Let it be know that I recently moved to southern California only a few months ago. I had a corporate job back in New England before the move. Hiking hasn't exactly been a regular activity, let alone rock climbing.
Thats were Peralta becomes rather funny. Equipped with the finest hiking shoes available... a pair of Van's classics, I set off with my buddy Ian to the lower exit point at this, from what I could gather, popular tourist hiking spot. Most of the hike isn't really all that complicated, but it is entirely off trail, so identifying markers for the hike out was going to be key. Only thing worth noting is that those Van's are the only shoes I own at the moment, and I purposely bought them for skydiving as they have little grip, which is good for landing... not so great for hiking rocks.
The real fun came when we got to the edge, and there wasn't anywhere to go but down on a rope. Let me reiterate my climbing experience is zero, and its about 20 ft straight down. Ok, some jumper was kind enough to install a pretty secure rope, and getting down is easy... but what about getting back up. Well, usually people jump off, not hike out. I wasn't too stoked on that thought (if I had a rig, I'm pretty sure I would have jumped). There is some pretty hilarious video (in my opinion at least) of me sitting on my ass debating on not going down, concerned that I would not be able to go back up after Ian jumped.
Thankfully in my pack was some rope, a belay, an ascender, and a harness. Awesome. We rigged it all up, and since this was as good a time as any, Ian taught me how to use the belay, and then how the ascender worked when it was time to go up. Again, the video his hilarious, as it was a very unnatural feeling to just lean back in the climbing harness and just walk down the rock. Once down, its a pretty straight forward rock walk to the exit point. My choice of shoes made it a little spicy, but really not that bad.
With the sun getting to the perfect spot on the horizon Ian got ready, and I hunted around for a good spot to frame up.
"Hey Ian, how high is this
:he shrugs: "dunno"
"Ok, do something cool..."
He works his way down the rock to make sure there isn't anything protruding from the rock... and of course there is... but he hucks a gainer anyway. The shot was taken with a Sony A7 and a Rokinon 14mm. The A7 was fast enough to capture quite a few images before he disappeared from view, but I feel like it is advertised to do far more than that. Most likely user error. More on this camera in a future post.
With Ian gone, its time to go climb that damn wall and get the hell out of there before the sun goes down... oh wait.. ha, its already starting to go below the horizon... not good. Now just like the post says, I dislike rock faces... and lucky for me I got to get very familiar with them. On the way back to the rope I took a wrong turn and had to climb down a 15 ft face only to find the route I was supposed to take just 20 ft to my left... great.. well, don't fuck up I thought, cuz it wasn't like I was going back up that damn thing.
Then, when facing the wall (yet another good video moment) I clipped into the rope and figured... fuck it, I'm gonna climb this damn thing rather than just use the rope to ascend. After the pucker factor of that last wall I went down without a rope, this wall with a rope seemed like cake. In the end, it was pretty damn easy... I could probably get used to this whole climbing thing.
The sun did indeed set, and The rest of the hike was done in the dark, thankfully I had a headlamp, a powerful torch, and Ian hiked in about half way and set up light beacons to follow on the way back. In all, got the shot I wanted, made a hike I was told I wouldn't have been able to do, and realized a trip to REI for some shoes is in my future...
Not a bad way to spend ones birthday.