Elevation: 8,630 ft
GPS: 37.884, -119.431 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 7,169 total · 56/month
Shared By: john durr on Aug 7, 2008
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
Getting weather forecast...
Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


The west face of Dark Side Dome is a nice place to find a wide variety of face climbs, mostly on nice feldspar knobs. The north end has plenty of easy face climbs on knobs with lots of bolts including Spaceballs 5.5, Dark Side of the Force 5.7, Pebble Beach 5.9R, and Imperial March 5.10. The south end has more face climbs like Voice of the Crags 5.10, Shot in the Dark 5.10, Batteries Not Included 5.11, Who's the Bosch 5.8.

Getting There

Dark Side Dome is along Cathedral Creek, about 1 mile downstream from Daff Dome along the approach to Hammer Dome. Park at the lower Daff Dome parking area near the creek. Hike northwest down the short hill to the creek. Cross the creek and follow a very faint trail along the north side of the creek west to River Wall. You may need bug spray...

Once past the River Wall, continue about 10 minutes more on the faint trail through the woods to the start of a low angled golden slab that faces southeast (see beta photo). Hike up this low angle slab that seems to take a while, northish to the west face of Dark Side Dome. Approach time is about 30-45 minutes and very pretty. There is a small lake at the base. This is at GPS 11 S 286220 4195690 NAD 36 CONUS.

11 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Dark Side Dome Change
Type:  to 
Sort by:   then:

Classic Climbing Routes at Dark Side Dome

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
The Imperial March
Trad 2 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
The Imperial March
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Dark Side Dome »

Sun & Shade

Routes Mostly Face: Northwest
Sunny Roughly 2pm to 7pm during high season

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Justin Johnsen
Sacramento, CA
Justin Johnsen   Sacramento, CA  
Apparently the dark side was not strong in me! My friends and I wandered out but turned around just shy of the wall. We mistook the first bolted wall next to the approach trail for "River Wall" in the directions, and scrambled up on top of the actual River Wall based on that mistake.

Does anyone know the name of that first (landlocked non rivery) climbing wall on the Hammer Dome trail, just west of Daff?

I adjusted the MP area page GPs coords to center on the small lake, which seems to be the key landmark!

Also, from satellite photos the climbing wall appears to face northwest.

We'll find it next time. Jul 21, 2015
Todd Townsend
Bishop, CA
Todd Townsend   Bishop, CA
Maybe Micro Dome? Jul 21, 2015
Ed Henicle
Santa Rosa, CA
Ed Henicle   Santa Rosa, CA
It took us ~20 min to get to River Wall at a leisurely pace, and then another ~40 min to get to Dark Side Dome from River Wall - so an hour approach, not 30 min. 5 star hike! Jul 24, 2015
Justin Johnsen
Sacramento, CA
Justin Johnsen   Sacramento, CA  
Yes thanks Todd, I picked up the Reid and Falkenstein guide, and that's Micro Dome! Jul 29, 2015
Nkane 1
Berkeley, CA
Nkane 1   Berkeley, CA
1. For the approach: don't take the first gully after River Wall, as we did. Rather, keep following the trail for another solid 5-10 minutes until you reach some golden slabs. (If you get to Hammer Dome, you went too far; backtrack to the gully behind it.) Follow the left side of these slabs up for a good 10 minute hike up a gully, finding an occasional trail. The wall is over the back side of gully; you can't see the climbing until you're pretty much there.

2. Does anyone know what the deal is with the 5 bolt route on the black panel left of Batteries Not Included? It's just left of the 10b with the fixed pin and two bolts (forgot the name, but it's on the Reid/Falkenstein topo), but well right of what I believe is Voice of the Crags. There are 5 closely placed bolts total: two starting up a white flake feature, then three more through mid-10ish vertical knobbery, up to a small overlap. And then.... nothing. 35 feet of 10ish climbing later, there's a 2 bolt anchor with no rap rings, and then, after 40-50 feet of unprotected 5.7ish, there's another 2 bolt anchor with no rings. About a 140 foot pitch total.

I was very confused about why a route that's sport bolted through easier climbing down low would just stop mid-crux. Maybe the developer ran out of bolts? Anyhow, it's a nice 2-rope toprope from the top anchor and would be a super fun sport climb with 2 or 3 more bolts up to the first set of anchors. Jun 27, 2016
Hobo Greg
My Van
Hobo Greg   My Van
One of the best places to take a beginner climber or to have an easy fun day away from the crowds. Note that the wall faces mostly north rather than west, look on a topo or google earth for the small pond. Jul 22, 2018