What route would you do? I’m thinking up to about 5.9......
I'd go and do Royal Arches (5.7) in Yosemite valley. 1500 ft of mostly VS climbing. Starts a minute from the 'Awhauhnee' hotel although it finishes with either an epic abseil back down, or a 4 hr walk across to, and down, North Dome gully.
Or i'd do Crescent Arch (5.10b) up in Tuolumne Meadows. Five pitches of a corner crack and slab climbing, fantastic route but 5.9+ if i remember, not 5.10b as the ukc database suggests.
A coupe of alternative suggestions just to complicate things for you:
Tuolumne: West Crack (5.9) on Daff Dome: really varied, from thrutchy overhang to elegant splitter, with great views from the top, plus you get to use the biggest cam you can carry.
If you want long days out at 5.9, then you could think about:
Yosemite: East Buttress (5.10b): frig the crux as many people do and get yourself up to the top of El Cap.
Tuolumne: Regular route (5.9) on Fairview Dome. Fantastic long pitches of jamming in a marvellous setting.
Thanks both. I’d originally thought I might have to give up on the valley and rely on somewhere like Lovers Leap. Definitely giving me food for thought.
Although not sure I could cope with the exposure on El Cap 😱
I see what you did there 😀
Def thought of The Line. Thanks for the other suggestions
Of the ones I've done in the state Regular on Fairview would be top place but the queues can be bad ..shame to risk losing the day or the best experience on the route. Needles was the best place.
Help from Mountain Project for some others I have done and many I haven't ...
The Line wouldn't make my top 3 for Lake Tahoe.
I've done all the routes suggested so far, and I'd pick snake Dyke. Top summit, approach and descent. If you like walking fast, or running, do Royal A in the morning and SN in the evening, descending by moonlight. Now that would be a day in california
I'd agree with the combo for a super fit climber but Snake Dyke is very technically unbalanced... bomber VS 5a slab crux to rather too much samey VS 3c romping. Royal Arches is more varied in its HS 4c to HS 3b nature but lacks in line.
> What route would you do? I’m thinking up to about 5.9......
California is a big place. Do you want to narrow it down a bit? I can give you suggestions for trad or bouldering on for a day trip from San Diego area (Woodson, J Tree, Tahquitz, Suicide...)
Let’s say roughly in the triangle between Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and San Francisco?
I would do this. Amazing route, very quiet, great granite, great views to Mono Lake etc and an obligatory heel hook!
One of the combinations i'd love to do is Royal Arches (again) as an approach to Crest Jewel (5.10a) on North Dome. Two full-bore 3 star routes and, in all probability, a walk back down to the valley by star light.
I only wish i could climb fast enough to get them both done in a day. Unless i took two, split by a bivy a few pitches up CJ (out of reach of yogi bear).
Looks like I’m spoilt for choice. Thanks. Now just need to get there 😕
Like the idea of East Buttress as a proper Yosemite route.
If I had just one day in California I'd get a hotel somewhere near Union Square and spend it in downtown San Francisco. No car, BART from the airport.
I wouldn't think about going to Yosemite, too much driving just to get there for a short trip and San Francisco is great.
If the trip goes to plan I'll be doing San Francisco as well.
That and Stoners Highway on the same crag. Two of the best routes I've done anywhere.
Crest jewel is indeed a thing of beauty.
Priority number one for a climber is to go and look in awe at El Cap.
> Priority number one for a climber is to go and look in awe at El Cap.
In the constraints of time and grade, it's hard to look beyond Snake Dyke (but it's a LONG day)
and South Face of Fairview Dome (we managed to summit this within 24 hours of touching down in San Francisco.
3rd Pillar of Dana (mentioned above) is awesome but a bit of a step up from 5.9
The other candidate that hasn't come up yet is Lost Arrow Tip. Doable in a day and a brilliant immersion into aid climbing to a stupendous micro summit, with an unforgettable tyro lean to get off.
