It was only fitting that the gunsite was smokey. Scrambling up the gunsite between middle and lower cathedral had been on my list of things to do for months. After choking on smoke for hours the day before we decided to scramble the gully on a whim. We did no research and had no map. We just looked at the gunsite from El Cap meadow and hoped we would have minimal bushwhacking.
We hit the beta for the gunsite on the first try. We parked the van in one of the first pull outs after bridal veil falls and hiked up the horse path. When the edge of lower cathedral was visible we ascended a boulder field until we hit the cliff. Skirting around left we picked up a trail that hugged close to the right side of the gunsite. The climbing on the sides of the cliff looked epic and hardly climbed. We will definitely be back.
Soon the gully steepened out and we took the easier line up and left. Some 4th class moves spit us out into a chimney where we looked right and found some fixed lines. Hand over handing coupled with a few 5th class moves and we were on the top. Honestly I wasn’t very excited about the sketchy down climb we had to do. Straight back from the gunsite though is the top of bridal veil falls. Bridal veil falls creek is said to be some of the best fly fishing in the valley. Beautiful deep granite pools of water. Corbin promptly stripped down and jumped in. I settled for icing my swollen still fractured foot. Barefoot we walked to the edge of the fall. Late season so the water isn’t flowing very much. We sat on the slick slick ledge looking straight down on all the tourists enjoying the falls.
Next was time to down climb the gunsite. Good hands and bomber feet made the down climbing go quickly. Back to the van in no time. Glad I got to check off another adventure hike on my list. Highly recommended. But I have to say El Cap gully is still my favorite!