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Rap Stations at descent trees on Stately Pleasure Dome


Original Post
Tony Lewis · · Bishop, CA · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 170

After watching progressively more and more climbers use the trees to descend off of Stately Pleasure Dome over the years, I have placed two rap stations:  One approx. 6' east of the large tree, and one approx. 6' uphill from from the smaller tree below "Top Gun" climb.  I queried numerous climbers at the dome and my climbing aquaintances, some who have climbed in TM for decades and the unofficial consensus was that it would be good for the trees which are showing progressively more damage as more and more climbers use them over the years, especially the small tree.  And tat comes and goes so climbers were either using slings when there, or rapping directly off of trees when no slings were present.  Last weekend, every party coming off main face (south) used the big tree with most then using smaller tree.  No slings on smaller tree which is showing much damage at it's base.  Thus the stations.  When I was placing them, every climber coming down gave positive responses.  Hopefully climbers will use them instead of the trees.  They're fairly visible when near, but hard to spot from a distance.

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Thanks, Tony. Prepare yourself for a firestorm of disagreement and controversy (maybe).

Hobo Greg · · My Van · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 175

You can walk off, and I mean literally walking, not down climbing, but good on you for trying to save some trees.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65

Wait.  People are now rapping off of Stately Pleasure? From the normal descent downclimb??? WTF?

Paul Morrison · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0
Marc801 C wrote: Wait.  People are now rapping off of Stately Pleasure? From the normal descent downclimb??? WTF?

Where have you been? People have been doing it for a long time.

aaron hope · · Walnut Creek, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 306

I fully support this. It will save those trees and hopefully avoid ugly tat on them as well. Thank you very much for being proactive.

Yes, there's a walk off on the backside of the Dome. But its long and no one does it.  There's also the secret "scoop" that is super fast and avoids the rappel, but few people use that because its super scary. The masses use the tree and the bolts will save the tree. This is great. Thanks!

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,673

Those not wearing approach shoes or without much TM descending experience usually rap.  There are many easier routes on that dome, so more people rap down that to be expected.  So i support the rap stations to save trees.  But in reality, it's a lot more practical to just walk off.

justing · · San Jose, CA · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 10

Chop the trees. Problem solved.

Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Between yesterday and today. · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0
Tony Lewis wrote: After watching progressively more and more climbers use the trees to descend off of Stately Pleasure Dome over the years, I have placed two rap stations:  One approx. 6' east of the large tree, and one approx. 6' uphill from from the smaller tree below "Top Gun" climb.  I queried numerous climbers at the dome and my climbing aquaintances, some who have climbed in TM for decades and the unofficial consensus was that it would be good for the trees which are showing progressively more damage as more and more climbers use them over the years, especially the small tree.  And tat comes and goes so climbers were either using slings when there, or rapping directly off of trees when no slings were present.  Last weekend, every party coming off main face (south) used the big tree with most then using smaller tree.  No slings on smaller tree which is showing much damage at it's base.  Thus the stations.  When I was placing them, every climber coming down gave positive responses.  Hopefully climbers will use them instead of the trees.  They're fairly visible when near, but hard to spot from a distance.

So, I was up there a month or so ago and was doing the walkoff....

And got super sketched because my feet were hurting so bad. This is after 4 decades of climbing experience and prior experience on this descent but now only once weekly out on stone or the gym. Just can't seem to toughen up my dogs.

Fact of the matter, at the Tree the scoop to skier's left is exposed and plenty sketchy for newbies and old tenderfoots. Shortly after that section I just went barefoot.

When you drive from Olmstead point down to Tenaya Lake you go through a road cut blasted in the side of a dome that displaced literally thousands and thousands of tons of stone making a scar that will endure for thousands and thousands of years until the glaciers return. Yet people that drive this to get to the meadows decry any bolt as an abomination?...While massive blasting of stone created the Tioga road and all approaches to Yosemite.

