Trip Report

Yosemite Trip Report - Part 2

By: Fabio Gutierrez


Welcome back, folks. I'm so sure you were eager with anticipation. Okay, let's go!

Airborne on Reed's

Sure. I had a score to settle. I wasn't denying it or making any excuses about it. I wasn't even sweating it. Okay, maybe a little. Why did the guide book topo show 5.9 hands, and then say 5.10a next to the route description? "That's fine, "I thought, "I don't need no guidebook no-how. I can see the crack. I can see it from the road. I....can even......see it from the valley below. Oh shit, I can even see it from the other side of the park. It's up there alright. Waaaaayyyy up there. That's cool. I got it. No problem........."

We got to the base fairly smoothly, and moved through the choss without knocking too many rocks down on the passing cars. Chris looked tentatively at the first 5.9 pitch. I somehow convinced him to try it, telling him that it was just like a 5.6. "Just put your foot sideways, stick it in the crack, then torque it and stand," I kept saying. Live Hard was quick to reply, "No, I can't fit my toes in the crack, they're too big." I was getting impatient. Finally Live Hard relented and wanted me to put my money where my mouth was. Sure I thought, no prob. Piece of cake. I stayed clipped to the two pieces that he had already placed, leaving myself on top-rope basically, for a few feet. Then I tried to get my toes in the crack, and I found out just how small it really was. Shit. Chris was right. This ain't that easy. I grunted through some hand and toe jams, got above the gear where the crack opened up a bit, and then got some momentum going. 

Things went well until the top. The left side of the crack comes out farther than the right side, so that you're almost climbing a right facing corner. Then it curves to the left, where it becomes completely horizontal at the belay. Instead of lie-backing, I kept jamming and arm-barring. The rubbing of the gear sling across my sun burnt neck was already annoying. But, leaning into that rock on the left with my sun burnt shoulder and arm was becoming unbearable. Like some one was taking a cheese grater over my epidermis oh so slowly. On the bright side it took all the dead skin off. Maybe I should have climbed with my shirt on? A few awkward moves and the belay was mine. 

Now for the second pitch. Roughly 100' or so of hand jamming opens into 20'-30' of arm bars, with a ledge or two in between. I had a healthy assortment of gear, although probably too much gear for the route. I grunted up the jams, having to scum my right foot on the face because the crack leans so far to the right. This was hard work, although there were a few nubs, and diorite patches that provided pretty good friction. I managed to come within about 20 ft of the first of two ledges on the route, before I had to rest and shake the lead out of my forearms. My new Mythos were killing me. Maybe I should have broken them in better before the trip? 

I shot a quick look at my surroundings. 800' or more to the Merced River below. Then I looked ahead, and everything seemed simple enough. #3.5 cam where the crack gets wide, throw the bomber hand jam above that, get the feet up, then start fisting the crack above and get your feet up onto the 9" ledge. I started up. "Hand jam. Foot jam. Right foot smear. Left fist -->?? No crack's too big, have to arm-bar. Okay, good enough." Then as my arms were crisscrossed, one arm-barring and the other jamming, I tried to somehow squeeze my right leg up and underneath my armpit in order to stand on the ledge. 


No, I was never in Cirque de Soleil (although I did wistfully watch the beauty that is Cirque de Ingenieux), so I wasn't under the delusion that I was double jointed. As you can imagine, things were not working out. I tried my left hand on a ledge up and to my left, fingernails biting into the granite crystals. The 10.5mm rope was heavy. So was the other 9.8mm rope. This wasn't working, and my forearms were getting heavier with each passing second.

I started to freak. 

Then I thought, "No! Climbing's all about keeping your shit together!" Then I was calm. Then I freaked again. Then I was calm. One more freaking episode and Vaquero was done for, I'm afraid. My brain started to down climb, but my body said "No way, game over man! Game over!" And with that I pitched off, the granite a white blur in front of my face. I clenched my abdominals, and grunted a bit, and then came to an easy stop. Hey, that crappy BD bent gate carabiner didn't come open! I gathered myself for a moment, and then looked at the #3.5 Camalot that I had fallen on. The cams on one side were over-cammed, and the cams on the other were under-cammed. That can't be good. Out of fuel, I slung a manky chockstone with an old sling, and lowered off, cleaning the gear as I went. Next time, Next time. 

Gimme a break, it's my first 10a on gear for Pete's sake, AND I wasn't using any sissy tape gloves. 

