Monday, July 20th: Pothole Dome

With the weather looking iffy again today, we opted for more short climbs with an easy approach.  We grabbed our morning coffee and parked at the pull-off for the nature trail around Pothole Dome.  The approach was literally 2 minutes…. Awesome!  As we wandered up the gentle slope of the dome where the anchors were located, we could easily see why it was called “Pothole” Dome; the side of the dome was dappled with large curved potholes.  We set up on the nearest anchors first, taking turns running up the 4-5 variations we found, before repeating the process on the second set of anchors.  The climbs ranged from 5.0 to 5.10a, though we found the 5.10a’s to be one move wonders.   We enjoyed the morning playing around on these slab climbs before deciding we were content to move on.

We decided to drive out of the park, to the town of Lee Vining to pick up some new sunglasses and make some phone calls.  The second sunglass tragedy happened that morning, so now things were getting slim in the sunglass department.  We also wanted to call Alex’s Dad for his birthday, and get in touch with the soon to be arriving Doug.   We also figured we would check out Mono Lake and it’s visitors center. 
We grabbed some new cheap sunglasses at an outdoors store, and headed across the street to Bodie Mike’s BBQ for a delicious lunch.  After filling our bellies we headed to Mono Lake Visitors Center, and took a walk down to the lake.  The Visitor’s Center was very nice, with lots of informative and interesting displays.  We watched seagulls feast on the ridiculous number on flies on the water’s edge, glad the flies did not come after us!

We made our way back into the park, contemplating what we wanted to do.  Should we try to climb?  Should we hike?  How soon is it going to rain?   What is single pitch climbs are right next to the road?  The clouds were starting to encroach from all directions as we stopped at the pullout in front of Pywiak Dome.  Zee Tree looked like a fun climb, but it was 6 pitches, and sadly the first 2 pitches were not the good ones.  Across the road was Bunny Slopes, with several single pitch climbs.  Alex said it was probably a bad idea, since the clouds were really closing in, but Dave convinced her to just take the gear for a walk up the base… “It’s RIGHT there!”  Alex conceded, and we made their way across the road with harnesses on, with a last “It’s going to rain.”  As we scrambled our way towards the climbs, the rain drops began to fall, and Dave looked at Alex and said “Time to go!  Whose terrible idea was this anyways?”

Back in the car, we drove towards our campground at Porcupine Flat.  We stopped along the way at Olmsted Point to take some pictures before it really started to rain.  As the rain started to fall, and thunder began to rumble, we moved the car to a spot in the parking area where we could see Half Dome.  Alex suggested we sit there for a while watching the storm, since all we had to do was drive back to camp.  “Maybe we’ll see Half Dome get struck by lightning!”  

That color is known as “impending doom blue”

Once the clouds obscured our views, we headed back to camp, where we found a coating of hail all over the ground.  Dave was sad!  “We missed the hail!!! If we wouldn’t have sat at Olmsted we would have seen the hail!!!”

We quickly ate some peanut butter on graham crackers and made some hot tea before we retreated to the car as the rain began to fall again.  We read and drank our tea while the rain continued to fall.  When the rain slowed to a stop, we were both hungry again, so we crawled out of the car to make some seasoned rice before calling it a night.  Around 4:00AM all the tea and water from early in the night caught up with us and our bladders needed some relief.  Upon returning to the car we were wide awake and laughing over ridiculous things, like kids at a slumber party.  

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