were curtailed while residing in Paraguay (1987-1989), Trinidad (1993-2002) and the U. S. Virgin Islands (2002-2003), where the rock was generally poor and dangerous for climbing, but I have resumed climbing again since
returning to California in 2003. I thank numerous climbers who shared my adventures with me and whose expertise in belaying often saved my life, especially Greg Achenbach, Bill Baker, Roy Benton, Phil & Cheri Ermshar, Brett Hayes, Travis Johnson, Tyler Logan, Jon Magi, Mark Spencer, Earl Tresenriter and Kevin Wilcox.
Yikes! Free-soloing the Northwest Face of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, CA, 8 July 1983. Photo by Mark Spencer. Actually there is a large ledge just beneath me! No, we didn't climb the entire face...
CLIMBING LOCALITIES
California: Angwin (2005-2008), Berkeley (2005, 2008), Big Rock (1984-1985, 1991-1992, 2005, 2007-2008); Calistoga (2007);           Corona del Mar (2007); Deep Creek Narrows (1991); Fresno Dome (1982, 1990); Hetch Hetchy Reservoir (2007); Jenner                (2004-2008); Joshua Tree (1984-1985, 1990, 1992, 2005-2006); Keller Peak (1991, 2005); Knoxville Public Area (2007); La           Sierra (1984-1985, 1990-1991, 2005, 2007); Menifee (1991); Middletown (2004-2006); Morro Bay (2008); Mt. Lassen (2007);      Mt. Diablo (2006); Mt. Konocti (2006-2008); Mt. Rubidoux (1985, 1990-1993, 1997, 2003, 2005-2007); Mt. St. Helena                (2004-2008); Point Dume (2007); Porter Creek (2005); Putah Creek (2004-2007); Ring Mountain (2007-2008); San Luis Obispo      (2008); Santa Barbara (2005, 2008); Squaw Rock (2005-2006); Stoney Point (2005, 2007); Suicide Rock (1985, 1991);                Tuolumne  Meadows (1982-1983, 1985, 1991, 2004-2008); Wawona (1983, 1985, 1990-1991, 2004); Yosemite Valley (1982-          1985, 1990, 2004-2008); White Mountain Peak (2007)
Colorado: Eldorado Canyon (1986)
Maryland: Annapolis Rock (1982, 1986); Carderock (1982-1984, 1986, 2004); Great Falls (1986); Northwest Branch (1982-1983);      Sugarloaf Mountain (1982)
Michigan: Grand Ledge (1985-1986)
Virginia: Devil’s Backbone (1983); Great Falls (1982-1983, 1986); Jack Mountain (1983); Old Rag Mountain (1982)
Oregon: Smith Rocks (2004)
Tennessee: Sunset Rock (2004)
Washington: Minnihaha (1986); Two Sisters (1983, 1986); Washington Pass (2004)
West Virginia: Seneca Rocks (1982-1983, 1986)
Wisconsin: Devil’s Lake (1986)
Wyoming: Devil’s Tower (1986); Steamboat Rock (1986)
Paraguay: Tobatí (1987-1988, 1994, 1995)
HIGHEST RATED FREE CLIMBS
Top-rope: BROKEN CIRCUIT 5.12b, Yosemite Valley, CA, July 27, 1985 and August 8, 2007
Top-rope onsight flash: SURREALISTIC PILLAR 5.11b, Mt. Rubidoux, CA, March 17, 1991
Boulder: LET YOUR FINGERS DO THE WALKING 5.11d (V3), Mt. Rubidoux, CA, April 12, 1991 (plus others)
Boulder onsight flash: INTERSECTION BOULDER CENTER 5.11b (V2), Joshua Tree, CA, February 23, 1992
Sport lead (fixed bolts): CRATER FACE 5.11c, Suicide Rock, CA, August 18, 1991
Sport lead onsight flash: FREE LANCE 5.10c R (20' runout at crux!), Suicide Rock, CA, August 18, 1991
Traditional lead (gear placements): NO BRAIN NO PAIN 5.11b, Mossy Rock, Angwin, CA, May 9, 2007;
     LEAN YEARS 5.11a, Yosemite Valley, CA, June 22, 1985
Traditional lead onsight flash: FLOUNDER 5.10c, Keller Peak, CA, June 6, 1991
Scariest free solo: 1st 4 pitches (600') of CATHEDRAL PEAK–SOUTHEAST BUTTRESS III 5.6, June 27, 1985

PUBLISHED FIRST ASCENTS
The following climbs were first published in the February 1986 issue of Climbing and in Southern Yosemite Rock Climbs by Mark Spencer and Shirley Spencer (published by Condor Designs, Oakhurst, CA, 1988).

