Old TR: 2004 Southern Yosemite Domes

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Wandering Daisy
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Old TR: 2004 Southern Yosemite Domes

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Oct 25, 2020 9:01 pm

105_0577_Fresno Dome.jpg
I did this trip over Memorial Day weekend in 2004 with Dave, my husband, although we were not married at this time. It was one of my scheduled trips I lead for the CMS but nobody else signed up. There is an old guidebook of the area, “Southern Yosemite Rock Climbs”, Spencer, 1988 that also includes some climbs in Yosemite NP. I do not know if it is currently available or if much climbing is done there now. Unfortunately, this area probably was severely burned in 2020 wildfires. I put this trip report in the CMC Newsletter, but do not think I ever posted it here in HST.



Day 1. Drive, set up camp and check out a climb

After early lunch in Oakhurst, we headed towards “The Balls” taking a narrow paved road for 20 miles, then about 7 miles on a bumpy dirt road to the no-fee Bowler Group Campsite. Two constitutes a group, right? All sites had 12-foot picnic tables and room for several tents. After setting up camp, we went to Boulder Garden Slab, scoped it out. We saw that “First Lead” had new bolts so Dave led the short climb. We returned to camp for dinner and a nice evening campfire. We decided to continue climbing on the wall the next day.

Two photos below that I cannot exactly place.
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Day 2. Climb on Boulder Garden Slab and check out Squaw Dome

I lead “First Lead” to set a top rope to climb four climbs from 5.6 to 5.9 that had old bolts and appeared excessively run-out. The ratings were accurate, but the definition of a “crack” on “Aquarius” (5.7) was liberal – it was basically a water mark! New chains were visible for several other routes but we could not discern if the bolts were new or old.

So we embarked on a reconnaissance drive. Squaw Dome looked promising however the approach was questionable. The roads to the trailheads into northern Yosemite were open but muddy.
105_0581_Boulder Garden Slab.jpg



Day 3. Climbs on Golden Toad

Next morning we decided on The Golden Toad because it had an obvious access. The 5.6 “South Face Arch” had some unprotected stretches so we opted for the 5.6 “Eye of the Needle”. Dave started up the first pitch, and at the “eye” saw only a steep runout wall. I gave it a try, squeezed awkwardly through the eye (5.6), beat my way through a brushy 30 feet ledge to a squeeze chimney, continuing upward with excessive rope drag. Not aesthetic, but safe. The next pitch was trivial 3rd class. The third pitch was a short 5.5 face climb next to a low angle dihedral. The last pitch was the best – a full 60 meters of 5.5 chickenheads. Protection was mainly tie-offs. The “fourth class walk-off” required a rappel. This was a very adventuresome climb!
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Day 4. Fresno Dome

We broke camp and drove over to Fresno Dome. When we reached the base of the climbs we luckily ran into locals who pointed us to a new 5-pitch 5.7 climb called “Whiskey Bill.” This was my early season lead practice- I got to do all pitches! After three pitches of exciting 5.5-5.6 (with new bolts) climbing on chickenheads, the route intersects the top two pitches “Easy Wind” just after the 5.9 crux. The fourth pitch was the crux for me- it was a solid 5.7, difficult to protect, with an awkward step from a crack to thin face. We ate lunch on the top of this pitch on a big ledge. The last pitch is a 5.4 unprotected layback up the crack on the photo to the left. I felt more secure with squeeze chimney techniques, so turned it into a 5.7! An easy walk from the top back to the car ended our great Memorial Day trip.
105_0589_Whiskey Bill.jpg
105_0594_Fresno Dome.jpg
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gary c.
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Re: Old TR: 2004 Southern Yosemite Domes

Post by gary c. » Tue Oct 27, 2020 9:07 am

I'm not a climber but always love pictures of the granite. Thanks for sharing.
"On this proud and beautiful mountain we have lived hours of fraternal, warm and exalting nobility. Here for a few days we have ceased to be slaves and have really been men. It is hard to return to servitude."
-- Lionel Terray

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