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#4736 - 06/03/02 08:46 PM Yosemite/Half Dome
buzzardboy Offline
member

Registered: 04/24/02
Posts: 105
Loc: Pennsylvania
I will be in The Valley later this month, and I was wondering if anyone out there has climbed Snake Dike on Half Dome. I am thinking of attempting the route, and I would appreciate any good beta, advice, stories, comments, etc.

Thanks,
LL
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#4737 - 06/03/02 09:45 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: buzzardboy]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Chas may get back to you regarding Snake Dike -- he's Gunks.com resident Yosemite expert (you may want to send him a PM). Also, if you haven't done so already, log on to supertopos.com and get their free download of Snake Dike. Good luck -- I really enjoyed my recent trip to the Valley!!

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#4738 - 06/04/02 03:23 AM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: buzzardboy]
tokyo bill Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 793
Loc: Tokyo
I did Snake Dike last summer. The recommendation to check out SuperTopo is a good one - I ended up buying both their Tuolumne and Yosemite e-books (you buy; they send in pdf format), and they were more than worth the price.

As for beta - the approach walk is long, but absolutely beautiful - think several hours minimum and possibly a good deal more, depending on how fast and efficient you are. Walk in and stay in one of the closer campgrounds the night before to cut it a bit, or start EARLY. (Of course, I can't advocate an illegal bivy at the base, but there are some spots up there.)

The first two pitches are a bit spooky - 5.7 friction with not the best pro (the first placement under the overhang on pitch one takes either the green or yellow alien, if I remember correctly - maybe bracket them with the blue and red when you put your rack together, to be sure). Then you're on a 5.4 staircase that runs up through an ocean of granite slab.

It's a dike full of knobs and chicken heads running in a curve up the wall. Awesome. From a gear perspective, the dike itself is seriously runout (like - leave the anchor, climb 70 feet, clip a bolt, climb to the next anchor), but it's dead easy. After the first two pitches, you won't need anything but a couple of draws for each pitch.

Our rack for the route was three small cams and four draws, plus four shoulder length spectra slings and a handfull of biners for building anchors at the bolts. (And I don't think we needed all the draws!)

The walk off is also pretty long (over the top of the Dome and down the cableway on the far side - fun!). The route and the walkoff get sun pretty much all day - bring plenty of water!

There are a couple of pictures (not so great) of the route on my pages from that trip:

www.tokyo_bill.homestead.com/yosemite2001.html

and

www.tokyo_bill.homestead.com/yosemite2001page2.html

and there are some more cool ones on the Super Topo site.

Overall, it's a lot of walking for the climbing payoff you get, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

Have a blast.

P.S. Okay GOclimb gave me advice on getting my page links to go live - let's see if it works.


Edited by tokyo bill (06/06/02 01:49 AM)

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#4739 - 06/05/02 11:17 AM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: tokyo bill]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I'm also interested in this route(heading out in September). I've heard about rockfall in this area and that climbing the dike isn't recommended. Any info?

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#4740 - 06/05/02 02:36 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Haven't heard of rockfall on the dike, the aeas I would not suggest in heading now a days due to ongoing rockfall, is the Apron (Glacier Point Apron), the Brothers, and now the descent from Middle Cathedral. I'll check with a friend who was suppose to guide a client on Snake Dike two weeks ago.

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#4741 - 06/05/02 08:20 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: buzzardboy]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Long approach, start early - not so much to finish before dark or stormy weather but to get in front of other parties. The climbing is very fun and aesthetic, positive on good rock with sparse gear, long run-outs on easy ground. This is one of the most popular long 5.7s in the Valley and can be VERY crowded. I can't stress that enough. I remember being hot and sweaty, running out of water early and grubbing off of tourists on top. The route is not on a section of the Dome that receives more than normal amounts of rockfall (unless something of geologic proportions has happened recently), the biggest concern would be gear droped by parties above. People do get pre-dawn starts for this route because it's so popular. If you climb fast and are in the mood for a little adventure, start up in mid-afternoon (weather permitting, of course) and bring a headlamp or two for the decent.

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#4742 - 06/05/02 09:05 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: buzzardboy]
MarcC Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/10/00
Posts: 3532
What everyone else said. About the long day though....if you aren't camping in Little Yosemite Valley and starting from the Valley floor, remember that you have a 5 mile approach with a 2500' elevation gain, about 1500' of climbing, and an 8 mile 4000' descent, the first 1000' being really steep.