Thanks. I def think 5.9 is my limit, possibly even 5.7/8. Lost arrow tip looks amazing, think I might crap it completely.
For a short day is The Grack worth it? Or is it generally just too busy?
I hate ukc posts that start "I haven't done ###, but..." However, as you asked me the question directly, here goes:
I haven't done The Grack, and I've only climbed on Glacier Point Apron once - I remember struggling on super smooth run out slabs the day before starting The Nose and wondering if I was doing the right thing. The Nose was fine, but I've never had the urge to revisit The Apron. It's all down to personal preference but, for me, there are SO MANY better ways to spend a day in The Valley!
For a short day, without too much commitment and good gear where it matters, take a look at Super Slide.
The Grack must be good. I've done the Marginal (5.9) twice apparently over two trips and the Center once but I can't remember much about the Apron but polish. The Harry Daley (5.8) must be good there too as I've done that twice. Goodrich Pinnacle Right (5.9) was good as well, so there are a few slabby classics to go at if the one you chose is busy.
I'd do Snake Dike over the Arches as it gets you to the top of Half Dome but that would be a long day - we camped in Little Yosemite the night before when we did it.
> I hate ukc posts that start "I haven't done ###, but..." However, as you asked me the question directly
Apologies. I wasn’t trying to push anyone’s buttons. Thanks for taking the time to reply, I’m just trying to get through a difficult weekend by planning for a hopefully better future.
I’ve never visited the valley and have just been wondering whether it would be possible, or even desirable, to squeeze a route in when I finally get there in a few years time.
Thanks, watched an ascents of Snake Dyke and The Arches on YouTube. They both look great, for different reasons.
> What route would you do? I’m thinking up to about 5.9......
I think I would probably go to Tuolumne and climb Cathedral Peak which gives bit more of a feel for the high Sierra than most stuff there. Afterwards I would drive down to Yosemite to tick off seeing (it is impressive) but also to be glad I hadn't spent my only day in California in such a crowded honeypot.
> Thanks. I def think 5.9 is my limit, possibly even 5.7/8. Lost arrow tip looks amazing, think I might crap it completely.
> For a short day is The Grack worth it? Or is it generally just too busy?
I have done it. There are much better days out in Yosemite tho the Apron is a very pretty place.
Maybe East Buttress of Middle Cathedral? I think it’s about 5.9 if you aid the bolt ladder. Much better than Nutcracker!
For one day, ie not enough time to get used to smooth granite, and at that sort of grade, Tuolomne is much better than the Valley.
That’s actually sounds a much better idea. I like the idea of a ‘summit’ rather than just a ticked off route.
The Grack is great for its length as is Harry Daly. Neither are fairly described as anything like polished+ runout. Both well worth a quick hit. Most US trad slabs have a bolt where the climbing gets serious (except easier pitches on harder routes)... an exception is the 5.7 slab on South Crack, Stately Pleasure Dome which is serious E1, the 5.8 crack pitch in contrast is grit VS..
Nutcracker is a bit busy and a bit worn.
Cathedral is great and can be climbed on various equally good lines to bypass any queue. Eichorn Pinnacle is a great combo.
Again use Mountain Project to help select.
Middle Cathedral East Buttress is the most common 5.9 recommendation from those who know the park well. We haven't done it yet.
Ha, i backed of South Crack (5.8) twice in a week, with different partners! Each time we got to the same place, where you leave the crack and traverse leftwards across the slab. The wind was howling each time and the sun glinting of the granite made it appear super smooth. Expecting something around HVS, i bottled it .
First time we abbed off. Second time i went up and right across the slabs. Got one small friend in 55m (no bolts). Probably no less scary than finishing South Crack!
I reminded myself I'd climbed much harder on slabs that week with no slips, had a good look, and focussed hard on technique, move by move, trying to use the best scallops in the best way. The pitch is lovely if you like bold stuff but you really don't want to fall off it. These mandatory bolder pitches are one reason I like to do some harder slab TRs at the start of a trip. A good contrast is The Boltway, next door, where you have 5.8 smears on glass like glacial polish but with bolts.
