The Journey
We knew our flights (via New York and Washington to San Francisco) were going to be hard to bear, but when our flight from New York was delayed by an hour making the onward connection impossible we knew it was gonna get worse, much worse… After some hasty negotiation with the United representatives at New York we were fixed up with connections via Denver and Los Angeles, and finally to San Francisco! There were three impacts to this:

  1. I kicked up a fuss, earned us each a $10 meal voucher.
  2. Our already marathon journey was extended by two hours.
  3. Boris, who had a different flight and was expecting to meet us in San Francisco at 9.45pm, was quite perplexed to instead get a text message from us saying “We are in Los Angeles.”, we arrived at 11.30pm.

We reached South Lake Tahoe the next day, after a night in a cheap motel.

At Lover's Leap campground with the Leap lit by evening sunlight on our arrival

Unfortunately the previous evening’s sun had been replaced by light grey clouds and a cool breeze, however, we headed out to the Lover’s Leap’s East Wall to ease ourselves in to Lake Tahoe granite climbing… Our first tick was the ultra-classic (5 star!) 5.7, Bear’s Reach.

Laetitia and Paul survey the lines on the East Wall of Lover's Leap
Our first route, the three pitch line of Bear's Reach, is the pale strip in the middle
Paul grabs a great shot of Boris in a patch of sunlight arriving at the belay at the top of Bear's Reach

After Bear’s Reach the weather hadn’t improved – it was cold! So another moderate route was called for, Laetitia and I chose Surrealistic Pillar while Paul and Boris chose the campsite and a cup of tea with a biscuit! I think this was probably a better choice – Surrealistic Pillar is pretty hard for the grade (especially in the cold), a little scary, and a lot run-out.

Laetitia and Pete on Surrealistic Pillar

Sunday night was bitterly cold. Paul even had frost on the inside of his tent on Monday morning! :freeze:

Paul, Laetitia, and Boris enjoying the warm Californian weather
Escaping the weather (and potential frostbite) with a trip to Starbucks!

After warming up in town with coffee and hoping the sun might have warmed the rock a little, we headed back to the Leap. It wasn’t sunny and it wasn’t warmer. In fact it was freezing. But we are tough! Two single pitch routes on the Hogwild buttress were despatched before light drizzly rain arrived…

Pete on No Gaynor (5.9) and Boris on Hogwild (5.7) at the Leap's Hogwild buttress

The Outlook…
Tomorrow it is forecast to snow, a lot!