We started climbing and in short order, some local villagers showed up to watch. Everyone seemed happy and we showed them gear, offered snacks and joked around. As I got back down (but still had rope and gear to the top of the spire), a police officer arrived. He wasn't in uniform, but had a meter-long riot baton as a symbol of authority. The officer demanded to see our governmental permission letter allowing us to rock climb.
On July 13th (12 days after leaving California) we actually set foot on rock. By choosing the solid, compact rock over the flaky, exfoliated sections of cliff, we knew we were going to be placing a lot of bolts. Doing this on the lead above 14,000 feet takes some effort. Over the next three weeks, we established two 500-foot routes. Because of the heat, most days we were cooked by 1:30pm. During our stay in the valley, we had four days of heavy rain, a few days of afternoon showers and three days of perfect High Sierra weather.