Yosemite Valley Peaks

25 Apr 1999 - by George Sinclair

There was a total of five people on this trip. If all went as planned we would climb Sierra Point, Grizzly Peak, Mt. Broderick, and Liberty Cap on Saturday, and on Sunday climb the Three Brothers. If Roper's guidebook is correct, none of the climbing was expected to be harder than class 4.

After rendezvousing at Camp Curry at around 9:00am we set out for Grizzly Peak by way of Sierra Point. After following the old abandoned trail to Sierra Point, we headed up the Southwest Arete of Grizzly Peak which Roper's old guide lists as class 4. Unfortunately, after climbing several hundred feet of easy class 3 low on the route, we encountered rock more difficult than class 4. Nevertheless, we roped up and pressed on. Before long the going became easier as we moved directly up the spine of the ridge. On both sides the ridge dropped almost vertically for hundreds of feet. Eventually we came to what is the crux of the climb - a very narrow 30-foot 5.7 chimney. This was definitely something we hadn't bargained for in a so-called class 4 route. By the time each of us finished struggling up this slot, as well as hauling each pack up, it was rather late in the afternoon and it had started to rain. After one final roped pitch, we struggled upwards through dense brush for hundreds of feet to the summit of Grizzly Peak. It was late and we were all wet from the rain. Mt. Broderick and Liberty Cap would have to wait for some other day. From the summit of Grizzly Peak, we began the long descent down LeConte Gully which required five rappels. Darkness overtook us before we reached the bottom, and we were forced to make the last two rappels in the dark. Finally, we reached Camp Curry at around 10:00pm.

On Sunday we got off to a slow start. Fortunately, the weather had improved and after some discussion it was decided that we would do Liberty Cap. From Camp Curry it took us about three hours to reach the summit of Liberty Cap. From the top we enjoyed great views of Little Yosemite Valley, the South Face of Half Dome, Mt. Clark, Starr King, Yosemite Falls, and Glacier Point. Fortunately, there were no surprises on Liberty Cap. It was class 2 just as Roper said it was.

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