TIN ROOF I 5.4
     Fresno Dome, CA; Mark Spencer and Floyd Hayes; August 8, 1982
HOLLOW WALLOW I 5.7
     Wawona Dome, Wawona, CA; Floyd Hayes and Scott Campbell; July 1, 1983
ZONER I 5.11b
     Glacier Point Apron, Yosemite Valley, CA; Mark Spencer, Shirley Spencer, Floyd Hayes; June 21, 1985
CHULOOK II 5.9
     Wawona Dome, Wawona, CA; Mark Spencer and Floyd Hayes; June 30, 1985
MIWOK II 5.7
     Wawona Dome, Wawona, CA; Mark Spencer and Floyd Hayes; June 30, 1985 (1st pitch climbed on July 1,1983)
WELCOME TO WAWONA II 5.9
     Wawona Dome, Wawona, CA; Floyd Hayes and Kevin Wilcox; July 5, 1985
ANGEL WINGS I 5.11b
     Lower Falls, Wawona, CA; Mark Spencer and Floyd Hayes; July 25, 1985
HAZY DAZE II 5.10a
     Wawona Dome, Wawona, CA; Floyd Hayes, Kevin Wilcox and Mark Spencer; July 5 (1st pitch only) and July 29, 1985
BLUE MOON III 5.11b (first free ascent of Beckey Route III 5.8 A2, climbed by Fred Beckey, Larry Moore and Bob Romanowitz; October 1970)
     Wawona Dome, Wawona, CA; Mark Spencer and Floyd Hayes; 29 July 1985

FAVORITE CLIMBS (in chronological order, with excerpts from climbing journals)
      SNAKE DIKE III 5.7
Southwest Face of Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, CA, July 23, 1982
     My first climb. I climbed with Bill Baker, Mark Spencer and Earl Tresenriter. We climbed Sentinnel Dome, Mark and I climbed Mount Broderick, and after a 9 mile hike from Glacier Point we began this climb around 1:30 pm. The first two pitches consist of 5.7 friction and short liebacks. The next six or seven pitches followed a 5.4 dike up the southwest face, protected by bolts every 50 feet or so. Mark led all of the pitches. The last 1000' consisted of class 3 and 4 friction. We arrived at the 8,442' summit of Half Dome at sunset. We climbed down the cables and Earl bivouacked just below the summit. Mark, Bill and I hiked 9 miles down the long, steep trail in the dark with a headlamp. We arrived at Camp Curry at midnight.
     2nd ascent on September 12, 2004. Mark Spencer and I began hiking from Yosemite Valley at 6:20 am and arrived at the base of Snake Dike at 9:20 am. Mark began leading at 9:45 am and led all eight pitches on a 8 mm rope 120' long. We climbed simultaneously up four pitches (5.7, 5.7, 5.7, 5.4), with Mark periodically placing tiblocs (to belay me on a fall) and quickdraws on bolts but skipping several. After running out of gear, Mark stopped atop the 5th pitch (5.7, taking the dike variation left of the regular 5.6 pitch) and belayed me after I passed the 5.7 crux. Mark led the last three pitches while I climbed simultaneously; he clipped into bolts on the 6th pitch (5.4) and we climbed the last two pitches (both 5.2) without protection. We finished the climb at 10:45 and hiked up class 2 and 3 slabs to the summit (8,442' ), arriving at 11:30 am. We left the summit at 11:55 am and arrived at Yosemite Valley at 3:15 pm. I guzzled 4.5 quarts of water. It was fun repeating my first climb, again with Mark, 22 years and 1506 climbs later! For more photos, click here.
     3rd ascent on September 11, 2008. Roy Benton and I began the hike to Half Dome from the Upper Pines Campground at 4:35 am. After pausing for breakfast, we reached the base of the climb at 8:45 am and began climbing at 9:15 am. I led pitch 1 at 5.7 (170'), placing three cams for protection, pitch 2 at 5.7 (50'), placing two cams and clipping a bolt, and pitch 3 at 5.7 (160'), clipping into two bolts. Roy led pitch 4 at 5.4 (170'?), clipping into one bolt. I led pitch 5 at 5.6 (135'), placing a cam, clipping a bolt and slinging two knobs. Roy led pitch 6 at 5.4 (120'), clipping a bolt and slinging two knobs. I led pitch 7 at 5.2 (100'), placing two cams. Roy led pitch 8 at 5.2 (195'), placing three cams. We carried and used cams 0-5 (six smallest cams); we also carried small nuts but did not use them. After 3 hr and 35 min of climbing, we unroped and continued up class 3-4 slabs, arriving at the 8,842' summit at 1:50 pm. We left the summit at 2:25 pm and arrived at the ampground at 6:55 pm. At the top of Nevada Falls we refilled with water using iodine tablets both on the approach and descent; I carried 3 but drank only 2.5 liters up Half Dome.

