Pilgrimage to Yosemite! / by Tate Shepherd

I finished my contract work for the time being and am Officially on vacation! Very excited for this, and therefore I am writing a very rushed (please excuse grammar) update because I have a short window in which I need to go grocery shopping for food and various supplies before meeting in the Valley with my climbing partner.

 Since finishing work I have had some fun experiences. I met up with an Old friend whom I traveled all over Chile, Peru, and Argentina with. Along with him and two other friends we put up a first ascent in Cochamo Chile. Needless to say it was a happy and much anticipated reunion after fours years of not seeing each other. I met him at his neat trailer outside Albuquerque that he has renovated. He showed me some of the spectacular sport climbing that NM has to offer, and I got to watch him come within feet of clipping the anchors on his project. He later sent it just a couple days after I left.

After New Mexico, I met up with an awesome group of girls who are on a cross country climbing road trip. It was so fun to see what a climbing crew entirely comprised of females is like. They expressed such amazing determination, camaraderie, and caring support for each other. Their grace and elegance on the wall is such a contrast to watch from the barbaric antics that often come out when guys climb. 

Our Yosemite plan is to get on the Salathe Wall of El Capitan, and start hauling the fixed ropes tomorrow. This will be my fifth time on El Cap. The first time I climbed it was in 2013, and I managed to luck out, get a really strong partner via the message board in Camp Four, and we flailed and prevailed our way to the top of the Shield (which is really an ambitious route to try on your first go up the Captain). The second time I attempted Mescalito in 2015 with a friend. Various circumstances occured in which we were forced into the most heinous bail that I have ever experienced. It is not easy to get down after the Seagull Pitch!! But we pulled it off, and successfully climbed the Zodiac a week later. After getting up to Heart ledges a couple of times from the Shield, and another time going up Free Blast, I am very much looking forward to finally giving the rest of the Salathe, an ultra uber classic route, an honest go. 

Ok I gotta run and buy some food or whatever so we don't starve on this wall! Peace!