Yosemite’s Green Winter: Backcountry Crashbuds



The winter of ’76/77 was an extraordinary time in Yosemite’s backcountry. Dirtbaggers rolled in cash, they bought steak dinners and left $100 tips, they showed up with new gear and nice vans to live in. The source: thousands of pounds of primo weed in Lower Merced Lake. Camp 4, infamous habitation of famed climbers was transformed from scraping by to climbing high. This episode examines the impact of all that new money on the climbing community of Yosemite Valley and as a whole.

For further info, check out:

  • The excellent Men’s Journal article by Greg Nichols. It’s got a lot of sweet 70s pictures.
  • The Dollop, episode 236, with Dave Anthony and Gareth Reynolds. If you’re not subscribed to The Dollop, you’re doing it wrong. Dave and Gareth are amazing.
  • Valley Uprising, 2014 documentary about the climbing community in Yosemite.

Here’s the trailer for Valley Uprising.

The documentary is also available on Netflix. It’s well worth your time and has planted the germs for several future Nature’s Call episodes.

Gear-wise, this episode had a shoutout to my Sierra Designs Flash 2 FL Tent (Yellow). Lightweight, great design. It has an integrated rainfly and a section of single-wall where your feet go to save weight. The floor is silnylon to repel water. This tent has served me well on my recent Eagle Rock Loop trip and several overnights. I LOVE this tent.

I also mentioned that I was using a simple cleaning agent that smelled like basil and didn’t have bleach. I was using Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Multi-Surface Cleaner, Basil, 16 oz. When I pitched my tent I was greeted by freshness, not that stale, must from my camping closet.

The third episode will feature our first biggie: Mr. Muir goes to Yosemite.

As always: share, subscribe, rate, review, etc. Thanks for listening!