Consider me spoiled rotten, for I was able to hit the valley for a few days with my typical climbing partner. Two days and total of 10 pitches (plus two misinformed adventure up and down-climbs) my body and mind has been whipped.
Saturday started off with Surprise (5.10a) which ended up being my first valley 10. Exciting to open the door to a new milestone for climbing. The finger crack was really fun and what a surprise it is when the crack just disappears for a hot second and you make a few moves across some slab to a jug. Finishing off that day, we headed for some 5.7 cragging at knob hill.
Stoked to get after it, Sunday we climbed Absolutely Free (5.9). This gorgeous route definitely did me in on the route finding! Going WAY off route on the "first" pitch up a random gully, because I misread the topo like a dolt, forcing myself to down climb the 90 feet I had just climbed. Not to mention, my partner was like, "hey man, maybe it is to the right?" so there was another 120 feet of up and down climbing to start the morning. Yup, about 210 feet of up and down-climbing. On the bright side, all gear was saved! Only to find out we shouldn't have roped up because the route went left through a grove of trees and meandered around for about 200 feet more. I'm just shaking my head at myself right now.
However, once we got to the base of the first pitch we were ready for some bomber hands and Absolutely Free provided just that! A classic Yosemite adventure route with splitter hands and low-angled, finger lie-backing. Not only was the climb stellar, the view up-valley staring at Half Dome and Royal Arches was phenominal!