Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tuolumne Bouldering

While my trip to Tuolumne was primarily for Trad-climbing it is impossible to take me anywhere without the smaller rocks getting some attention.  Initially I was hoping to spend the latter part of most days bouldering but we were confronted with daily showers that threw a monkey-wrench in my plans.  Despite the weather I still managed a couple half-days of bouldering and one "dryish" evening.  With the sub-par conditions I stuck mostly to moderate "star-chasing" and tried to see as many areas as possible, never giving more than a few attempts per problem.  Here is my take on Tuolumne bouldering and a few pictures................

People have known about bouldering in Tuolumne since the days of the original stone-masters but it wasn't until recently that it started getting the attention it deserves.  For years the bouldering in Tuolumne had the reputation for consisting of mostly technical knob climbing and "pure boulderers" tended to snub the area.  Fortunately there was a small dedicated crew of folks that didn't buy the lies and spent their summers wandering around developing boulders.

Three of the primary developers happen to be friends (Creg Phares, Charlie Barrett, and Matt Arnold) and for years I've been hearing about a wonderland of granite boulders with little spray and no scenesters.  My friends practically had the boulders all to themselves but after years of development and sharing with friends people started to realize Tuolumne offered more than just granite domes and pulling on knobs.  With bouldering this good it was only a matter of time before the throngs of "dude-bros" that pummel the boulders of Yosemite Valley started to venture up to the cooler air of Tuolumne Meadows.

Now it is safe to say that the secret (not that it was ever a secret) is out as the publication of Charlie's new guidebook has brought more boulderers than ever to the Meadows.  There was a fair amount of deliberation about publishing the guide but even with the fresh influx Tuolumne remains a pretty laid-back place (especially when compared to the chaotic shit-show that can be Yosemite Valley).  It is surprising easy to escape the crowds as the bouldering consists mostly of small areas separated by short drives; just choose your location appropriately.  And for those seeking solitude you only have to wander a little further and not only will you be all alone but you'll find plenty of untouched granite boulders ripe for the taking.

Perhaps it was the roadside "Knobs" area that gave Tuolumne a bad rap but even if pulling on knobs isn't your thing The Scoop is not to be missed.  Do it on a warm sunny day to add a little extra spice.  Awesome problem and impressive to think it was put up before crashpads. 

A closer look at The Scoop.  Blake loves the knobs

Kitty Dome is one of the area you can walk to from the Tuolumne Meadows campground and offers a good array of problems, including another technical highball that is not to be missed (no knobs on this one).  Blake gets it done on Tombstone. 

Parker on another Kitty Dome classic, Golden Rastafarian. 

The Gunks is another old school area that gets a lot of traffic.  While not my favorite it did have a few gems.  Here Blake fires Cellulite Eliminator.

Blake on the best problem at the Gunks (my opinion), Mean Green.

The Giving Tree is a new school classic and one of the many problems put up by Charlie Barrett.

Reach for a Peach is an old test piece put up by Jon Bachar and not to be missed.  Fortunately it's roadside so you shouldn't have a problem finding it.

White Stuff is a nice Matt Arnold addition to Tuolumne and well worth the short hike.  Here Creg sticks the crux dyno. 

Creg on his problem Prince of Thieves.  Another new school classic. 

Creg jumping on Friar Huck

1 comment:

Heather said...

Beautiful pics, Walks. :)