High in Yosemite National Park is a magic land of domes, lakes, glacial tarns, plateaus, and forests—the climber’s wonderland of Tuolumne Meadows. A huge draw here is the East Face of Cathedral Peak, a 5.6 on incut flakes and jam cracks on impeccable white granite. Another lure is the Matthes Crest, a 5.7 ridge traverse that defines “sidewalk in the sky.” Here, we’re chilling on top of OZ, a classic, five-pitch laser-cut corner up the north face of Drug Dome. If you Google around, you’ll find the classic Phil Bard image from the 1980s featuring the late Yosemite fixture John Bachar, going ropeless on this route in a red tank top and white Gramicci pants. Bachar died soloing in 2009, and we miss him. The mark he left on the climbing world was indelible—with his golden hair, buff physique, and surfer drawl, he was “Johnny Rock,” perhaps America’s first climbing superstar, known for his courage, rigorous ethics, and free-climbing prowess during America’s golden era of free climbing in the 1970s and 1980s.
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