Sorry, nothing against tape gloves. 

Gayblade Phil (Well, I don't know what his real name was, and I don't really care.) 

One night after polishing off some brews in the amphitheater (notice a pattern, anyone?), Chris and I headed over to the Mountain Room Lounge to, you guessed it, polish off some more. Plus we wanted to hit up the bartender for some Valley social scene beta. We swaggered up to the bar like regulars, like we were the ones to put the first bolt on the Nose or something. A couple pints of Sierra Nevada and we were finally at cruising altitude. I was aware of a few people on my left, specifically a man on the stool next to me. I thought, "Whatever, I'm not in the mood to make friends tonight." He, on the other hand, was of a different opinion. And a different many other things as I would find out.

We were both talking to the bartender, and I suppose that that somehow gave him license to start talking to me directly. Hmmm, okay. He was middle aged, full beard, and sporting a healthy little beer gut. His crisp ball cap and clean clothes screamed "TOURIST." 

He says to me, " look like a BAD boy." I looked at our bartender Kary, then had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. I pulled it together. "Oh,...I am," was my reply. "But just once in a while." Clearly my manly, alpine facial growth and Camp 4 ghetto grit was projecting a 'bad boy' persona. He was hooked. "Yeah!? How often?" he exclaimed. "Oh, maybe once, twice a week, but not that bad." I was starting to worry. "How bad?!" "Not that bad.", I replied. "I'm bad too, about once or twice a week..... Just kidding!!" He would go on to end most every sentence with a pat on my arm and a "Just kidding!" Very annoying. Fortunately I was a happy drunk, and had no desire to start a brawl and test my latest theory that I was impervious to pain after 8 beers. I then had to take control of this conversation and move it in a direction that I wanted it to go. Chris was about 6" tall by now on his stool, making little worried squeaks. I shot him a confident look, that everything was okay. "Do you climb?" I asked. "No, I could never do that. Well, I am very athletic, but I've no desire to climb, I'm too old for that. I'm probably old enough to be your father. How old are you?" "Yeah you probably are. I'm 26." I replied. "Oh god, I'm 48!" Another pat on the arm. NAMBLA nightmares started running through my brain. I pushed the climbing issue some more, then started scoffing at him because he had no interest in it. When he realized that he wasn't going to get any ass from me, he started talking shit. "I bet I could out-run and out-row you!" "Yeah, I bet you could," I said. He backed down. "But you could probably out climb me." "Yeah.....I could." Then he paid his tab and left.

And another pat, this time on the shoulder. Eeeeewwwww. But I'm a nice guy.

Next Exit --> Gas, Food,..................and MURDER! (ooooh, scaaaarrry.)

After one week in the Valley, it was time for Live Hard to go home, and so I had to take him to the airport. (For the record I told him we needed to leave at 9,and we ended up leaving at 9:30, and missed his plane. But they put him on a different flight, and everything worked out.) The drive back was pleasant enough, as there were a few radio stations out there that liked to play some heavy music. I had Creed, Monster Magnet, Tool, Danzig, Iron Maiden, A Perfect Circle (Maynard from Tool), good Metallica from back in the day, and best of all, some more Tool. 

About 20 miles out from the Ranger post guarding the Valley, the highway brought me gently to the top of a hill. In the opposite lane I saw another pair of headlights, maybe about a quarter of a mile away. Then I saw movement on my left. In an instant there was a brown creature darting across the road, trying to make it between our two cars. He made it past the opposite car, but I was forced to watch him disappear below my headlights. I screamed out loud at him. "No you fucking bastard don't even try it son of a bi--" and then the initial impact. I heard him hit the plastic front end, sounding somewhere between a crack and a thud. That was followed by the sound of his body ricocheting between the asphalt and the chassis, the noise moving from under the front axle, to the passenger side, the back seat, and then finally I felt the right rear end raise up and then settle. I pulled over, and looked at the rear lights of the other car, and then it was gone. 

I sat in the seat for a moment, letting everything sink in. I opened the door and got out to investigate the crime scene. I could see the lumpy silhouette against the twilight on the top of the hill. As I came upon the body, I recognized it as a cat. Many small clumps of white/gray fur were drifting through the air and across the road. I examined the body. Its green eyes were half-open and the jaw was fixed in a molested smile. I frowned, then turned and started to walk back to my car. At that point another car came speeding across the highway, and I heard it run over part of the body, making a sickening noise. "Shit. I better get it off the road. It's the least I can do." I went back and looked for a collar with a name tag or something. There was a nice collar but no tag. I grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and picked it up. His little rag doll body was still warm in the chill mountain air. I moved him into the trees along the road, and went back to the car. 

