Sleep Under the Stars with Slumberjack

If there’s any­one who knows about sleep­ing under the stars, it’s the out­door sleep experts, Slum­ber­jack. Mem­bers of The Clymb will receive exclu­sive pric­ing on their durable, yet com­fort­able, sleep­ing bags and tents start­ing today at 9am PST.

And make sure you vote on our top Sleep­ing Under the Stars adven­tures shared on Face­book. The win­ner with the most votes will receive Clymb credit.

Now, one of our very own Clymb team mem­bers recounts how his love affair with climb­ing cracks began…

State­ly Plea­sure and the Joys of Climb­ing in the Dark

“We should go right now. Every­one should. And if we time it right we won’t even need headlamps.”

Char­lie, illu­mi­nat­ed by the glow of the camp­fire, was mim­ing the place­ment of per­fect hand jams and the beau­ti­ful­ly syn­chro­nized motions of flu­id crack climbing,…and for a moment it seemed he was lev­i­tat­ing inch­es above the pine nee­dle for­est floor. It was 10:00 at night and myself and three oth­ers sat in rapt atten­tion as Char­lie described to us why State­ly Plea­sure Dome was so pleasurable.

“I’ll go”, I said, rais­ing my hand like a school boy dur­ing his first lesson.

I had come to Yosemite to learn how to climb cracks and I was eager.  It was my first night in Yosemite and had met Char­lie a few hours ear­li­er wan­der­ing bare­foot in one of Touloum­ne’s high mead­ow boul­der fields.  He radi­at­ed con­fi­dence and the sav­age bliss I came to rec­og­nize in any­one who has ded­i­cat­ed them­selves to a life of dirt-bag­gery and the re-def­i­n­i­tion of phys­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ty.  I trust­ed him immediately.

The South Crack of State­ly Plea­sure Dome, in Touloumne Mead­ows, ris­es rough­ly 5 pitch­es above beau­ti­ful Tenaya Lake, orig­i­nal­ly known to Native Amer­i­cans as Pie-we-ack, Lake of the Shin­ing Rocks.  But as we tied in at the base of the route I could see lit­tle more than the open­ing moves of what would become my very first mul­ti-pitch crack climb.

As Char­lie and I checked each oth­ers knots he gig­gled and whis­pered “this is going to change your life.” He then turned and in what seemed a sin­gle flu­id motion, dis­ap­peared into the ver­ti­cal night, cams jan­gling against his hips, the rope danc­ing behind him.

Char­lie was right. When the full moon peeked around the dome as we sat at a belay on the third pitch it filled the val­ley and bathed us in its bril­liance. I want­ed the route to go on forever.

That sum­mer I fol­lowed Char­lie up count­less routes, pulling gear, learn­ing prop­er place­ments and route find­ing, and claim­ing “booty” as we recov­ered stuck cams and nuts aban­doned by pre­vi­ous par­ties. That sum­mer I dis­cov­ered the joys of mov­ing across gran­ite using the space where void and rock meet; and I owe it all to Charlie.

Pho­to: Char­lie Bar­rett, rap­ping in to Sep­a­rate Real­i­ty, Yosemite shot by Daniel Weddle

We had many adven­tures togeth­er, and even­tu­al­ly I began lead­ing routes under Char­lie’s tute­lage and guid­ance. After sev­er­al months we part­ed com­pa­ny and I did­n’t see Char­lie again for many years.  When I did, it was in Touloumne, and we could think of only one thing to do…

Also Fea­tured This Week: 

Into the Wild with Kel­ty and Mountainsmith