Munginella – Trad Climb – Yosemite – CA (6.20.17)

Yosemite Falls, the first sight of the day!


I met my buddy Chris in the parking lot just near Yosemite Falls, waiting with a big smile! There I met Jeff, a new friend, as we gathered our gear. We initially planned to climb a fun multi-pitch traditional (trad) route called Sunnyside Bench near Yosemite Falls. We racked up in the parking lot, grabbed our ropes and packs and headed for the base of the climb. As we approached the falls we noticed the water was raging! This was a record year for snow and thus the flow was on epic proportions. The huge waterfall thundered down before us and its spray covered a huge area around the base. We walked across the bridge, getting wet as we did, towards the base of the climb.

Crossing the bridge, the falls were raging!

We reached the start and noticed the entire first pitch was drenched in water. Let down, but not beat, we went for plan B just on the other side of the falls, called Munginella. It was a fun trad route (5.6), and a good introduction to Yosemite multi-pitch climbs – and a chance to get my feet wet on Yosemite granite rock. We took off up the climber trail and soon found ourselves at the base of the first pitch zero (P0 – scramble pitch) of the climb. We tossed anything we didn’t plan on carrying with us in the nearby trees, threw our helmets and climbing shoes on and headed up the chill class 3 scramble to the base of P1, signified by a nice large tree.

  • Start of climbers trail

The sun was already beating the climb as we sorted the rope in the shade of the base of P1. Chris was first up to lead, I would belay him from below and once Chris reached the top of P1 he would belay both Jeff and myself as we simul-followed, leaving me to clean all the trad gear from the route and take the next two leads. We double checked each other’s knots and gear before Chris took off on the first pitch!

  • Chris starting Up P1

Methodically and quickly moving up and over the rock, Chris climbed on. He would pause every few feet to place a solid piece of protection (pro), clip in an alpine draw and then his rope, before moving on and up the route. Making it look like cake as he took down the first pitch, me and Jeff chatted on about what we did and what brought us to the valley. To ensure we wouldn’t run out of gear, we were carrying a double-rack. It was a bit heavier but we just rainbowed up the route, practicing good placement on the fun climb. It wasn’t long before Chris was at the top of P1, anchor set up, hanging from his belay, with both ropes through his ATC guide, calling down for Jeff and myself to start climbing.

Here we go! The first pitch was fun, the rock was warm form the sun but it was cool to the touch in the shade. It seemed very porous, ready to suck up any drop of sweat from your hands, so we chalked well as we climbed. I paused at each piece of pro, retrieving it from the rock and clipping it to my harness. It just kept getting heavier as I climbed. I grabbed the tree and climbed up to the right of Chris, clipped into the anchor and took the sights in. As soon as I got there we began the changeover and Chris started loading me down with the doublerack. I tightened my harness tighter as the weight started pulling down on me.

Looking up at P2
Chris ascending P2

It was time to roll, I lead out trailing a second rope behind me to belay Jeff once I reached the top of P2. The handholds were great and movement over the rock was really fun! I reached the first crux and placed a solid piece below a first baby V notch roof and moved under it. A crack ran through the small roof, just perfect for a handjam. I reached up with my chalk-covered right hand and slid it into the crack. Man it was bomber! I wedged it in further, flexed my hand, pulled my feet up and pulled up and over the roof. I placed my next piece around a nice bomber tree and continued up the face, moving left before the next crux – a larger slippery roof.

  • Chris on the crux roof on P2

I placed pro, moved my hands up, and finally found a nice chip out right to place my foot. I pulled my weight out right and stood on the foot to find some  nice jugs. Past the roof was a nice wide ledge just below an old beat up piton that had been hammered in years ago. I threw in a cam, nut and slung the piton to create an anchor. Soon I had Jeff and Chris set up on top belay and they began to climb up the face. We were soon all smiles at the top of P2. I snapped pictures of Chris just below the roof making it look bit spicier than it was just for fun. I was thirsty form belaying in the sun drenched anchor, so as soon as Jeff reached the P2 topout I chugged water from my bag he was carrying for me. Wasting no time, I set lead out on P3.