Then it hit me. This was someone's pet. Someone had cared for this animal, fed it, loved it, given it shots, and now I had killed it. I thought about all of the animals that I had lost to automobiles, and then I thought about all of my pets that had died for whatever reason. I thought about the cat's owner. That person would not know what happened, would never know. They would be at home, waiting for their pet to return, only it wouldn't. Days would turn into weeks, and weeks into months. Why was I the last person to see their pet alive? Why was that thrust onto me?? I just sat there and cried. 

Then as I drove away I thought, "You friggin' sissy, suck it up! It's just a damn cat. Let's hear some more Tool!" 

Half-Baked on Half-Dome with Dick Rodman (or How to Choose Your Partners More Wisely.)
[All names changed to protect the innocent] 

I think we had only been in the Valley two days, and already Live Hard had run into an old friend from Maryland, Schecky. Schecky was an exchange student out there going to Fresno State, and had climbing in his veins. Obviously he chose a two-year stint at Fresno due to its close proximity to the Valley. Only 20, Schecky was already sending Valley 10d's on gear, and had big hopes for big walls. Schecky also had a secret. In order to fund his 5-day-a-week Valley escapades, he had to work two days -- Friday and Saturday. Turns out that Schecky is also known as 'Dick Rodman', male erotic dancer on the weekends. I had to ask, "But what if you do a party--" "And they're all fat and ugly?", he completed my sentence. "Yeah," I said. "Aww, you just put it out of your mind. It's good either way. The fat and old ones usually have a lot of money, so those pay well, and the ones with hot women don't pay as well, but they're hot. Sometimes your picking these women up, and playing dollar bill games with them, and they're your mom's age, but you just put it out of your mind and have a good time." Spoken like a true professional. 

At the start of my second week there, Schecky and I climbed Nutcracker, as well as a few other bolted routes around the base of Manure Pile. There were already 4 parties on Nutcracker. He picked Renus Wrinkle (5.10c), a bolted line between the traditional start, and my favorite 5.9 start. I said "OK, let's do it." After three bolts, one a quarter inch button-head, the gear runs out for about 12-15ft, until you gain a small crack, some more small pieces, a couple of bolts and then the belay. All face climbing, but climbing on your fingernails. I had to use my fingernails on dime edges (literally) in order to keep myself in balance. After arriving at the belay, we had beaten one party. Two more to go. Above the belay was another bolt line. Schecky didn't know what route it was, but figured that it would put us ahead of the others, so he went for it. More of the same face climbing. Then the bolts ran out, and Schecky hesitated. After a little deliberation, he sucked it up and got to a crack system, then ran it out to the belay. Cleaning the route, I noticed that of the first three bolts, (and there were only three at the start) the last two were loose quarter-inch button-heads. Falling on those would have brought him back down to the belay, and probably would have ended his dancing career. I arrived at the belay to find Schecky standing behind the small bush that was his anchor, with slack in the cordalette anchor, a big smile on his face, and a cheery "Almost there!" He went on to race up the route, just passing the last party at the mantle section, where they had setup their belay. Turns out it was a Swiss climber and his American girlfriend, who had also done some 'dancing' in her day. Zoiks. 

Now on to Half-Dome. Schecky was hoping to do the Regular NW Face (22 pitches, Grade VI, 5.10c/A2) with Kolorado Ken. But Ken had a buddy in town with him at that point, so Ken was taken. Schecky then asked me. "We can probably do it in two days, don't you think? Do you want to?". For whatever asinine reason, I looked him straight in the eye, my poker face fixed, and said, "Nah, we can do it in a day." And that was it. I had set the match to the gasoline, and the inferno was lit in his eyes. That was all it took -- someone to say to that 20-year-old male brain -"You can do it!" My god, what had I done? What I had meant to say, was "YOU can do it in a day."

The next morning I had a leisurely breakfast at the cafeteria, contemplating the Regular Route, but not understanding it, over a cappuccino. At about 10am I returned to Camp 4 to a frantic Schecky. "Where've you been!? We have to get going! Come on, we've got to get to the store and get iodine and blankets!" Okay, okay, man, chill. "Just let me get my gear" was all I could say. 

