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The 2010 International Climbers’ Meet: Beating Rain in Yosemite

Posted on: October 15th, 2010 by Erik Lambert

A huge thanks is due to Dave Turner for all the hard work he put in to coordinate this year’s ICM alongside AAC staff member Carol Kotchek, as well as to the climbers that came from around the world to climb in the Valley. Dave’s recap of the event:

Gathered around one of the many ICM campfires. Photo by Dave Turner.

Gathered around one of the many ICM campfires. Photo by Dave Turner.

Early October was the time for this year’s International Climbers’ Meet (ICM), which took place in Yosemite from the 4th to the 10th. This event is a coming together of both international climbers and host climbers alike, all gathering to meet and climb in the beautiful climbing mecca of Yosemite Valley. This year we had 12 International Climbers from countries such as Denmark, the Philippines, Poland, Wales, Sweden, England, Mexico, and Hungary, as well as a few others. Throw into the mix about nine host climbers, AAC staff, caterers, and a few locals who weaseled their way in, and it added up to a really good time had by everyone!

The American Alpine Club was the organization that put it all together (thanks guys!), with Carol Kotchek (AAC staff member) and I coordinating the event. We were able to reserve the awesome Yellow Pines Group Volunteer Site, and in exchange for the campsite we volunteered some time to a trail restoration project and cleaned up trash at the crags we visited.

The event started when we picked up the first group at the Fresno Airport on Monday and brought them to Yosemite. Some of the internationals were already in the Valley, a few drove their own cars, and the hosts all showed up that day as well. We assembled around 6pm at the campground to meet each other and have dinner. The one downside to this year’s event was that we had a bit of rain for the first few days, but we didn’t let it get us down! The Monday afternoon rain fizzled out just as we were assembling on our first evening, long enough to have dinner and a campfire before starting back up again for the night.

Tuesday was all rain and no sun, but we quickly adapted to the conditions and came up with a great plan B: Jailhouse! For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Jailhouse crag, it is located close to Sonora, about an hour and a half from Yosemite Valley. It is a completely overhanging sport climbing zone, complete with fixed quick draws and super steep routes from 11d to 14a. We loaded up our two vans, headed on down there, and got completely pumped before heading back to the Valley.

Expecting rain for that evening, we were pleasantly surprised again when the precipitation stopped just long enough for us to have dinner and a campfire again. The weather gods were smiling down on us!

Getting ready for trail work in the Mecca zone of Lower Cathedral Rock. Photo by Dave Turner

Getting ready for trail work in the Mecca zone of Lower Cathedral Rock. Photo by Dave Turner

Wednesday wasn’t too bad, but the rock was still kind of wet for the bigger routes of the Valley. Instead, we took advantage of this mediocre weather day to fulfill most of our volunteer work: a trail restoration project in the Mecca zone of Lower Cathedral Rock. Ever since this zone was included in the two new Supertopo guidebooks, it has seen a considerable increase in user traffic and the trails were showing it. We mitigated all of the braided trails, consolidated them into one logical use trail, and improved this trail to facilitate all of the increased traffic it has been and will continue to see. We shored up the area, and in my opinion, it is pretty nice. Thanks to Jesse McGahey, Jake Whittaker, the NPS crew, and the whole ICM group for helping on this one!

During the trail restoration project there were about 25+ people there working on the trail, so at any one time about eight of us would rotate out from the working group to take a minute and climb on the routes at Lower Mecca. Mostly in the 10+ to 11- range, these routes are pretty nice, and now the approach is a lot nicer too!

From Thursday to Sunday the weather became classic California again- sunny skies with perfect temps. It was just what we came here for. The internationals and hosts took advantage of the improved weather, and climbed everything they could get their hands on. Not only was a lot of cragging going on, but some longer routes got sent as well: the west face of El Cap, the Rostrum, the Steck Salathe, Serenity Crack to Sons of Yesterday, and the north-east buttress of Higher Cathedral were all climbed during the event, as well as many other quality climbs.

AAC love via headlamp during the Saturday night party. Photo by Dave Turner.

AAC love via headlamp during the Saturday night party. Photo by Dave Turner.

Saturday night saw the big party take place, with over fifty people attending. The AAC board members came through with some guests to spice up the party, and tons of beer and drinks flowed freely. Everyone came together to share stories of the climbs completed as well as stories of their homelands and past adventures. It pretty much summed up what the whole event was about- a coming together of people, both foreign and local, in an amazing location, with climbing as the common bond.

I would like to thank the NPS for letting us put the event on at the Yellow Pines Site, as well as Asolo/Lowe Alpine, Gu Energy Products, and the AAC for all donating time and gear for this great event.

-Dave Turner, AAC

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