Climbing the Golden Toad

Late July 2005 was hot. Everyday topped 100 F in the central valley of California. Even at elevations above 6000 feet in the region known as Sothern Yosemite it was in the 90's. But the Golden Toad had good rock and no other climbers so Hal Murray, Eric Wegryn and Dan McColgan joined me, Paul Doherty, on a climb of the Golden Toad.

team toad, Dan McColgan , Eric Wegryn, Hal Murray
Team Toad at the road.

There was a nice new paved viewpoint at the bottom of the access "trail" labelled Portuguse Lookout.We parked, loaded our packs with climbing gear and did the approach in about 45 minutes. I carried an extra 2 liters of water which we drank before and after the climb. In the heat it was sweet.

the golden toad
The Golden Toad.

Our first climb got a late start,nearly 3 PM. In the photo we climbed the 5.6 toute that went to the right of the dark ceiling near the top right of the Toad. (On the next day we climbed the left skyline ridge aroute that was not in the guidebook. It was a beautiful but easy climb, probaby 5.4 it featured runouts with chickenheads to sling for protection.)

Our route started by climbing through an arch. It followed cracks up to a wall then traversed right. Hal let Eric lead the traverse.

Hal Murray traverse pitch Golden Toad.
Hal Murray follows the traverse pitch. which Eric Wegryn led.

Above the traverse there were acres of granite. With occasional cracks for protection.

Eric Wegryn seconding the Golden Toad
Eric Wegryn seconding Hal about 3 pitches up the climb.

It was a fun climb to lead.Dan did a great job seconding on his first outdoor climb. The guidebook indicated that the climb was 3 pitches in length. It was actually 6 pitches so it was a good thing tha Dan was a quick learner. I went up the route first, Dan came second. then Hal led the second rope. That way Hal could give Dan lessons at each belay.

Dan McColgan on the Golden Toad
Dan McColgan seconding higher on the route.

Near the top we had two choices continue straigh up on easier rock or strike up a great groove to the left.the groove was labelled 5.7 on the guide. It was steep and easier than 5.7 with good pro and great climbing. It led to the summit.

Golden Toad Summit Eric Wegryn,Dan McColgan Hal Murray
The team on the summit.

We snacked on the summit and enjyed the view which included the distant Squaw Dome to the south. A tropical storm raised high walls of cumulus clouds to the south but our weather remained clear. The descent headed south and was third class downclimbing. Use your hands and don't fall. On the way down we came to a ledge with a few neat boulders, of course we had to climb them.

bouldering on the descent Golden Toad
Bouldering on the descent from the Golden Toad.

At the base of the boulders a dike squiggled its way across the granite. I had never seen a dike do this before so I took its picture.

a meandering dike on the Golden Toad
An interesting meandering dike.

After photogrphing the dike it was my turn to do some bouldering. I climbed the middle of the face below where I am standing in the image.

Paul Doherty bouldering the Golden Toad
Paul Doherty bouldering.

We made our way back to the car, finishing all of our water on the way. When we got to the car we all was Dan's first outdoor multipitch climb so he was really happy.

Dan McColgan
Dan McColgan celebrating his first multipitch outdoor route.

Paul Doherty on Squaw Dome
Paul Doherty leads Squaw Dome.





Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty

© 2005

23 September 2005