HARDING ROUTE III 5.7
Glacier Point Apron, Yosemite Valley, CA, July 30, 1982
     I climbed with 46-year-old Earl Tresenriter. This route consists of about 15 pitches, much of it right-facing laybacks. I led more than half of the pitches, and took a 15' fall about 1000' up on Glacier Point Apron. The climb ended on Glacier Point Terrace about 1500' above the valley floor, which we reached at sunset. We rappelled off bolts down a 80° headwall using a single rope. After about 20 rappels, while using a headlamp, we reached the bottom at midnight. My 2nd climb over 1000'.

ROYAL ARCHES III 5.10b
Yosemite Valley, CA, August 4, 1982
     Mark Spencer and I began climbing at 8:00 am., reaching the top at 2:00 pm. We did the first several pitches, including a 5.6 chimney, unroped. The climb consists of 17 pitches including two pendulums (5.10b if done free; I did it at 5.7 A2), and I did a rope traverse on the last 5.4 pitch. I led the Bear Hug Pitch, First Pendulum Pitch, and the famous Rotten Log Pitch [log removed by climbers a few years later]. My 3rd climb over 1000'. [Afterwards we attempted NORTH DOME–SOUTH FACE III 5.7 but got off-route after climbing 3 pitches and rappelled down, skirted the south wall, and climbed the peak, reaching the 7,542' summit at sunset. We hiked 4.5 miles in the dark to the Tioga Road, climbing Indian Rocks (8,522') on the way. We built a fire and slept in the dirt, alternately getting scorched and then freezing as we awoke and threw more wood in the fire. At 1:45 am. we hitched a ride to Crane Flat. Arriving at 3:00 am, we built another fire and slept until 6:00 am. The temperature went down to 28°F, and we only had on jeans and jean jackets. We hitch-hiked to Yosemite Valley and made it back to Camp Wawona for breakfast.]
     2nd ascent on June 18, 2007. Brett Hayes and I began climbing at 5:15 am. I led the entire climb in 16 pitches, although we did not do the final 5.4 pitch on the standard route. We climbed on a 165' 10.5 mm rope and dragged a 200' 10.2 mm rope which we used for the descent via 11 rappels. I led: pitch 1 at 5.6 (110') with three pieces of protection (with a headlamp); pitch 2 simulclimbed at 5.6 (380') with one piece; pitch 3 at 5.5 (160') with no pro; pitch 4 simulclimbed at 4th (240') with no pro; pitch 5 (starting at 7:10 am) at 5.7 (130') with two pieces; pitch 6 at 5.5 (75') with two pieces; pitch 7 at 5.7 (85') with three pieces and a tree sling; pitch 8 at 5.5 (100') with no pro; pitch 9 (our favorite pitch) at 5.6 (120') with four pieces; pitch 10 at 5.10b (125') with five pieces and a fixed line (Brett pendulumned the crux on the fixed line, climbing 5.6 A2); pitch 11 at 5.4 (110') with one piece; pitch 12 at 5.7 (100') with six pieces and a root sling, with final holds on a dead gnarly branch; pitch 13 at 5.6 (60') with two pieces and a horn sling; pitch 14 simulclimbed at 5.6 (200') with seven pieces and a root sling; pitch 15 at 5.4 (150') with four pieces; and pitch 16 at 5.3 (150') with four pieces. After 9.5 hours of climbing we finished at 2:45 pm. I used 49 pieces of protection for an average of 3.07 per pitch. We descended via 11 rappels of 150', 95', 70', 140', 70', 160', 110', 150' plus 4th scrambling, 140', 160' plus 2nd scrambling and 160'. After 3.75 hours of descending we reached the bottom at 6:50 pm, with 13.25 hours spent climbing and descending.

