Saturday, August 1st: Climbing in Clark Canyon, Mammoth Lakes

Dave cooked up tasty breakfast potatoes, and Alex cleaned up camp, while Doug lounged in his hammock.  After a relaxing morning, we packed up camp and headed towards Clark Canyon to climb.  Unknowingly, we had chosen a camping spot that was on the road that lead to our chosen climbing area. 

After several miles on a dirt road, and only one nasty rocky section, we found ourselves in the parking lot ready to gear up.  Realizing that we only had about 2 liters of water, and the creeks we drove by were dried up, we came to the conclusion that we could use the cooler water!  Unlike, Western Extravaganza #1, where we drank cooler water that tasted like salami, this water was untainted, but we filtered it anyways.  Ingenuity at its best!

We bushwacked our way towards “The Alcove,” eventually meeting up with the actual trail. This was an awesome area with bolts and anchors EVERYWHERE!  After days of long trad routes, a day of sport climbing was perfect.  Not only were there routes everywhere, but every climb had Super Shuts at the top which made for super fast cleaning of routes.  We hit about six routes on the grippy, pocketed, volcanic rock before the thunder and impending doom crept too close.

Lightening strike fire in the distance

Back in the car we headed back towards Yosemite.  Since the weather and lack of a rain fly for our portaledge had thwarted our plans to do on overnight on a “small-big-wall”  we had decided we would head towards The Obelisk in King’s Canyon.  The Obelisk has been looming in the minds of each of us since it shut us down on Western Extravaganza #1.  Over 10 miles from the car, being eaten alive by mosquitoes, climbing off route, having to leave gear to retreat in the the dark with no headlamps because they were in the packs on the ground… yeah… it was an epic, and we need to rectify it.  

Our plan was to make a quick run through The Valley to pick up some souvenirs before heading out to The Obelisk on Sunday or Monday.  Since the weather looked like a heinous storm was soon going to unleash, we decided to just go to The Mobil one more time!  Fish tacos for Dave and Doug, and ribs for Alex…. who would ever think you could get food like this at a gas station?

Down in The Valley, we made a stop a Curry Village for ice cream and to buy some webbing to replace the stuff we left on Cathedral Peak.  While in the gear shop, we lost Doug, and when we found him at the car after we bought ice cream, he was a dark grumbly soul.  Apparently all the people in Curry Village were a bit too much for him.  Fortunately, we were able to lighten his soul by calling him over to check out the alpenglow on Half Dome.

On our way out of the park, we made a detour to walk up to El Cap.  Doug had yet to do this since we yanked him out of The Valley and took him to Tuolumne as soon as he arrived.  Missing the trail we wanted in the dark, we bushwacked our way up to the start of The Nose by headlamp.  We spent some time taking pictures of Doug, before settling down on the edge of the wall, turning off our headlamps, and taking in the night sky once our eyes adjusted to the darkness.  

We followed the climbers trail back to the car, popping out a few hundred feet from the car.  We followed the long winding road out of the park towards our camping area outside of Oakhurst.

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