/ First Yosemite Trip Gear and Tips
What gear do we need? Lots of friends? Is it worth getting them out there? are they cheaper?
Any good campsite recommendations?
Any info is much appreciated.
I would recommend starting on Manure Pile Buttress, plenty of nice 3/4 pitch climbs from a short walk in.
This will get you used to the grades, the cracks, oh the cracks, and the exposure. And the views.
You'll only need a normal rack, with maybe a few more of the bigger 3 or 4 size pro.
If you want to move onto the bigger stuff, then you should take a second rack.
1) Be prepared to find the grades odd.
2) Consider wearing a sun hat under your helmet.
3) Do Snake Dike.
I'd agree with MPB and Snake Dyke and also suggest Royal Arches. A great contrast and a bit less crowded would be a spell in Tuoleme Meadows (only an hour drive).
Come along to our slideshow next Sunday 30th March and you'll pick up loads of Yosemite beta as well as having a fun evening in aid of Climbers Against Cancer.
See http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=580555 for details.
...hint on buying gear is to buy on a US website and get shipped to Yosemite post office. Save a fortune.
I went with an open mind. Bishops terrace area was a good warm up venue. Glacier point apron was also good. We also did lost arrow spire, a two pitch aid route involving the tyrolean traverse. Awesome place.
Fabulous place. Most of the campsites are reasonable and all have magnificent scenery to stare at all day long. Grades are indeed unusual - things that have a British style of climbing feel easy, whereas the pure cracks feel hard in comparison. However, load to go at, both short and long, with the Supertopo guides (downloadable) a great source of information. Mix it up - do some longer stuff like Royal Arches, Higher Cathedral Spire and (of course) Snake Dyke. Nutcracker is good. Rack as normal with maybe a few larger cams. Mind the poison ivy!
Great crag left of The Falls and walkable from Camp 4 called 5 Open Books - two routes which stick in my mind and worth seeking out are Munginella 5:6 and Commitment 5:9.
Some good choices here:
Get the Super Topo Yosemite Valley Free Climbs
There's probably just a handful of climbs worth doing in the Valley below 5.8 (and there is likely to be a line on them). The high country (Tuolumne Meadows) has lots of routes at all grades (although nothing as long as the Yosemite Grade IV's and V's.) High country routes have a different character though. The uniqueness of Yosemite granite in the world is because it was all beneath a glacier. No other granite area (that I know of) has seen anything like the pervasive polishing Yosemite has gotten.
You'll certainly need at minimum a single rack of cams 0.5" to 4", but it is probably best to have doubles in that range. Some climbs require multiple cams in one or two sizes and/or bigger cams; consult the guidebook!
Get yourself a full aid rack, quit your job and train to do El cap?
Fucking well jealous mate!
Although I agree Tuolumne is better for lower grade climbers I think there is plenty of variety to go at (a few weeks at a push) in the valley below 5.8 that is good. So given your normal excellent advice I suspect you meant a handful of top class routes below 5.8. From experience of fires etc I'd advise plenty of flexibility for such a trip including looking at Lovers Leap in Lake Tahoe or Tarquitz as alternative/plan B venues.
Book your camping pitch as soon as possible, in advance:
Cathedral Peak at Toualame: Easy climbing in an amazing location
Also, there are some excellent walks, you can go horseriding, swim in the really freezing cold river etc. I think it will be pretty hot in June, won't it??? We baked in September...
fyi i found the dmm alloy offsets really useful out there - seemed to fit much better than rocks or wallnuts. the metolious offset cams are also great in the valley but not exactly cheap...
I found tricams very useful too, albeit when aiding.
Yeap get offsets. If you are aiding it is almost like cheating. They are also worth their green for free climbing as well.
Well, yes, I did mean top-class routes. Presumably, a visitor on a relatively short trip wouldn't want anything else.
