Rock Climbing Campervan Trip to Yosemite
Any Alex Honnold fans out there? Our friends James and Tom rented a campervan in July to train for their own climb up El Capitan in Yosemite. They’re by no means free soloing it; rather, they’re new to rock climbing and have been training non-stop for the challenge.
Hello! We are The Tempest Two, two friends from London, UK, who take on various adventures around the world. To date, we have rowed 3000 miles unsupported across the Atlantic Ocean, completed a world-first ultra-triathlon in Patagonia and ridden motorbikes from London to the Sahara… a day after passing our tests.
We have a common theme running, in that we have no prior experience in any adventurer we take on. We approach everything with the beginner’s eye and the mindset to learn something quickly to eventually achieve something epic.
Which leads us on to our next challenge taking place later this year in October 2019. We want to climb the 3000ft face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. We had never climbed before last year, and are again wanting to prove what is possible with the right mindset and attitude to achieve.
Preparing for the trip
El Capitan itself requires a huge amount of respect and is something we can in no way, take lightly. A 3000 ft rock face that will leave us exposed for the entire duration of the climb. At 3 times the height of the Eiffel Tower, we are expecting all sorts of feelings as we wake up with nothing but air under our butts, day after day.
The climb is expected to take approximately 5 days. This means we take everything we require on the wall with us. Food, portaledge (sleeping platform), ropes, kit, water, clothing, etc. Not only is this wall a technically hard climb, but it also requires completely flawless rope-work, that our lives will depend on. So being confident with such complex roping is something we need to wrap our heads around soon.
Training in the UK
Training has been tough so far, a painful and steep learning curve to say the least. We have spent countless hours in climbing gyms around the UK, and a few days outside in the UK crags of the Peak District and the sea cliffs of Swanage, but we are starting to learn that nothing truly compares to the real thing. Now was the time to start ramping up our training. What better place to train than in Yosemite Valley itself?
Campervan base camp
We arrived into LA last week ahead of our training week and immediately headed to pick up our Big Sur camper van from the legendary team at Escape LA. The van was where we were going to spend our mornings and evenings, vital time preparing for the days climb, reading route information, making breakfast, lunch, and dinner and most importantly sleeping. We had never camped in a camper van before so had no real idea of what to expect, but WOW, the van was incredible. Loads of space for our bags, climbing kit, food shopping, and 3 people. It was smooth to drive every day in and out of the valley and incredibly comfortable to sleep in. The Big Sur delivered on so many fronts for us that we genuinely don’t know what we would have done without it!
Climbing El Capitan
Our days in the valley were jam-packed, waking up around 5.30 am with the sun before driving to the base of the planned climbing route for the day. We cracked open the back of the van and made breakfast every morning whilst chatting with our guide over the agenda of what we hoped to learn. We used that time to prepare lunches from the campervan kitchen too, so we could take them up the rock face for desperate times.
We climbed for hours on end each day before reaching our peak at 600 ft, the eventual climb of El Capitan would see us reach 3000 ft (AGHH). The days seemed to fly by, and we finished off every day with a swim in the incredible (and cold) Yosemite river. Heading back to the van afterwards to dry off and rustle up some dinner around 10 pm, before getting out heads down so we can do the whole thing again!
We really felt this trip gave us a view into life in the valley and opened the door on what we could expect when we return in October to make the big climb of El Capitan. We have a huge amount of training and learning ahead, but aim to return in great shape, clued up and ready to hit the ground running.
We will be spending the majority of October in Yosemite, finalising training ahead of making the big climb.
Rent a campervan for your rock climbing trip
A massive thanks to the Escape team for the incredible vehicle and their support. We look forward to spending more time in the rolling home in October. Our base camp, office, kitchen, bedroom, first aid tent, cafe and everything else in-between! Rent your own campervan today.