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Winter has been very good to me so far. Since the beginning of September, weekends have been non-stop missions trying to get out on the ice. With five First Ascents so far this season, I am feeling very lucky. Everything is starting to kick here in the valley with ice forming on all aspects. In the beginning of November, we got a nice big dump of snow and another just hit the valley this week, setting everything up very nicely to feed climbs throughout the season. Every Thanksgiving, my wife and I go to visit family which usually consists of playing golf, shooting ducks or in the recent trip, a quick visit to Yosemite valley.

Aaron Mulkey enjoying 70 degree temps while waiting in line for the next pitch

Aaron Mulkey enjoying 70 degree temps while waiting in line for the next pitch

Usually I hate the thought of leaving the South Fork Valley in November. But when I looked at the weather in Yosemite Valley, I was surprised to see such warm temps and suddenly got psyched for some warm weather and some rock climbing. For those who know me, I am not a rock climber. I have a long list of things I would rather do than go rock climbing. The last time I was in Yosemite Valley was back in 2001 when I got to hang out with my good friend Bobby Model and Kyle Lohrenz. Bobby passed away a few years ago and it was nice to return to that place and to remember some of the experiences I had with him.

Proof I used to rock climb and yes I had frosted tips

Proof that I used to rock climb. Photo By Bobby Model

Look at those frosted tips

Look at those frosted tips. Photo By Bobby Model

While in Yosemite, we took full advantage of the incredible weather and did a nice 8-mile trail run into the park via back roads.

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The next day, I volunteered to carry nearly a cord of wood up a series of stairs for Kelly’s mom’s cabin. Seemed like this would be good alpine climbing training, but halfway through the process I started to think that it was not my smartest decision. It was, however, a great way to work up an appetite for a turkey day feast. The next day, weather was perfect in the valley so we went rock climbing. Everyone else had the same thought. It was like Black Friday lines at the crags.

 

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Kelly working her way up the first pitch of After Six

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Kelly pretty psyched on the view and climbing

As the sun started to set the crowds diminished and we were psyched to capture one last day of summer like weather in California.

As the sun started to set, the crowds diminished and we were psyched to capture one last day of summer-like weather in California.

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When I go to big climbing areas, I am always amazed at the number of people who are out. It’s great to see so many people psyched to enjoy the sport, but it also reminds me how lucky I am to climb in a place where you’re more likely to get eaten by a bear than wait in line for a climb.

Flying back into Cody the landscapes always get me psyched to get out and explore

Flying back into Cody, the landscapes always get me psyched to get out and explore

Once home, we were welcomed by winter–a cold front loaded with snow hit town that evening. I was super excited to get out and climb ice, but the -2 degree temps and a foot of snow told me I should go skiing. We didn’t see a soul all day long. Good to be back home in Wyoming!

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