We made oatmeal at camp before heading to Curry Village to fill up our water containers and get some coffee before heading over to climb The Grack again. After climbing it the other day, we decided this would be a good first climb to take Kevin and Sam on in Yosemite. The approach isn’t bad, and the 3 pitches of climbing are pretty mellow and fun.
Dave lead pitch 1, Alex led the fun low angle hand jamming pitch 2, and Dave lead the final pitch. On pitch 2, Alex spied a piece of gear of stuck gear, and yelled down to Dave, “Looks like we have another piece of booty ahead!” The new looking Metolius #2/3 offset cam and shiny new carabiner made the 5th piece of found gear this trip… the cam was a $65 purchase itself.
As Kevin made his way to the top of the climb he wasn’t looking happy. He yelled up, “I ripped the skin on my hand!” Somehow, he actually burned his hands on the hot granite. By the time we all simul-rapped to the base, he a had a blister on each of his palms, one of which was opened.
Back at the car, Kevin summoned some much needed rest, laying on a sleeping pad next to the car refusing to eat or drink. The remaining three of us made and ate PB&J while we cleaned up gear and prepared to drive to Mariposa Grove of Giant Trees near the Wawona entrance to the park. After parking, we jumped on a shuttle for the 20-minute ride to the trailhead. By now, Kevin was sore, tired, demoralized and had ripped up hands and feet. We would only have about 1.5 hours before the final shuttle would leave the trailhead, so the bus driver suggested everyone only go to the “Grizzly Giant.” She said this was about an hour round trip. She mentioned that in the Upper Groves, it was like “Jurassic Park,” but this was a 3 hour round trip hike. Alex knew that once she said this, it was game over and Dave was going to be on a mission.
We saw at the trailhead, that “Grizzly Giant” was only 0.8 miles, and the Upper Groves were 1.6 miles. We had this… even in flip flops. Alex and Dave took off up the trail, leaving a trail of dust behind them. They made it practically to the museum area before they decided to turn around. The trees were HUGE and amazing to look at along the way, though they waited until the way back to take pictures. They re-joined Kevin and Sam who had hiked to well beyond the “suggested distances” in the allotted time despite Kevin’s battered morale, feet,and hands.
Feeling bad that we had seemed to torture Kevin on his vacation, we took him to Sugar Pine Pizzeria for dinner… and he was smiling again! Later that night back at camp, Dave helped perform “minor surgery” on Kevin’s battered feet.