Looking down from the belay station at the top of P3

P3 was an interesting, short climb. I moved up the face and left into a protectable corner and placed a large #4 half way up the corner. This area got a bit funky and the body movement seemed a little awkward. Like anything, working one bit at a time, soon had me pulling the top pf P3 and setting up a belay. Jeff and Chris warned me that there was a bunch of loose stuff at the top of the climb and to be especially careful. The head-sized boulders teetering on the top of the pitch were a menacing bunch. I belayed from a solid tree and soon both Jeff and Chris were above the final corner, all smiles about the warm climb.

  • Nasty loose rocks at the top of P3

Man, what a good initiation to Yosemite! We soon cleaned up all our gear and took a nice walkoff/rap to get back to the start of P0 and retrieve all our gear that we left behind. I was so happy to be there, in the climbing Mecca of the US, where it all started. So excited for the climb we just finished and all the climbs to come this week, this was just the beginning! Thanks Chris and Jeff for my first taste of trad-multipitch in the valley!

Final rap at the end of the walkoff



  • Weather: Hi 80s, Low 60s, Sunny
  • Water: 2 liters
  • Food: 2 Cliff bar, 1 Nature Valley Granola bars, 1 bag of gummy worms, 1 bag of Salt and Vinegar Chips
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Distance: 2 miles RT
  • Accumulated Gain: 300 feet
  • Climbing Rating: 5.6 Trad
  • Number of Pitches: 3


  • Don Camelback backpack (3 liter bladder)
  • Black Diamond Helmet
  • Petzl Corax Climbing Harness
  • 2 Black Diamond screw carabiner
  • 4 Phantom DMM screw carabiner
  • 6mm Accessory Chord – Anchor
  • Black Diamond Camelot X4+C4 Cams – Double Rack – (2x), 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.5, 0.75, 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Black Diamond Standard Nut Set
  • 12 Alpha Trad DMM quickdraws – Alpine draws
  • Black Diaimond ATC Guide
  • 2 x 60 meter 9.8mm Rope (Rainbow + Red)
  • Webbing/7mmCord for personal anchor
  • Arc’teryx Chalk Bag
  • SPOT Tracker


  • Cotton T Shirt
  • Arc’teryx Hoody
  • Cotton Handkerchief
  • Nike shorts
  • Darn Tough Medium Wool Sox
  • Merrell Mid Moab Hiking Boots
  • La Sortiva TC Pro Climbing Shoes

Secret Mountain – Sedona – AZ (5.28.17)


Mike, Meg, and myself strapped on our packs and headed out on a warm afternoon search of adventure up Longs Canyon in Sedona AZ. The trail itself was 3.5 miles and 800 feet up the canyon before its terminates. I looked at the map and it seemed as though there was a possibility to push up the rest of the canyon to its top and tie into the peak Secret Mountain and hopefully a walkover down the backside of the mountain.

Longs Canyon tailhead!

The trail was warm and open as we let out high desert with small to mid shrubs, plenty of cacti, and a few juniper in the distance, and red rocks all-around of course! We trekked on, only seeing a few people towards the trailhead and soon we were off on our own trekking the red dirt of Sedona canyons. What a beautiful place, you could see all the red and white sandstone rocks in the distance covered at the base by pine and juniper.

  • Open desert still

We trekked on further into the trail and soon the low brush gave way to taller trees and we found many traces of old creek beds as we followed the wandering trail deeper into the canyon. We only passed a few people as we trekked further. The further we pushed the more green and lush the woods around us became. We kept on trekking and soon found a nice brown sign that stated “End of Trail”. I was thinking . . . not just yet, as we sat down and took a nice lunchbreak.

Technically the “End” of the trail

I checked the map and saw that it gained about 500 feet in a quarter mile, and I though, whelp that could be just a scramble or a rock climb . . . only one way to find out. Mike bridged the question “Do you guys want to head up the canyon and check it out?” Mike already knew where my head was, with a big grin on my face, and I think it was more to gage Meg’s interest. She seemed keen on the idea and we blew past the brown sign heading up into the unknown.

Hmm looks like we are in for some fun bushwhacking!