(elevations are rough estimates from memory but are in that general ballpark)
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#4743 - 06/05/02 09:48 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: MarcC]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
You should be able to do it later if you are climbing moderately fast; a friend Andrew did Snakedike after completing Royal Arches and Crest Jewel (on North Dome) in the morning and still had time to do the Moratorium before dark. Andrew is a fairly good climber but still in the realm of being mortal.

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#4744 - 06/06/02 02:12 AM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: Chas]
BobbyS Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 367
Loc: None
Here's one to shoot for. I have not met anyone who has continuously run from top of the last pitch to the top of HD without stopping. (this is assuming that you moderately booked up to the start of the climb and moderately booked up the route as well).

The routes has been done car to car in 3hrs.

I have done it many times and love the route

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#4745 - 06/06/02 12:35 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: BobbyS]
buzzardboy Offline
member

Registered: 04/24/02
Posts: 105
Loc: Pennsylvania
How far is the top of the last pitch from the summit?? Is it runnable terrain??

Car to Car in three hours!! Is this Dean Potter's record? I can not imagine he had a partner or gear with him. That being said, I wonder how fast the route has been done by two people using trad gear
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#4746 - 06/06/02 03:33 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: buzzardboy]
Eddie Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
i heard bobbys did it C to C with a partner and trad gear in just over 3 hours.......but he was too tired to run to the top, or he may have been faster! :::::)))))))))))))))
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#4747 - 06/06/02 06:04 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: BobbyS]
drewski Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 50
Loc: Litchfield County, CT
I'll be in the valley right before July 4th. We're hoping to climb Snake Dike, but are a bit concerned with the approach from above the falls to the base of the climb. I've read quite a bit online from easy, well-marked trails to epics. Having climbed it several times, can you advise me on this part of the approach? Also, what is the best way to begin the first pitch? I've read "follow the book," "go left," "go right," "use the tree..."
My thanks...

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#4748 - 06/06/02 10:12 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: drewski]
BobbyS Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 367
Loc: None
Dean did it in 3hrs and he said that he was unable to run the top part. I did it with a rope with a friend that did not want to solo it and I think we went car to car using the falls trail in about 5.5 hrs. We belayed for each pitch unroping after two rope stretching gear belays above the end of the dike. This involved 14 miles of trail. The fastest way is to go up the death slabs, then up Bushido Gulley and then do the death slabs trail for the return trip.

Personally I really like the falls trail up to the snake dike. The trail can be a little confusing. You just have to be dilligent at following small piles of stones. They are there. If you are not finding on, don't just forge ahead. Look around till you find the next one.

As far as the route goes, I have never actually done the route described in the book. I go up to the tree and then climb strait up from there to the actual dike. This way I can make it to the second crux pitch in one pitch. This involves climbing up a slightly right leaning crack and then going for a good slab run out strait up to the route proper avoiding the traverse. Its not more than a grade harder. I would say in the 5.7 range. If there is a party or two ahead of you this is a good way to pass them as well.

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#4749 - 06/06/02 10:17 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: buzzardboy]
BobbyS Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 367
Loc: None
Andrew McMullin and Lawrence Kerver climbed Arches, Crest Jewel, Snake Dike, and the
Moratorium in about 14 hours.

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#4750 - 06/06/02 11:26 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: BobbyS]
Eddie Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
it was faster than 5.5 hours. watch bobby's lies.
know why they call him bobbys? bobby sandbag.
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#4751 - 06/12/02 10:03 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: Eddie]
LesterLeBlanc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 1916
Loc: Los Angeles
5.5 hours sounds right. I have a hard time seeing any person doing the whole thing in 3 hours car to car. Just how fast can anyone run 14-15 miles of trail?

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#4752 - 06/13/02 12:23 AM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: LesterLeBlanc]
Eddie Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/23/99
Posts: 1446
Loc: NP. NY
lester,
take the death slabs route.....way faster.
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#4753 - 06/13/02 12:34 AM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: Eddie]
LesterLeBlanc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 1916
Loc: Los Angeles
Eddie:

Okay. But the name is kinda freaking me out. Are these Death Slabs really deadly? Any beta for this approach.

I'm planning to meet Chasman in the valley and we have our eye on Snake Dike. I've never been to the Valley before and I'll need all the beta I can get.

