Saturday, August 27 – Sunday, August 28, 2011
Stately Pleasure Dome, Pywiack Dome & Dozier Dome, Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park
Brandon & Nick
Nick (unless otherwise noted as Brandon)
Brandon and I headed up to Tuolumne Meadows for a great weekend of climbing on some classic multi-pitch dome routes: (i) Great White Book on Stately Pleasure Dome, (ii) Holdless Horror on Dozier Dome, (iii) Zee Tree on Pywiack Dome and (iv) Errett Out on Dozier Dome. The weather was great and the scenery spectacular.
I also got to try out my new camera for shots from the ground (as I would never climb with this thing): a Canon 60D with a Canon 15-85mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens. All climbing shots (and shots from the summits) are with my much smaller Panasonic LX-3.
On the drive in Saturday morning, the skies were very overcast and there was some very sporadic rain (in quantity, location and time-lapse). We got a little worried, as rain + granite slab = no fun. However, the rain didn’t seem to impact the Tuolumne area (other than about 2 minutes of very light rain over Tenaya Lake) and the skies eventually cleared up during the day.
Half Dome from Olmstead Point in the early-morning, overcast sky.
Tenaya Lake in the early morning rain. Fortunately, it stopped quickly and Stately Pleasure Dome was essentially dry.
Stately Pleasure Dome – The Great White Book
Brandon and I first headed over to Stately Pleasure Dome to climb The Great White Book, a 4-5 pitch (depending on what you pitch out or link up) 5.6R that offers some very unique climbing up a dihedral. The second and third pitches are very runout with little pro, so despite the rating, the climbing is definitely interesting! Neither Brandon or I had climbed the route, so we were pretty excited to show up and be the first group on the rock.
After walking up the 3rd/4th class at the bottom, Brandon getting ready to set up the belay for the beginning of the climb, with the clouds starting to clear.
Nick leading up the 1st pitch, a great off-width crack heading up the dihedral. Generally, the climbing is straight-forward and very unique, offering the ability to lean against the upper part of the “open book” and march your feet up the lower par. Photo: Brandon
Another party to our left of the 1st belay ledge, with Tenaya Lake in the background.
Brandon leading up over a bulge on the 2nd pitch.
Looking up at the climb from the base after hiking back down – The Great White Book is the large prominent crack system on the right side of the climb. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any pictures of the popular run-out 2nd and 3rd pitches where the “open book” characteristics really shine.
Wild Lupine (I think?) growing next to Tenaya Lake. This was in full bloom throughout Tuolumne Meadows.
Just messing around with the new camera rig at the base of Stately Pleasure Dome – she was camera shy.
The tools of the trade. One of the best parts of The Great White Book was the excuse to use the rarely seen #4 and #5 BD Camelots! The #5 is comically large.
Dozier Dome – The Great White Book
After finishing the route, we headed over the Dozier Dome to climb Holdless Horror, a nice 5.7 that I had climbed with Colin two years prior. At the time, Colin and I had climbed the route very early in the season and the rock was pretty wet from snow-runoff. So I was excited to get back in better conditions.
The climbing is excellent, with a nice crack system offering ample protection, but most of the climbing actually done stemming the faces to the left and right of the crack.
Brandon leading up high on the 1st pitch.
Nick took the second pitch, which offered some great climbing! Better than I remember in fact. Photos: Brandon
The route actually continues on for 2 more pitches, but rolls out of view from the photo above.
Brandon walking over to the rap station on the summit, with sweeping views in the distance.
After finishing the route and rapping down, we headed over to Whoa Nellie Deli on the Eastside for the typical post-Tuolumne meal. The sun was setting as we drove through Tuolumne Meadows proper.
Pywiack Dome – Zee Tree
We woke up on Sunday to the amazing views the Eastern Sierra typically offers.
Heading back to Tuolumne Meadows over Tioga Pass, we were treated to the awesome views of Dana Plateau – still holding some snow in late August!
The Third Pillar of Dana – one day I hope, although I am a long-ways away both physically and mentally.
We headed over to Pywiack Dome to climb Zee Tree, a very fun and varied 5 pitch 5.7 that ends with a spectacular summit. I had climbed this route two year ago with Colin, but we rapped down in lieu of the last pitch as Colin was still injured from a ski accident and we didn’t want to have to hike down. Therefore, I was excited to go back and lead the last pitch 5.7 lieback – as it looked awesome.
This photo was taken after we hiked back down, and you can see a party heading up the 2nd pitch (the 1st pitch is just a fifth class walk-up without pro). The route works its way up until the headwall, then heads up a crack section in the shadowed corner of the headwall on the top.
Looking down from the top of the 2nd belay, with the road and base down below.
Most of the route offers straight-forward slab technique, but the last pitch finish offers a great vertical lie-back crack. Nick leading the last pitch. Photo: Brandon
After setting up the belay, Brandon following up to the summit with some awesome exposure below! [Disclaimer: Brandon climbed up to the right of me, and I didn’t have the camera out, so I made him go back down and stage this shot for effect! :D ]
The summit of Pywiack Dome offers sweeping 360 degree views. We had been the first team on the route in the morning and made very quick time, so we chilled a bit up top before heading back to Dozier Dome. Photo: Brandon
A panorama from the top of Pywiack Dome looking North/North East, including Cathedral Peak, Dozier Dome, Medlicott Dome, Mariuolumne Dome and even Mount Conness in the far distance.
Brandon taking in the views towards Cathedral Peak.
Dozier Dome – Errett Out
We then headed over to Dozier Dome to climb Errett Out. Brandon lead the first pitch, and during the second I got off route as the bolts were hard to see on the light-blasted rock. I think I ended up on the second pitch of Bit by Bit (and you can actually link the two intentionally if you make the transition lower at the belay station). Regardless, it was a fun climb, but we didn’t really pull the camera out other than at one of the rap stations on the way down:
A great weekend, all in all.