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Sarajevo is a city of contrasts, a city marked by both tolerance and neglect.  Tattered buildings still carrying the scars of war sheepishly face modern out of place buildings glowing at night. The call to prayer rings out from minaretes scattered along the city as others enter synagogues or churches. Apartments are kept tidy and neat while trash floods the street. A small limestone crag filled with motivated climbers lies minutes from an ancient bazaar. Sarajevo was my first stop. IMG_2361 Read More

Accidents in the mountains are less common than in the lowlands, and these mountain mansions are decent, delightful, even divine, places to die in, compared with the doleful chambers of civilization. Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain-passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action. – John Muir

 

In Tuolumne Meadows, there are no shortage of routes available to the motivated climber. Three of these routes make up what is known as the “Triple Crown”- Tenaya Peak, Cathedral Peak, and Matthes Crest. All three routes get you above 10,000 ft. for a moderate grade, and all are unique in their own way. The strongest and quickest climbers try to link them up in a day, which is an ambitious task. Emmanuel and I wanted to climb all of them, but honestly thought we would have to pick one or two of them. Well, turns out we didn’t.

Our plan was to head into Tuolumne from Lone Pine, sleep outside of the park and then climb Tenaya on Thursday morning. After Tenaya we planned to try to get a permit to backpack into Echo Lakes on Friday. As Cathedral Peak and Matthes Crest are about 2 miles from another (and both close to Echo Lake), many link the two routes in two days by backpacking to Echo Peaks. This lets you avoid having to hike back and forth and also to sneak in some backpacking in the middle of climbing two classics.

So, in three days we climbed the three most prolific “easy” routes in Tuolume meadows, Here, then, is what happened along the way…

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In 1941 the city of Los Angeles drained the Owens River in the Eastern Sierras  to divert water to the San Fernando Valley and to provide electricity to homes near L.A. Beginning in 1991 a court ruling allowed for releases from the dam to dewater the drained reach and restore riparian habitat, as well as establish a brown trout sport fishery.  Around the same time, in 1988, the first bolted route in the Gorge was put up and sport climbing in the Gorge was born. I had heard several times that the Owen’s River Gorge was the most concentrated sport climbing crag in California and was filled with quality, five star routes; however, with the Gorge being 5 hours away from Davis, I’ve never found the opportunity to make the trip. So, for my spring break I decided to go with my friend Gabriel, a Colombian climber who recently moved to Davis to do his PhD and who was itching to get out of Davis and see the Sierras. Vamos!

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I am writing this blog post from probably my most luxurious location yet- sitting on the bathroom tiled floor at the Ceuse campgrounds, right in front of the trashcans – unfortunately my charger can’t stretch past the trash and outside. Ceuse is a cliff band in the South of France and has been called by many as the best sport climbing destination in the world. It also comes with a bit of history as it houses the first 9a+, (5.15a) climbed, called Biografie or Realization whose first ascent was done by Chris Sharma. But, stories of my travels in france (which have just started) will come a bit later. (as a mini-preview, Ceuse is amazing but it’s kicking my ass!) Before I crossed the border, I took a week long climbing trip with my friend Chris Jorde to the Basque Country.