Bruce's Primer to Yosemite Valley

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Bruce Hildenbrand

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Feb 21, 1992, 3:07:10 AM2/21/92
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I wrote this a while back, but it is still valid for those who
enjoy climbing at the "mere mortal" level. These are my opinions,
others may feel differently.
Bruce Hildenbrand

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YOSEMITE PRIMER

This document is intended to give the climber a quick overview of
the climbing in Yosemite Valley. Ratings are given for non-sticky
shoes which means the slab climbing may seem easier than normal.
The best time to climb in the Valley is from mid-March to mid-May
and Mid-September to mid-November. Heat is definitely a problem
during the summer.

Several important notes. First, the climbing in Yosemite is quite
sustained. A 5.9 pitch may have only one or two moves of 5.9, but
bet on there being loads of 5.7 and 5.8 climbing as well. Most climbs
are not rated by the single hardest move, but rather by the sutained
difficulty. Also, on most of the pre-1982 slab climbs, runouts of
30+ feet are typical (some have 150 foot runouts).

The consummate guide book is "Yosemite Climbs" by George Myers
published by Chockstone Press, 526 Franklin Street, Denver, CO 80218.

If you have any questions, comments, criticisms, additions, etc.
please mail me:
Bruce Hildenbrand
bhi...@eng.sun.com

I will list the climbs by predominant type of climbing,
then by rating, and also indicate where they are located.
Climbs with stars are not to be missed!!!

The author has climbed very few of the routes rated harder than
5.11b/c. Ratings for the "Big Walls" are from information given
to me be friends.

FACE CLIMBS

5.5 - 5.6

Cow Center (Glacier Point Apron - GPA) - 2nd pitch runout

5.7

*Grack Center (GPA) - great beginner climb
Cow Left Side (GPA) - sporty for the grade

5.8

Far East (GPA) - wanders
*Harry Daley (GPA) - very popular, early start

5.9

*New Diversions (New Diversions Cliff) - steep chicken heads
The Prude (Mirror Lake) - take gear for the crack higher up
*Coonyard (GPA) - traverse straight left start of pitch 3!
Coonyard to the Oasis (GPA) - maybe some rockfall damage higher up
*Angel's Approach (GPA) - runout continuation to the Oasis possible
Regular Route, Patio Pinnacle (GPA) - classic slab climbing
Right Side of Goodrich Pinnacle (GPA)
*The Mouth (GPA) - not to bad for 5.9
Flakey Foont (GPA) - first bolt 45' up
*Grack Marginal (GPA) - marginal 5.9
Quicksilver (Middle Cathedral Apron - MCA)

5.10a-b

Trough of Justice (Cascade Cliff) - wierd mantel
Hoser's Hiway (GPA) - single bolt anchors up high
*Hoppy's Favorite (GPA) - no pro on first pitch (5.8+)
Deep Throat (GPA) - runout 5.9 friction up high
Calf Continuation (GPA) - climbing not too bad
*Freewheelin' (MCA)

5.10c-d

Ugly Duckling (Swan Slab) - difficult start
Maxine's Wall (Royal Arches Area) - 1st pitch is nice 5.9+ face climb
Poker Face(Royal Arches Area) - sustained, loose and runout above last bolt
*Mr. Natural(GPA) - uses a very thin crack for protection
*Stoner's Highway (Middle Cathedral) - a long way to the first bolt
Movin' Like a Stud (Stud Wall) - sequency
*Benzoin and Edges (Stud Wall) - a sporty route

5.11a-b

*A Mother's Lament (GPA) - crux moves 40+ feet out
*Anchors Away (GPA) - the second pitch is better than the first
Sailing Shoes (GPA)
Ochre Fields (GPA)
*The Calf (GPA)
Black Rose (MCA) - glass
Space Babble (Middle Cathedral) - very serious, good routefinding a must

5.11c-d

**Tightrope (GPA) - best slab route in the valley, incredibly varied
*Shakey Flakes (Arches Terrace Area) - lots of hard climbing