Here's a few non Yosemite choices for fun:
White Punks on Dope in the Needles.
Fingertrip at Tahquitz.
A Little Nukey at Courtright.
Actually Cathedral Peak mentioned upthread is a very good suggestion.
I notice you are a little unsure re 5.9. People often recommend having a grade or two in hand when first in the valley. Probably good advice. If that is the case I withdraw my east buttress recomendation and go with Cathedral
Have you really only got one day in California or is this a hypothetical question?
I had one days climbing in the valley, so hired a guide for a da . We climbed East Buttress on middle cathedral. It was an excellent day out and you get some stunning views of el cap
In my now quite depressed state of dealing with the lockdown I’m taking to daydreaming and planning. In about 5 years I’ll come into some cash, hopefully enough for me and the missus to do a round the world trip. So it won’t be a climbing holiday, but if I’m going to Yosemite I’d just love to say I’d done something other than just the usual tourist ‘ticks’.
In short, no I’ll have more than one day in California. But I doubt I can leave her for more than one day to go climbing.
Igor Unchained at the Needles is an amazing route, in one of the most beautiful and tranquil places I’ve been. The opposite of the Valley. It is a totally ridiculous place to visit for just one day.
Royal Arches is ace. I’ve not done Snake Dike but that sounds equally good. Enchaining them would be amazing.
Regular Route on Fairview Dome is excellent. Go early or late, it’s busy.
Have a blast - you’re making me want to visit California again.
We did Black Magic on the Magician at the Needles in a long half day from Dome Rock (ie could have driven in and out). It could be argued almost any big route in the US is just as ridiculous in a day (especially when you factor in Yosemite traffic and park entrance queues) but if you are there and only have a day it's possible.
I’m thinking much of that myself. Glad I asked as I’m now starting to research and understand the layout of the park a lot better.
Just need to get there 🤞
> It could be argued almost any big route in the US is just as ridiculous in a day (especially when you factor in Yosemite traffic and park entrance queues)
Yes, factor this in! Last year I stayed at the out of valley campsite, usual driving time to the middle of Yosemite is half-an-hour. On a Saturday morning it took three hours and I was lucky to find a parking spot. California is a very crowded place these days and the infrastructure is not great (hundreds of miles of two lane interstate, for example), so if you're travelling at a busy time it is not dissimilar to driving around the UK.
To the OP - you're dreaming of a round the world trip way down the line, how long will you be away for? My advice on big trips would always be go to as few places as you can stomach, but spend more time in them. I don't think Yosemite is necessarily a once in a lifetime kind of place, as you can get there in two days and for £600, as opposed to say trekking to K2 base camp which would take you several weeks and is more logistically difficult. But if it really is a once only destination then try to spend as much time there as possible to really enjoy it.
I’m just sort of musing. The missus has always fancied an African safari and Bora Bora, so been pondering would it be cheaper to combine these with a round the world trip with shorter flights, rather than multiple holidays going long haul.....
Its just a thought......and climbing something in Yosemite just creeped in. I mean you can’t help but be in awe of anyone climbing The Nose, so the idea of doing something, regardless of its ease and lack of gravitas just seemed a nice thing to do. I’m an infrequent climber and the day i did in Arapiles years ago has stuck. I’m sure Yosemite would to. Although I was in Aus for a year so that’s a bit different
> I’m just sort of musing. The missus has always fancied an African safari and Bora Bora, so been pondering would it be cheaper to combine these with a round the world trip with shorter flights, rather than multiple holidays going long haul.....
Carbon emissions aside, going to Africa is very doable in short holiday periods as there's no jetlag. I flew to Nairobi last year and it was basically like taking a long train journey, as there was no overnight flying. Anything involving going a long way east or west is a killer and takes more time before you're feeling human again.
