Yosemite 2018

From Royal Arches to Manure Pile

Sometimes that’s how things go with cancer

We had planned to climb one of Yosemite’s classic climbs, Royal Arches.  But as the date approached, we found that the weather was not in our favor.  With rain forecasted, we knew it would not be wise to be high on the cliffs with no where to retreat.  It was a smart decision within a few days, three climbers died climbing on nearby rocks in two separate accidents in Yosemite.  So instead of climbing our planned route with all its allusions to grandiose ideals, we headed over to the Manure Pile Buttress for a six pitch route that had good escape routes and belay stances in case we got caught in the rain.  Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned and cancer is nothing more than a manure pile.

This climb was dedicated to 4 patients battling with kidney Cancer.  Sara, Scott, George and Joy.

Day 1

After finishing up our professional meetings around 5 pm, Dr. Lane, Dr. Weight and his son packed up and drove the 4 hours from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park.  We had to pitch our tents in the dark and be ready to climb at 7 am sharp.

The rain and moisture made for soggy hikes, route changes and wet tents, but great for early morning photography
Spring in Yosemite is beautiful with perfect temperatures and gushing falls like Yosemite Falls

We headed over to the Manure Pile Buttress for a 6 pitch ~ 700 foot climb.  It feels great to be on the rock again, holding on for dear life!

Climbing on the famed Yosemite granite!
As we start to rise out of the valley, Brig finds a nice perch between a rock and a hard place…a beautiful rock and a hard place
The higher we get, the better the view gets with the famed Half Dome looming in the background, the rain is coming!
Dr. Lane is literally learning the ropes of climbing and doing a great job belaying with soaring granite all around
We made it! Dr. Lane climbed for Sara Easter see link above
On the top of Manure Pile Buttress, also known as Ranger Rock, Dr. Weight and Brig climbed for Scott, Joy and George, see links above
This is a climbing anchor, when fighting cancer everyone needs something to anchor to so when the fight with cancer begins, you have something/someone to help catch your fall
When we climb, the symbolism between fighting cancer and climbing is always on our minds.  Near the top almost 700 feet above the valley floor Dr. Lane came to understand on a more visceral level what Climb 4 Kidney Cancer is all about.
I had a terrifying moment near the top of our climb when the wind intensified its blowing against me, and my strength was failing, and I didn’t think I could take that next step. I felt like giving up.
Only then did I realize what climb4kc is all about.  I realized that for Sara, Scott, George and Joy (and many others), challenges like these come far more regularly. With grace and faith and strength we can carry on. This was to me a great opportunity to walk hand-in-hand with you all, and I’m honored to have been able to do so.
Dr. Brian Lane
The wildflowers were in full bloom!

After a successful climb, we hurried down in a gathering rainstorm.  We caught some lunch. Though climbing in the rain was out, we could still safely hike.  We headed over and hiked up the misty trail along Vernal Falls and to Nevada Falls.  It was a beautiful 9 mile round-trip hike.

The misty trail lived up to its moniker with mists from the rushing Vernal Falls and rain from above
Dr. Lane and Brig heading into the misty part of the Misty Trail

We got back down from the hike around 7 pm.  We had to drive to another campsite because Yosemite is crowded and we couldn’t string all our camping nights together.  We again arrived after dark and set up our tents and ate in the light of the stars and our headlamps.

Day 2

We woke, ready to climb again, so we headed to Swan Rock, near the famous Camp 4.

Brig stands in front of the famous Camp 4 bouldering problem, Midnight Lightning V8
Bears can be a big problem and all food must be kept in food lockers, even cars may not be safe
Brig rappelling down a pitch on Swan Rock
Our afternoon objective was the summit of North Dome, the lesser known, cross-valley companion to Half Dome
We saw why the bear lockers are so important. This bear was no more than 30 yards from the roads and campgrounds and….
Lots of tourists excited about the bear
Dr. Lane walking through the colorful, but wet forrest

The climb/hike to North dome was beautiful.  The forrest was shrouded in mist and wild flowers were everywhere.

Dr. Weight found some snow at around 8000 feet
The spectacular view from the summit of North Dome looking west down the valley towards the Cathedrals and El Capitan
Huge thanks to JanSport who supplied packs in support of Kidney Cancer, I loved the 50th Anniversary Tahoma Guide Series 45L pack.

You can check out the specs on this pack at JanSport.com.

From North Dome we could see Half Dome in all its splendor
Dr. Lane on the summit of North Dome, he climbed for Sara and carried her with him the whole way
Brig celebrates. He and his father carried Scott, George and Joy to the summit to celebrate all together
The famous El Capitan, one of the world’s most difficult rock climbs catches the early morning sunlight

We headed back to San Francisco the following morning to catch our flights back home.  We are better for the experience and mindful of the stories of the patients we climbed for.  We are powered by their faith and hope to beat kidney cancer in their own battles, and more determined than ever to continue to climb 4 a cure!