Fear and Laughter on Yosemite’s Lost Arrow Spire

3 Min Read  /  Climbing

Lost Arrow Tyrolean 1 Today's post is from Patagonia Customer Service Representative, Dave Campbell. A climbing guide and instructor, Dave recently put his skills to use to lead a couple of Patagonia colleagues (one of them, his boss) up a Yosemite Valley icon, one that holds a special place in the founding of our company, the Lost Arrow Spire. Here's Dave . . .
___________

As a child I always regarded Halloween as my chance to run totally wild. It was the best shot we had as kids at letting our imaginations wander free; sometimes into a dark unknown where we got scared, other times into a colorful Peter-Pan mindset where anything was possible. As an adult I always feel as though an important part of me is fading away when I let another Halloween pass without a bit of sheer and unfiltered wildness and a good scare. Simply getting drunk at a rowdy Halloween costume party doesn’t cut it.

This year I set out with fellow Patagonia Customer Service lads Rob Flesher and Andrew Marshall on a mission—to Yosemite Valley to climb Lost Arrow Spire and set up a Tyrolean traverse 2,700 feet above the Valley floor. In order to pull off this semi-outlandish stunt we had to first hike 3000 vertical feet up to the Valley rim, rappel off the edge to a notch where the spire meets the main wall, and then climb a few exposed sections up the outside of the spire…and then do all of the rigging for the Tyrolean traverse.

[Rob Flesher on his way back to the Yosemite Valley rim from Lost Arrow Spire. Photo, Dave Campbell]

Thanks to our Sponsors Eventually we topped out. Having Fat Tire beer & a jug of wine stashed behind a tree at the other end of the Tyrolean was probably the best tactical decision we made, as there would have been very little incentive to jump on a rope suspended thousands of feet above the ground without being able to look forward to those treats on the other side. When it was all said and done, the rats were well-fed and after watching the sun set over the Valley, we made our way back down the Yosemite Falls Trail toward Camp 4. Strolling through fallen leaves and past creaking branches I thought I caught a glimpse in the shadows of Halloweens of my past.

When we got back down to Camp 4 we bumped into Valley fixture Dave Turner and learned that while we were having our “big” adventure on the Lost Arrow Spire, he and Patagonia ambassador Colin Haley had climbed the Northwest Regular Route of Half Dome and the Nose of El Cap in a mind boggling 20 hours. I guess in reality our coffee guzzling office crew wasn’t on the verge of breaking any intrepid records, but then again, to a kid that’s not what Halloween is all about.

[Above, right – Rob Flesher and Andrew Marshall brewing up a few cups o' joe and sharing laughs thousands of feet above the Yosemite Valley floor on Lost Arrow Spire. Above left – Rob Flesher enjoying a well earned Fat Tire at dusk, Yosemite Point. Photos, Dave Campbell]

