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Red Dihedral (aka "Yggdrasil") 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches, 1500', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Bard, Farrell, Locke - June 1975
Season: July - August
Page Views: 43,266
Submitted By: Chris Owen on Aug 22, 2006

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BETA PHOTO: Red Dihedral follows the line - dashed line repres...


This long strenuous route is a back country classic, and one of Peter Croft's "Big Four Free Climbs" of the High Sierra (see Peter's book here).

Free topo at

Start early, or move fast, or both. A very popular climb for the High Sierra.

Start on the right side of the west wall - close to where the descent gully emerges. Class 3 ledges lead left across the face.

P1 - Class 4 ramp/cracks lead to the first stiff bit - a 5.8 bulge above a short corner - a couple of moves regain easier climbing and a ledge below a steep vee chimney.

P2 (long pitch) - A technical, steep, and strenuous pitch. The chimney is tricky, follow cracks and vertical flakes up and right, with another cruxy move before the old stance (and a bolt) - keep going up enjoyable and technical moves until right underneath the Red Dihedral, stiff final moves lead to a small footledge (small pieces), rappel slings located here. Some sparse protection in places.

P3 (CRUX) - Your mates big lead. Steep and sustained 5.10- dihedral with good pro to the best rest beneath the bulge, over the bulge (5.10) to a step right, then big flakes to a belay alcove - a super-classic pitch.

P4 (long pitch) - Around onto the exposed ramp which leads steeply to easier ground, with strenuous steeper bits (5.9), followed by a 5.6 ramp/groove to a ledge below the "Splitter Crack".

P5 (200ft) - Nice approach to the splitter @ 5.10a (pure and classic), or a dihedral to the left at 5.9 (more varied) - it all depends upon what you like. Continue up more steep steps and cracks barely reaching a notch beneath the "Shattered Pillar".

P6 - Left of the pillar, corner and cracks lead to a fierce lttle lieback and a superfluous bolt. Ledges then to a 5.8 lieback, then a ledge on the left.

P7 - Up the easy corner/slab, then right beneath an overlap to a steep crack through a horizontal crack with a bulge (5.9) to step right onto a ledge/ramp, go right then up a steep crack, wander then to a ledge below a corner, and a wavy crack.

P8 - The corner and crack (5.7) lead to a slab and the notch in the north ridge.

P9 - The Class 3 ledge easily (with a final exposed step) to a chimney jammed with big blocks.

P10 - The chimney at 5.8, over blocks to a large ledge.

P11 (short) - The 5.8 corner behind (will it ever end?) and up the sandy ledge (ugh) to the bottom of the final chimney.

P12 - The chimney (5.6) to the "Keyhole" where you make your final strenuous effort and are finally birthed by the Red Dihedral. Big people will have trouble - shed all gear.

See descent on Incredible Hulk page.


On the right side of the west wall, up a shallow buttress of somewhat less monolithic rock - the actual dihedral can be seen here too.


Full rack of cams with doubles in the 1" to 1.5" sizes. Wires and small cams are useful for some of the belay anchors.

Photos of Red Dihedral (aka "Yggdrasil") Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the splitter pitch. So good! Photo by...
Looking down the splitter pitch. So good! Photo by...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pat Price coming up the spliter crack of Pitch 5.
Pat Price coming up the spliter crack of Pitch 5.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down the stellar hand crack on pitch 5.
Looking down the stellar hand crack on pitch 5.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Incredible Hulk
BETA PHOTO: The Incredible Hulk
Rock Climbing Photo: Scary, nasty descent.  Best to be done while there...
Scary, nasty descent. Best to be done while there...
Rock Climbing Photo: Erica M exits the Red Dihedral
Erica M exits the Red Dihedral
Rock Climbing Photo: Tony Tennessee on P5 - Splitter Crack seen above
Tony Tennessee on P5 - Splitter Crack seen above
Rock Climbing Photo: Getting ready to take on the penultimate pitch.
BETA PHOTO: Getting ready to take on the penultimate pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on Pitch 3 (Red Dihedral)
Climbers on Pitch 3 (Red Dihedral)
Rock Climbing Photo: If you start just before the 5.8 bulge, a 70m will...
BETA PHOTO: If you start just before the 5.8 bulge, a 70m will...
Rock Climbing Photo: Patrick leading my fav pitch of the route.
Patrick leading my fav pitch of the route.
Rock Climbing Photo: Fred Batliner starts P2
Fred Batliner starts P2
Rock Climbing Photo: Having Fun on the hulk
Having Fun on the hulk
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing on the Red Dihedral. The namesake dihedra...
Climbing on the Red Dihedral. The namesake dihedra...
Rock Climbing Photo: The hand crack on pitch 5 perfect splits an otherw...
The hand crack on pitch 5 perfect splits an otherw...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 11 & 12 Chimney
Pitch 11 & 12 Chimney
Rock Climbing Photo: Two Towers
Two Towers
Rock Climbing Photo: SPLITTER
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from middle of the eponymous pitch
Looking down from middle of the eponymous pitch
Rock Climbing Photo: TT traversing the Class 3 ledge of P9
TT traversing the Class 3 ledge of P9
Rock Climbing Photo: To the top we go!
To the top we go!
Rock Climbing Photo: Exiting the "birth canal" ("Womb wi...
Exiting the "birth canal" ("Womb wi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Erica M nears the end of Pitch 2.
Erica M nears the end of Pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Great climbing and great scenery on the Red Dihedr...
Great climbing and great scenery on the Red Dihedr...

