Monday morning, we drove to the Cathedral Picnic area to make oatmeal and hot tea for breakfast, before heading to the El Cap parking area to prepare to climb La Esquela (C1 or 5.11b), which is the first pitch of Cosmos.
Though mostly uphill, the approach was on much more pleasant terrain compared to the approach up the Zodiac Talus yesterday. We passed the start to the Nose and paused to watch various teams of climbers on the routes above. We arrived at what we though was Cosmos, and watched another pair of climbers began what looked to be a very fun route. It appeared much easier, however, than the 5.11b we were looking for… because this wasn’t it! The climb turned out to be a 10a, so we planned to come back to free climb it another day.
Continuing up the trail, passed another rattlesnake and we found our climb. La Escuela was still in the shade!!! Dave began aiding the pitch, while Alex tried to keep an eye out for him and rattlesnakes at the same time. About 15-20 feet and 4 pieces of gear into the climb, Dave took his first real aid fall. Dave was giddy with excitement, while Alex was just glad the gear held and Dave was ok!
After setting the anchor and rappelling down, we retreated to the shade for a snack and water before Alex ascended and cleaned the climb. She was glad she had regained her confidence and was less bothered by the heat today.
When Alex returned to the ground, we cleaned up gear, and retreated to the car to drop our gear and take a dip in the Merced to cool off. We spent the remainder of the evening in Yosemite Village, making hummus, tomato, avocado, and cheese sandwiches and finding some wi-fi to update the blog and download some climbing info to our phones.