This was the 3rd annual Latin/Asian Fusion Yosemite gathering where we bring 50 distributors together from Latin America and all over Asia to hike, rock climb, and explore.

The first day was mellow. Everyone was due in camp around noon, and having arrived early I went climbing with friends on the Manure Pile, an easy multi-pitch climb that was perfectly suited to my not having climbed in months (not that I’m a great climber anyway, but I love a good easy follow). Once the employees arrived, we all got acquainted over lunch before breaking up into groups. The majority went cruiser biking, their general inexperience with American traffic patterns alarming to their athlete counterparts. As one woman from Hong Kong put it:

“Not much biking in big cities in Asia. Too dangerous.”

A few people, myself included, went on an adventure hike to Mirror Lake, during which Peter Croft and I accompanied a very nice and quite capable German who helps run The North Face El Salvador. Peter and I were gabbing, swapping stories about bear encounters in Tahoe and Yosemite when the German very matter-of-factly said, “There’s a bear.” It was so close that I jumped when I actually saw it, 20 feet from the trail. We watched excitedly until spotting the two cinnamon cubs in the bushes behind her, and decided to move a bit further back before continuing on our way.

The next day was the big one. Zellers makes it very clear on these trips that he is not a guide, and that everyone makes their own decision and embarks on their chosen activity as an adult, with full responsibility for their own actions. However, there is an unspoken code that as one of the athletes on the trip you should generally look out for everyone and make sure they make it back and are doing fine, and at least take a head count and a first-aid kit.  But if anyone wants to try any activity, they are absolutely encouraged to do so. And so some went climbing in Tuolumne; many went hiking on the Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point; and about 20 chose to do the hike to Half Dome along with The North Face athletes that included climber/photographer Cory Richards, climber Sam Elias, snowboarder DCP, and myself.

It was true fusion of the hemispheres after 3 days together and all are asking the dates for next year.