LOST ARROW TIP III 5.8 A3
Yosemite Valley, CA, July 15, 1983
     The most spectacular climb of my life! Mark Spencer and I did two rappels, 130' and 115', to the notch. Mark led the 1st pitch at 5.8 A1 for 35' on fixed aid. I led the 2nd pitch at 5.5 A3 on two fixed pins, six small nuts and a horn sling for 20' to spectacular Salathé Ledge. Mark led the 3rd pitch at 5.4 A3 for 140' on fixed pins, bolts, mashies and nuts. I cleaned the pitch, retrieving a “new” 2" bong. I tried freeing a 5.8 section, but went back on aid when I fell. We thoroughly enjoyed the 3,000' exposure and hanging over Upper Yosemite Falls. From the summit we rappeled 125' to Salathé Ledge and 70' to the notch. We then prusiked 115' up the 1st fixed roped on the return to the rim and climbed hand over hand up the second rope (plus some 5.5 free moves) to the top of the rim. Mark led all four rappels and two prusik pitches. Afterwards we hiked several miles mostly in the dark to our car on the Tioga Road, often getting lost because snow drifts covered the trail.

BISHOP’S BALCONY II 5.5 A3
Yosemite Valley, CA, July 22, 1983
     With Alison Blythe Carleton and Earl Tresenriter. I led the 1st pitch at 5.5. I led the 2nd pitch at class 3 A3. The 2nd pitch is a spectacular 15' ceiling, and is mostly fixed. I used three nuts at the start, a 2" bong, a 1.5" angle, and two nuts at the lip. We descended via a 125' rappel (75' free!) and a 90' rappel.

CATHEDRAL PEAK–SOUTHEAST BUTTRESS III 5.6
Tuolumne Meadows, CA, July 30, 1983
     I led 6 pitches up the left side of the 750' southeast face, as Dolly Spencer seconded. Mark and Shirley Spencer climbed simultaneously to the right. A spectacular, stimulating but easy climb. Tremendous views and exposure! From the 10,940' summit we did a 75' rappel down the west face, a 50' body rappel, and descended class 3 slabs to the trail.
     2nd ascent on June 27, 1985. Mark Spencer led six campers and Bob Neal up five pitches to the summit. To save time I free-soloed the first four pitches on the right side of the buttress to the big ledge, and clipped into the rope on the summit pitch. Everyone but Mark and I did a single rappel from the 10,940' summit. We down-climbed a class 4 crack. 3rd ascent on June 21, 2007. Brett Hayes, Phil and Cheri Ermshar and I left our car at 6:45 am and arrived at the base at 8:45 am. We began climbing the right side of the buttress at 9:20 am. Brett led pitch 1 at 5.3 (100') with four pieces of protection and I cleaned. I led the remaining pitches with Brett cleaning. We climbed with the second tied in 10-15' above Cheri at the end of a 200' rope, and Phil at the end of a 165' rope trailed by Cheri. I led pitch 2 at 5.6 (110') with three pieces plus a fixed pin, pitch 3 at 5.6 (one move felt like 5.7; 150') with six pieces, pitch 4 through the chimney at 5.6 (150') with four pieces plus a fixed nut, pitch 5 at 5.5 (110') with three pieces to the big ledge, and pitch 6 at 5.6 (140') with five pieces to the summit. After nearly 6 hours of climbing we all summited at 3:10 pm. Brett down-climbed about 80' of 4th on belay and placed four pieces of protection. I then lowered Phil and Sherry on a separate rope, and then down-climbed on belay while removing protection. We reached the car at 6:30 pm.

EL CAPITAN–EAST BUTTRESS IV 5.10b
Yosemite Valley, CA, August 10-11, 1983
     On August 10, Mark Spencer and I fixed the first two pitches of the route, and Bill Hayes helped us some too. I led the 1st pitch at 5.9, resting on the rope once. Mark led the 2nd crux pitch at 5.10b, cleaning the route on rappel. We both rappelled down the 1st pitch. On August 11, we began climbing at 8:00 am. Mark top-rope soloed the first 2 pitches. I prusiked up the 1st and top-roped the 2nd. We hauled gear up both pitches in two daypacks. I led the 3rd pitch at class 4 and Mark led the 4th at 5.5. I took a fall on the 5.5 while cleaning! I led the 5th pitch at 5.7 and Mark led the 6th at 5.8. I led the 7th pitch at 5.9, resting several times on the rope. Mark led the 8th pitch at 5.9, and we hauled gear up both 5.9 pitches. I led the 9th pitch at 5.5, Mark the 10th at 5.7, I the 11th at 5.7, and Mark the 12th at 5.5. The last pitch was “class 3,” but I protected a class 4 move at the rim’s edge. The entire climb was easily protected and had many fixed pins. We arrived at the rim at 4:30 pm. We descended El Capitan East Ledges via class 3 scrambling, some class 4, and 5 rappels of 40', 85', 145', 40' and 135'. My biggest and hardest climb yet...and up the face of famous El Capitan! This climb is about 1500'...my 4th climb over 1000'.

