Commuters On Chiquito Dome

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Commuters on Chiquito Dome 



Beginning Elegance 

MY ENJOYMENT OF CLIMBING begins long before the climb. I tingle as I think about Chiquito Dome. While I scamper around the little bouldering outcrop, Indian Rock in Berkeley, I imagine climb­ing the golden surface of Chiquito. At my desk, I shove away memos, sketch topos and scrawl route names for the last route I did with Chris Vandiver on Chiquito Dome, and the one to come. I peer into our slides of the dome, imag­ining how this knobby section will go and the next and where to belay.

There on the July calendar are three free days. I wonder if Chris can meet me at Chiquito Dome to finish a new route we started last year, but had no time to finish. We have planned and cancelled a trip several times this year. Chris has been busy building house additions, selling skis and teaching climbers. I'm busy consulting with cities on transportation problems. The work hustle heightens concern about climbing on Chiquito Dome. Maybe someone has already done our route? Maybe the dome, all ours up to now, is covered with routes? We talk nervously on the telephone, I in Oakland, Chris in Donner Summit, near Lake Tahoe. He's puffing his cigarette and says, "We've got to do it, man. It's too damn good to last." Finally, we find a window of time from July 19-21. Chris will meet his climbing class on the 22nd. Like Himalayan climbers worried about the monsoon season, we have a small window of time. I love it. Give me a little time to climb and I burst along full of energy and drive. Give me too much, and I waste it. I climb in three- to five-day stints, with long drives on both ends. I'm a commuter climber.