Anyone else willing to chime in with recommended routes in the 5.6-5.8 range, it would be greatly appreciated.

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#4754 - 06/13/02 09:26 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: LesterLeBlanc]
BobbyS Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 367
Loc: None
If you are going to do Snake Dike for the first time and have never been up to HD before then go via the Falls trails. Its an amazing hike. You should not miss hitting Vernal and Nevada Falls on a trip to the valley and if you are heading up to Snake Dike you will pass through the area around Last Lake which is quite beautiful.

In the 5.8 and down range I would go for one of the classic walls like the South Face of Washington's Column. Can be done at 5.6C1. The West Face of the Leaning Tower, 5.8 C2.

For routes in the 5.6-5.8 range:

Nutcracker - all time classic with every pitch being great 5.8

After Six - there is a neat 5.8 roof variation to the last pitch as well. I would recommend the After Seven as a first pitch variation (5.8).

Braille Book (5.8) I have heard that this one is the Astroman of 5.8s. I don't see it. Its really not to hard and protects fairly well. Don't be lead away due to the offwidth pitch. You can stem the whole thing.

Pine Line (5.7) is a pretty neat location as it starts on a huge platform at the base of the Nose and you can do some of the other short el cap base routes like Little John (5.8)

Royal Arches is one of those fun experience type routes (5.7 A0). If you want to extend it in the 5.8 range you can connect it with the West Face of North Dome will take you to some beautiful locations.

I would stay away from Glacier Point due to rockfall but the Center Route on the Grack (5.6) is a great 3 pitch strait in line crack that goes through many sizes.

The best climbs from 5.6-5.8 are up in Tuolumne. All listed below are amazing.

Hobbit Book 5.7R
Cathedral Peak 5.6
Any of the two classic routes on Coness 5.6
Great White Book 5.6R
South Crack 5.8

Golfer's Route is pretty fun but run out knobs 5.7
Norwest Book of Lembert Dome 5.6



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#4755 - 06/13/02 10:03 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: BobbyS]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
BobbyS, you're giving suggestions to LBL, so why not Astroman, 5.7+++ or V3 (highball though)

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#4756 - 06/14/02 12:04 AM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: BobbyS]
chazman Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
Les... you're taking notes... right? Bobby, is the trip our to Braille Book as bad as I have heard?

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#4757 - 06/14/02 08:23 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: chazman]
LesterLeBlanc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 1916
Loc: Los Angeles
BobbyS:

Thanks for the info! Your suggestions are interesting because after spending a couple hours flipping through the guidebook, those were almost exactly all the routes I thought might be worth checking out.

So Chazman, yeah, I am taking many notes.

I am also interested in Braille Book and yeah, I would have been thinking twice about the chimney ... but like Chazman was asking, is the approach okay? I've heard it's tough and has potential rock fall.

Also, what do you think of the short climbs at the base of El Cap ... like La Cosita Right, Little John Right, Pine Line, Moby Dick Left?

And just how crowded do you think the Valley will get on the Monday-Tuesday before July 4th weekend?

Thanks again for all your help!

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#4758 - 06/14/02 08:26 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: Chas]
LesterLeBlanc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 1916
Loc: Los Angeles
Astroman ... oh sure!

I wish I was in my old climbing shape ... but truth be told I haven't lead anything in a while (just bouldering and TRs) and I have zero experience in the Valley and minimal experience on cracks. Best to start off easy and see how I feel.

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#4759 - 06/14/02 09:42 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: LesterLeBlanc]
Anonymous
Unregistered


>> Best to start off easy and see how I feel. <<

... and carry prussiks, too.

Geeze

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#4760 - 06/14/02 11:27 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: LesterLeBlanc]
rg@ofmc Online   content
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/25/99
Posts: 2472
Loc: Poughkeepsie, NY
I did the Braille Book in 1970. I remember the so-called offwidth pitch as a dihedral with a wide crack in the back. You don't need any fancy base of El Cap offwidth technique, and I remember the rock as relatively featured for Yosemite, more like the Salathe-Steck than the base of El Cap. I remember it as a nice climb but not a great one, certainly doable by Gunks climbers who are comfortable on 5.8 without special Yosemite preparation.