THIN CRACKS & HAND CRACKS

5.8

*Chouinard variation Harry Daley (GPA)
*After Seven (Ranger Rock) - exit after 1st pitch
*Nutcracker (Ranger Rock)
Doggie Deviations (Camp 4 Wall) - descent is tricky
*Bishop's Terrace (Church Bowl Area) - a Yosemite classic

5.9

Application (Arch Rock)
*Cookie Center (Cookie Cliff) - ugly squeeze chimney pitch 2
*Right Side of the Cookie (Cookie Cliff) - 3rd pitch is nice
*Reed Pinnacle direct route (Reed's Pinnacle) - rappel after pitch 2
Grape Nuts (Mojo Tooth) - more likle fists at the crux
*La Cosita-Right Side (El Capitan) - very, very nice
*Moby Dick Center (El Capitan) - 5.9 off-width up high
*Nutcracker-Right Slab start (Ranger Rock)
*Sunnyside Bench Jam Crack Route (Sunny Side Bench) - good intro to this grade
*Peruvian Flake (Royal Arches Area) - easiest 5.10 in the Valley
**Central Pillar of Frenzy 1st 5 pitches (Middle Cathedral) - the best

5.10a-b

*Midterm (Arch Rock) - sustained, crack get wider as you go up
*Gripper (Arch Rock) - 3rd pitch handcrack is out of sight
*Outer Limits (Cookie Cliff) - 1st pitch is fantastic
*Bev's Tower (Cookie Cliff) - varied climbing
Anathema (Cookie Cliff)
*Knob Job (Cascade Cliff) - lots of rest spots
*Stone Goove (Reed's Pinnacle) - great thin hands to fingers
*Eulogy(Mojo Tooth) - lots of fun
*Sacher's Cracker (El Capitan) - difficult off-width to finish
Hardly Pinnacle (El Capitan) - thin hands
Koko Ledge Right Side (Koko Ledge Area)
*West Face Rixon's pinnacle (Rixon's Pinnacle) - beautiful
*Church Bowl Tree (Church Bowl Area) - 1st pitch has nice 5.10a thin crack
*Heathenistic Pursuit (Chapel Wall) - neat, steep climbing

5.10c-d

*English Breakfast Crack (Arch Rock) - bring knee pads
*Catchy (Cookie Cliff) - pumper thin hands section before the crux
*Sherri's Crack (Cascade Cliff) - just lots of fun
*Lunatic Fringe (Reed's Pinacle) - super climbing
*Five and Dime (Five and Dime Cliff) - super steep
*Mighty Crunchy(Mojo Tooth) - very steep
*Little Wing (Little Wing Cliff)
Slack Center (El Capitan) - kind of greasy
*Ten Years After(Yosemite Falls)
Bummer (Sunnyside Bench area)
*Lazy Bum (Sunny Side Bench Area) - good top-rope, 5.11 direct finish
*Serenity Crack (Royal Arches Area)
Transistor Sister (GPA) - short
*Vanishing Point (Sentinel Rock Area) - very thin hands at crux

5.11a-b

*Anticipation (Arch Rock) - 5.11 stemming as well!
*New Dimensions (Arch Rock)
*Butterfingers (Cookie Cliff) - 3rd pitch of Nabisco Wall
*Short But Thin (El Capitan) - short but, sustained

5.11c-d

*Spiderman (Sentinel Rock Area) - a variety of climbing techniques
*Short Circuit (Arch Rock Area) - usually top-roped
*Crack a Go-Go (Cookie Cliff) - technical
*ButterBalls (Cookie Cliff) - alternate 2nd pitch of Nabisco Wall
*Red Zinger (Cookie Cliff) - wide fingers at crux


LAYBACKS and STEMMING

5.6

Munginella (Five Open Books Area)

5.7

*After Six (Ranger Rock) - exit after 1st pitch
*Left Side La Cosita (El Capitan) - much easier than it looks!
Left Side Captain Hook (El Capitan)