We loaded the car and headed to Curry Village, to get the few supplies that we would take. Helmets would not be on that list. (ooooh, foreshadowing.) 

We decided to hike from Curry, as Schecky thought this would be the best place to park. A mile and a half into the hike, and Schecky asked me if I've remembered to bring his quick draws. D'oh!

Following Schecky's lead, it took us about 3 more miles, a tour of upper and lower pines campgrounds, and the base of Glacier Point Apron before we arrived back at the car to get the gear. After a tour of the stables parking area Schecky decided that the Awahnee Hotel parking was actually closer to the approach.

We left the Awahnee lot at a stiff pace, always with Half-Dome in sight on our right. "Yeah, I hiked up here two-days ago, so we should be good today." "Cool," I thought. Maybe things will go smoothly now. 

I couldn't have been more wrong. Never follow this guy on a trail. 

We searched up the main trail for a bridge that didn't exist, so we had to backtrack about a mile and take the first bridge that we found (The actual bridge that we were looking for.) Then we were on the Half-Dome side of the river. At least three times Schecky stopped to contemplate the existence of a trail on our right, and once I had to actually tell him that it was just a clearing, that there was no trail there. More hiking, more of Schecky getting psyched out by rotten logs and boulders, and then finally we found cairns. And up we went, up the aptly named 'Death Slabs Approach.'

We took the slabs approach because Schecky had Chris McNamara's Super Topo, which said that the Slabs approach could put you ahead of other parties leaving at the same time. Now I'm starting to understand his psychology. 

The approach was brutal, but Schecky seemed unaffected. We crossed boulder fields, containing many loose, see-sawing slabs, a few of which I almost pitched off of with my 50lb haul bag on my back. Then it was on to 5th class scrambling, made even scarier with the pack. Loose Sundowners coupled with the fact that we were already a couple of hundred feet up, made me more than a bit nervous since a fall would have sent me ALL the way to the deck, via the slabs and lots of choss. I explained my discomfort to Schecky, who took it upon himself to down climb the 5th class, relieve me of my pack, and then climb back up. It's gotta be his shoes, it's gotta be. 

More unforgiving hiking/scrambling brought us to a fixed line that we had to jug. Schecky grunted up, and made a rather uneventful ascent. Once he was off, I clipped my ascenders on, pulled the 10' or so of slack out of the line, and started up. About 5' up the line, it suddenly went free, either moving off of a corner, or unsticking itself somehow, so that suddenly there was about 6' of slack. Naturally I free fell back down, landing on a pointed boulder with my
left thigh. Oww, that smarts. Shecky's reply was "Oh." As we approached the base of Half-Dome, we noticed a helicopter coming in low. It circled around a bit, went up and down a bit, then picked up a litter with a body in it and flew back west into the Valley. After arriving at the base, we discovered that a leader had fallen and broken an ankle on pitch 6. That can't be a good sign. 

Seeing as how we arrived so late at the base, we decided to set up camp, fix the first three pitches in the morning, then rest for the rest of the day, making our ascent the day after. Fair enough I thought. The base of Half-Dome is very picturesque. A clear, pure spring of crystal water trickles from the base of the Regular NW Route. A maze of short, chossy trails wind from the spring area, stopping every so often to form a small terrace. These terraces have been cleared of most of their rocks by climbers, who usually crash, er sleep, here. Also, each terrace usually included clumps of wild flowers growing from behind the larger boulders. The whole scene at twilight with the flowers, sunset, and spring trickling is extremely relaxing and calming. Finally, after a mad day of hiking, I was at peace. 

I awoke the next morning to a horrified scream. "ROCK!!ROCK!!!ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!" I heard movement from the other terraces, some more screaming. Instinctively I rolled over onto my left side, tucking myself behind a boulder, hands covering my head. I was pretty much right below the route. I heard what must have been a bowling ball size rock hit farther down and to the right, probably 40 feet or so away. Sheeewww. Well, I guess I'm awake now. 

