Climbing Gallery

The material and photographs on these pages are copyright 1997, Sean Cleary. No duplication without written permission.

(For larger versions of each picture, click on the small image.)

illusion dweller illusion dweller rapping down Headstone

Sandy leading Illusion Dweller (10a) in Joshua Tree, a wonderful sustained crack, then me following it. On the right, me rapping off of Headstone Rock, a wonderful feature at Joshua Tree with a very pleasing 5.6 arete.

Nancy and falls below Sam traversing

Nancy on the approach to Via Aqua, and Sam leading a traverse on 5th pitch. See story for more info and more pictures of Via Aqua, a nice 5.7 just to the left of Upper Yosemite Falls.

RMNP Notchtop

Notchtop Peak, in Rocky Mountain National Park. There is a very enjoyable 12-ish pitch 5.4 called the Spiral route which starts around to the left and spirals up and to the right through a "meadow" to the notch and then upwards. We got a bit off route and ended up on some 5.7-ish stuff. There I am on the summit afterwards, with Longs Peak in the background.

playa d'amor clipping a piece Martin at Tahquitz

Bouldering at the beach in Cabo San Lucas in Baja California, Mexico. There is wonderful bouldering, scrambling and climbing at what is essentially the southernmost tip of the California Peninsula. We were down there to see the amazing July 11 1991 total eclipse of the sun but we also had a great time snorkling, bouldering and exploring. In the middle is me about to clip a piece and on the right is Martin at Tahquitz. I'm not sure what route this is on, but he is trailing a rope for a third so that makes it likely that this is on Fingertrip (an easier 5-pitch 5.7- one little undercling move, some laybacking- but a very nice route) or the Swallow (a harder 5.8, with a sustained wide crack section on the second pitch.)

looking up at Sandy looking down on me Rainbow Buttress

On the left is Sandy in a chimney section of Rainbow Buttress at the Red Rocks near Las Vegas. Rainbow Buttress was the first grade IV I ever did and is a wonderful varied route. Sandy is directly above me in the chimney as I took this shot, and I am directly below him in the next shot which he took from the above position, looking straight down. If he had fallen before getting a piece in, he not only would have smooshed me, but the pair of us would have been wedged in the crack for eternity. Yes, that is my old #11 hex he's carrying there- this was a while ago and there are some wide cracks on that route. On the right is a picture of the route, which starts on the sunny side of the buttress and heads left after about 5 pitches to follow crack systems to some chickenheads to near the top.

interesting patterns sneaker and rock

Some more shots from the Red Rocks. On the left is me coming down after climbing Rainbow Buttress. Red Rocks has a reputation for some awful descents, but that one is great. There is some very sculpted rock in the drainage and the next shot is of Sandy's feet and some of the patterns there.

Sandy dancing windy song

Two pictures of Sandy after having climbed Windy Song at Red Rocks. That is a nice 5.7 route which traverses below a huge, soft roof and turns it on the right after it becomes manageable. Sandy does an interpretive dance at the end of each climb he does, expressing his feelings about the moves and exposure. Notice the sun is setting and we are on top of the rock. Pretty nice looking, but it means we are about to do one of the awful Red Rocks descents in the dark.

lcs from hcs 4 manky pins Nancy on top

Some shots from a climb of Higher Cathedral Spire in Yosemite, via the Regular Route. That is a very nice 5.9, about 5 pitches, to a spectacular summit. The route is on the much shorter side and of the spire but has some very nice climbing. On the left is the summit of Lower Cathedral Spire and looking up the valley from HCS. The middle picture is of 4 old fixed pitons, one of which Sam clipped. This route was first done in 1934 as an aid route and is a pretty remarkable climb to a wonderful spot. Since it is such an old climb, there is a bit of a museum of old gear on the route. The right picture is looking at Nancy on the summit.

Nancy below Sam in tree El Cap from HCS

More shots from the HCS climb. The first is Nancy below on the section near the "Bathtubs"- a couple of huecos. This is above the steep crack moves on the second pitch that I thought were the crux. The middle image is Sam at a belay on the 4th (next to last) pitch. The right image is El Capitan from the summit of Higher Cathedral Spire. The East Buttress lies on the right hand side of the photo. The beginning of that climb is at the end of the line of bushes that go from the middle of the right hand part of the face and eventually end. It is very obvious from this angle how much shorter the East Buttress route is than a real El Cap route, like the Nose.

Sandy in Eldo me in Eldo Northwest Passage Eye of Sean

Sandy and I, respectively, on top of Bastille Buttress in Eldorado Canyon near Boulder after having climbed the combination of all the hard pitches of West Buttress and Hair Lip, it seemed. And me at Big Rock, a slab climbing area near Riverside California. And me at the belay of the Eye, a very steep 5.1 at Joshua Tree.

Sam at Tollhouse Sam on Diana's Deligh Sean at Tollhouse

Sam sitting above Cap rock at Tollhouse, and leading some exciting slab climbing at Tollhouse on Diana's Delight. And me with some gear.

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