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#43614 - 03/18/09 08:42 PM Easy Yosemite leads?
KG Offline
stranger

Registered: 03/18/09
Posts: 10
Loc: NJ
I'll be out in CA in May, and I'm hoping to spend a week climbing in Yosemite/Tuolumne. I already have a partner lined up... he's a very strong climber but with little trad experience so I'll likely have to do most of the leading. I currently lead 5.5 in the Gunks and will probably try some easy 6's soon.

I want to go for some long multi-pitch routes while I'm there. I've been eyeing the usual suspects like Snake Dike and Cathedral peak, but I'm a little apprehensive that they're rated as 5.7. Do you think I'll be fine out there?

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#43615 - 03/18/09 08:50 PM Re: Easy Yosemite leads? [Re: KG]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Cathedral Peak would be a good option. Before getting onto Snake Dike try a few of the climbs on Stately Pleasure Dome (since they are shorter), but check the Supertaco guidebook carefully, since most of them have a mandatory runout section. A good example of West Country (5.7). While the crux is pitch 1 or 2, the runout above is slabby 5.6ish with 30 or so feet between bolts(hence if you fall you probably won't get too hurt but a 60ft slide on the dome would not be pleasant).

While the crux of Snake Dike is a very short section, there is a lot of run out climbing on easy ground (ie: 5.4ish), and you need to cover alot of distance quickly. Along with a long approach and descent, while not hard, you do need to move fast.

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#43617 - 03/18/09 09:23 PM Re: Easy Yosemite leads? [Re: Chas]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: Chas
While the crux of Snake Dike is a very short section, there is a lot of run out climbing on easy ground (ie: 5.4ish)

What Chas means by run-out is expect one bolt at about mid-way on a 160' pitch. Sure, the crux section is short, but you're gonna clip a bolt and then go for 20' or so, the first half being 5.7 friction.

I wouldn't recommend Snake Dike unless you have a couple of big, long routes on your resume. Including the approach and descent, it's a long, high energy day if you do it in a day. In addition to about a 1000' of climbing, there's another 1000' or so of 3rd class slab scrambling on the route, and a total of 15 miles round trip with a 4000' elevation gain and loss.

Also, depending on when you go in May and the Sierra snowpack, the Meadows may or may not be open or accessible. Typically the road is closed from Crane Flat to Tioga Pass (or Lee Vining) from early November till late May. Cal-trans didn't get the road at Olmstead Point (just a mile or two from Stately Pleasure Dome)plowed until mid-June last year.

I'd suggest some of the shorter easy trade routes in the Valley - there's a 6 or two in the Five Open Books (and if you've never been to the Valley before, the descent, a typical one for the Valley, will open your eyes).
- some of the easier stuff on Manure Pile Buttress; After Six (which is a 7) comes to mind and can be TR'd (crux is P1, the rest is 5.4 - 5.5, about 5 pitches), as can Jump For Joy (an heady 8 - there's pro, but distressingly far for a new 8 leader)
- Grack Center on GPA; friction slab but with a finger/thin hand crack for pro

One of the problems with the Valley is that the vast majority of the relatively few climbs below 5.6 are grungy, dirty, and more or less unpleasant.
_________________________
- Marc

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#43618 - 03/18/09 10:04 PM Re: Easy Yosemite leads? [Re: KG]
tradjunkie Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 365
My experience is that Gunks grades are marginally stiffer than Yosemite grades, but not by much. Counter that against the fact that Yosemite climbs tend to be pure crack or pure slab moves, neither of which Gunks climbers are very good at, especially cracks. So if you have experience on granite, great, give yourself an extra grade vs. the Gunks. Otherwise, eg if your only experience is at the Gunks, take it easy out there.
If your partner is a strong climber but not a trad climber, is your partner just technically strong as a sport climber, or is your partner very experienced and skilled as a climber but not with trad gear? For example, Snake Dike, as mentioned, can have 1 bolt in the entire pitch - and it may be 50' up a 150' pitch. If your partner is a strong and experienced climber from Italy or something where they bolt all kinds of stuff and can handle big routes, they may be able to lead these 100' 5.4 runouts. If your partner is a gym climber or bolt-clipper at sport crags, having your partner lead these may not work out. The 5.7 bits are less runout and more trad (one trad pitch and one bolted slab runout? my memory fails).
Tuolumne would be great, it's got more moderate stuff, so try to go after the road opens. The NPS puts updates on the Yosemite NP site about how the plowing is going.
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/tioga.htm
Don't think that going and toproping some little routes and shopping around for the few decent 5.6s won't make for a terrific trip. You'll still enjoy it. I think there's even a guidebook just for toproping in Yosemite. Throw in a hike by a waterfall and some giant sequoias to round out the week and it'll be awesome.
Cathedral Peak is pretty G-rated so flail away as long as your gear placement is solid - it's a long hike back to the road if you get hurt. And I thought all 3 main routes up the face were rated 5.6 anyway.
The Manure Pile Buttress and 5 Open Books could be very fruitful places to spend some time on great multipitch moderates, and far less committing/dumb places to get over your head leading a 5.7 than Snake Dike.
If you're considering Royal Arches, it's not the greatest climbing, but it's 2 minutes from the car and you'll know by looking at the first moves whether you're going to bail. I'm only mentioning it because it's only got 1 or 2 5.7 pitches and that first chimney is arduous enough to turn you around if you're not smart enough to know you're not ready for the whole route.