WELCOME TO WAWONA II 5.9 (first ascent!)
Wawona Dome, Southern Yosemite, CA, July 5, 1985
     I led the 1st pitch, on the left side of Wawona Dome, at 5.9. First, a 5.7 offwidth crack, class 3 scrambling, and a 5.9 overhanging 3" crack; an 80' pitch to a tree. Rested once on a sling at 15' 5.9 section Kevin Wilcox led the 2nd 40' pitch of mostly class 3 and a 5.7 move to a pinnacle. Then Kevin led the 3rd pitch, a 160' continuous 5.7 crack. Kevin avoided a 5.8 overhang by running it out 25' to the right on an unprotected 5.7 face. I cleaned. A new route; my 6th 1st ascent on Wawona Dome (not including 5.0 stuff). I believe we’re the 2nd party to complete a climb on the Wawona Dome face.

FAIRVIEW DOME–REGULAR ROUTE III 5.9
Tuolumne Meadows, CA, 16 July 1985
     Greg Achenbach and I began climbing at 10:10 am. I led the 1st pitch at 5.9, Greg led the 2nd at 5.8, I led the 3rd at 5.9, Greg the 4th at 5.7, I the 5th at 5.8, Greg the 6th at 5.6, I the 7th at 5.7, Greg the 8th at 5.5, I the 9th at class 3, Greg the 10th at class 5, and I the 11th at class 5. Good pro! A fantastic route! Stormy all day–we got blasted by rain on several pitches. Reached the summit at 3:10 pm, and walked down easy class 3 slabs on the south face. My 5th climb over 1000'.
     2nd ascent on 6 August 2004. David Regal and I began climbing at 10:00 am. I led the 1st (crux) pitch at 5.9 (160'), the 2nd at 5.8 (70'), the 3rd past a small overhang at 5.8 (160'), the 4th to the top of a big white flake (up its left side) at 5.8 (75'), the 5th to Crescent Ledge at 5.7 (75'), and the 6th on the Hollow Flake variation at 5.6 (120'). Ryan Tetz, Sean Otis and Ann Reynolds climbed above us. Ryan belayed me on a top-rope up the 7th pitch (my favorite; 200'), in which I climbed directly above the 5.7 overhang (rather than going left up a dihedral) and traversed a few feet across a tricky face at 5.9. I led the 8th pitch at 5.4 (190'), the 9th at 5.6 (190'), and the 10th at 5.6 (190'). The parties above us were very slow, so I placed a lot of gear and took my time leading–except the last three easy pitches, which I led as rapidly as I could. Ryan and I led the last two pitches simultaneously, usually Ryan slightly in front of me, and clipped into the same placements for protection. We climbed the last pitch in the dark using headlamps (first time for me; I also climbed with a helmet for the first time). Neither David nor I fell. We arrived at the summit at 9:30 and left at 10:05 pm. After descending slowly by headlamps, we arrived at our cars at 11:20 pm. After a phone call home and sorting gear until midnight at Tuolumne Meadows, I drove westward for an hour and we camped just west of the park’s entrance along Hardin Flat Road. This was my longest climb and the most pitches led in a day in 19 years (1985)! For more photos, click here.
     3rd ascent on July 4, 2008. Brett Hayes and I began climbing at 7:55 am. I led the 1st pitch at 5.9 (160') with 10 pieces of protection and Brett led the 2nd at 5.8 (40') to the tree ledge with 10 pieces, taking a 12' leader fall (his first) when he tugged on a cam that popped. I led the 3rd at 5.8 (30') to the right ledge above the tree with three pieces and the 4th at 5.8 (160') over the small roof with 17 pieces. On the latter pitch I once grabbed a slinged cam when I left the crack to check out the left arete and lost my balance when down-climbing back to the crack. Brett led the 5th at 5.7 (45') to a large ledge with five pieces and I led the 6th at 5.8 (105') over the right side of the big white flake to Crescent Ledge with five pieces plus two fixed pins and a sling on a flake. At this point a thick cloud passed overhead. Fearing a storm, Brett hastily led the 7th at 5.6 (120') on the Hollow Flake variation with five pieces and I led the 8th at 5.7 (160') over the second roof with seven pieces and a fixed pin. The sky cleared again as Brett led the 9th pitch at 5.5 (190') traversing right to a tree with five pieces and I climbed a more direct 5.7 variation. I led pitches 10 and 11 at 4th and 5.6 (370') with three pieces and Brett simulclimbing portions of the two pitches. Brett led the summit pitch at 5.4 (75') without protection. We topped out after 7 hours at 3:00 pm. We began our descent down class 3 slabs at 3:20 pm and arrived at our car at 4:10 pm. This was the first time we climbed with weight lifting gloves, which spared our upper knuckles and wrists from scrapes and scratches.

