Annual SheClimbs Trip, Sonora Pass, July 10-11, 2004.


Michele's Trip Report

It's Friday and as I get ready to head out of town for yet another weekend, I decided that it would be a good idea to write up the trip report from last weekend before all my weekend blur together in a giant meld of food and fun memories. We held the fifth annual Bay Area SheClimbers gathering up near Sonora Pass (that would be Tuolumne County, not Tuolumne and near the Strawberry on 108 not the one near Lover’s Leap on 50). Everyone showed up at the right location due to some rather detailed instructions provided by Tori. I think that Tori is used to Cherie and me getting lost on one-way streets in one street towns and figured that she should make the instructions for the least common denominator. The end of the drive entailed some dirt road that was generally good, except the last bit, so we were quite surprised to see the Mini-Cooper up there.

The primitive campsite was a veritable tent city by the time Cherie and I arrived late on Friday night. Being rather lazy, we decided to ditch with dealing with the tent and just tossed a tarp out. I think this made some of the women wonder what sort of nutcases we were. Lazy ones. Sat morning found Shirley and Trish already up and at em’ and out to climb early. The rest of us (all twelve) got the healthy alpine bouldering start of 9:30-10 am or so. No way I was forgoing my coffee and it appears that I was a bad influence on Sheryl who has become re-addicted to her morning coffee after hanging out at last year’s SheClimbs event and partaking in my morning coffee brew. I am a bad influence :). And Thu seemed to be adapting to the primitive camping like a pro since I never noticed that she had any problems out there. There had been a flury of email questions before the trip, related to gear and anchors as well as camping conditions but while there, everyone seemed to figure out where the “facilities” were (and thank goodness we were above 5000' so there was no poison oak!) No issues with roughing it for anyone!

The remaining troops headed out to Giannelli Edges where there were many simultaneous discussions going on of how to set up anchors and how to rappel. And then it was time to get to some climbing. Folks were jumping on routes right and left and giving them all a good go. The spectrum ranged from some first timers on real rock to strong TRing/following to trad leading in experience level, but everyone was climbing well and pushing themselves. Okay, those folks that discovered Cherie’s hammock seemed to get sucked into the black hole of lethargy, but since Cherie is a pro at hammock setup (her only trad leader fall having been off her hammock when I placed a bad piece in its setup) and had picked a perfect place to view the goings on as well as kick back and relax.

As the day wore on and fingers and hands got tired and sore from jamming and crimping, folks started to wander back to the campsite to begin cooking. I hung out a bit and had a great time cheering on Jen and Ann as they worked their way up a crack and face route. Both were not sure about giving it a try at first, so it was totally awesome to see them work out the moves and make it up to the anchors!

Dinner…I had very high expectations after last year’s feast and I was not disappointed. There was shrimp cocktail, a roasted garlic/cilantro spread that disappeared quickly, quinoa with pea pods, hummus, chicken kebabs, curry soup, lots of fresh fruit and chocolate. Yes, I cannot navigate myself out of a box, cannot remember half the moves I make on a climb ten seconds after I do them, but I -can- remember what I ate! Cherie’s Sharffenberger hot cocoa was a huge hit. I figure with my track record of getting Sheryl re-hooked on coffee, that I will have Linda M. addicted to this cocoa soon enough since she had tried it before when the two of were in a mixed climbing course together. As I said, I am a bad influence. We were sad to have to say goodbye to Nicole that evening since she was heading out on the ever-fun backroads of the Sierra foothills to attend a rescue course up at the Leap on Sunday. At least we knew that she was well fed and had gotten a good day of climbing in!

True to form, we had some interesting neighbors in the adjoining “campsite” better translated as the clearing further down the road in the woods. They dropped by to borrow some jumper cables from Linda M and Dee since one of their car batteries had died while they were out backpacking for eight days. They brought over some wine to “pre-apologize” for being rowdy that evening, but I think that we were louder and up later than they were. After all, there were major discussions ranging in topic from birth control effectiveness (condom and margaritas=not very), to the ingredients in a special vegan chocolate chip. I was hovering near the shrimp cocktail for many of the discussions so I missed most of them…

Sunday found us heading out to Green Acres to climb. More toprope anchor setup lessons which I think was great. It is really nice to have folks wanting to learn how to do things to become an independent entity rather than just viewing this as an outdoor gym setting! The routes this day were predominantly cracks. While there seemed to be some resistance to jamming sensitive body parts into these cracks (as there was last year), folks were still hopping on routes and working through them (though the double gaston method is so much more strenuous than jamming – I swear!!) As the day progressed, everyone started to trickle back out to their cars to begin the trip home. For this year, home varied from Reno (Dee and Linda M) to Santa Cruz (Shirley, Trish, Stacey) with the more traditional Bay Area represented as well. I hate to say it, but this entire geographic area probably does represent the “Bay Area” since I am sure that there are some crazies who commute from Reno to SF on a regular basis and there are certainly people who do this from SC to SF. Anyway, I digress. Friendships were made. New climbing partnerships formed and possible surf lessons coming up in the near future. This year was even a bigger success than last year, when we first moved the trip to Sonora Pass. Though Tori and I are scheming how we can get more slab climbing back into the agenda for next year. Not that either of us are biased in our preferences or anything….

So from the organizers – Tori, Linda S, Cherie and myself (Michele)– we would like to say thanks for being such an energetic, fun bunch! It makes the time and effort we spend in organizing this worth it and we hope to meet up with y’all out there again!!

The Santa Cruz-ers – Shirley, Trish, Stacy
The Reno Rogues - Dee and Linda M.
The Bay Area Brigade – Ann, Thu, Jen, Nicole, Sheryl

On the way to the rock.
The tongue-out Cherie and the smiling Thu
Tori tops out, oh wait, she is just setting up an anchor.
Stacy,"Let's do this climb."
Nicole,"No, let's do that climb."
A typical SheClimbs weekend - one climbing, one belaying, four chatting.
Sheryl stops by to say hi.
Linda climbs while Tori is on camera duty.
SheClimbers make tape-gloves.
SheClimbers make tape-gloves.
Lunch break
Jen and Tori - the Red Bandana Gang
Sheryl and Michele.
Jen is all smiles at the top of the climb.
Our trip leader- on the hammock eating M&M's.
Lunch time
Chicken Kebabs in the wilderness.
The off-road Mini.
The Mini among the SUVs.
Sheryl climbs, Stacy belays, and Linda photographs.

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