A few weekends ago a group of 8 friends travelled to Tuolumne to climb Matthes Crest-- party style.😎 Doing scary things is always better when you are surrounded with friends! We were 4 groups of 2. Cam and me. Shauna and Ryan. Jimmy and Jeff. David and Kyle.
We hiked out slept (with a permit) in the woods to get an alpine start in the morning. We took a while to fall asleep after the hike. It was past midnight when we all settled down to get some sleep. I froze my booty off the entire night. But as the sun rose we were heated and stoked!
We stashed our stuff and took our day packs on the trail. We split the gear as evenly as possible. Being at elevation took a toll on me. We hiked past Budd Lake and up the hill side onto a ridge. We passed the backside of Echo Peaks until we came to the top of the ridge.
"Is that it?" someone said as we looked upon Matthes for the first time. It was standing mostly shaded from the rising sun and looked super intimidating. We hiked down into the valley and eventually came up to the base of it. It looked less tall and less intimidating than I had imagined.
We hiked up the steep side of the ridge and eventually got to the base. We got there just before many other groups. But as we got ready we let an abundance of people pass us. Shauna and Ryan blasted first in our group followed by David and Kyle. Cam and I went third followed by Jimmy and Jeff as the group caboose.
The first 2-3 pitches get you on top of the crest. They are probably 5.4-5.5 pitches. Not hard but knobby and exposed. We pitched these out and did it in two-ish pitches. We finally got up to a good spot on the crest and kiwi-coiled it up and set off simul-climbing. We finished our entire day simuling. It was surprisingly less terrifying than I had imagined. None of the climbing across the first half of the ridge is hard or scary. There were maybe 3 down climbs and only the first one was a little scary to get into just because it was a chimney and I don't have much experience with chimney footwork. Other than that the down climbs were straightforward as long as you were cautious. None of them were exposed.
We took a while to get started so we only did half of the traverse. We also skipped the south summit by climbing a 5.2 ramp to the notch in between the two summits. By the time we got to the south summit it was late in the day and we all had summit fever. We rapped the notch and hiked out.
We were all super exhausted and still had to hike back to get our stashed stuff and get back to the car. But we were all rewarded with one of the most beautiful alpine sunsets I've ever seen. It made the hike back in the dark worth it.
My name is Brenna. I'm documenting my life in Yosemite National Park and beyond! I aspire to live a healthy life while exploring outdoors and challenging my comfort zones!