Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fairview Dome and Central Pillar of Frenzy

I took two days off from a work trip to meet Stewart in Tuolumne.  We climbed the Regular Route on Fairview Dome (5.9, 12 pitches) and the Central Pillar of Frenzy on Middle Cathedral (5.9, 5 pitches) Pictures are up on Picasa:

Here are my notes:
Tuesday, 9/30
  • Regular Route, Fairview Dome.  5.9, 12 pitches.   We  started around 9am, after hesitating a bit due to some suspicious moderately puffy clouds building in the sky.  They didn't look too bad, but the weather report I had yesterday suggested a 40% of rain (though not thundershowers).  In the end we decided to go for it, bringing an extra rope so we could bail quickly if needed; we figured we could come back the next day to retrieve gear if needed.  There was one party ahead of us on the route, they were at the top of the 1st pitch when we started.  We swung leads, with Stewart taking the crux first pitch, which probably went at 5.9+ given the wet conditions.  Stewart took a fall at the crux, got it the second try, and continued to the higher belay at the tree.  That gave me the (now short) second pitch; Stewart got the beautiful third pitch, and I took the 4th, bringing us through the 5.8 pitches (though after the first pitch, the other 3 felt easy).  From there, Stewart led a long pitch, I led another pitch (which we finished with some simuling), and then Stewart led a long simul block to the summit.  The other party was moving at about the same speed, we passed them at the very top when we were simul-climbing and they were still pitching it out.  We summited around 1:30pm, so about four and a half hours climbing ... not bad for a 12 pitch route.
Wednesday, 10/1:
  • Central Pillar of Frenzy, Middle Cathedral.  5.9, 5 pitches.  Super classic, five pitches of 5.8 - 5.9 cracks of all sizes.  Easily one of the best routes I've every climbed.   More beta and some good pictures from summitpost.  I led the first pitch, which worked me a little bit, but the rest was a blast.  The 5.8 "offwidth" on p3 isn't bad at all, cupped hands and a few fist jams with good feet, only one short awkward section --- you do probably want 4 or so pieces in the 3.5 -4" range to protect it well, you could possibly get by with a couple fewer if you are willing to run it out or walk them up.
  • Bishop's Terrace, Church Bowl (2 pitches, 5.8, climbed as a single 200' pitch).  Another beautiful line with a little bit of everything.  Amazingly we didn't have to wait in line for this one.  Stewart led this last time we were in the valley, so this time I got the sharp end.  Only key beta: make sure you save a #2 BD for the last 15' of perfect hands, and save a #4 for the wide section at about 2/3rds height.  There are solid rests every 10-20', and plenty of good gear options.  If doing it as a single pitch you probably want to solo the first 15' step, then you can cover another 20' of easy ground before placing gear.
My apologies for the crappy formatting, btw, ... pasting into the blogger edit window from Google docs works (how to put this?) ... poorly. And it's nice outside and I don't feel like wrestling with blogger to get it to look better.