> I’m an infrequent climber...
In that case, I would suggest not bothering with climbing in Yosemite. I don't mean to sound like a party-pooper, but I suspect it will probably just feel a bit frustrating. Also the easy Yosemite routes like Nutcracker aren't that good. Go to Tuolomne instead, climb one of the domes or Cathedral Peak.
Yeah, I appreciate the guilt factor of long haul flying in the current environmental ‘climate’
And thanks for honesty with Yosemite. As I say it’s just a thought and if it turned out a wasted day I’d be annoyed. Cathedral Peak definitely looks doable, enjoyable and memorable.
I might just stand under El Cap and wonder about what, in another life, might have been.....
> Yeah, I appreciate the guilt factor of long haul flying in the current environmental ‘climate’
> And thanks for honesty with Yosemite. As I say it’s just a thought and if it turned out a wasted day I’d be annoyed. Cathedral Peak definitely looks doable, enjoyable and memorable.
> I might just stand under El Cap and wonder about what, in another life, might have been.....
I stood under a route at El Cap.
No idea what it was called but it had someone on it.
I could barely get off the ground (not unusual for me) but I do like to tell all my friends and anyone else that I meet about the time I was climbing on El Cap!
Did you delete your reply?
I was going to question Minnesota? I mean that’s stretching it a bit, surely? 😀
Yes I thought I was being a bit judgemental!
Oh, ok. I wasn’t fussed, if it was my reaction you were thinking of.
Thinking of routes that I have done I'd probably choose 3 routes all easily reached from the valley floor and easily combined in a day. Nutcracker, Superslide and Goodrich Pinnacle Righthand.
In terms of routes that are on my ticklist I think I might be tempted by the Matthes Crest which looks like a great day out.
I've done the Grack (centre) and Nutcracker, the Grack was much better in my opinion. Grack is crack climbing all the way bar the last 15ft and very good - I was so engrossed in climbing it I literally ran out of rope and had to belay where I was on the main slab. I wanted to do RA and SD but my partner wasn't experienced enough and they're monster days out. If I went back SD would be my target. I'd suggest doing a climb one day, then Yosemite falls another with your missus if you like walking and it's waterfall season. Do the Giant Sequoia forest too.
Probably Route 66 cos theres a pub / bar at the end of it.
Mathes Crest is a grand day out... Mt Conness N Ridge is similar if you take optional VD variations. Longish days with fast movement in stunning terrain.
> I might just stand under El Cap and wonder about what, in another life, might have been.....
If you want to climb on the fabled big stone at an amenable grade, then this is a highly enjoyable three pitch route, and since it's less known than most of those so far mentioned, you're unlikely to have to queue: Little John (5.8).
When we did it, there was quite a party atmosphere along the base of El Cap, and we climbed to the accompaniment of indie and rock from some kid's speakers - which would of course have outraged plenty on here! Oh, and if there's still a Friend 3.5 stuck in the final crack, I'll buy you a pint if you bring it back.
Hiking and Sequoia are def in the consideration. Would like to hike Half Dome but think it might kill the missus.
> Oh, and if there's still a Friend 3.5 stuck in the final crack, I'll buy you a pint if you bring it back.
Controversially, i thought royal arches was kind of underwhelming climbing and wouldnt say it was very special. The setting is incredible and the views are just spectacular but the climbing isnt that good.
I thought nutcracker however had amazing climbing and every pitch was really interesting
Edit: also, i dont know how much experience you have with yosemite climbing (you might already well know) but it's a bit specialist. And ignore any grade conversion charts . I was pretty steady onsighting e2 in the uk and had a pretty full on days on some 5.9s (arriving at belays so pumped i thought i would retch)
My idea of heaven ;)
> I’ll hold you to that. D’ya think it’ll still be there in 2026 (planned date)? 😱
Both I and my mate like to regard ourselves as masters at extracting gear - ie we're too tight to leave anything that costs proper money to replace. But it was tighter!