Show All 37 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Red Dihedral (aka "Yggdrasil") Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 18, 2015
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Sep 10, 2006

Thanks AJ. Just showed my 3 year old your lizard picture, now he knows a new word: "Chuckwalla"!
By Jim Donini
Jun 8, 2007

The Red Dihedral is a very good not great route. I give it three stars. Good climbing on above average rock and not too sustained.
By John Dubrawski
Jul 3, 2007
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

We did it in a day, starting at 3AM and using mountain bikes for the initial section. We passed three parties who had hiked in their bivvy gear and created base camps. On the way back, the bikes added an enjoyable single-track ride to the end of an already thrilling day. If you move fast enough, there is extra time for afternoon swimming in Twin Lakes (back at the car). Now, if only my climbing partner had believed me about bringing sandals / extra approach shoes for the creek...
By david goldstein
Jul 3, 2007

I agree w/ Jim D. The Red Dihedral pitch itself is the only really great one.

Re the hole at the finish: as long as the leader doesn't place any gear w/in it, the second can easily traverse around it.
By M.Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Jul 9, 2007

Incredible route, comparable to the Casual Route on the Diamond in both difficulty and length.

The original name of the route is "Yggdrasil" - a mythological tree of Norse lore connecting the realms of heaven and hell. Ironically, the "red" dihedral is not particularly red at all.
By snowhazed
From: Oakland, Ca
Oct 1, 2008

Can be done in 7 pitches with a 70m. Very nice.
By Rick D
From: Reno, NV
Dec 10, 2008

Does anybody have any beta(i.e. season, parking, time, etc) on skinning in round spring time?
By ccmski
From: Prescott, AZ
Oct 17, 2009
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Agree with Donini. The dihedral pitch is sustained and the exit exciting and the 10 handcrack above the notch is great as well. Personally, I thought the climbing on the Mithral on Russell was better.
By Brady Robinson
Jul 25, 2010

Very nice route, but Positive Vibrations is quite a bit better!
By eDixon
From: Durango, Colorado
Aug 4, 2011

I agree that the Red Dihedral has some good climbing in an amazing setting, but overall is probably over-hyped. Outside of the Red Dihedral pitch and the handcrack splitter higher up, nothing is all that memorable. I thought that Mithril was a better route at the 10- grade and Positive is definitely in a different league all together. Cool route though.
By Ryan Williams
From: London (sort of)
Sep 13, 2011
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

Did this route in late August. It was my first true Grade IV, first route in the High Sierra... first route in the high anything. I felt like it was a pretty good intro... not much 5.10 but still a ton of climbing and none of the pitches should be taken lightly.

We were slow and it took us all day. We walked down in the dark. It was also our fourth day climbing together, ever, and my fourth day climbing after a two month hiatus. We took our time and there were no fast transitions at the belays, so I'd like to think we could have been much faster under different circumstances.

Still a huge route, and I can't imagine doing anything on the Hulk car to car w/o having been up there before and being used to approaching and climbing in the High Sierra.

Don't underestimate the descent. If you don't find the rap before dark, you'll be spending the night up there. I know you can rap off the face w/ a 70m via PV anchors... ask around 'cuz walking down the scree gully kind of sucked.

Finally, I'll echo the comments about the route being over hyped. It's got two outstanding pitches on it, several more good ones and quite a bit of forgettable climbing. Definitely NOT the "Best 5.10 I Ever Did" as was stated in the mags.

Great route none the less, and will leave you wanting to go back for PV. I know I will.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 1, 2012

The majority of 5.10 climbers out there will find Red Dihedral to be a full day in the alpine and a fantastic experience. It would be highly foolish to cross this one off your list just because some people here have lost perspective in order to play the cool kid. Quality alpine rock on fun, mostly sustained climbing while ascending one of the cooler hunks of stone in the Sierras. Yeah, sounds totally lame ;).

If the rock quality isn't up to snuff for you, go to Temple Crag and report back.

My partner and I found some of the 5.9 climbing to be a little more spicy and sustained than advertised. Pitch 2 in particular relied on technical climbing over small protection.

Doubles from fingers up to 3" with triples in 0.5" (purple Camalot-sized) and 0.75" (green Camalot-sized) proved very nice and allowed some pitch linking. Additionally, brassies (and some peenuts) as well as a set of DMM aluminum offsets were used.
By coreylee
From: Sacramento, CA
Oct 2, 2012

Great route, better (and harder) then the Casual Route on the Diamond. The dihedral and the splitter pitches are certainly memorable but I thought every pitch, minus the last, were enjoyable.

