Alabama Hills-Trip Report

View from top of The Loaf

Saturday morning comes like molasses in the winter. The workweek gnawed away at Dennis & I, leaving us feeling lethargic. We left for Alabama Hills at 9am (late in the morning). The drive was slow going-wind was picking up the desert sand and blowing it around so it looked like the Owens Valley was full of SMOG. But it was indeed full of SAND. We hoped it would not be so up in Lone Pine.

For a long time now, I’ve been wanting Dennis to climb at The Loaf. It is a very massive thumb of rock protuding above the more diminutive ones around it. Loaf routes are all long, and you absolutely must have 2 ropes, or you’ll be stuck at the top! We arrived at the base of the wall around 10:45. It’s in the shade until 1pm, so it was frigid. The biting wind didn’t help either.

With dogged determination, I forged ahead. My fingers went numb, but I kept climbing. Reaching the 3rd bolt, I looked up at the route. My golly, it’s long! By the time I got to the 9th bolt, I was wishing it was over. My hands still numb, and my shins starting to hurt (shin splints!). Finally, I clipped the 14th bolt, and I could see the anchors. Relieved to untie my shoes and get off my feet.

Dennis At the Start Dennis in the middle of the crux Dennis Almost at the Anchors.

Dennis climbed up, cleaning the draws along the way. He was also chilled, and paused to warm his fingers as well. By the time Dennis got 3/4 the way up, the sun was starting to hit the wall, and it felt good! He joined me at the anchors, and I showed him how to join two ropes together-explaining some theories regarding knots and tails.

I rapped off leaving Dennis up top; straightening out the rope on the way down, as it had gotten caught on a myriad of edges and horns. Dennis did a great job being up there, pushing aside the acrophobia that sometimes gets the better of him! I gave him a couple pointers while he was rapping down, and soon he was back on the ground.

By now the whole wall was in the sun, it felt superb. Perfect climbing weather!!! I, however, was not feeling well. I’ve been shaking off a cold for the past couple days, and my head was in the clouds. I was happy Dennis got to climb the route, and I just know we’ll be back so he can get on the other ones there. It was around 2pm when we were done packing up our things.

By 3pm, we were eating burgers at my favorite burger joint. Check out Mt. Whitney Restaurant in Lone Pine! I recommend the Classic Turkey Burger with Onion Rings and a Milkshake (devine!).

We learned later, that our friends Evan, Rebecca, and Greg were also climbing at AH, but they were down in the South Region climbing near the Candy Store! They also went to Mt. Whitney Restaurant, just 2 hours later!

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