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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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Driving from the Sierras… to another part in the Sierras… man, life was good. I finished up climbing in Lake Tahoe for five days and was on my way south to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite to visit my friend Colleen, who works there, and to climb on some more granite. This time, however, I was going to mix it up a bit. For the past 8 months I’d been basically exclusively sport climbing- climbing up single pitches and pushing myself to new, harder grades. This time I was going to follow up Colleen, a decently experienced trad climber, up some trad multi-pitch climbs whose grades were much less easier than the things I’d been climbing in Spain and in Tahoe, but that were logistically more difficult and involved different techniques. Essentially, to move forward in climbing, sometimes you have to technically move backward.

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