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#43619 - 03/18/09 10:38 PM Re: Easy Yosemite leads? [Re: tradjunkie]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: tradjunkie
If you're considering Royal Arches, it's not the greatest climbing, but it's 2 minutes from the car and you'll know by looking at the first moves whether you're going to bail. I'm only mentioning it because it's only got 1 or 2 5.7 pitches and that first chimney is arduous enough to turn you around if you're not smart enough to know you're not ready for the whole route.

Royal Arches: you can bypass the only chimney pitch (P1) via a 5.7 variation around the buttress to the right (East). You can also rap from most anywhere on the route or go all the way to the bolted anchor at the start of the last pitch which happens to be the start of the bolted rap route (ie: you don't do the last pitch if you're gonna rap). But really do your research on this one - it's longer than a lot of folks think, esp. for a 5.6/7 party, and has been the scene of literally thousands of epics.

Snake Dike: a topo is available on Supertopo for free right now (which claims has sections of 5.7 friction on P1, P2, and P3). One other point, the cables on Half Dome don't go up until just prior to Memorial Day weekend, assuming snow and ice allow. The cables are there, but not the uprights and 2x4 cross bars. BRING STURDY LEATHER GLOVES if you descend before it's all assembled for the summer.
_________________________
- Marc

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#43620 - 03/18/09 11:11 PM Re: Easy Yosemite leads? [Re: MarcC]
chip Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 10/06/01
Posts: 2677
Loc: Sittin' Pretty in Fat City
I think the friction crux of Snake Dike will scare the bejesus out of most Gunkies, as will a similar section on the last pitch of Royal Arches, especially when it is covered with pine needles. Not that you can't do it, but be aware that you can find no handholds and it just doesn't seem possible at first. Locals also don't seem to need pro in such areas, but that will take a while for the rest of us.
What was mentioned above plus look at Church bowl area and Swan Slab, maybe for the first couple days. Also worth doing are first pitches on El Cap, but please keep a look out for dropped gear from above. The SuperTopo Free Climbs Guide is very good.

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#43623 - 03/18/09 11:39 PM Re: Easy Yosemite leads? [Re: chip]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: chip
Also worth doing are first pitches on El Cap, but please keep a look out for dropped gear from above.

If you're gonna go cragging on El Cap, scope out where parties are above you, and take the drift radius into account - something can land hundreds or more feet left or right of where you think when dropped from 2000'.
And wear a frickin helmet!
_________________________
- Marc

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#43626 - 03/19/09 12:31 AM Re: Easy Yosemite leads? [Re: MarcC]
redtag Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/26/07
Posts: 98
i still havent done much climbing in yosemite but for what its worth i think gunks grades and yosemite grades are apples and oranges...i dont think one is stiffer than the other...they're both fairly stiff as far as _most_ other areas go...

climb a pin scarred 5.10 yos crack and its going to feel _A LOT_ harder than any gunks 10 where you make big moves between positive crimps and jugs...if thats what you're used to

the rock is different, crack and slab climbing are different...
long routes are very different from one or two pitch gunks route...the approaches, descents, and general route logistics are much more involved

remember eddies rules:
have fun
dont die
(also ice is for drinks)
(and dont climb on his land)

and put your post up on supertopo or mountainproject for more beta

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#43628 - 03/19/09 12:37 AM Re: Easy Yosemite leads? [Re: redtag]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
 Originally Posted By: redtag
climb a pin scarred 5.10 yos crack and its going to fell _A LOT_ harder than any gunks 10 where you make big moves between positive crimps and jugs...if thats what you're used to

It goes the other way, too. I recall a Yosemite hard man visiting the Gunks for the first time (1980 or so) and swearing that Shockley's (5.5 in the guide of the time) was at least 10b. Of course he jammed his way through the ceiling.....
_________________________
- Marc

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#43629 - 03/19/09 01:22 AM Re: Easy Yosemite leads? [Re: MarcC]
tradjunkie Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 04/19/04
Posts: 365
OK, I'll propose that Yosemite grades are slightly softer than grades in North Conway. And that Gunks and Cathedral grades are similar, although the climbing is utterly different.

And the original poster is wondering about climbing 5.6 and 5.7 in Yosemite, where the cracks tend not to be so pin-scarred as the 5.10s and 5.11s. So I'm talking about comparing a Munginella to a Thin Air, for example.

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