|Desolation Wilderness, one of those places I grew up exploring.|
|Sawtooth Ridge, the northernmost part of the High Sierra and possibly my favorite part of the range.|
The next morning my dad and I drove down 395 to Tioga Pass. We found a campsite and then drove into Yosemite National Park. We arrived at the May Lake Trailhead and leisurely strolled up Mt. Hoffman. I took the binoculars and we discussed my plans while I trained my sights on Mt. Conness. I felt both lucky and burdened by my father's support and acceptance. Sometimes you just want to tell everyone to screw off before a big climb, especially a solo. But I also believe that the only way for me to do this sustainably is in balance with the rest of my life. For me that means I need to accept my relationships into my psyche when climbing, not push them away. If I can't achieve inner peace with my whole self while climbing then the experience will be worthless in the end.
|Mt. Conness from the summit of Cathedral Peak two days later. The West Ridge is on the left, following the edge of the shaded face.|
|My dad and I hiking into the Conness Lakes Basin.|
The next morning we drove to the Saddlebag Lake Trailhead and hiked around the lake. We started heading up into the Conness Lakes basin before stopping for a snack. I said good-bye to my dad and started a brisk pace up to North Peak Pass. This pass is given a class 2 rating in the Secor Guide but this requires a careful traverse of steep talus from the east. Instead I went the other way around a small tarn and across the glacial moraine before scrambling up a cliff face. This was definitely a pitch of 5th class. I followed slab up a corner until it blanked out and then traversed out a horizontal crack to blocky arete. A high-step foot jam with significant exposure led to easier, albeit vegetated climbing. I then dropped down to Roosevelt Lake and walked around to the base of the West Ridge.
|North Peak Pass, it's not class 2 from this angle.|
|The base of the West Ridge on Conness. Can you see the two climbers on the face?|
|Looking up at pitch 2 of the West Ridge route as I prepare to pass the party of two.|
|Looking up at the upper portion of the West Ridge.|
|Looking down into Tuolumne Meadows and Yosemite Valley.|
|Looking down to the north at the Conness Lakes Basin that I had hiked through earlier in the day.|
|The huge SW Face with the West Ridge behind it.|