/ Super easy one day route in Yosemite valley
I'm going to california on a 2-3 week family holiday july 19 and will take in yosemite for 3 days. Assuming it will be baking hot and with limited time/experience/ability in the area, I'm looking for a short, super easy route somewhere in the valley that will give great views of El Cap etc
Any recommendations would be great, cheers
What do you mean by 'super easy'?
Snake Dike (5.7) Snake Dike has to be one of the best positioned easy routes on earth. It's a big day out with the walk in and out from the village but it's worth it. Can't remember if you can see El Cap from the top but you won't care.
Royal Arches is another easy cracker on the other side of the valley.
I generally climb routes around HVS-E1 therefore, if I end up climbing multiple pitches i want it to be enjoyable and stress free and at a much lower grade
East buttress on middle cathedral was great. You can aid past the trickier pitch on a bolt ladder
> I'd recommend Braille Book (5.8) - enjoyable and a short walk in, though the crux pitch seemed quite pokey for a 5.8
Great route, but the approach is quite long and uphill. Mountain Project says 1.5 hours.
It's obviously got shorter in my memory! but at least it is a lot shorter than the Snake Dyke approach.
I chose Regular Route on Sunnyside Bench in almost identical circumstances and it proved to be ideal for us. Like you I (then) lead HVS/E1 but my wife's very much an occasional seconder up to VS. A pleasant flat stroll from any of the valley campsites. Can't see El Cap from it but it's adjacent to Yosemite Falls and you can get to the fantastic pools from it.
Another time I did Munginella at 5 Open Books as a starter route. I recall it seeming quite conventional if not easy for 5.6.
Let me know how you get on.
Nutcracker is an obvious choice and likely to be popular.
Also The Grack routes and Harry Daley at the base of Glacier Point Apron are accessible and stress free.
as you'll be there in summer , I'd definitely recommend snake dike as it's up high, so not as baking hot as most other routes. the walk in is rather long, but the walk in itself ( mist trail , nevada fall,vernal fall ) is worth doing , so as you only have 3 days in the valley, half dome is a good choice imo.
climbingwise, only the first 2.5 pitches are a bit more difficult (5.7), once you get to the dike, it's just easy and fun. And, as said above, one of the very best moderate routes around.
Lots of ace stuff on "Manure Pile" -- e.g. https://www.mountainproject.com/route/105862639/after-six
Lots of stuff on the Manure Pile will meet all of your requirements, many of the above suggestions are great but not short.
Get a dawn start to beat the crowds and the heat on busy routes like After 6 or Nutcracker.
It's a two hour drive but in July its likely to be more comfortable climbing temps up in toloume meadows and its stunning up there too!
Tenaya Peak and Cathedral Peaks have easy and spectacular routes - Tenaya you can solo and walk off and Cathedral requires abseils or descending at diff level. I've not done Snake Dike but it is supposed to be 4*
I'd certainly recommend Snake Dike, but I wouldn't underestimate the route and 5.7 is a real sandbag! It would also take up a big chunk of your time in The Valley.
A more accessible option, but still a very fine route, is Super Slide
Or if you are tempted by the advice to head up to Tuolumne Meadows then The Regular Route on Fairview Dome is outstanding and gets you a "50 classic climbs in North America" tick
Both the latter can be done in a short day (or even half a day if you move quickly).
> I'd recommend Braille Book (5.8) - enjoyable and a short walk in, though the crux pitch seemed quite pokey for a 5.8.
It might only be 5.8 but it felt like very stiff HVS 5b/ borderline E1 5b to me when I was climbing at the OP's stated grade so not really an 'easy' option. It's also quite long and sustained.
The Royal Arches route would be a nice and easy but big day out at about HS 4b, perhaps VS on the first pitch. It also has a wild multi rappel descent.
Nutcracker is a bit shorter but slightly harder, about VS 5a.
There's also quite a bit of shorter stuff at The Church Bowl, single and 2 or 3 pitch pitch routes at reasonable grades, Bishop's Terrace for example (5.8).
Thanks all for the info, I'm pleased that theres plenty of steady climbing to be had.
I'll be looking for a partner as none of my family will climb, is there a mountain/ranger office where climbers looking for partners can leave contact details? Or is it now done online?
I've even considered using a guide as I'll probably only climb for one day and therefore want to avoid any faff.
