According to Chris Mcnamara and the Yosemite Valley Free Climbs Supertopo,
“The Southwest base of El Cap gets very hot in the summer and is best as a spring and fall destination. Even winter temperatures can be good, but frequent icefall makes winter climbing extremely dangerous….The free routes along the southwest base are known for slick rock and pure cracks requiring good technique.”
As one of my favorite cragging spots in the valley, the routes are clean and rad and the climbing is awarded a two thumbs up because it is in the sun all day. And there’s a sweet view across the El Cap meadow to Middle Cathedral on the south side. And with winter temperatures being anything but winter temperatures, shirts came off and stunna shades went on.
Middle Cathedral (the East Buttress route Iv and I climbed follows the left side up)
After a late night arrival in El Portal, a deep sleep, bacon and eggs and avocado and greens, and freshly brewed coffee (just hot water for me), we rallied and drove into the valley listening to Third Eye Blind’s Crystal Baller…a Julie & Lauren climbing pump up song circa 2009. Matt, Emily, Tanya, Lauren, and yours truly hiked up to the base.
Plenty of climbing to go around with all of us getting on a handful of routes. Post-cragging brews and a killer sunset to boot!
The day wound down with us gorging our faceholes at the Curry Village Pizza Parlor and playing an entertaining game of Cards Against Humanity back at Lauren’s El Portal pad. Quality day.