EICHORN PINNACLE–WEST PILLAR III 5.9
Tuolumne Meadows, CA, July 23, 1985
     Greg Achenbach and I began hiking at 8:00 am from Tuolumne Meadows. We started climbing at 10:00 am. I led the entire climb. Led the first two pitches of 5.9 in one long pitch. Even led up a 5.9+ section, but down-climbed it after leaving a friend. Traversed right at 5.4 for the 2nd pitch, and led three pitches of continuous 5.8 jamcracks. Also rappelled from the 4th pitch to retrieve the friend. I then led four pitches of mostly class 3 and 4, with occasional class 5 moves. I rated the 6th pitch at 5.4, the 7th at 5.4, the 8th at 5.9, and the 9th at 5.3. We arrived at the summit at 6:15 pm, and rappelled 80' amidst thunder and lightning. It started hailing hard when we finished rappelling and we quickly packed up and shivered under a rock. Fearing hypothermia (we were dressed in shorts and short-sleeved shirts), we traversed across slabs (with ice waterfalls!) to the northern ridge, crossed over and descended south to the trail, lower temperatures, less wind, and rain instead of stinging hail. Arrived at Tuolumne Meadows at 7:50, shivering in our wet clothes.

MIDDLE CATHEDRAL ROCK–EAST BUTTRESS IV 5.10b A1
Yosemite Valley, CA, 26 July 1985
     Kevin Wilcox, Peter Cho and I started climbing at 7:35 am. I led the 1st pitch at 5.6 without pro and belayed Kevin and Peter. Kevin led the 2nd pitch at 5.8, and I fell while cleaning a fixed pin. I led the 3rd pitch at 5.8, Kevin the 4th at 5.7, I the 5th at 5.9 A1 (bolt ladder, tension traverse, overhang and vertical crack--best pitch of the route!), Kevin the 6th at 5.8, I the 7th at 5.7, Kevin the 8th at 5.8 (up a crack and off-route above the face traverse), I led the 9th at 5.6 and the 10th at 5.8, and Kevin the 11th at 5.7. We unroped at 7:30 pm just as it started hailing, raining, lightning, and thundering. We sat the storm out in shelter for 30 minutes, and then started looking for the Kat Walk descent. We went down a gully which ended in a drop-off, after I rappelled a short section and had to climb back up hand-over-hand. Then, in the darkness, we scrambled back up and debated what to do next. Eventually we located the Kat Walk with flashlights and collected water from a small waterfall on the way. We descended the gully slowly in climbing shoes, still wet although the rain had stopped. We then had to rappel 140' and 50' down chilly waterfalls, and finally made it to the car at 2:00 am the following day, and back to camp at 3:00 am. My 3rd grade 4 and 6th climb over 1000'–and a real epic!
     2nd ascent on July 26, 2008. Brett Hayes, Tyler Logan and I left the car at 4:25 am and, after getting lost and confused in the dark, arrived at the start of the climb at 4:50 am. We began climbing at 5:15, with Brett leading pitch 1 with a headlamp at 5.6 (120'), placing two pieces for protection. I led pitch 2 at 5.8 (40') with two pieces of protection (one fixed). Tyler led pitch 3 at 5.8 (150', including part of pitch 4) with about six pieces (two fixed). I led the remaining portion of pitch 4 at 5.7 (50') with four pieces (one fixed). Tyler led the crux pitch 5 at 5.10b A1 (110'), clipping into eight bolts and three pieces; while leading the bolt ladder he rested on the rope three times and pulled on the next-to-last bolt to avoid a desperate mantel. Brett pulled himself up the quick draws on the bolt ladder, climbing the pitch at 5.9 A1. I attempted to free-
My first climb! Cleaning the crux 2nd pitch (5.7) in tennis shoes on SNAKE DIKE III 5.7, Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, CA, July 23, 1982. Photo by Bill Baker.
Deja vu! Second ascent 22 years later of SNAKE DIKE III 5.7 on Half Dome, Yosemite Valley, CA, top of 5th pitch, September 12, 2004. Photo by Mark Spencer.
Earl Tresenriter on one of the lower pitches of HARDING ROUTE III 5.7 on Glacier Point Apron, Yosemite Valley, CA, July 30, 1982.
15-year-old Brett Hayes more than 1400 feet above the ground on the 16th pitch, just before the start of the rappel route, of ROYAL ARCHES III 5.10b, Yosemite Valley, CA, June 18, 2007.
Leading the spectacular 15' ceiling on the second pitch (A3) of BISHOP'S BALCONY II 5.5 A3, Yosemite Valley, CA, July 22, 1983. Photo by Alison Blythe Carleton.
15-year-old Brett Hayes contemplating the route above the 3rd pitch of CATHEDRAL PEAK III 5.6, Tuolumne Meadows, CA, June 21, 2007.
Mark Spencer leading the 10th pitch (5.7) above and 4th pitch (5.5) below of EL CAPITAN– EAST BUTTRESS IV 5.10b, Yosemite Valley, CA, August 11, 1983.
 