5.8

*Nutcracker-Layback Start (Ranger Rock)
Little John-Left Side (El Capitan) - just go for it
Little John-Right Side (El Capitan) - routefinding dilema

5.9

*Commitment (Five Open Books Area) - wide pro at crux
Enigma (Cookie Cliff) - lots of varied climbing
Captain Hook-Right Side (El Capitan) - rappel before the off-width
Lena's Layback (Swan Slab) - convenient

5.10a-b

*Left Side of the Remnant (Reed's Pinnacle Area)
Koko Ledge Left Side (Koko Ledge Area) - OK climbing
PeePee Pillar(Middle Cathedral Rock) - lots of fun

5.10c-d

*Wheat Thin (Cookie Cliff) - 2nd pitch of Nabisco Wall
*Waverly Wafer (Cookie Cliff) - 1st Pitch of Nabisco Wall
*Right Side of the Folly (Folly Area) - super route, extremely varied, stren.
Book of Revelations (Church Bowl Tree Area) - awkward

5.11a-b

Sidetrack (Arch Rock) - good finish to Midterm
*Leaning Meanie (Arch Rock)
*Catchy Corner (Cookie Cliff)
*The Tube(Cascade Cliff) - wierd crux
*La Escuela (El Capitan) - The Classic lieback climb
*The Moratorium (Below East Face El Cap) - almost as classic
*Bircheff-Williams Route - 3rd pitch is tricky


OFF-WIDTHS and CHIMNEYS

5.6

*Church Bowl Chimney (Church Bowl Area)

5.8

Bongs Away Left (Reed's Pinnacle) - watch rope behind pinnacle

5.9

Flatus (Reed's Pinnacle) - rappel after 2 pitches
*Moby Dick Left Side (El Capitan) - huge chockstone is gone!!!
*Peter Pan (El Capitan) - take 4"-6" tubes

5.10a-b

*Vendetta (Cookie Cliff) - wild 3rd pitch
Chingando (Reed's Pinnacle)
*Left Side of Reed's Pinnacle (Reed's Pinnacle)
*Moby Dick Ahab (El Capitan)
*Lost Arrow Chimney (Lost Arrow Area)

5.10c-d

Meat Grinder (Cookie Cliff) - fun 5.9 first pitch
*Twilight Zone (Cookie Cliff) - pro to 6"

5.11

Why? (Aplogies to Dr. OW)


LONGER CLIMBS

*East Buttress of El Capitan IV 5.10a - ~10 pitches of varied climbing
*Arrowhead Arete III 5.8 - trick descent
*Royal Arches IV 5.9 - ~21 pitches of varied climbing (rotten log is gone)
*South Face of North Dome III 5.7 - ~10 pitches of fun climbing
*Crest Jewel IV 5.10a - 10 pitches, take 8 QD's and a few spare biners
*Goodrich to the Oasis IV 5.9 - do right side and continue up
*Steck Salathe V 5.9 - lots of wide crack climbing
*Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral Spire IV 5.9 - wide cracks
*East Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock IV 5.9 A1 or 5.10 - fun
*Direct North Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock IV 5.10b - a serious undertaking
*West Face VI 5.11 - all free route up El Cap


BIG WALLS

There are several good warmups for El Capitan.

South Face of Washington's Column V 5.9 A2
The Prow on Washington's Column V 5.9 A3+ - steep and exposed
The Leaning Tower (Bridelvail Falls Area) V 5.8/9 A2/3 - very steep
Northwest Face of Half Dome VI 5.9 A2/3 - a trade route, take a number

Once on El Capitan here are a few to keep you interested:

The Nose VI 5.9-11 A2/3 - classic but crowded
The Salathe Wall VI 5.9-12 A3/4 - classic but crowded
The Integral VI 5.9 A2 - easiest route on the Big Stone
Zodiac Wall VI 5.8/9 A3+ - very steep

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