BD athlete Dave Turner reports on his summer of roadtripping in the Western U.S.
Black Diamond athlete Dave Turner is typically bunkered into the Yosemite scene for six months out of the year. The rest of the time? He’s either on an expedition or roadtripping in the States. Not a bad life! Dave sent us the following report of his summer of road-tripping throughout the western U.S.
We festered in the café during the midday heat in Yosemite. Our shoes melted off the hot granite. A change of pace was needed, and heading for the cooler temps of higher elevations sounded great. My girlfriend, Ashley Helms and I loaded up the van after a spring season in the Valley, and headed south. Summer was upon us.
Our first destinations were Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, but after a bit of climbing there, we were not so psyched. The temps were still high. The cracks were dirty and bottoming. The footholds sheared off. The “Astroman of King’s Canyon” was definitely not like the real one. The van made its way around the southern tip of the Sierra.
Once in Bishop, we climbed Espresso Crack at Little Egypt, the Prow on Cardinal Pinnacle, and Pratt’s Crack in Pine Creek, as well as a handful of other routes. After all the cragging, we needed our alpine fix. And quick. Ashley headed to the northern Palisades to solo her first big peak, while some friends and I headed onto the crest of the central part of the range for a bit of traversing. Eventually we returned to civilization—showers, sushi, and more cragging at the cool Lake Tahoe.
Donner Summit’s Monkey Paws spat me off a bunch of times. Luckily, I didn’t bruise my pride too much. The selection of sweet cracks, chimneys, and faces, busied us for a moment and then we were off again. Fueling the van hurt our pockets. We sought solace by heading east. The blank and bleak desert of Nevada gave way to the mountains. The Sawtooths of central Idaho appeared in the windshield. The highly recommended Elephant’s Perch did not disappoint us. We climbed Fine Line and Astro Elephant, which was still not like the original Astroman but better than the one in King’s Canyon. Central Idaho unstable weather created soggy conditions and prevented us from climbing. We lost motivation. A quick hike out and a short boat ride back to the van, and we were on our way, still heading east.
The Bugaboos’ forecast looked grim for a week and after having dealt with wet conditions at the Perch, we opted in favor of the Wind Rivers. Nice dry splitter cracks on Pingora gave way to perfect blue skies. After a week in the range of climbing and traversing some great peaks, wet weather once again motivated us to move on.
Mid-September, late season for the Tetons, can be a toss up. We tried to make the best of the last destination on our list. After waiting out a three-day storm at the Climbers’ Ranch, I post-holed through four feet of wet snow, and soloed the Grand in icy conditions while Ashley soloed a rock route on Disappointment Peak. While descending through deep crud, skiers passed me; this was a sign. We needed to head home to Yosemite!
Now, we are back in the Black Hole: The Yosemite Village Café. The real Astroman awaits us. Yosemite. Right where we started from….