Model Rachel Moore is a stunner, but her hands aren’t quite as ready for their close up. Blame it on her unquenchable thirst for pawing rock. Her passion for climbing has sent her hop-scotching around the globe for new routes (her passport boasts stamps from Thailand and New Zealand) and the blisters keep growing. But, somehow, she exclaims, it took her 24 years to drive the five hours from her hometown in Ventura, California, to one of the world’s climbing meccas: Yosemite. That all changed unexpectedly a few weekends ago.
“My husband got home from work at 7 pm and we both realized we had the next five days off of work, so we packed our bags and loaded up the truck,” Moore explains of their spontaneous pilgrimage to the national park. “We were backing out of the driveway 30 minutes later.” Hey, better late than never, right?
If you’re planning your own trip to Yosemite (or need some last minute advice on what to pack in a hurry), here are some tips for being prepared, embracing strangers and finding the best views:
How did you get packed so quickly?
We have a pretty good system down when it comes to packing. We do it so often and so last minute that we are pretty good at making sure we have everything we need when we hit the road. We have our basic car camping stuff stored in a big rubber made container: stove, plates, silverware, French press, basic cooking essentials and toiletries. Then we grab our climbing box: two 70-meter ropes, two sets of cams, nuts, hexes, slings, extra chalk, harnesses and shoes. We grabbed our tent, sleeping pads, an extra blanket, headlamps, cameras and extra batteries. As for clothes, weather was supposed to be good but we always pack for the worst. We had all our layers; long underwear, Patagonia R1, Roxy Outdoor Fitness down jacket, my rain shell, my climbing pants, a beanie and gloves. As for shoes, I packed my new Tevasphere trainers and my Teva Originals.
How long were you there for?
We stayed in the park for three days and two nights. We love meeting other people and sharing campgrounds; it’s so much fun sharing stories over a fire! Our first night we shared a campsite with three girls and their three dogs on their way down from Alaska. Our second night we shared a site with two big-wall climbers who were preparing to climb El Capitan the next day. It was so cool to watch them set up and pack their haul bags. One of the climbers had a beautiful voice; he sang and played guitar over the fire in between drinks and story telling.
Day 1—It was my first time there and I wanted to see it all! We went up to Glacier Point first to check out the awesome view of the valley. I had to venture out on the hanging rock, everyone looked at me like I was a crazy person. From there we drove back into the valley and checked out El Capitan and Yosemite Falls. We also hiked up to the pool at the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls and went for a dip. We planned on climbing Snake Dike on Half Dome the next day. That night was below freezing, and weather for the next day wasn’t as good as it was forecasted to be. Both our legs were still sore from our climb up the East Face of Mount Whitney earlier that week and both my feet still had blisters. I wanted to climb the route so badly, after all it was the whole reason we came to the park, but something in my gut said no. I’ve learned to trust that inner feeling over the years. After over 1000 dives and hundreds of climbs, sometimes it’s okay to say no. We decided we’d head to Tuolumne Meadows to do some shorter climbs and take the road all the way to highway 395 and all the way back down to the Mount Whitney Portal to do more climbing there and in the Alabama Hills. It was a gorgeous drive with lots of awesome adventures along the way. We did a six-mile trail run to Indian Arch that looked out over Half Dome. The truck caught fire (well something in the bed of the truck did). We played in the snow and polar plunged in Lake Tenaya. We made it all the way down to Lone Pine that night and made camp. It was a warm and gorgeous night; we made dinner over a fire and watched the stars for hours.
Day 2—The next day we literally climbed all day—75 degrees, sunny and no wind! I couldn’t even tell you how many routes we climbed. We only stopped for a quick lunch break.
Day 3—The next morning, before we headed home, we climbed a few more routes then headed out on a short hike to see the Mobius Arch. It was a great trip! We may not have accomplished what we originally set out to do but I think we had more fun in the end. I’ve learned it’s better to have zero expectations and few plans. Life is more fun when you’re open to change and new experiences. Not everything goes according to plan but that’s when the adventure begins!
The Highlight: Our trail run to the Indian Arch was my favorite. When we got to the top and saw Half Dome I could see the route we were supposed to be on. The wind was blowing and I could see climbers on the route and as sad as I was that I wasn’t climbing that day, I was proud that I had listened to my body and what I thought I was capable of doing that day. Five years ago I would have been embarrassed, but that day I was happy.
Best View: Glacier Point was absolutely stunning, especially from out on the hanging rock.
Favorite trail: I loved hiking up to the top of Bridal Veil Falls. We left all the buses and tourists behind. At the top it was just the two of us.
What She Wore: A long-sleeve Capilene shirt, my R1 hoodie, my down jacket, long pants and my Tevasphere shoes. In the desert I wore just my Capilene shirts, some capris and switched over to my Teva originals.
Good hiking shoes
Zero-degree sleeping bag
Favorite fact about Yosemite:
I learned a lot more about how some of the first climbers ever in Yosemite climbed the big walls. It’s amazing what they endured and the gear they used back then to climb walls like El Capitan. Those guys were fearless!
So, would you plan out your next trip or do it spontaneously?
Spontaneously for sure!
Tell us about your weekend adventures by tagging @Teva on Instagram with #livebetterstories.