Summer Shenanigans: July & August, 2015

Summer has been flying by, and we have been busier than ever, trying to fit in as many weddings & climbing trips as we could manage. Since it has been awhile since my last post, I thought I’d write up a quick recap of a few of our summer adventures. And while they were spectacular, I’ll spare you the details of all the weddings 🙂

We’ve had our hopes set on a week long climbing trip to Tuolumne and the high Sierra in early September, so we focused our non-wedding weekends on climbing. The first mini-climbing trip we made was a day trip out to Mount St. Helena. We’d been here once before to climb and given it’s proximity to the bay area (and to wine country), we decided to head back in July. It’s only about 90 minute drive from the East Bay, depending on traffic of course, but it’s mostly an enjoyable cruise through Napa Valley. There are a bunch of fun sport routes here, some which can be supplemented with trad gear, and a few different climbing areas. The easiest to access is referred to as “The Bubble,” where we climbed the 5.7 (Face) to warm up, and then were able to top rope several other routes (5.9-5.10c) thanks to another climber who had lead them. You can set up top ropes for some routes here without leading as well. Our favorite route was one that wasn’t listed in our guide book (Rock Climbing the San Francisco Bay Area, the Falcon Guide). It felt like a 5.9, in between the routes listed as The Ladder (5.9) and Bubble Boy (5.11b) in the book. Big overhanging buckets!


“The Bubble,” Mount St. Helena

A few weeks later we did some climbing at Mount Tamalpais (“Mt. Tam”) in Marin County, just north of San Francisco. We didn’t really know what to expect here but thought we’d check it out since it is a popular area locals go to hike and mountain bike. This was also a short drive, about 90 minutes, and well worth it for the views of the bay area alone. There are a few little climbing faces with mostly sport climbing, although because other groups were on the routes, we only climbed at the Northern Formation. We did an easy 5.6 and 5.8 to start on the face and then on the arete, and then moved our anchor and climbed a really fun, slightly overhanging, route (Equinox) that wasn’t in the guide book but that is listed as a 5.8 on Mountain Project (


Connor heads up Equinox on the Northern Formation, with San Rafael and Mt Diablo in the background.


The views from Mt. Tam made the quick afternoon of climbing well worth it! Here’s the view from one of the other climbing areas, Oberman’s Rock.


Since we only did a few climbs at Mt. Tam, we decided to make it a multi-sport day and stopped for a jog along the Presidio.

Last but certainly not least, we made a few trips over the summer to beloved Lover’s Leap. While relatively comfortable with sport climbing, we’ve really been working on getting comfy with multi-pitch trad climbing, and the Leap is probably one of the most ideal places in the country to do this. Surprisingly, on most of our trips, we’ve managed to find a place to camp at the campground right below the cliffs. Thanks to friendly groups of climbers, we’ve even managed to camp here when leaving late on a Friday evening! But if all sites are taken, we’ve also camped at Sand Flat campground, just outside of Kyburz, and we’ve heard that people camp at various pull out spots along the American River as well. We’ve taken down just about every 5.5 & 5.6 climb at the leap, and we’re workin on taking down the 5.7’s.


Connor rappels down The Grove (5.8) on the Lower Buttress after we had a little route finding issue climbing The Farce (supposedly a 5.5…). No matter! He’s just happy to be back on the rock after his shoulder surgery several months ago.


Fun with rattlesnakes! Never a dull moment at the Leap.


Here’s a good view of Bear’s Reach and East Wall, both 5.7 classic Leap climbs.

Sara leading the first pitch of East Wall.

Sara leading the first pitch of East Wall.

Sara at the 2nd belay station after Connor lead the sketchy

Sara at the 2nd belay station after Connor led the “psychologically thrilling” traverse pitch on East Wall.


Sara heading up the third pitch of East Wall.


Sara leading the first pitch of Pop Bottle.

Other summer shenanigans have included lots of trail running (mostly around the bay area but also up around Seattle) and lots of tipsy wedding dance moves.


Sara & LT mid way through the Canyon Meadows Half Marathon in Redwood Regional Park outside of Oakland.

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