This weekend Jon Degenhardt, Jean Yamashita, Kyoko and I went to Yosemite. Saturday we took a day-long class taught by Bill Russel, an instructor with the Yosemite Mountain School. It turned out to be a combination of their Rock 1 and Rock 2 classes. We started by learning how to rappel and then did friction climbing on Swan Slab. Since we were all busy there wasn't much chance to take pictures, but the first two here were taken by Bill for us. Here we have Jean and Jon starting rappels down the face.
Here's Jean near the end of her rappel.
We then moved to another part of Swan Slab to learn some crack climbing. First Bill had to lead climb to set up the top ropes and rappel ropes. Here he is nearing the top. There is another climber above him setting an anchor. She has zig-zagged the rope here which you are not supposed to do.
Here is one of two top ropes Bill set up (the white rope--one end for the climber and the other for the belayer) and the blue rappel rope. To the left of them you can see the two cracks we climbed up (5.7). Above them was friction climbing with a few features that could be used as handholds.
The same area with Bill back on the ground. Notice we didn't get any pictures of anyone actually climbing.
Sunday the plan was to hike the Yosemite Falls Trail to Yosemite Point. On the way to the trailhead we walked by the Swan Slab again to take another look. Here is the friction section we first went up--you can get a little idea of the texture of the rock.
Here, in street shoes and with my hiking pack on, I start up showing off my friction technique. Note that there are no handholds and you simply rest your hands against the slab for balance.
A little higher up; as high as I was willing to go without rope. This is a 5.7 climb. To the right the gully of the next picture can be seen.
Starting up the gully (I didn't go far unroped, though). Rated 5.1, only Kyoko tried it the previous day and found it a breeze.
After a detour to visit Camp 4 and see the boulders including the famous Midnight Lightning problem, we arrive at the trailhead for the start of the hike proper.
Views were spectacular all the way up. Here's one shot of Half Dome from the middle of the way up.
Here the upper section of Yosemite Falls can be seen, although there is no water actually falling over it. The high point on the right is Yosemite Point, our destination. Just to the left of it can be seen the famous Lost Arrow Spire.
At the top of Yosemite Falls, what would normally be an active river is just a few ponds with just a trickle of water going over the falls.
Jon shows the way we can cross the river bed without getting wet. We do this instead of going over the bridge since this is a very rare chance to be able to do so.
Half Dome again, this time from Yosemite Point.
Looking down at the Valley.
Kyoko at Yosemite Point. The wind was very strong here that day.
I think this was taken around the area where we saw the Lost Arrow Spire from above.
Here the tip of the Lost Arrow Spire can just be seen from the rim. This is as close as I was willing to get.