Mid-October in Yosemite, immediately following the government re-opening, resulted in a completely deserted Matthes Crest. I'd never done this classic ridge climb with some 5th class moves to gain it. Eric, Owen, Blaine, and I donned our sweet tights and started in late enough to be warm.
The approach was a bit long, but not bad in the context of the Cascade climbs I'd been doing recently. We set up for the first few pitches as two teams of two and belayed leaders until out of rope, then we simul-climbed up to the ridge. From there, we had plenty of exposure on either side, but a wide enough walkway and solid enough rock that ropes weren't necessary until much later. Scampering along the ridge with beautiful, crisp views of Tuolumne was awesome and classic. Our late start and fall timing meant that the sun was pretty low in the sky when we were finishing up the ridge. As we descended from the summit and then stepped across the tsunami-like cap near the end of the ridge, everything was bathed in warm yellow and orange hues. Not too shabby.
Our hike back out was under a full moon, lighting up Cathedral Peak as we headed for it. What an awesome day!