This route is a must do if you are in Yosemite during the winter and its too cold to climb further up in the park. It offers an excellent elevation gain while ascending both crack and face at a moderate grade.
Pitch 1: Begin climbing in an awesome hand crack that continually narrows and eventually ends after 100ft. Continue straight up (5.8) past two bolts (runout) to a two bolt anchor with slings and two rappel rings.
Pitch 2: Face climb (5.8) passing the right side of *three bolts (runout). Continue straight up over a small rooflet (small TCU) and a bolt to a two bolt anchor with slings and one rappel ring. *Note - One more bolt than in Donald Reid's topo.
Pitch 3: Climb a thin (small TCU) yet widening finger crack (5.7) to a large ledge. Exit the ledge on the right (large cam) and climb up and left past a bolt (runout) to a two bolt anchor with slings and one rappel ring.
Pitch 4: Climb a thin right slanting crack (5.6) to the summit of the formation. Look at the cliff above before rappelling.
Park at a pullout below the cliff and walk up the left side of a steep, loose drainage on a climbers trail to the base. Traverse the base left 100ft to a hand crack on the left side of a ledge next to a tree. This is the start of the climb.
Climb this route with a single set of gear to 3.5". Also, bring some quick draws for the bolts, a few shoulder slings, and and two ropes. (One 70m WILL NOT work for rappel without leaving carabiners)
The bolts are 1/4" and are good but starting to show rust. The anchor bolts are all good 3/8".
The climbing is not hard but a calm/cool head will help to enjoy this climb as some of the runouts are +/-20ft. The rock is Yosemite granite - solid and high quality.
Did this Sat...well protected through the crux but certainly some spacey section. FUN!
By Bonesaw From: CA Apr 28, 2010 rating: 5.8+5b16VI-15HVS 4c R
Incredible route! A little spicy for the budding 5.8 leader... about 20 ft btw bolts near the 5.8+ crux sections. Tops out on a very cool ledge (actually top of the pinnacle) with a great view of the Merced River. What a day!
Josh and I replaced the anchor to the first pitch of the Center Route which was done in 1970 by Price, Yates and Anderson. The anchor had been removed a few years ago by a member of the FA of Stonequest which was put up many years later.
The first 100' of Stonquest is actually the start to the Center Route. At the end of the crack move right about 10' to the anchor. This first pitch is only about 5.6/7, protects well and a nice alternative for those not up to the upper pithes of the Center Route or Stonequest. Can rap with a 60m rope but watch the ends of your rope that won't quite touch the ground.
By J. Albers From: Colorado Jan 28, 2011 rating: 5.85b16VI-15HVS 4c R
Excellent route. A couple of comments.... Big thanks to Jeff and Josh for replacing or beefing up the aging hardware on this thing; very much appreciated. The climbing and rock on this route is varied, consistent, and outstanding; hand cracks, seams, featured face, and runout smearing are all here.
One of the comments above states that this route may be a little heady for the budding leader. I would actually say that this route is not a good route for a new leader at all. I think that any of the climbing that is 5.8 is nearish to a bolt, so the crux climbing is not a problem. However, the route (in particular the second pitch) has a ton of 5.5-5.7 climbing where there is easily 20-25 feet between gear. On top of this, the gear that keeps the runouts under 25 feet is good, but small and may not be obvious to newer leaders who aren't savvy with creative nut work. This means that the 20 foot runouts could easily become 40 foot sections. I found my HB offsets to be clutch pieces; sizes between 4-7 turned mediocre nut placements into pretty bomber gear in several locations that even my smallest zero cams would not fit. That said, the rock is beautiful and if you are comfortable running 20 feet of friction off of belays, then don't hesitate to get on this because it is a stellar route.