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Super-Easy Yosemite Cragging Options?


Original Post
JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

Planning a climbing trip with my girlfriend for a week in late October, and considering Yosemite as a potential destination. Looking for options for super-easy cragging for her. Climbing together is great, but a complicating factor is that our climbing levels differ widely. I tend to like to climb on 5.11-5.12 trad routes or 5.12-5.13 sport climbs, while her comfort zone is ~5.7 toproping. This is actually surprisingly manageable with good planning. We often alternate days climbing, or do split days. This works great is a place like Squamish; we can spend the morning TRing 5.7 cracks at the Smoke Bluffs, then in the afternoon head to Pet Wall and I can try a hard project.

So I'm scoping out whether this would work in Yosemite. I've spend a few weeks there and know what is available for "my" climbing. Pretty much all my prior trips have been multipitch-focused, so I'm actually pretty excited about checking out the single-pitch cragging there: the Cookie, Chapel Wall, etc. Less known is "her" climbing. Are there sufficient options for REALLY REALLY EASY climbing? I'm talking mostly single pitch climbing, 5.5-5.8 (5.7-5.8 is pushing it is it is burly old-school climbing). I can lead anything she wants to climb to set up a toprope. Short, mellow multipitch is fine too, but no all-day missions. Snake Dike or Royal Arches would be much too tiring an outing.

So what're the options for really mellow cragging? I know this isn't what Yosemite is known for, but is there enough to fill a week? Swan Slab looks perfect, and we'd certainly spend a couple of sessions there. But what else would we want to check out? Munginella looks like it could be a good multipitch to work up to doing at the end of the week. What else is there? Other easy toproping- anything at the crags in the lower Merced Canyon? Maybe Knob Hill? What about short mutlipitch- how are the really easy routes on Glacier Point Apron?

TL;DR: Is there a week worth of super-easy cragging to do in Yosemite?

Thanks for any and all suggestions.

Bill M · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 10

Swan Slab, church bowl and manure pile buttress.

John Clark · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 372

I'll add Glacier Point to Manure Pile for easy multipitch cragging. Jam Crack at sunnyside bench and the lower falls amphitheater have couple single pitch easy routes as well as a couple hard single pitches mixed in. Essentially, most northside crags will have few easy options until you hit el cap.

Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

Take her up The Grack. 

caughtinside · · Oakland CA · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 1,450

Knob hill 

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Bill M wrote: Swan Slab, church bowl and manure pile buttress.

That and some stuff on GPA is pretty much it. Basically you're pretty limited in Yosemite if you're climbing below 5.9, and while there are some 5.4s or whatever, the quality of the majority of the easier routes (5.7 and under) is on the low side.

Kiel Swanson · · Irvine, California · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 55

Five and dime. There are a couple 8's with a few harder climbs. Close to the road, easy parking, in the sun and hot in the afternoon so I'd hit it in the morning. 

Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

If your ready to break up, take her on Uncle Fanny (5.7) lol.

rafael · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 50

there are a ton of options, get a comprehensive guidebook (skip supertopo, it wont have enough of the obscure routes at the crags) either the big Reid or the new one by Woot Woot boy Erik Sloan

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20

Totally off-topic, but perhaps checking out Southern Tahoe, Lover's Leap, might be worth a stop.
Lover's Leap Rock Climbing

Max Rausch · · Portland, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 130

After 6 is always a good time. I've taken plenty of non climbers up it. 

Nate Tastic · · Sutter Creek · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10
Harumpfster Boondoggle wrote: If your ready to break up, take her on Uncle Fanny (5.7) lol.

You never offered to take me up Uncle Fanny! I think we need to have the talk. 

Peter J · · Davis, CA · Joined Aug 2017 · Points: 115

Super slide is "5.9" (very soft, very brief section of 5.9) but the first four pitches are 5.7 and easier climbing, imo. The first four pitches are very mellow.

David Bruneau · · St. John · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 1,241

El cap base has a good range of single-pitch routes: https://www.mountainproject.com/area/105841115/base-routes 

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
David Bruneau wrote: El cap base has a good range of single-pitch routes: https://www.mountainproject.com/area/105841115/base-routes 

And arguably one of the more dangerous areas to climb in the Valley.

David Bruneau · · St. John · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 1,241
Marc801 C wrote:

And arguably one of the more dangerous areas to climb in the Valley.

I wouldn't argue it... there's more rock above you than anywhere else in the valley and of course, a risk of dropped gear from above.

Bill M · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 10
amarius wrote: Totally off-topic, but perhaps checking out Southern Tahoe, Lover's Leap, might be worth a stop.
Lover's Leap Rock Climbing
Fresno Dome is just about 45 mins or so out of the valley and has some good moderates. South Pillar is a really fun and easy 5.7 multi-pitch and there are some other moderates nearby to crag on /
Idaho Bob · · McCall, ID · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 410

Most routes on Manure Pile are super polished at the start, not that "easy".  Glacier Point may be a better location for what you're after.

John Clark · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 372
Idaho Bob wrote: Most routes on Manure Pile are super polished at the start, not that "easy".  Glacier Point may be a better location for what you're after.

I would say that's only true of the first pitch of After 6. The rest of the pitches are all grippy enough. I prefer the first pitch of CS Concerto as a lead in to After six to avoid the polish.

ViperScale . · · McMurdo Station, AQ · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 240

I wouldn't put off royal arches just yet. See how she does out on the rock before just saying it is to long. Snake dike is a bitch from the like 15 miles of hiking and not alot of good belay ledges if you do it car to car in a day. The climb itself doesn't take that long but add in everything else and it can be tiring.

Royal arches on the other hand is park get out of the car and start climbing. So if she can climb a 5.7 on other things without problem you should be able to do it in like 6-8 hours car to car with tons of nice ledges to chill on for great views and belaying.

Dr Strangelove · · Bend, OR · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 30

^sounds like a quick way to break up if her comfort zone is 5.7 toproping. Munginella, the grack, or after six would be good, chill multipitch options.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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