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Saturday at the Pinnacles

November 9, 2008

Yesterday I had an awesome day at Pinnacles National Monument!

So this place is really cool.  It felt like a mixture of Hueco Tanks and Joshua Tree.  No bouldering that i could see but loads of rock, loads of hiking, loads of crazy features and sacred spaces and caves and rivers and lakes.  26,000 (twenty six THOUSAND) acres!  That is 105,218 square meters!! This place is big and cool.

Sitting right on the San Andreas fault Pinnacles National Monument is, in part, made up of the remains of an ancient volcano!  The thing lies on the fault so throughout the years it has seen the spectacular dances which the earthquakes stir up.

We went there for climbing, a group of 4 of us.  For 3 it was the first time there, and through caves, we were led to a 70-80ft sized wall where we would spend the day playing on the routes.

The climbing here was a beautiful new experience for me.  The rock is mostly conglomerate, meaning that it looks like all the sand on a beach just became stuck together and was then partially eroded by water and wind.  This left behind a base of sand with pebbles, cubes, and other funky-shaped rocks jutting out.  We would climb up by pinching these cubes, these chicken-heads.  At first I was super skeptical and not willing to put my weight on these fragile holds; it was a miracle that they were on the wall and it was unimaginable that they could actually hold my weight.  Yet after the first 5.7 climb something let loose in me and I was all for climbing on the precarious holds.  We climbed a 5.10d, then a 5.11a, another 5.10d, another 5.11a and as the grades went up so the routes were more aethetic, more clearly delineated and we ended the day on a beautiful exposed 5.11b just before a light drizzle moved in.

Definitely a place to revisit.  Ahhhh California!!!

Have you ever seen a ball of ladybugs?????????  Mildly freaky.

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Setting up upon arrival:

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Walking through the caves:

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Part of the wall we played on for the whole day.  Look carefully and you can spy the encrusted pebbles we grappled to climb up.

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A wide view on the way out:

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A sweet lake view:

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For more info on this area visit the Pinnacles site.

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