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The Adventure Team Presents: First Time Camper… Crawl, Walk, Run

Adventure Team | Apr 17, 2017

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Former Seven Corners Adventure Team member, David Fischer, is a fearless adventurer. Read on to learn all about David's thrill-seeking exploration of Yosemite...

I have had the opportunity to travel the word extensively throughout my military and civilian career. I am frequently asked “Where is your favorite place to travel?” Without hesitation, my response for decades has been, “Yosemite”. As an avid climber, the walls of granite and sheer cliffs keep me mesmerized as I look upward for routes; as an outdoor enthusiast, the pure wilderness of the National Park is unmatched.

I am always excited to share Yosemite with someone who has never experienced it.  So, when my son-in-law (Jake Zupancic - who has never camped a day in his life) said he wanted to go to Yosemite I was excited yet apprehensive. Yosemite can be a challenge, even for the most seasoned adventurer.

Ask anyone on the Revenue team at Seven Corners, and they will gladly tell you my mantra of any new venture, ”Crawl, walk, run”.  I took this same approach to introduce Jake to Yosemite.

After some quick planning we scheduled a long-weekend trip. Wanting to ease him into Yosemite and arriving well after dark we stayed at the “Majestic Lodge." Certainly not camping, this would be the “crawl” portion of our adventure.


A beautiful historic hotel built in 1922 - the main hall was the drop back where Jack Nicholson typed away in “The Shining”.


The following day we secured our “Camp 4” permit, I showed Jake how to set up a tent, introduced him to a dehydrated meal and we explored the Valley features from the base of El Cap, to Bridal Vail to Half Dome.  Certainly, challenging for someone never exposed to this kind of terrain, this was the “walk” portion of our adventure.


The view of Half Dome from the valley floor.


“Seven Corners hotel” and our Camp 4 lodging for the second night.

Yosemite averages 150-175” of snow fall annually. To date this year, it has snowed in excess of 230”. So, the Park Rangers gave Jake and I a hesitant look when I requested a “wilderness pass” to hike Yosemite Falls and stay the night on top of El Cap just outside of Tuolumne Meadows. One Ranger clarified my request with a wary, “You do realize there is 12-15’ of snow pack up there, right?"  He filled out the permit, gave it to me and said “Climb safe”.  Now it was time for the “run” part of our adventure.


Yosemite Falls running full with the spring snow melt.  Our objective was just beyond the top.


Yosemite Falls hike is only 3.2 miles, but there is 2,700+ feet of elevation gain- yes, that's objectively quite steep.  As we climbed to the half-way point, the wet trailed turned to intermittent snow to the final third being covered in 6-8’ of snow making the steep climb that much more adventurous.


Our climb took Jake and I 3 ½+ hours to reach the top.  Given the dwindling light, we pressed forward to find a place to camp for the night. The further we got the deeper the snow became- it was in fact 12-15’+ of snow pack.

We found our location for the night and dug our position.


The sunset was well worth the effort.


As quickly as the sun set so did the temperature.  The temperature went from mid-20’s to single digits in less then (4) hours.

Being new to camping plus promising my daughter that I would take care of her husband and return him unharmed, he had my cold weather sleeping bag and I had my summer sleeping bag.  I had every item of clothing on and still found myself waking every hour shivering.  I would wake up, ignite the stove, let it run for 10 min, turn it off and go back to sleep and repeat in an hour, every hour. 

I have to admit as I watched Jake sleep warm and comfortable in my cold weather bag, I thought it would not take much for me to pull him out of it. Despite being cold to the core, the sunrise out our “front door” was spectacular and made it all worth it. 

Preparing for the hike down, we enjoyed our dehydrated breakfast before packing up camp. As we descended, the temperature rose and the snow diminished.

Run Camp4

The “run” part of our adventure ended were it had started 24 ½ hours ago in Camp 4.

A fantastic weekend, a great adventure, in my favorite place in the world with a loved family member, returning my daughter’s husband to her unharmed and Jake asking for more on our next excursion.  Another Yosemite convert…I could not be happier!

Until our next adventure…push your limits, find new boundaries and never stop discovering!