I promised this TR soon after we did it, then life got in the way...
Our typical valley trip is a late night drive, not enough sleep, pre-dawn start, and charge til we drop or we reach the cars some time long after dark. So we decided to shake it up a bit.
Bright and early start from Berkeley, coming up the Highway 140 approach. For morning drives, I like that route.
We knew we were just sneaking in a simple lower valley cragging day between storms, but this still gave us some pause. On the 140 approach!
I just love the mix of firey orange slate, gray slate, brilliant spring greens, and whatnot. I didn't get a picture of much of that, but I did manage to snap some choss:
Note the snowline... kinda seems like the foothills of the Alps?
And our destination for the day comes into view:
From the earlier (less desirable) parking spot if the main spot is full
This cool thing on the Eagle's Aerie is an eye-catcher:
And it would be beautiful to hang out there even if there was no climbing:
OK, time to commit to the grueling 5 minute approach:
Didn't need to check the guidebook to pick Parkline Pinnacle as our first general area, and didn't need the guidebook to select our first line:
Stone Quest is an ecstatic and moderate crack and face climb. Maybe not good for the burgeoning 5.7/5.8 leader because of some mild face run-outs on easier terrain, but it's casual and super fun for folks solid at the grade. Along with the really enjoyable climbing is a great line and pretty view:
The route continues on up from the top of the pillar, and we almost gambled for glory (we hadn't checked the guidebook and weren't sure what we were getting into), but we opted instead for a sporty day clipping bolts near the ground. I'll be back at some point to explore the upper reaches.
For now, we surrendered it to this little guy and a much bigger eagle that I didn't get a picture of:
Back on the ground, we took some face climbing lessons on a few routes along the base of Parkline Pinnacle:
This guy already has it wired:
So I had boasted that while others were seeking shelter in PGSF because of winter weather, we were out shirtless and stealing peaches. Here's proof, at the top of something that was skeery run-out (belayer was ready to jump off a little cliff so leader didn't pancake while clipping 2nd or 3rd bolts from the ground):
Getting all delicate with the footwork whilst creating even more proof:
And willing those smears to hold still:
We couldn't stop grinning at the great climbing and great weather in the midst of cold snaps and monster snow dumps. Maybe there is a life lesson in here, about looking for the half full part of the cup rather than settling for the half empty part.
After the ultimate focus of leading that thing, it was fun to go back on top-rope and have it be just a cool climb. I expected to cruise up it, but I found myself pumping not in the typical claw/crimp muscles but in upper arms and back from pushing so hard on small stuff to make it stick.
Normally I laugh (in my head at least) at folks in the gym who prance around with their shirts off. It's like a PBS nature special on mating rituals. But it just so happened that I was indeed too sexy for my shirt that day. The sun and wind feels good on my skin. It was a pretty new experience for me.
I really really enjoy sunsets from any spot in the valley. It seems that the lower valley is an especially nice place for them in the winter time.
The rock seems to directly radiate it's beauty in answer to the parting rays of light. A fitting close to a beautiful day: