Tuesday, April 21, 2015

First Ascent on Lower Tokopah Dome!

"Great things happen in small places. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Jesse Jackson was born in Greenville." - Jesse Jackson

VEry Dangerous approach
Setting up the bombproof basecamp after a giant two hour approach
Super secret spire ONLY LOCALS KNOW ABOUT
Overhanging slab! Yeah!

This route has a rich history. After placing my first bolt - retrobolt to protect the start of Welcome to Wallmart (5.10+), the FA party got offended, so I was like 'Bro, nevermind, see that roof with a splitter? I was actually starting a new line up that." My friend was like OK, I will hold your rope next time. After we put up Tokopah Reality, it was time to walk the walk and go big. I placed bolts from sketchy hooks and stances. Five more bolts on a 5.8 slab was damn hard and I was done. I got worked, stopped and said I would come back to finish the job some other time. 

When I returned in a few months, I was with a good friend who was SUPER excited to try doing a new route. Can anyone guess what happened? Dr. V forgot the drill bits. Not the hammer, not the rack, rope, his food, tent - a few freaking drill bits. Battle was lost, but I knew there would be a war ahead. And my friend was not super psyched.

The daunting roof
Than I saw this quote...

"I really want people to understand that nobody is perfect and that things happen in life beyond our control." -Lil' Kim

Cool, obviously forgetting the drill bits wasn't my fault. It was a sign from above. A sign that before I get on that roof, I should be a little stronger. A little lighter, and know how to drill from shittier stances.

Adam on 5.8 slab to start the first pitch
Me starting pitch two, looking like I should be on the cover of GQ 
Adam enjoying 5.superfun jughaul on pitch two. Chicken heads for 50 meters!
A year or so later the time for another battle approached. One of my LULZIEST friends from San Diego, Adam, was excited to do something completely pointless, so we took a day off work and met up in the Wolverton Parking lot at 5:30am on a Friday. Than we were like 'oh bro, we should be in Lodgepole,' so we drank coffee, I had Indian food with Mango Lassi, and we organized the rack. This time I double checked for drill bits. Only thing which was overlooked was the amount of toilet paper we required. But that does not have anything to do with the name of the route....
Anyway, first time I saw Tokopah Domes was on a cold ice climb, which at the time was a mixed climb. Moonage Daydream (wi4 M4) - The Watchtower. By some sort of a coincidence it was the first time Adam and I climbed together. I pointed it out to him that time and said "homez, do you think there are a lot of routes on those domes, they look clean bro!?" He was like "The Chief has done them before you were a sperm in your daddy's sack." Without a doubt it was very special to come back to Tokopah Valley and climb a new route on the Lower Dome with Adam.

Cool friction 5.9 and a fun overhang on the third pitch
Must be some more climbing there somewhere?
Tokopah Falls are beautiful even from far away
 We got to the base, I looked at seemingly closely spaced bolts on pitch 1 and said "that shit wouldn't slide in Toulumne. It will be easy peasy to the roof since a noob placed them a year ago." Than I was kind of surprised that stances I drilled from felt super crappy and I didn't just hike that slab. Going over the roof, my foot blew for a second but I was able to regain my balance and get into the crack above. After getting a good cam in following by a marginal placement I went for the stance and tried to fiddle a hook on some edge. It was sort of steep and a bit pumpy. The hook wouldn't stay which send more sweat into my fingers than I would want. After a good time dancing I remembered the words of a wise man - Tom - "if you could stand and fuck with that hook for 5 minutes, you might as well stance drill!" So I drilled in a bolt and fired the moves into the next stance, a much better one. Somehow I got through the crux and onto thank god jugs without taking a big whipper. Hopefully the next guy doesn't think it is easy up there!
After telling Adam "If I blew that first stance I would go for a good one, maybe past the roof, if the marginal cam held." He looked at me with a smile and replied, "Oh you would go wayyy past the roof!" Maybe if I did not forget those damn drill bits a year ago it would be a different story?

I wish my camp will have views of The Watchtower like this...
30 foot boulder we dubbed The Bear. Likely because it looks like a lizard.
"I am tired of slab climbing bro, let's dream of soaking our feet in an ice cold stream!"
Good design for a future tattoo. DA BRIM IN DA HOUSE!!!
 Rest of the route went great. Pitch two was well protected by slinging the chicken heads. I used a slipknot and felt like I could hang an elephant from one if I had to - 5.superfun is the rating. Pitch 3 was even better, with some 5.9ish friction and a cool little overhang that went at 5.10- or so. I belayed Adam from two chicken heads which were so bomber he didn't even comment on my knotted dyneema sling. IF he was on supertopo he would parade my torso on main street after seeing a photo of that anchor.
Dose it qualify to be bomber? At least Donini would take it!
Good day, we didn't use our AK!
Taking the views in!
I will be back here again sometime! Likely to establish a v16 on the summit boulder
Time to eat, time to sleep! But first, let's make a fire and tip each other on how to become a better narcissistic sociopath
And if people wondered, the time to soak our feet did come. Wear your comfortable shoes on this one!
 "I think I got a lot of life skills; I got a lot of wisdom; I've seen a lot of bad things happen to a lot of good people." Young Jeezy

Drink a Mango Lassi before climbing this route. Only good things will happen, trust me. And for those who naked free soloed the route back in 1975, put one in the chamber and prepare for torso parade! Happy climbing! ;) 

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