The canyon was trail-less as we ascended. One in a while we would see a random cairn, but for the most part, not much sign of others traveling here. It wasn’t long before we came our first small obstacle: a short climb. I headed up first, and to my surprise Meg was on it without question soon pulling the lip and trekking on. “Alright!” I thought hopeful that we could all push up the canyon without turning back. We bushwhacked, rock hopped, and climbed our way further and further into the canyon. The weeds and thicket would become thicker and then all the sudden let up, giving way to easy trial, then back to thicket again.

  • Bushes abound!

We pressed further and further, until finally 600 vertical feet from our top-out we came to a dry fall. This is where it started getting fun! Mike searched for his own route to scout ahead, as I poked and prodded finding the chilliest route to ascend. The rocks were loose and the climb became pretty steep. Seeing that Meg didn’t look super comfortable I pulled out a 25’ purple 6mm cord form my pack (I brought it just in case). I tied one end around my waste and would climb until she was holding the end of the rope. At the end of the rope, I would lay down, grabbing onto the closest large boulder or tree creating a human anchor and she used the rope as a guideline to climb up to where I was. Pretty much like a poor man’s climbing belay.

Welp that’s a class 5 climb . . . lets see what else we can find!

We ascended the canyon like this for some time overcoming some seriously steep, brush covered, chossy crumbing inclines. At one point we passed near a rattler that sounded off, and we traversed to the other side of the canyon giving it some room (we had better things to do than play with a snake). We kept ascending, taking obstacle after loose obstacle on. At the top of one scramble there were huge teetering boulders just waiting to be released. With all of us in a safe spot I kicked one sending the whole pile down the canyon yelling “ROCK!!!!” as I did. I figured this was best as to dismantle the potentially hazardous rock pile for the next adventurers to ascend the route. The rocks all soon came to a sliding halt and we pressed on.

  • Popping out of the shrubbed canyon into unobstructed views!
Looking back over Longs Canyon we ascended, how gorgeous!

We soon popped out of the canopy cover of the canyon and could see across beautiful Sedona. We were still 200 feet shy of standing on top of Secret Mountain, and the search for a clear path began. Eventually we skirted north, finding a nice shrub covered ramp that was the most affordable gain to the top. We took it, moving carefully as we did. Finally after some nice manzanita and pine tree bushwhacking, we reached the top and started looking for the Secret Mountain trail . . . . of course like any adventure . . . there was no trail.

Views are killin it!
Traversing north towards a nice bushwhack ramp, stellar views!

We kept walking in the direction where we trail should have been . . . still nothing. I was ready to turn and burn, the shortest distance back to the truck because I knew the route went. Mike on the other hand was still optimistic and said we should press a bit further before calling it. We trekked on, just another 5 minutes and like magic the trail appeared. A chunky, but nice footpath bringing us all the way across Secret Mountain to the top of Loy Canyon were we would walk out.

  • On top of Secret Mountain
  • Mike - Lookin classy as always

It was a beautiful descent, incredible views across Sedona, through the cool pines, and switchbacks of Loy. After 10 miles we reached the mouth of the canyon to a trailhead where our friend Adrian soon arrived to pick us up and bring us back to base camp. Another awesome adventure, safely executed with good people in a beautiful place. Get out and make adventure dreams a reality!


Long Canyon:

Long to Secret Mountain to Loy Canyon connector:


  • Weather: Hi 80s, Low 50s, Sunny
  • Water: 3 liters
  • Food: PB&J, Gummy Worms, Apple, Cutie Orange, 2 protein bars, 2 granola bars, 1 Cliff builder bar, bag of salt and vinegar chips
  • Time: 10 hours
  • Distance: 14 miles
  • Accumulated Gain: 500 feet


  • The Don Camelback backpack (3 liter bladder)
  • SPOT Tracker
  • 60ft of 6mm accessory cord


  • Cotton Handkerchief
  • Flatbill Hat
  • Wool shirt
  • Nike Shorts
  • Merrell Mid Moab Hiking Boots
  • Darn Tough Medium Wool Sox
  • Arcteryx Atom hoody