We let two other parties get on the route, then it was time to fix the pitches. Schecky was considerably slower on the first 10c pitch than he had been on the Nutcracker pitches. But he moved through without falling and clipped the belays. The first 10c pitch starts with some easy 5.8, then you move into a small chimney, grabbing this granite hamburger patty that's sandwiched between two granite buns. The cracks run between the patty and the buns. Mmmm, must be lunch time. At the 10c section, this is really just old two-finger pin scars, smearing and stemming the feet as usual. Then some awkward 5.8 climbing above to the belay. The second pitch offers a more straight forward chimney, a fairly simple overhang, and then some easy face climbing on up through pitch three. Each of the belays offered only one 3/4" bolt, and a fixed pin or two, plus other cracks to place one's own gear. Schecky saw fit to only clip the one bolt and one pin. Hmmmmm, should I say something? I was also noticing that the first piece he placed (usually a single nut) on most of the routes I climbed with him would fall out after he was about 30'-40' up. Hmmmmm.

400' of lines were fixed, and we were down. Ahhhh, sleepy time. Alright, I can get into this. On the hike up we had discovered the Magic Blue Bin. Magic Blue Bin is basically a trash can, but on this day we found unopened cans of Sapporo beer (Woohoo! Beer!), mystery meat, smoked oysters and salmon, Chef Boyardee, etc. That was good because we had only brought enough food for one night. Ahhh, fat and happy, with the hummingbirds circling, and all was good. 

I awoke to another horrific sound. Half-asleep I heard a CLICK-CLACK from somewhere in the back of my mind, then silence. Then wwwhhhhhhhiiiiiiIIIIIIIIIIZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ! I perked up and instinctively went for cover. In the next quarter second I heard a softball-sized rock land somewhere near Schecky's head, again down and to my right. Schecky was alarmed, and said that he felt the vibration through the ground. We then decided that we were probably not in the best place to sleep, so we moved farther up the slope away from the climb. Throughout the day this would happen about 3 more times, only one of which would be accompanied by "ROCK!"

Throughout the trip Schecky interrogated me at length about food, nutrition, women, work, etc. He seemed so mature before, when discussing climbing at Camp 4, but here and now, his inexperience showed. I felt like an old man. He was very proud of his decision to attend Fresno, citing all the benefits -- new and fun job, climbing, and girlfriend. He told me, "It's the best decision I've ever made. What was the best decision you've ever made?" he asked.


I couldn't answer. Hell, I had no idea. Damn, the boy had me. He would ask me other questions, ending each with "Don't you agree?" Almost always I would have to respond with," Well, no, I don't," because usually he was wrong. Then he'd get a puzzled look on his face, and be pensive for a few minutes before posing another. I had to explain the psychological difference between men and women as regards stripping and sexual exploitation. I had to explain why the canned food eater would have a weaker immune system than the person who ate fresh fruits and veggies. We talked about his girlfriend. A lot. Evidently she started stripping when she found out how much money he was making. Except she started doing private shows, and coming home between 5 and 7 in the morning, whereas he was usually done by 3. It was his first girlfriend. I was even a little ticked when he looked up at one party on the wall who was planning on taking two days, and he said, "What a waste. Why do they even bother?" I had to jump him. "What are you talking about!? It's not about the destination, man (and I use that term loosely), it's about the journey. Who cares how long it takes?" Again he got pensive. He seemed personally insulted when I told him that climbing wasn't my
number one passion in life. He flashed me an incredulous look, as if to say 'Then what are you doing here?' I had to ask myself the same question. 

Sometime around dusk I heard what sounded like a squadron of fighter jets taking off from the summit of Half-Dome. Shouts of "LOOK!" and "That's soooo cool!" came from the other climbers behind me. Then the rumble ended but I still couldn't see anything for the trees. I clawed up the rocks to a better vantage point, and there they were -- base jumpers. Chutes open, drifting into the valley below. 

Schecky decided that we would get up at 3:00am the following morning, then be on the rock by 4, jugging with headlamps. I didn't sleep a wink. Why the hell was I up here? I didn't want to be here, not climbing with Schecky, and certainly not trying Half-Dome in a day. I had too many things churning in my own skull, psychological baggage from back home that I was trying to get away from by going to Yosemite. We also clearly had different climbing philosophies, I had no respect for his belays, and the route was loose. A previous team had described the boulders that were a wrong-look away from falling out of a 5.9 chimney on the upper pitches. This wasn't good, I wanted out. But no, I'll jug those pitches tomorrow and see how I feel. 