There is a gear shop in Curry Village which is also the Valley guides base so you could easily sort out a guide or..... role the dice and walk into camp 4 and see if anyone is game?
You could always try posting something on the SuperTopo or Mountain Project forums?
I was there on my own a couple of years ago and had a superb day out with a Yosemite Guide. We did a 6 pitch route on Manure Pile (CS Concerto 5.8) then a series of two and single pitch routes from the base. A great day out.
Post a note on the Camp 4 notice board (or check for others posting on there), or as suggested above post on SuperTopo
Super Slide (5.9) was fairly steady by Yosemite standards, only one 5.9 pitch at the top, and barely any walk in. Snake Dike is great, but expect 4 hours walk in, 4 hours to climb the route, and 4 hours to walk out. A big day. East Buttress of middle cathedral is continually hard, multiple pitches at around HVS or so, and walking down the back takes a while. The '50 crowded variation' going out right is far better, going free at about E1 for that pitch, but still probably a bit harder than what you are after. Given that it's likely to be roasting in July, probably better heading up to Tuolumne. There is a great 5.6 / vs going up Cathedral Peak, about 6 pitches long, maybe 90 minutes walk in, think it was called southeast buttress.
Surprised Royal Arches didn’t get more shouts as it’s super easy (low VS?) and easy to get down from, very accessible and you could go for a beer in the Lodge afterwards (non? Shockingly I suddenly realise it is nearly a decade since my visit).
but you won’t regret doing Nutcracker or the Grack. Munginella was good too.
Royal Arches! Super accessible. 13 pitches of HS. Fun and variety the whole way. It even has a rope swing. Awesome views of the valley.
Put a notice up at camp 4 for a partner.
> Royal Arches!
Great day out, you just need to decide how to get off. Walk off in the dark was a bit much, which is a danger with such a long route. You can rap off, but I think you miss one of the best pitches.
A couple of observations on some of the recommendations above, naturally to be presaged with "in my view"!
Tuolomne Meadows is a good option for the cooler days at 8000 feet. Whilst there Cathedral Peak SE Buttress is brilliant for what you want, being not too long and with a pleasant walk to and from. Regular Route on Fairview Dome, whilst being brilliant, is decidedly not, since its first pitch is full on E1. Most other Tuolomne routes I've done tend to be run-out and the climbing takes a bit of getting used to - time you won't have in a 3 day visit.
Royal Arches is probably a suitable climb if a little long but the descent is long, hard to find and frightening in parts. 12 years since we were there and I think the abseils are better now - but there are a lot of them!
> A couple of observations on some of the recommendations above, naturally to be presaged with "in my view"!
> Tuolomne Meadows is a good option for the cooler days at 8000 feet. Whilst there Cathedral Peak SE Buttress is brilliant for what you want, being not too long and with a pleasant walk to and from. Regular Route on Fairview Dome, whilst being brilliant, is decidedly not, since its first pitch is full on E1. Most other Tuolomne routes I've done tend to be run-out and the climbing takes a bit of getting used to - time you won't have in a 3 day visit.
The good thing about regular route is that once you've dome the first ptich you know that you've got it in the bag ;)
> Royal Arches is probably a suitable climb if a little long but the descent is long, hard to find and frightening in parts. 12 years since we were there and I think the abseils are better now - but there are a lot of them!
The abseils were pretty straightforward when we used them in 2014, even more so if you take a second rope to allow full 70m abseils, everyone laughed at me for carrying a second rope whilst we passed them on the way up but I had the last laugh when we were enjoying lunchtime beers at Curry Village ;)
many of the routes suggested do not have views of el cap (as requested), as they are on the same side of the valley as the big stone.
You said you climb HVS/E1 but wanted much easier. But left much undefined, so it was hard for people to know if you wanted VDiff or VS?
1. go on mountain project and find a partner closer to the date. you could put a note on the camp 4 board.
2. book as soon as poss if you want a guide, to make sure they are available
3. middle cathedral has great views of el cap, but in case you don't know, the valley floor (the meadow) has great views almost from the car
4. if you go with a guide, they know the valley better than anyone and grade will not matter, so I would suggest a 5.9 or 5.10 on middle cathedral
5. if you go with someone climbing a lower grade then to me snake dyke is one of the world's best routes. your family if they are used to heights could meet you on top!
6. royal arches is a nice route, but IMHO not great, ditto nut cracker etc
7. Tuolomne Meadows is fantastic, and you should take the family up there. It is a whole day trip. There you will find 5.6 to 5.8 of very high quality. and great swimming for the family.