Related Stories

Finding Granite and New Limits in Madagascar
I wake early to the dazzling heat of the African sun. Perched 400 meters high on a huge granite face in central Madagascar, all I can see is black and blue, the color of the Malagasy granite meeting the sky and, coincidentally, the same color as large areas of my body from the constant abuse…
I wake early to the dazzling heat of the African sun. Perched 400 meters high on a huge granite face in central Madagascar, all I can see is black and blue, the color of the Malagasy granite meeting the sky and, coincidentally, the same color as large areas of my body from the constant abuse…
Robbie Phillips
13 min Read
Lessons from Yosemite’s First Climbing Guidebook
Lessons from Yosemite’s first climbing guidebook “I have this idea,” Mikey texted last October. “Let’s climb all of the suggested routes from the Yosemite red-cover guidebook.” I agreed immediately. The tattered copy of A Climber’s Guide to Yosemite Valley arrived in the mail less than a week later. First published in 1964 by the Sierra Club,…
Lessons from Yosemite’s first climbing guidebook “I have this idea,” Mikey texted last October. “Let’s climb all of the suggested routes from the Yosemite red-cover guidebook.” I agreed immediately. The tattered copy of A Climber’s Guide to Yosemite Valley arrived in the mail less than a week later. First published in 1964 by the Sierra Club,…
Timmy O’Neill
5 min Read
There Is Only Send or Fail. Just Ask Alex Megos.
Alex Megos is driving his aging Volkswagen down the curvy roads that thread the valleys of the Frankenjura. It’s June in rural Bavaria, where rolling green meets broad blue. The pavement reveals an occasional storybook village arrayed around a church steeple. Alex has made this hour-long trip, from his parents’ house to the crag, more…
Alex Megos is driving his aging Volkswagen down the curvy roads that thread the valleys of the Frankenjura. It’s June in rural Bavaria, where rolling green meets broad blue. The pavement reveals an occasional storybook village arrayed around a church steeple. Alex has made this hour-long trip, from his parents’ house to the crag, more…
Alex Lowther
18 min Read
Kitty Calhoun on Paradox Sports
As I labored under the weight of a heavy pack and took my turn breaking trail in the soft snow in the quest to establish a new route on a Himalayan peak, I was also mired in self-doubt. I was with three men who were much stronger than me, and who had offered to carry…
As I labored under the weight of a heavy pack and took my turn breaking trail in the soft snow in the quest to establish a new route on a Himalayan peak, I was also mired in self-doubt. I was with three men who were much stronger than me, and who had offered to carry…
Kitty Calhoun
6 min Read
Finding Refuge in Iran’s Climbing Culture
Fog from the distant Caspian Sea swirled around us as we left the road, crossed a narrow mountain stream on a rickety footbridge of wornwooden planks, passed a pungent corral full of dank, scruffy sheep, and started the steep climb to Alam Kuh base camp in the Alborz mountain range of Iran. Brittany Griffith, Kate…
Fog from the distant Caspian Sea swirled around us as we left the road, crossed a narrow mountain stream on a rickety footbridge of wornwooden planks, passed a pungent corral full of dank, scruffy sheep, and started the steep climb to Alam Kuh base camp in the Alborz mountain range of Iran. Brittany Griffith, Kate…
Beth Wald
6 min Read
Robbie Phillips on Establishing a Maybe-Impossible Route in Cochamó Valley
On establishing a route in Cochamó Valley that might be too hard—but might not. It often blows me away, the apparent randomness that sets the paths leading us through life. Just over a year ago, a friend of mine met Crispin Waddie while working on an oil rig in the North Sea. A member of…
On establishing a route in Cochamó Valley that might be too hard—but might not. It often blows me away, the apparent randomness that sets the paths leading us through life. Just over a year ago, a friend of mine met Crispin Waddie while working on an oil rig in the North Sea. A member of…
Robbie Phillips
7 min Read
The Complicated Gift of Inclement Weather
Weather has a way of complicating—and enriching—everything. By the time I top out, it’s snowing and it’s dark. I walk back as far as the rope will let me, and in the flattest spot I can find, I dig a hole and sit, bracing myself. I yell, “Rope-fixed!” repeatedly, but my partners can’t hear me…
Weather has a way of complicating—and enriching—everything. By the time I top out, it’s snowing and it’s dark. I walk back as far as the rope will let me, and in the flattest spot I can find, I dig a hole and sit, bracing myself. I yell, “Rope-fixed!” repeatedly, but my partners can’t hear me…
Rolando Garibotti
5 min Read
Returning to India’s Mount Nilkantha After a Past Retreat
After a failed first attempt, three friends return to India’s Mount Nilkantha to confront—and embrace—the terrible, beautiful duality of a life in the mountains. It was our third day on the southwest face of Mount Nilkantha, what we’d thought would be our summit day, and it was my lead block. I wove through steep rock…
After a failed first attempt, three friends return to India’s Mount Nilkantha to confront—and embrace—the terrible, beautiful duality of a life in the mountains. It was our third day on the southwest face of Mount Nilkantha, what we’d thought would be our summit day, and it was my lead block. I wove through steep rock…
Anne Gilbert Chase
5 min Read
Popular searches