I might add that others more expert than I in Yosemite climbing have similar views. Here is an excerpt from the SuperTopo guide's introduction:
"Unfortunately, there are few easy climbs to introduce you to Yosemite climbing. We searched the Park for every easy and moderate route worth climbing and put them in this book. However, there still isnít much at the lower end of the spectrum. If youíre looking for 5.7 and easier climbs, be prepared to bunch up on a few crowded routes. Itís not until you climb 5.8 and harder that your options start opening up in Yosemite."
I agree. You are much better off at Lovers Leap than Yosemite at that grade at
that time of year. Crag faces north so you can climb, in the shade until mid afternoon or save your ascent for the evening sunshine.
The Rockfax grade table puts HVS, the level mentioned by the OP, at bold 5.8 to safe 5.10a, with not-so-bold 5.8 being VS, and there is quite a bit to do in Yosemite in that range if those comparisons are accurate.
They may be but, if the experience of most Brits is right, only after one's learned the distinctive techniques etc. of Yosemite. I suspect on a first trip up an off-width or a run out GPA slab, a British HVS leader would find 5.9 quite tricky.
You beat me too it - get on the wrong route in The Valley and that nice looking 5:8 will feel like E2 ;-)
hi Dom, a friend and myself are planning to come.do you think we need to book or will there be space to turn up on the door?
Specifically, for me, Braille trail. Phew!......and I was going well and had done Left Wall a few weeks before.
My memory is of a 5:9 called The Apron Jam. I was on the back end of a 4 month climbing trip where I'd been steadily consolidating at the 5:11+ grade.
The apron Jam was the living end!
We went to Glacier Apron, couldn't even make the topo and the crag match. God knows what the climbing was like.
There are some great routes on the Apron. Mr Natural is a stunning finger crack. Unfortunately after the massive rockfall a few years ago I think people tend to avoid climbing there.
That does look "totally neat".
We did Goodrich Pinnacle (5.9, iirc) and then a couple of extra pitches above the pinnacle itself: excellent climbing. This was after the big rockfall. We were told that it's a safe(r) area of GPA.
I'm just gonna give you my honest opinion regarding grades:
Old school Yosemite climbers were ( and still are ) awesome crack and off width climbers, so cracks and off widths feel really hard. 5,10 is meant to be about e1 but 5.10 Yosemite crack will feel miles harder.
El cap base routes are particularly sand bagged, Sacherer Crack 5.10a (HVS / E1) is nails and would be about E3 in the UK.
Also long off width pitches are hard to protect unless you have massive cams or specialist off width gear, so can be bold and scary.
In contrast routes that are more UK style tend to be pretty straight forward, but there aren't that many.
Offset cams are really useful on loads of routes, especially those with pin scars.
Rubbish. At 5.8 in the valley popular hand cracks are most often VS/HVS depending on Yorkshire grit experience. Offwidths are hard at that grade but it's the slabs that can be the hardest to get used to: 5.8 R slabs can easily be E2 5b/c when conversion logic would indicate HVS 5a and first experiences of glacial polish can feel terrifying. You do get sandbags but much more so at 5.9. I'd recommend 5.7/5.8 first timers starting on cracks (fist and below) and where possible TR X-rated friction lines next door to get used to the movement.
I didn't mention anything about 5.8 hand cracks, so not sure what your on about.
What I said was 5.10 cracks tend to feel harder than their supposed E1 grade conversion.
The example I gave of Sacherer Crack (5.10a) is a perfect example.
You said cracks felt hard in general. In contrast I think their crack grades below offwidth are alongside the easiest in the range the OP asked about. Ive not climbed anything like enough 10a stuff there to judge fairly but those Ive done dont seem far off classic grit E1 terrain. Sacherer looks tough and has a reputaition in places as a sandbag but is it really any harder than UK HVS grit stated sandbags like Masochism, Teck Crack, The Sole etc
5.8 r slabs are HVS 4c sure they take getting used to but if you fall off you'll slide rather than fall. you simple will not find a 5b or 5c move on them. end of story.
