I can’t say exactly when I saw this route for the first time but it was sometime in my teens and it was a poster of Ron Kauk on it. It spoke to me. Here was this person on this totally vertical, gently textured rock wall, body stretched and reaching upward and at the bottom of the poster was a peace sign. This seemed profound. It was something I wanted to do, a place I wanted to be. It represented so much for me, it wasn’t just a climb, it was Peace. This past summer I had the privilege, for the second summer in a row, to stay in Tuolumne Meadows – the high country of Yosemite and the home of this route called Peace. I had come to the decision and realization that spring before that I would go to this route, that I would put myself in that place I had wanted to be for so many years. Ironically enough the two people that helped me on this route just so happened to be the one I had seen on it so long ago, Ron Kauk and his son Lonnie. This was a sign, for sure, that things were moving in the right direction.
Lonnie and I worked the moves on this climb over a period of a month; getting to know it’s subtleties, moods, and demeanor while it told our bodies what to do. It felt amazing to be up there, so much so that there are no real words to express the feeling it gave. Being there with Lonnie and seeing him up there, flowing through the moves, linking things together and continuing his father’s legacy added a whole new realm and meaning to the climb. The day that he successfully lead the whole climb, bottom to top, with no falls was so fulfilling for all of us, but I knew that the elation I had felt for his achievement would only be heightened by my own success. The following week, almost to the day of Lonnie’s climb, I, too made it – bottom to top with no falls. 150 feet of sheer vertical granite knobs passed under me in a pattern of holds and placements. I knew where I was going, how to get there and where it would take me. I had really gotten to know this climb and it me and for those 20 minutes or so I was up there leading through the moves I really felt like I was exactly where I was meant to be. As I clipped my rope through the anchors Lonnie cried out congratulations and the wind picked up just a little bit more. I knew that I had found my path and that Peace was the entrance way to it. Back on the ground and some months later reflecting back on it I can see that this “path” is the journey into myself with the help of this place, Yosemite; and this journey is one in which this Yosemite will shape me into that self.