My breakfast was tense, but Schecky was electric. I felt bad about the inevitable, but I figured it would keep me alive. I recalled an epic the previous year on Lost Arrow Spire (remind me to tell you about it sometime - Lost on Lost Arrow Spire), where I had whole-heartedly decided not to get myself into any more epics. Tyrolean Traversing at 2 in the morning by moonlight is spectacular, but not necessarily advisable. But I digress... Schecky jugged first, then I started once he got on the second line. Jugging dynamic lines sucks. It's tolerable though, once you pull the 20' of stretch out. My entire visual world consisted solely of the 3' diameter illuminated circle in front of my face, and beyond that on all sides was empty black space for all I knew. It gave the whole operation of ascending an uncanny focus. I reached the first belay just as Schecky had a healthy start on the second line. Not surprisingly, I was being showered with small rocks and dirt that he was knocking off on his way up. I thought, "There's no way he's leaving those boulders in that chimney untouched. Where's my helmet?'s in my closet. At home. In Arlington. Great." I heard him shout that he was off, and then I looked for the line. It was nowhere to be seen. 

It took about three shouts before he understood that I couldn't see the line. He tried some things. More rock shower. Finally he got on rappel, came half-way down, and threw the line down from where it was hung. More rocks. At about this time I finally realized that he climbed with complete disregard for his partner, or anyone below. 

It was also at this time that I was firmly resolved to bail. I stayed tied into the first jug line, and unclipped it from the belay. The second jug pitch was slow torture, but I made the belay. Schecky was all excitement about the next pitches. It had taken us an hour and a half to jug 3 pitches. Then he saw the first line (that I was supposed to drop) tied in at my waist. "Why do you still have the first rope?" he asked, bewildered. "CAUSE I'M OUTTA HERE." I said stoically. Some macho discussion ensued, then he gave in. He had no choice really. 

We got to the base, cleaned up camp (did I mention that he never washed his dishes?), got our stuff together, and then decided to hit the cable route. 

On the hike out, I thought about the question that Schecky had asked me earlier, about the best decision that I'd ever made in my life. I think I just made it. 

(BTW- Got an email from Schecky shortly after the trip. He completed the route with a partner that was pissing him off -- climbing slow, taking his shoes off at each belay. They began at 4am, ended up getting back to the base at 12:15am. The defense rests.) 

Kary the Bartender

One night after drinking in the amphitheatre (there is a practical significance to overindulging in alcohol -- keeps the mosquitoes away, which were really horrible this whole trip), we decided to try out the Mountain Room Lounge. Ooops, they closed 20 minutes ago. Oh well, we'll come back tomorrow.

One night after drinking in the amphitheatre (there is a practical significance to overindulging in alcohol -- keeps the mosquitoes away, which were really horrible this whole trip), we decided to try out the Mountain Room Lounge. We walked in like regulars. I had never been in there before so I wanted to try it out. And I wanted to hit the bartender up for info on the bustling Yosemite social scene. Kary looked like the blonde guy-next-door -- 20-something, lean build, boyish good looks, and very friendly. But not so friendly with Gayblade Phil. After throwing a couple of Sierra Nevada's at us, he began his psychic reading. "You guys staying at Camp 4?" Chris and I looked at each other. "Yeah, figured. Climbers, right?" "Yeah, sometimes." I said with a laugh. This guy was alright. Then we hit him up for the skinny on the Valley goings on. We had made a few celebrity sightings. Come to find out, all these guys have rich parents. Figures. And the middle-aged locals? "They spend more time drinking than climbing." We had seen one local in particular almost everyday that we were there, six-pack of Old English 800 in front of him. Yeah, I wanna see those guys hold down a 9-5 and train for those speed ascents. Wow. What a bunch of shit. Kary went on to talk about YOSAR, which he served on, and some colorful Bridwell anecdotes. He also described recovering Dano's body, and the debrief, and how shaken Dean Potter was over the whole deal. Seems that everyone we talked to had good things to say about Dean. Then it was Last Call, as the Mountain Room Lounge closes at 10pm (?!), so we paid our tab and left, confident in the knowledge that the regulars weren't supermen, they just had rich folks. This was Kary's last season working the Valley, so we wish him luck in the future. 

I spent my remaining days after Half-Dome in Santa Cruz with friends, and noodling around 'Frisco. Good fun.


So! Another Vaquero/Live Hard adventure comes to an end. The curtain closes, the lights come up, and the band stops playing. The computer gets turned on, the phone starts ringing, and the boss starts frowning. Such is life. 


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