Anything with an R or an X rating should be taken very seriously. By British standards, R means about two E grades up from the normal E grade for a given technical grade. I know of one 5.8R slab climb that has an 80- to 100-foot run-out. A climb with an X maybe about four E grades up - with a very real risk of a life changing or terminating injury should you fall off! My son and I got on an R/X by mistake, and I think it had about two bolts in 140 feet. We bailed after one pitch of this, because the second pitch looked like more of the same with no protection at all!
so comparable to sunset slab then? It is a confidence thing, once you get used to them they're not so bad! there's not masses of slabs in the valley though unless you head on the glacier point apron which is suspiciously quiet...
the OP should get himself down to millstone and work through the classics. If you can get solid at 5.9 then you've suddenly got a lot of routes to go at, the 5.7 and 5.8 tend to be busy cause they're not so many of them.
the cathedrals opposite el cap are much more featured than a lot of Y crags and are a good choice as they'll feel less foreign. And anywhere else they'd be a destination in there own right!
My honest opinion is that Sacherer Cracker is about E2 5c, super safe but hard and very sustained. It would be a joke at HVS, interested to hear other peoples opinion that have done it.
Serenity Crack would also be 5.10a if you exclude the 10d slab and thin crack pitch (p3 I think), this would also be a joke at HVS.
The Dagger 5.11a (E2) would also be a shock for your average E2 leader
Just my opinion though
"My honest opinion is that Sacherer Cracker is about E2 5c, super safe but hard and very sustained. It would be a joke at HVS, interested to hear other peoples opinion that have done it"
I recall climbing three crack climbs at the base of El Cap back in 1975 and Sacherer Cracker was one of them. I found it to be quite straight forward. It is longer than most (all of?) UK grit cracks, but for a strong, fit climber who can do grit HVS it should not be too difficult. Probably the hardest part is getting good pro while hanging on.
Hmmm, some guides give P2 10b, I think that's fair.
That's because its E3.
A 5.8 like John describes is (ive seen some close to that too) is nothing like comparable to sunset slab. Ive never done a 5.8 crux slab move on californian granite easier than english 5a in my 20+ trips out there and ditto for 5.9 and 5b. Ive climbed english 5a friction crux on a 5.4 at Joshua Tree. Their slab grades into the 10s are desperately hard for UK visitor's. At JT sunset slab would be 5.5 R elsewhere maybe more likely 5.6 R.
As Ive climbed with many others out there in or around our UK guidebook teams who can recognise stuff around 5a/b/c I know my views are not isolated. It is not simply about 'confidence' if you cant climb the grade, anyone setting out on 5.8 R slab terrain in my view needs to be very comfortable on 5b padding alongside having a very good head game. Another problem is, like grit, friction gets worse in the heat.
An 11b friction slab at Suicide that Moff managed to work the moves maybe E5 6b.
I'd say 5.6=4b, 5.7=4c, 5.8=5a, 5.9=5b, 10a=5c works pretty well for the classic routes in Yosemite/Tuolumne (though I'm sure there are plenty of sandbags, like anywhere else).
To actually answer the OP's question, these are all awesome up to HVS:
West Crack on Daff Dome
Central Pillar of Frenzy
South Crack (if you take the easy version on the upper slabs)
Regular Route on Fairview is probably E1 for a single move on the first pitch, but the rest is HVS.
I think the East Buttress of Middle Cathedral has a 5.9 version (I went the 10a way, but the rest was ok at HVS).
Thats much more like the reality of the place. RRFD crux is a short E1 style sequence but with pro it would be HVS on grit. Best HVS ive ever done.
I think most Brits on their first trip to Yosemite would find CPofF harder than HVS (and possibly than E1): nasty damp and awkward first pitch, and then some tricky 5.8 offwidths. The top pitch (iirc) which is given 5.9 I'd agree is 5b though it's sustained.
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