Serenity/Sons of Yesterday
This was my favorite climb from our big California trip, and possibly my favorite climb ever (so far!), so I thought it deserved its own report separate from the big road trip report we are working on.
Serenity Crack/Sons of Yesterday linkup is described in "Yosemite Valley Free Climbs" as the best sustained 5.10 multi-pitch in the valley. So when Robert, one of our camp 4 neighbors, said he was looking for a partner for the route, I had to go for it. We got a pretty early start in an effort to avoid the sun as much as possible. We racked up in the parking lot of the Ahwannee hotel; the guidebook suggests four 2" cams for Sons of Yesterday! A very good sign.
We got on the climb at around quarter to 7 in delicious wonderful shade. Robert led off on the first pitch, a small (or at least it used to be) seam with more pin scars than I was able to imagine before seeing it. The climbing was less then vertical, but insecure. The guidebook promised that a bolt would appear 35' of the ground, offering some welcome bomber protection, but the bolt is apparently gone! Robert took a fall on this pitch, but higher up on a well placed nut.
I led the next pitch. Halfway up the pitch, the climb switches between two cracks. The topo suggests two options: a more secure transfer low down, or a tenuous friction traverse higher up. At the lower traverse, the second crack was full of grass and unappealing. So friction it was! This was the most thought provoking part of the climb for me, but it went.
Robert started up the third, crux, pitch. The crux is a 15 foot section of 5.10d (downgraded from 11a) finger crack. Robert placed a couple pieces high as he could reach from the last foot hold, and then went for it. Huge fall! Biggest I've caught on trad gear. He went for it a few more times with similar results, then suggested aiding through it. I said I wanted a go first. Sent it! Definitely an advantage to have those first two pieces placed. I got in one more #1 mastercam higher up, then went for it to the end.
After this, there is an annoying 4th class pitch that Robert led. Also the sun started hitting us around this time (maybe 9:30?). The second pitch of Sons of Yesterday was hard, sustained and fun. It would be a standout pitch anywhere else but was par for the course here. The 3rd pitch was nice for my hand size, but apparently harder for Robert on lead with slightly larger hands.
There was some confusion about which pitch needed the four 2" cams, but it turned out to be pitch 4 of Sons. I didn't realize this until I had used 1 of the yellow camalots in an unnecessary placement lower down, so when the endless hand crack began, I ended up needing to run it out a little, even with three 2" cams. It was awesome, perfect climbing.
Robert got the final good pitch of Sons, a slanting finger crack traverse the the guidebook suggests you "walk". Robert did this in a way that made it a lot more mellow than the book made it sound, standing on the crack, but bending over so his hands were there as well. He placed good pro this way.
At the top of this, there is one more 40' pitch, a slab with 1 bolt halfway up. I started up this, then decided that the runout wasn't for me. Robert went for it, got to a tree maybe a little beyond the normal route, but with shade! We were super happy, but out of water and starting to bake in the sun. The rap down seemed to take forever, but no complications. Rap beta: you can rap this route using 1 60m rope by rapping off a tree in the middle of pitch 2 of Sons. I was hoping to avoid this intermediate rap with my 70m rope, but the extra 10 meters ended up doing nothing for us.
I didn't even bring my camera on this climb, so no pictures! Allow me to illustrate with this artfully put together photo from the parking lot:
This post was originally published as a UW Climbing Club trip report.