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#4761 - 06/17/02 12:56 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: LesterLeBlanc]
Chas Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/22/01
Posts: 1754
Loc: Flagstaff
Sorry, just giving you a hard climb. I always like to joke that Astroman is merely a highball V3, and Grand Illusion in Sugarloaf was done by an amputee and his girlfriend, so how bad can they be.

There are several climbs in Yosemite condusive to Gunks climbers who haven't mastered crack techniques yet,

East Buttt of Middle Cathredal (see my previous warning about the descent but it can be rapped) which goes at 5.9 A0 (or 5.10c) but most of it is 5.8,

The Commitment (5.9 one move- mostly 5.7/8)

Nutcracker (5.8/ 5.9/ 5.10a) 5 pitches of mostly 5.8 depending on how you start it, the 5.8 and the 5.10a being the best.

Have fun



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#4762 - 06/17/02 02:06 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: LesterLeBlanc]
drewski Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 50
Loc: Litchfield County, CT
Lester:
Notes are good, but make sure you tatoo a big "L" to the back of Chazman's left hand before you let him lead....


Edited by drewski (06/17/02 02:08 PM)

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#4763 - 06/17/02 03:32 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: drewski]
chazman Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/07/02
Posts: 944
Totally uncalled for.

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#4764 - 06/17/02 08:31 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: buzzardboy]
Charlie Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 03/10/02
Posts: 271
Loc: Morristown, N.J.
Here's a pretty good (very well written I might add) recent trip report for Snake Dike including the hike in and out, with pictures!

http://www.snwburd.com/bob/trip_reports/half_dome_5.html

Enjoy!

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#4765 - 06/17/02 11:32 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: Charlie]
buzzardboy Offline
member

Registered: 04/24/02
Posts: 105
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thanks for the link. That was probably the best report of a Snake Dike climb that I've seen on the web. Good story and good photos.
_________________________
LL

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#4766 - 06/18/02 01:44 AM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: buzzardboy]
Charlie Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 03/10/02
Posts: 271
Loc: Morristown, N.J.
:-)

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#4767 - 06/18/02 01:42 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: buzzardboy]
drewski Offline
journeyman

Registered: 06/06/02
Posts: 50
Loc: Litchfield County, CT
Watch the trail closure. Snake Dike, a trade route already, may be even busier. We decided to skip it this time. I say “we,” but it is, in truth, another smooth sales pitch by that silver-tongued devil, Chazman.

Taken from the url following….

“The cables to the top of Half Dome are up. Trail work is scheduled for the Half Dome Trail this year from July 8 through September 19: hikers will have access to the trail only from Thursday at 4 pm through Monday at 7 am, as well as 4 pm through 7 am Monday through Thursday”

http://www.nps.gov/yose/now/conditions.htm

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#4768 - 06/18/02 08:09 PM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: drewski]
LesterLeBlanc Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/06/02
Posts: 1916
Loc: Los Angeles
That's cool. I've got "OTHER LEFT" tatooed on my right hand.

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#4769 - 06/19/02 02:46 AM Re: Yosemite/Half Dome [Re: LesterLeBlanc]
BobbyS Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 08/28/00
Posts: 367
Loc: None
All those routes you mentioned at the base of el cap are good. Pine Line is probably not the best (two stars) but it has a super location. Moby Dick is my favorite of all of them. Short finger crack crux near the ground. Then enjoy stunning hands and fists. It is pretty light for 5.10-.

Sacher Cracker is really good as well but be prepared for 5.9 run out offwidth at the top. I think you can bail before it as there are usually bail slings around a chockstone at its base

La Cosita is good but quite smooth and slick, not one of my favorites.

For a good 5.9 you definately want to hit Commitment. Munginella is a pretty good 5.6 if you are over there as well. If you are over there check out the black crack (5.8) in the Yosemite Falls Ampitheather. There are two nice 5.10- dihedrals over there as well. You can continue you over and do Jamcrack (5.7 p1 5.9 p2).

The all time classic 5.9 is Reids Direct. 5.10- offwidth last pitch is optional but pretty neat and well protected for that type of climbing.

Central Pillar of Frenzy is probably the most enjoyable 5.9. A few pitches of stunning 5.9 cracks with a killer 5.8 roof splitter.

The only other climb I think I left out is Bishop's Terrace. I really enjoy this climb. Tons of fun. Big splitter through white granit. Good one to run over and do after dinner when no one is around and it is cooling off after middle of the day sun.

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