Type: Trad, 125 ft, 2 pitches
FA: FA: Dick Williams & Ants Leemets - 1966FFA (crux): Steve Wunsch - 1973FFA (complete): John Bragg & Russ Raffa - 1977
Page Views: 21,578 total · 137/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Feb 21, 2006
Admins: JSH

You & This Route

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Some claim that The Yellow Wall is the best climb in the Gunks regardless of grade. I'm inclined to agree. It is awesome.

The Yellow Wall area is just right of Bonnie's Roof, and is easily identified as a towering, yellow, tidal wave of rock. The climb begins from a large pile of boulders (these boulders are about 100' right of Silly Chimney) - you can scramble to the top of these from either side and there's a nice belay area there.

The route was originally done in three pitches, but is best done as two, and if done in one, is absolutely amazing (as long as you're very careful about rope drag).

P1: Start up a right-facing corner, step around the corner to the left, and face climb up to a stance at a pin (may be missing -- see comments) and horizontal. Belay here, or, if you were able to run it out to this point without gear, continue on. 60', traditionally rated 5.8 but I think it's more like 5.6.

P2: Climb up off the belay (PG) to a fixed pin which can be backed up with a wire. Step left and pull a roof at a modern bolt (put an extra long runner on this bolt or you will experience lots of rope drag, or, consider skipping it (dangerous), or back-cleaning it. Face climb back right to a second bolt under the "Mummy Roof" -- so named because it resembles a sarcophagus from below. Place the #3 Camalot and pull this roof (5.11c crux, with perfect beta it may feel easier, without the beta it may feel impossible). Climb up and left (PG) to a possible belay in the Mummy Cave. This was the original belay when done as three pitches, but do NOT belay here - if you blow the second crux you will factor 2 on the anchor. Place gear and reach up to a hollow flake (please consider not placing pro here - the flake is a crucial hold and has already broken once) over the roof, lieback and step up to a stance in the corner. Have your partner give you a bunch of slack here so if you fall you will drop into space below the Mummy Roof. This is rated 11b or c, but is probably 11-/10+. Climb delicately up the corner (PG13) to a crucial Yellow Alien/0.5 Camalot placement. Turn the arete to the right, and hand traverse 25-30' on easier climbing to a great belay stance (natural gear) at the top of the wall.

It's worthwhile to note that if the second falls off of this climb at certain points, it will be impossible to get back on (the falls are safe for the second, however). Additionally, if the second falls at the crux, the rope can be abraded by dragging across the lip of the roof.

Descend from a rap station 100' climber's left from the top out. Two 35-meter raps (a 60m involves some downclimbing); or use the old school descent, the chimney just left of the route (Silly Chimney).


Standard Rack. There are two bolts and a few manky fixed pins on the climb, but bring a light rack. Include a #3 Camalot (crucial crux pro).
The old school descent is the chimney just left of the route (Silly Chimney). It's really quite reasonable - a lot less scary than it looks. Feb 21, 2006
Ivan Rezucha
Fort Collins, CO
Ivan Rezucha   Fort Collins, CO
The original free route went left from the optional belay and then straight up a vertical face with no pro with the 10a (or so) crux at the end of a 20' runout--facing a factor-2 fall onto the hanging belay (actually, you can place gear a few feet directly left of the belay and then do the runout, so it's a touch less than a factor two). The first time I did this, I bought a new rope and saved it for months for this runout. Once I got to the 10a crux and had to downclimb back to the belay. Getting to the hanging belay was a problem for the second since the piece you placed to keep the second from swinging left almost always pulled.

The route above the Mummy as described by Josh used to have a fixed sling on a flake at the second crux. This kept the second from swinging too far out into space. Some second ripped most of that flake off.

Kevin Bein and others once TR'd the Mummy from the very top from the farthest out point. The point being to take the biggest possible swing in the Gunks. And they did. Feb 22, 2006
Jay Knower
Campton, NH
  5.11c PG13
Jay Knower   Campton, NH  
  5.11c PG13
This is one of the best climbs I have ever done, regardless or grade or area. The pro seemed adequate and the moves on the crux are such that you just have to go for it. For me, the crux section required total commitment. It's a special feeling to be trying hard in such an exposed and dramatic position. Jan 30, 2008
Morrison, CO
  5.11c PG13
Monomaniac   Morrison, CO  
  5.11c PG13
This route was not at all what I expected. It looks sustained & pumpy, but is actually two very hard (for the grade) boulder problems split by great rests & easy (for the grade) climbing. Shorter folks will find the 2nd crux (the one with the flake) significantly harder than the first, as it's not possible to reach the flake from under the roof.

Unfortunately the gang-bang top-rope ethic has hit this route as well. Some good samaritan might want to bring a hammer to remove the fixed pins in the Mummy Cave and liberate this thing! Jun 14, 2009
Moritz B.  
Here are some comments:

Pitch 1: Felt slippery and insecure for 5.8 (no jug haul). It was damp in spots. There were flowers on the first pitch to remember the accident that had happened.

Pitch 2 (first part to the mummy cave): I clipped the first bolt with a double shoulder length sling and rope drag wasn't too bad. There were many tickmarks on the first roof to guide the way. The second crux is very reachy. To protect it, I clipped the old anchor and placed a great green alien under the roof. Once you pull the roof, there is a yellow alien placements immediately there at hip level. Don't skip it.

It is hard to follow this pitch because of all the roofs. The follower should know how to get into the roofs because it's very difficult to downclimb to figure out different beta. Apr 27, 2015
Andy Casler
Plymouth, NH
Andy Casler   Plymouth, NH
Two pins on the fixed anchor in the mummy cave came out by hand when I tested them. Xed the pins with chalk, and pounded them back in with a carabiner to set them. Would be good for someone with a hammer and piton knowledge to go check them out. Climbed on 10-18-15. Oct 19, 2015
First crux is pretty thrutchy - get your boulder on.

Upper crux was really thin (after the flake). Protected it a .4 Totem. If you're like me and you have trouble finding out where the pro goes, try checking the only pocket your fingers are occupying... Apr 4, 2017
Josh Harmon 1
San Francisco, CA
Josh Harmon 1   San Francisco, CA
DO NOT take the first pitch for granted. When I read "if you were able to run it out to here" in the description, I interpreted that placing gear on the first pitch would have led to unmanageable rope drag (to climb the whole route in one pitch).

To add to this, I either missed the first pin at the horizontal or it is no longer there. The first pin I encountered was the one right before the bolt which I backed up with a .1 BD X4, but at this point I was past the first belay, into non-trivial climbing on small feet, about 70-75 ft up and 35ft runout looking at a ground fall. I had passed possible placements intentionally because I didn't want to have drag for the hard climbing. Spooked, I bailed off the bolt.

In short: I think the first pin is gone, so make sure to recognize you are passing what would be the first belay and place gear. I'm 5'9" and thought the "easy" climbing was more height dependent than I would've predicted. Be safe/smart and stay alive.

PS: there was a fatality on this route in 2014 when the leader (helmeted) fell with no protection in on the easy first pitch. She had already followed it and the grade was well within her ability: neclimbs.com/SMF_2/index.ph… Jul 24, 2017