Big walls & Boulders / by Mayan Smith-Gobat

Ahhh, Yosemite... I just can't seem to keep myself away form the place! It seems to have an irresistible allure, a magnetic field which keeps drawing me back. This last trip I discovered that it is not just the big walls which hold appeal for me, but also those little pebbles lying scattered around the valley floor. I had always kind of found it strange that people came to Yosemite just for the bouldering when there are such amazing walls to be climbed... However, now I have gained some understanding of how good the bouldering is there. I went to the Valley with the intention to do both boulder and routes, yet my main motivation was to play on El Capitan. I was yearning to feel hundreds of feet of air under my feet again and be alone on that wonderful wall.

My first day in the Valley I hiked back up to the summit of El Cap, dug out my ropes and spent the day hanging out alone in the vast vertical world. It was an amazing contrast to my last visit to this wall - Everything was silent, miles of granite stretched out below me with no one else in sight... even the usually teeming Valley floor was deserted. I loved the silence and space of being back up there alone. Even just hiking back up to the summit made me feel like I was back at home - I realized once again, that El Capitan really has become  a part of my being over the last few seasons I have spent in the Valley. However after a day up there I was happy to return my focus to bouldering and making the most of the perfect winter conditions on the Valley floor.

It was awesome focusing on the boulders for once, sampling some of the true Valley classics and hanging out with friends. It was also nice to return with a little bouldering fitness - To feel strong after a couple weeks of bouldering in Bishop was a pleasant contrast to my previous attempts at bouldering in the Valley, after only climbing cracks for several months! After a really fun week of destroying myself, with tapped tips and totally over worked shoulders, I was very happy to finish my week in the Valley with an ascent of the notorious "King Cobra"...

Now I am back in Bishop, soaking up some more desert sun, and looking forward to returning to the Valley soon!