David Regal climbing off-route face holds on a direct variation (5.9) of the 7th pitch led by Ryan Tetz on FAIRVIEW DOME–NORTH FACE REGULAR ROUTE IV 5.9, Tuolumne Meadows, CA, August 6, 2004.
Cleaning pitch 8 (5.8) of MIDDLE CATHEDRAL PEAK–EAST BUTTRESS IV 5.10b A1, Yosemite Valley, CA, July 26, 2008. Photo by Brett Hayes.
Leading the crux 14th pitch (5.8) of TENAYA PEAK– NORTHWEST BUTTRESS III 5.8, Tuolumne Meadows, CA, August 13, 2005. Photo by an unknown climber.
climb the bolt ladder but fell five times and grabbed the next-to-last bolt to avoid the desperate mantel (after two falls) and tensioned across the tricky traverse (after one fall) to the crack. The moves seemed harder than 5.10c, but since we didn’t free all the moves I’ve called it 5.10b. On my last fall a radio ripped off of my gear sling and fell. I led pitch 6, after aborting an exploratory foray on unprotected 5.6 terrain too low to the right, at 5.8 (100') with six pieces (two fixed). I led pitch 7 at 5.7 (120') with seven pieces (one fixed). Tyler led pitch 8 at 5.8 (130') with seven pieces. Brett led pitch 9 at 5.7 (100') with five pieces. Tyler led pitch 10 at 5.8 (165') with ten pieces, but stayed in the tough dihedral (5.9?) rather than moving left to a thin hand crack. Tyler led pitch 11 at 5.7 (185') with five pieces. The second and third simulclimbed with the second 10-25' above the end of the rope on all but the 2nd, 5th and 6th pitches. After only 7.25 hours we finished the climb at 12:30, when the temperature in the valley was 95 degrees. Brett’s stomach was painfully sore and I felt like I was going to have a heat stroke, so we were slow on the last two pitches. We began our relatively uneventful descent at 1:10 pm. In the Cathedral Chimney we rappelled three times (80', 35' and 30'). We arrived at the car at 3:15 pm as the skies filled with smoke from a rapidly growing fire along highway 120 west of the park. This was my first grade IV climb in 23 years!

BLUE MOON III 5.11b (first free ascent!)
Wawona Dome, Southern Yosemite, CA, 29 July 1985
     Mark Spencer and I hiked to the top of Wawona Dome via the class 3 gully just north of the main face, and rappeled down 660' to the bottom, for a day full of delightful exploration! I belayed Mark up the 1st and 2nd pitches, a 5.8 layback, and a 5.9 overhang, respectively. We traversed right 60' at class 4. Mark climbed the 4th pitch with one fall, calling a 30' thin lieback section 5.11b. I fell twice. The 5th pitch was 5.7, the 6th was 5.5, and the 7th had a 5.7 move. Then we climbed unroped 150' of class 4. The pitch lengths were 120', 60', 60', 100', 110', 100', 120', and 150'. That’s 670' of roped climbing! Fred Beckey, Larry Moore, and Bob Romanowitz first climbed the route at 5.8 A2 on 14 and 15 October 1985, placing 7 bolts and 2 fixed pins on the route. We made the first free ascent, and hereby rename the route!

