Jam Crack, Lemon, Pine Line: Day Climbing in Yosemite

I woke up really early on Saturday :/ and read for a bit outside on the deck.  It was beautiful but I got pretty cold.  I went back inside to warm up and then SMS and I headed downstairs for breakfast.
Breakfast consisted of a gluten-free quiche, gluten-filled seedy toast, fruit and yogurt, orange juice, coffee and tea.  It was delicious and filling.  We spoke with two fellow travellers who are roomates from Pasadena.  They were fun to talk to.  Ron and SMS spoke for a bit and I think they were starting to become BFFs!
Pine Line, El Capitan

We decided to head back to the climbing routes near the base of Lower Yosemite Falls.  The climbing area is known as Sunnyside Bench.  Our target: Jam Crack, a 2 pitch 5.7/5.9 crack climb.  We beat two other climbers to the base by about 5 minutes (yay!), so we started out unimpeded.  It was a really nice climb and I was surprised how well I did in the cracks.  In the past, I haven’t liked them too much because I hate the foot pinching that can happen when jamming feet into the cracks.  To imagine the pain, picture wearing really uncomfortable high heels for a few hours and then on top of that discomfort, occasionally trying to bend your foot in half length-wise.  Blech, no thank you!  But, even though there were a few of those moments, it was worth it to make the climb.  The view from the top was so beautiful.  It was a mental snapshot view since neither one of us had a camera but that’s totally ok.

Also, shout-out to the best rock climbing partner, SMS!  Obviously, I have a huge bias, but I think he’s amazing.  He’s also very kind and patient, which is a big deal.  I’m a far weaker climber than he is but he makes the day really fun and helps me out a lot.  An ideal rock climbing partner team would be closer in ability so that the two can swap leads, which is a faster way of going and gives the leader a little mental break between pitches.  Also, if I were better, I’d have more skills that would be a more secure back-up if we ever ran into a problem.  But, for some reason, SMS still likes climbing with me even though it’s more work for him.   Thank you SMS!
After Jam Crack, we climbed a flake layback which was tough.  SMS just told me its name is Lemon, which I get.  I basically “fell up the route” but overall, I’m glad that I tried it even though I lost my temper at one point since I was scared that I would fall and break my ankle(s).  Not the highlight of the day but SMS didn’t hold too much of a grudge (see!  Amazing!).
After Sunnyside Bench, we headed over to Camp 4 and the nearby Swan Slabs.  It was a little busier here with a few small groups and after pacing back and forth along the rock for a bit, we decided not to wait and to head over to El Capitan instead.
Pine Line, El Capitan

We hiked in and up to a ledge where we climbed Pine Line, a pretty fun crack that is an alternate start for The Nose.  We saw a few climbers high up on the nose, but still with a ways to go given the time of day.  No matter, we did our own thing.  There were two nice guys practicing their aid climbing but otherwise, we had little company.

Looking up The Nose.  Our rope for Pine Line is to the right.

We finished up and started packing up.  We headed over to the Cathedral Peak area to check out the view of Horsetail Falls.  I decided I liked being closer better but it didn’t really matter since clouds blocked the Firefall effect that night.

No Firefall tonight!

I wanted to see if we could get into the Ahwannee for a light dinner at the lounge that, unfortunately, is currently closed for renovation.  We tried to leave but traffic was terrible.  We parked in the Village Store parking lot and shared some chips and dip to wait out the traffic.

We headed back to the B&B and ate leftover pizza (glamorous!).  Then we planned out our next day.  Based on how (surprisingly to both of us) well I climbed that day, SMS felt good about going up the Nutcracker the next day.   Exciting!  A multi-pitch route in Yosemite!

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