The overnight rain made us feel that the cracks of West Cracks would be too wet to climb, so we decided to go for the right off the road, slabby, 6-pitch Zee Tree on Pywiack Dome. We pulled of the road in front of the Dome and could see water running from some of the vegetated divots and flakes on the dome. “Let’s go get coffee… then check it out again.” We returned 30 minutes later to find it still wet, as we expected would be the case. Since the climb would be in the shade for several more hours, we decided to find something else. We chose the Guide Cracks area on the South Flanks of Daff Dome. The short approach, sunny wall, and low commitment single pitch climbs were perfect since it was now a bit later in the morning, and rain was still in the forecast for the afternoon.
After parking in the wrong area, and having to do some navigating and bushwacking, we found ourselves at the base of the proper cliff. As Dave prepared to lead the Guide Crack furthest to the left (5.5), a group of 5 showed up. We knew this was a popular area, so we were glad we were able to arrive first. Dave cleaned the climb on his way down, and as Alex led the pitch more and more people began to arrive. When Alex was back on the ground, he quickly started up the 5.7 which shared the same anchor. After Alex followed the climb, we decided to head out since it was now very crowded with people waiting for climbs to open. As we packed up, Alex pulled out 2 apples for us to snack on during our decent. The baby belonging to an Austrian couple we were chatting with immediately recognized the apples, started pointing and grasping at them. His mom gave him an apple of his own, and he sat in the dirt happily smiling, giggling, and chewing on his apple. All was well until he held up his apple showing it to Alex, and she held up our two. Apparently this made him very unhappy to see that she had TWO and he had ONE. He made a very unhappy face at her before beginning to wail and cry, now displeased with his apple. Of course, this brought teasing of Alex by Dave and referring to her as the “mean lady.”
We returned to camp to make cheese quesadillas for dinner, hang a line to “freshen” our clothes, and relax in camp chairs for the evening. Tomorrow morning, we would wake up early to head down into the Valley to pick up Doug. Doug flew into Fresno that day, but was going to see the Ataris’ concert that night and would we taking a YARTS (Yosemite Area Transportation Authority) bus into the park.