The Hulk is a beautiful piece of stone and the alpine setting creates the perfect adventure. Have fun and crush!
By Nick Barczak
Jul 1, 2013
rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

If you scramble/simul up to the "5.8 bulge" shown in the SuperTopo and belay from there, you can reach the base of the dihedral with a 70M rope.

The 100 ft leading into the dihedral, and the dihedral pitch itself are the hardest bits of climbing. After that, everything feels really soft for the grade (even the "10a splitter hands" section) and the climbing becomes more ledge-y. You can move pretty fast. We did the whole thing in 8 pitches, but only because we didn't feel like linking those last, dirty bits together.

My advice would be, do this route car-to-car. Its just not sustained enough to warrant camping up there. Although, the camping is very nice (when the mosquitoes aren't terrible).

All in all, a good route. Not GREAT, but good. Of course, I've lost perspective because we climbed it at the tail-end of a big Sierra trip where we basically only climbed 5-star routes from The Needles to Tuolumne.
By Nelson Day
From: Joshua Tree, CA
Jul 2, 2013
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

+1 for the 70m linkup of pitches 1&2 as posted. We solo'd up to the 5.8 bulge and belayed there. I was on double 60m ropes and was short of the base of the dihedral by about 40 feet when I stopped and built an intermediate belay. I think I had about 25 feet of rope left and didn't want to run out of rope before making the belay. The first 5.9 pitch is heads up - don't fall! If you are a budding 5.10 leader, I would not recommend this climb. A leader in the party ahead of us took a really nasty fall at the first 5.9 section. If you are solid at moderate 5.10, you should not have any problem.
By ErichPurpur
Jun 24, 2014


I lost my sleeping bag on the descent hike somewhere in the talus field on 6/21/14. I know its a long shot but if anyone finds it, let me know!

Erich Purpur
828 773 7140
By Eric Kuenstner
From: Irvine, CA
Jun 24, 2014

After reading a recent article in Ascent and seeing comments about the second pitch as described here, I felt compelled to share my own experience. One must be fastidious with placements, but solid protection exists, especially with small nuts. The only spicy part was entering the chimney before getting a piece in. After the dihedral, it's smooth sailing. The splitter thin hands (p5) was also phenomenal.
By Richard Shore
Jul 9, 2014

Comments here comparing this to the Mithral Dihedral on Mt Russell are misguided. The technical climbing on that route is 1/2 the length of this. While we're at it, let's compare this to a single-pitch in Joshua Tree that you liked better...

With a 60M rope we linked 2&3, 5&6, and 9&10. 7 pitches total to the ridge, with two more to the summit. Watch out for the "X" block at the belay atop the Red Dihedral pitch. Do yourself a favor and go left around the birthing hole near the summit. It's easy to do and you dont have to squirm and struggle through the hole. I passed a guy who was stuck in the hole for about 10 minutes this way.
By Nelson Day
From: Joshua Tree, CA
Jul 18, 2014
rating: 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b

New trip report:
Red Dihedral Trip Report
By Ryan Nevius
From: The Range of Light
Jul 21, 2014


"Scattered afternoon thunderstorms" in the Sierra almost always means "Don't even think about doing an alpine route"
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Jul 23, 2014

Or from my POV get an alpine start (summit by 8 or 9am) and get back before they kick in.
By Mike
From: Phoenix
Oct 8, 2014
rating: 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b

This is a nice route on a great formation. I give it 2 stars for The Hulk, which means 3 stars anywhere else. The Red Dihedral pitch is awesome, but several of the other pitches are ok to good.
By Khick
Oct 15, 2014

The dihedral itself is reallllllly good but the rest of the climb was just ok. Felt kind of a disappointed from the hype it seems to get though. Still better than being at work though!
By Darshan Ahluwalia
From: Petaluma, CA
Aug 26, 2015
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13

Climbed with Kia Ravanfar last weekend. What a fun day!
By Gearoholic
From: Portland, OR
Sep 8, 2015
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b

The Red Dihedral pitch is a classic, but so sustained that it feels harder than a .9 (more like 10b). The .10b crux at the top felt way easier than the rest of the pitch. The rest of the route is so-so, and the topo does not mark the easiest way up, so look around you for easier lines if you don't feel like doing the .10 sections. This is a great alpine climb, but it's not my favorite.
By Mike Holley
From: Boone, NC
Dec 18, 2015

Getting to and actually getting on the Hulk is certainly the makings of a remarkable outing in an impressive and on occasion formidable setting. If you choose to camp, which we did and I recommend, it logistically and mentally allows for a much immersive experience. Waking up at the base of such a beast and knowing (hopefully) you’ll be sitting on the top by days end is a pretty radical sensation and when you eventually do make the summit you are rewarded with not only just having finished an amazing and classic route but also a stellar view of your camp way below. A proper Alpine adventure in any book!!

P.S. Don’t forget your wag bags!!

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