aid climbing, big wall, climbing, free climbing, Mallorie Estenson, tenaya mathes cathedral traverse, the prow, the valley, tuolumne, washington column
For years, I told myself that I wasn’t going to visit Yosemite until I was a solid 5.11 climber. The idea was loosely based on something that I’d heard about free vs. aid climbing one of the most iconic climbs in the world: The Nose on El Capitan. The more you can free climb, the faster you can move, the more parties you can pass on the congested route, etc., etc.
Here to say: that was dumb. If you’re thinking like this because you have yet to visit Yosemite, don’t be dumb like me. Just go.
Yosemite for me is a full-on, head-to-toe body rush of dopamine. I gasped aloud the fist time I saw Half Dome. I first visited the park from the east entrance, passing through the boundless alpine playground that is Tuolumne. Everywhere you look, granite domes erupt from the ground surrounded piney forests and serene alpine…
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