DEVIL’S TOWER–DURRANCE ROUTE II 5.8
Devil’s Tower, WY, 15 June 1986
     I met three climbers from Maryland at the campground. At the base we waited approximately 1.5 hr for other parties. Brian Deely led the 1st (Leaning Column 5.6) and 2nd (Durrance Crack 5.7 pitches in a long pitch. I cleaned, followed by Tom O’Shields and Eric Greene. I then led the 3rd (Cussing Crack 5.4), 4th (5.5) and 5th (Chockstone Chimney 5.5) pitches in a single long pitch, followed by Brian, Tom and Eric. Brian then led the 6th (Jump Traverse 5.8) pitch, and we unroped afterwards and climbed class 4 chimneys to the summit. We descended via four 150' rappels, mostly down WIESSNER’S 5.7 route.

TENAYA PEAK–NORTHWEST BUTTRESS III 5.8
Tuolumne Meadows, CA, 13 August 2005
     Roy Benton and I began the approach at 7:10 am and arrived halfway up the first pitch at 8:00 am. We rappelled 75' to the base of the pitch and began climbing at 8:15 am. Roy led the first seven pitches (5.5, 4th, 4th, 5.4, 5.2, 5.4, 3rd), placing only five pieces for protection while I simulclimbed. Roy then led pitches 8-11 (up to 5.6), mostly on thin cracks left of the main route, placing 12 pieces while I simulclimbed. We paused for breakfast atop the 11th pitch at 10:00 am. I then led pitches 12 and 13 (5.4), placing eight pieces and a sling, while Roy simulclimbed. I led the crux 14th pitch (5.8, 90'), placing four pieces, and Roy cleaned. We finished the climb at 11:45 and hiked up to the 10,301' summit. After leaving the summit at 12:25 we paused briefly at a rock formation along the ridge and descended via class four boulders and treacherous slopes across a forested series of ledges beneath the west face, arriving at the beach of Tenaya Lake at about 1:45 pm. We climbed about 1,800' for my 7th climb over 1,000'. Second ascent on 8 August 2006. My son Brett and I began the approach at 8:25 am, arrived at the base of the climb at 9:25 am, and began climbing at 9:50 am. I led all 14 pitches: the 1st (5.5) with no protection; the 2nd-5th (4th, 4th, 5.4, 5.2) simulclimbed with nine pieces; the 6th-7th (5.2, 5.4) simulclimbed with six pieces; the 7th-8th (3rd, 5.5) simulclimbed with two pieces; the 9th (5.5) with four pieces; the 10th (5.4) with four pieces; the 11th (4th) with a tree sling and some simulclimbing, arriving at the big ledge where we rested a while at 1:25 pm; the 12th (5.4) with four pieces; the 13th (5.4) with seven pieces and some simulclimbing; and the crux 14th (5.8) with five pieces, actually split into two pitches to take a few photos. We finished the climb at 3:40 pm, hiked up to the 10,301' summit at 4:15 pm, and began hiking down at 4:20 pm. Brett developed a migraine headache during the descent and had to hike slowly. We failed to locate a trail and apparently hiked much farther down the ridge than we should have. Just before arriving at a stream we turned right, headed cross-country toward the northeast, skirted the south side of a small dome and arrived at the southeast shore of Lake Tenaya. At one point while descending a class 3 slab I fell face-first and rolled twice, aggravating my sprained wrist. From Lake Tenaya we followed the trail along the south shore to the parking lot at Sunrise Trail, arriving at 6:20 pm.

UNPUBLISHED BOULDERING / ROCK-CLIMBING TOPOS
Angwin, Napa County, CA [click here]
La Sierra, Riverside County, CA [click here]

ADDITIONAL ROCK-CLIMBING PHOTOS

Early climbing at Seneca Rocks, WV [
click here]
Early climbing with my son Brett in CA [
click here]
Lembert Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, CA [
click here]
Fairview Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park, CA [
click here]
Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, CA [
click here]

 

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