As stated in Tuolumne // 2015 – Part I, the weather foiled our original plans for Day 6. After being chased west by the rain we arrived in the canyon shown above, but that didn’t work out either! Never fear, there are always back up plans on this trip!
A cold rainy day was in our future, don’t let that pretty picture about fool you (you will see after the jump), so we went on day trip to the “East Side” and headed towards Mammoth, Calif.
As you can see below, this is why we left, Olmsted Point that day looked a bit gnarly, and into the east towards Tenya Lake and the campground it looked even better, not! Note the little bit over the canyon we left to the right (the weather moved in more later) and then hello, big dark scary cloud. Warmer weather, and happier skies was a much better move!
After driving through the rain out of the park, and 45 min later…
We arrived here! Past the Mammoth airport, off the freeway, and in an open meadow with our choice of hot springs! My only other hot springs experience is one I haven’t even shared. Maybe one day I will finally post our Southern Oregon trip that included the non-prestine Umpqua Hot Springs. Anyways, back to my first Eastern Sierras hot spring experience!
Doesn’t get much better than big puffy clouds, mountains, cow watching and HOT natural springs in a cozy tub. The view rocked (see above), and a beer-in-hand was a must! Some might recognice the view and the tub, but at this time for a multitude of reasons I am not going to say it’s name here. Steve ( Hot Water Yogi) knew the way here, as he has visited it regularly, and as we arrived the 3 women + 1 man graciously gave up the tub for our enjoyment. The reason for not saying the name, and sharing the location comes from the nature of people that don’t know how to preserve things, and the gaggle of people that came after us. Our experience rocked! Good vibes, chatting, and talk of what to do next. The herd that came after, baby and children in toe was a bit gross. They looked like vacationers that didn’t belong, showing up in a caravan of cars, talking a bit loudly, and just totally out of place. I love sharing the things that the Hubs and I are up to here, but I am also going to consider moving forward disclosing exact locations. Some destinations should be left to word of mouth in order to find them! All and all, hot springs on the East Side are pretty easy to find! There are books about them, and I highly recommend exploring.
After leaving the tub, it was pretty hard to get our Yogi to depart, we packed back up and headed into the Town of Mammoth. I had never been to the area, and it’s pretty much another Northstar aka Disneyland with a small town around it. We were in search of beer, so naturally we went to Mammoth Brewing Co. for pints, and sun on the patio. After quick stop into Mammoth Mountaineering in search of “hand jammies,” and ending up with $10 posters of the Eastern Sierra Range (SCORE!) that names all the peaks, it was time for food. When in Mammoth go to the Toomeys! Chef Matt is the creator of the menu at The Mobile in Lee Vinning. The food is better in Mammoth, since Matt Toomey is no longer with the gas station/restaurant, and the new spot has a great patio and beer selection!
After dinner we headed back up Tioga Pass and returned to pleasant weather, since the storm had passed. It actually didn’t rain that much after we left, and we probably could have climbed in the afternoon, but it was nice to have a day off! We got back to camp, started a campfire for the group to enjoy, and later it turned into a bacon bomb (click for video) evening! Don’t ask me about the science on that one!
The next day, Saturday, was Nick and Paige’s last day, and the groups full last day. We hung around camp until late morning, and had decided to check out Drug Dome, which has some obscure single pitch routes. The climbs were in full shade when we arrived. This made it extremely hard to see the bolts as we tried to figure out what was what. Funny enough we ended up to the far right, and as the sun hit the wall, we figured out whatever we were on wasn’t even in the book! No joke. It had bolts, it was kinda fun with knobs, but the crux was awkward, and not a 5.7 like we thought. It was a fun adventure though, and I was able to get some great shots ( below ) of Paige climbing from the trail that most people to take to get to The Hobbit Book.
Shortly after we found what were were looking for on the wall; far left. The boys set-up some 5-FUN, and then Nick sent Stemulant, which was awesome to watch! The climb was all gear, except for this crazy roof you have to pull over, which was a bolt to clip for protection. It was an awesome lead, Chris cleaned it, and of course Steve made the moves look easy and cruised the crux before breaking it all down.
// Day 8 Climbing //
- Drug Dome – searched for obscurities… did multiple routes
After walking back to the car, and having good-bye beers with Nick and Paige, Chris + Steve and myself headed to West End of Tenya Lake, the actual “beach” side, to hang out with what remained of the group. The kids were playing on the paddle board, we all chatted about how the trip was coming to a close, and talked about things we accomplished. Little did we know, we had a pretty big highlight left! Our friends from Southern California had a trick up their sleeves with a homemade strap that turned the paddle board into a windsurfer!
After a full show, up and down the beach, and giving the kids a ride on the tail the boys who had never tried windsurfing gave it attempt. The image above is Chris, the only time he got up and was able to stand… for about 5 seconds. In his defense, and all the others who attempted, the wind sucked. It seemed to be killer work out though. Everyone was huffing and puffing as they got out of the water, and for all the spectators it was great afternoon filled with lots of entertainment!
I don’t have any shots from our last day. Everyone had packed up, and it was down to just The Tennants (Steve + Chris + Myself), and we were off to Stately Pleasure. We had talked about climbing Dixie Peach, but when we arrived and noticed nobody was at the base of South Crack it was on!
I was stoked, and this climb is CLASSIC! We started gearing up, and I spotted to cars pull up. Knowing how popular this route is, there is usually a conga-line up it, I tied on the rope and took off. This is where I earned my Tennant merit badge. As I hit the slab, there was a guy on my tail! I kept pushing, and I listened to him suck wind behind me, as I beat him to the bottom of the climb. I won! It’s silly, but it’s a game of who got there first sometimes. Steve arrived, before the other guys partner with the other rope in tow ( we were climbing as a party of three ), and we were all set. It’s a silly accomplishment, but was also a proud moment in my book, plus I was stoked to finally get on South Crack.
// Day 8 Climbing //
- South Crack | Stately Pleasure | 5.8R – CLASSIC
We had our challenge on the climb, the slow party in front of us, which we later figured they were with a guide, and it was their first outdoor climb ever. Like what?! Let’s just leave it at that, and it just gave us more time to hang out and enjoy the view. Despite the people above, it was one of my favorite climbs of the trip. The crack was amazing! The review, and explanation of the climb is spot on, and has one of the best crack pitches in Tuolumne. It was perfect, and a great fun way to end the trip.
We ended the day, and trip with a swirl while sitting in the meadow. Sadly, then it was over, and we were off, back to Truckee!