Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fairview Dome, Regular Route - Saturday, June 22 - 25 Weeks Pregnant

After almost two months away from the Valley, my belly and I made the long trek out there last Saturday to tick off yet another classic route: the stellar 900', 12-pitch Regular Route of Fairview Dome.

My climbing partner Paul Hamblin and I, accompanied by Paul's beautiful wife Ciana and their adorable baby, took off on Friday night Tuolumne-bound.  It was definitely a perfect route for making for a family-style Tuolumne trip.  We slept in, rolled into the Tuolumne store around 9ish, had a leisurely breakfast, made a few friends, then sometime around 11 decided to head to Fairview Dome.  Paul kissed Ciana and his baby girl goodbye, then we headed up to see what the crowd situation looked like.  When we arrived at the base, we found a really friendly girl named Angie who was just about to finish belaying her partner and head up herself.  Perfect timing!

I took the first lead around 12:30 p.m. sporting my brand new Mountain Mama maternity harness (yes, finally outgrew my regular one) and my favorite Mountain Mama top and linked pitches 1 and 2.  For a 5.9, I admit that I felt a bit insecure in a couple spots, especially where the crack was wet.  Nonetheless, I got up all 230' using everything but two cams and a handful of stoppers (which happened to be just the gear I needed for the anchor.  Phew!).  I got to chat a little bit more with Angie while I belayed Paul up.

By the time Paul got up the massive pitch, he was out of breath so I volunteered to take the next pitch.  I quickly knocked out the next 205' link-up of pitch 3 and half of 4, but got a little held up when a super speedy party passed us.  After a bit of waiting, I led up past Crescent Ledge (and Angie's party) to the top of 5, where we ran into a three-person team methodically making their way up pitches 6 and 7.  Feeling crunched for time (we had told Ciana to come pick us up between 4:30 and 5:00, and it was already nearing 4:00), I  sped up pitches 6 and 7 past the three-person party, got slightly off route due to a dropped topo snafu, then after a short section of down climbing (argh!), got to the top of pitch 8.

When Paul joined me, we briefly relished the fact that we were the only climbers at the anchor, then simul-climbed the rest of the route with Paul in the lead, topping out around 6:00 p.m.

The descent was totally awesome--hiking off the back of the beautiful dome--and we reached the car about an hour later to a chipper Ciana who had just made dinner for us. Does it get any better than that?

As for the big debut of my new Mountain Mama harness, I must say that I really like it, especially compared to the Petzl full-body harness that I used during my last pregnancy.  It is way more comfortable and I was able to easily adjust it in lots of places to best fit my body and baby bump.  I particularly appreciated that there is padding on the leg loops, and that there is also a keeper strap on the leg loops ensuring maximum comfort while avoiding the possibility of the leg loops sliding down (which happened all the time with my other one).  I also found that the back support was excellent and really comfortable.

Overall, the Regular Route of Fairview was a great route in spite of the crowds with some really fun and casual pitches and a stellar top out!