That tree is a precious life form and a few thimble-fulls of rock dust to place some bolts doesn't matter one iota in the scheme of those enduring domes. Just be sure to place it so that it has clean pulls and don't bolt someone else's rock climb (Boltway sucks, there, I said it :P).

Don't expect everyone to agree however.
Hobo Greg · · My Van · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 175
aaron hope wrote:Yes, there's a walk off on the backside of the Dome. But its long and no one does it.

The walkoff is not on the backside, it’s down and left if looking at it from the ground, down and skiers right on descent. I do support bolts over trees but it should be walkoffable for most people as it is only class 3 with maybe a 4th move here or there. Good practice for when there are no trees or bolts.

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,631
aaron hope wrote:Yes, there's a walk off on the backside of the Dome. But its long and no one does it.  

Last time we always took the walk off the back side - the one that sort of loops counter clockwise on the descent eventually through trees with mondo pine cones.

Damn sport climbers use the trees to rap.
Just kidding. We did too the first trip or so.
Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Between yesterday and today. · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

How is the walk off up over the top (climber's right) and down between Stately Pleasure and Harlequin? I think I've done it but can't remember lol.

justing · · San Jose, CA · Joined Apr 2009 · Points: 10

The walk-off is spooky in one spot but not dangerous in my opinion, even for a new climber. People should walk off.

But so long as the tree is there, people will be tempted to rap. There's no way to force people to walk off rather than rap, so bolts may be the best option.

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Paul Morrison wrote:

Where have you been? 

Not there! For many years - more like decades.

People have been doing it for a long time.

I had no idea. In the 80's and 90's I never saw anyone rapping from the tree on the descent route. I never "walked off" that descent route btw - I always butt-scummed that tricky section.


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

Seems reasonable. Walk off always seemed casual, but I've never done it in a thunderstorm, so a rap option is good.

Paul Morrison · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2006 · Points: 0

The best thing about this is that now we have a chance to start self-righteously tree-shaming people and cutting their tat. What an awesome sport this is!

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 2
Tony Lewis wrote: After watching progressively more and more climbers use the trees to descend off of Stately Pleasure Dome over the years, I have placed two rap stations:  One approx. 6' east of the large tree, and one approx. 6' uphill from from the smaller tree below "Top Gun" climb.  I queried numerous climbers at the dome and my climbing aquaintances, some who have climbed in TM for decades and the unofficial consensus was that it would be good for the trees which are showing progressively more damage as more and more climbers use them over the years, especially the small tree.  And tat comes and goes so climbers were either using slings when there, or rapping directly off of trees when no slings were present.  Last weekend, every party coming off main face (south) used the big tree with most then using smaller tree.  No slings on smaller tree which is showing much damage at it's base.  Thus the stations.  When I was placing them, every climber coming down gave positive responses.  Hopefully climbers will use them instead of the trees.  They're fairly visible when near, but hard to spot from a distance.

pretty conflicted feelings about this, not gonna lie. 

You added a rappel station to third-class walking down slabs. That just... doesn't feel right. Anyone who climbed up stately pleasure can walk down this section.  I agree that trying to preserve the trees up there is a noble effort, but I'm not sure that rap anchors will really help in the end.

PS-- if you added bolts to a bunch of the slab routes up stately pleasure, i'm sure that the average climber you talked to up there would be pretty happy about that. That, of course, doesn't make it right...
phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 617

Wow!  I also am one of the clueless who has always just done the very easy walk down the trail on the left side of the formation.  I'll continue to do it that way myself but I'm in favor of anchors when people are using trees.  

Eric Gabel · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2009 · Points: 1

Disappointing and lame.
- Eric Gabel

Colby Wangler · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 206

If you REALLY can’t walk down the slabs..... then climbing in TM isn’t for you....

Short Fall Sean · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 5
mpech wrote: You added a rappel station to third-class walking down slabs. That just... doesn't feel right.

I would say that Tony upgraded the rap station (to bolts). Someone else initially added the rap station (to the tree).

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northern California
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