This isn’t the typical tale of an epic. While we spent the night on the summit of Tahquitz, there was no fear, shivering, hunger or thirst. Instead, we shared wine, cheese, baguettes, flasks, and smiles. We had EPIC FUN!
Roberto and I were looking for something fun and ridiculous to try and pull off, and decided to organize a moonlight ascent of Tahquitz. I’ve actually done this every summer now since 2009, and it’s been a great experience every time. Last year Roberto attempted to onsight The Vampire by moonlight with me belaying him, but this year we wanted it to be a little more relaxed. We put out invitations on the internet, and decided to make it more social and fun than hard.
Luckily, the full moon fell on a Saturday, so that meant we would get sleep, unlike last year. We left San Diego before dark, and were probably hiking around 9pm. The five of us, Shay, Roberto, Angelina, Lindsey, and I busted out the approach in 35 minutes in the nice cooler temps, and were climbing a little after 10pm. Shay took Lindsey up Fingertrip as her 2nd multipitch climb ever, while Angelina, Roberto and I tackled The Heathen.
I chose The Heathen because I knew the sun would rise on that side and it would be bathed in beautiful moonlight. Conditions were perfect: no wind, t-shirt temps even at long belays, and dark moon shadows cast by the extremely bright moon. The three of us tackled this unbelievably great route over the next couple of hours and hauled a small bag with food, drinks and jackets.
By pure coincidence, all 3 climbing teams topped out on different routes within 10 minutes of each other and we ended up having a total of 10 people on the summit of Tahquitz (some walked up the back). Four of them I’d never met before, so it was nice to see others willing to get out there and play by moonlight.
We congregated on top of Fingertrip and ate and drank for hours enjoying life. We discussed the risk that we would be “bedayed” unprepared, since we didn’t have sunglasses or sunscreen. There was much laughing and good times. If it’s within your ability, I can’t recommend doing this enough. Hopefully, we’ll see you out there next time!
Lindsey brought Roberto’s nice camera up protected in a backpack, and Roberto quickly got to work shooting some unbelievable pictures of the summit. I hope you enjoy his amazing photos!