I just wasn't too enamoured with the climbing on Royal Arches, it felt a bit rambling, ledgy, and uninteresting - though the last slabby traverse pitch was a bit more involved. A better way to get up to North Dome, but not something I'd fly halfway around the world for.
Another option (though the approach wasn't too straightforward) would be Regular Route (5.9) on Higher Cathedral Spire. Really good views from up there, and right opposite El Cap.
If the OP likes hand jamming as much as me, he wouldn't go wrong with Sons of Yesterday (5.10a), though he will probably need someone to take him up Serenity Crack first - as I don't think you can get to the base of it otherwise - though I may be wrong.
To echo others, if not using a guide, just go for Snake Dike.
We did Cathedral Peak in a day from Yosemite Valley and it's pure joy - several alternatives all of which I'm sure are just as good. Snake Dike is amazing but it is a very big day out. We abbed off Royal Arches before the top because we were worried about the walk off in the dark and were also a bit worried about missing abseil points in low light if we took the alternative descent - ok we're wusses but it didn't make for a relaxing day, and the climbing wasn't great. Nutcracker was a lovely route and will only take you half a day but it's an outcrop route. You could do Regular Route easily in a day from Yosemite Valley and the climbing and situations are top notch although the quality of the climbing kind of peters out towards the top - it felt about HVS to me on the first three pitches, certainly not full on E1 as stated above.
If I was only going to do one route in the area I'd head out of the valley and do Cathedral Peak. If it was a valley route with grades in hand I'd go for Snake Dike and accept that every bit of one of your three days will be spent on the route.
Couple of thoughts:
1. There will be nesting restrictions in force at that time of year that will effect a lot of the climbing areas.
2. Hiring a guide should allow you to maximize your short time in the valley however they probably won't let you lead.
Average high temps in Yosemite in July are around 90 degrees Farenheit (32 degrees Celsius), but if you are in the sun it is going to feel worse than that. As many people have said, go up to Tuolumne (where it will still be warm).
If you insist on a day in the Valley, I think recommendations like Manure Pile Buttress are kinda missing the point. The climbs are ok, but it's really just an outcrop, and a very popular one at that---you don't journey to Yosemite for that experience.
I'm going to make an idiosyncratic recommendation: Arrowhead Arete. An old-school classic that reaches a summit, it has fallen into undeserved obscurity (which is a good thing in a crowded area). Eight pitches, 700 feet of climbing, with longish approach and descent (maybe 2 hrs for each). It used to be 5.8, now graded 5.9, but there is only one 5.9 pitch and you can pull on gear if it is too stiff.
No views of El Cap, but very nice views of Half Dome.
Snake Dike is a lovely climb, with a much longer approach and descent (six miles to the base, nine miles back) then AA. The 5.7 start is likely to seem harder than that if you aren't used to Yosemite friction slabs, so beware. The pitches on the dike above are easy and delightful but (at least when I did it many years ago) are totally unprotected, so again be ready.
You can find a ton of information and pictures on Supertopo; For the Arrowhead Arete, I'd start at http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/Yosemite-Valley-Arrowhead-Arete-Arrowhead-Arete .
UK climbers normally leading HVS / E1 can be completely unexpected on what Yosemite big route logistics can mean and even grade issues like what 5.7 slab will be UK graded (its often pushing 5a, as an example the SPD South Crack bold slab I'd give E1 4c/5a). Of the big routes Regular Route on Fairview is the one I'd recommend, if you can beat the queues, as its cooler at a hot time of year and safe (a sustained HVS..... 5b on the first pitch getting slightly easier as you ascend, then Severe for the top pitches). Even then the massively exposed unprotectable descent might be a bit spooky for a first visitor. The Cathedral Peak or Tenaya Peak routes would be stress free.
Mountain Project is really good for getting partners.. with a strong partner who knows the park a lot of stress will be taken out and many big routes up to 5.10a become possible.
I'd go for the regular route on Fairview as well. A very nice climb in a beautiful setting, and probably a lot better than baking in the Yosemite oven in July.
If Cathedral Peak appeals, as it should, then I'd recommend the even-better (and possibly less crowded) West Ridge of Mt. Conness at the same moderate difficulty. See http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/Tuolumne-Meadows-Mt-Conness-West-Ridge
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