> I thought nutcracker however had amazing climbing and every pitch was really interesting
I thought the same. If the OP wants a shortish day, I reckon this would be more memorable than The Grack Center (5.6). Mind you, that was our last route after a month in the Valley, so we were pretty wasted.
That really is a thing of beauty
NOT the leg ware!!!
I'd do the route to the nearest BART station then up to El Cerrito to see my brother, his wife and my nephew. No idea when I will next see them.
You have to book long in advance to hike half Dome... or queue to take the place of no shows.
Is this hypothetical or are you actually only in California for a day?
I am from California, and if you can give yourself more than a day, that would be the best haha.
But otherwise, what part of California will you be in?
Hypothetical? Yes, but only as far as climbing is concerned. It’s just a bit of a pipe dream wondering if I could climb in Yosemite, or somewhere really worthwhile. However I plan to be in the states for maybe 2 weeks as part of round the world trip of maybe 4/5 weeks. The first week in the US in NC then Yellowstone. The 2nd California.
Thanks for replying, I thought this thread had run dry. I do think the suggestion of Cathedral Peak sounds like a winner, but open tonother suggestions, as others have made.
I was in San Francisco for work a few years back and had a spare day at the end. I hired a car at the airport, left my work gear in left luggage and drove to Yosemite. I stayed longer than a day - I stayed overnight at camp 4. Yosemite was incredible. El Cap is insanely huge. It was a long way to drive for a days walking around the park but never regretted it.
Thanks. Hoping the trip will come off, given the current virus situation
Sorry for the late response. Hope the pipe dream could happen! Plan ahead and make sure to find someone if you are keen on doing some big wall climbing out in Yosemite. Avoid summers at Yosemite at all cost, due to scorching heat and horrible amount of tourists. Autumn going into winter and mid-late spring time should be the best times.
Cathedral Peak for sure is a winner. If you are only looking at the northern part of California. If you happen to find yourself in southern California. Tahquitz in Idyllwild and Joshua Tree National Park (JTNP) for trad. Holcomb Valley, JTNP, Malibu Creek State Park and Echo Cliffs for sport climbing.
But there is plenty to explore just in the northern part. Best of luck to you! California has loads to explore, so better plan for several trips.
No worries. Thanks for taking the time to get back.
California is a big place with hundreds of world-class climbing venues, so it very much depends where you are staying in California and on the time of year. Don't underestimate the driving times (particularly if there is bad traffic in, say, the Los Angeles basin) nor the scale of your climbing objectives.
If in the Los Angeles area, and not in the winter, I would probably just go to Joshua Tree and do several classic 5.9's.
If in northern California, Yosemite/Toulomne are of course a top choice, but the first hassle is accommodation, even if camping. Toulomne doesn't usually open up until June. Right in the park or up at Toulomne is very convenient but tends to get very booked up and is expensive. Outside the park is cheaper, but then you have the drive in to contend with. I often drive in from Sacramento, but it is a good three-hour drive. Whatever you do, start very, very early, e.g., even with Cathedral Peak, it is best to start the walk-in before dawn, to beat the queues and avoid afternoon thunderstorms.
If you are in the Tahoe area, Lover's Leap would be a very good choice, both for your grade and its easy accessibility.
Thanks. Don’t think we’ll be as far south as LA but you’re right. There’s just sooooo many places that d love to visit and just not enough time. Well not in my plans anyway
Another vote for Cathedral Peak, a superb climb on more or less any line with a very cool top out and breath taking views!
I would also suggest visiting Mariposa grove to view the giant sequoias trees! I remember seeing them on an early morning educational programme as a child and so when we got our trip of a lifetime to Yosemite it was a must for me to go and see them, much to the disappointment of my climbing partners, but it was mind blowing and totally worthwhile!
Of course you must stand under El cap to be mind blown once again! Hope you get there one day, you won’t regret it!