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Routes in Royal Arches

1096 T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Adrenaline T 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Age of Industry S 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Arches Terrace T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
Arches Terrace Direct T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Arete Butler T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Astro Spam T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Benzoin and Edges AKA The Testes Squeeze T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
Demimonde S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Double Trouble T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Endorphine S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a PG13
Face Card T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Fine Line T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Firefingers S 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a R
Greasy but Groovy T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Hershey Highway T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Krovy Rookers T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Maxine's Wall T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Mid-Life Crisis T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Move Like a Stud T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Peruvian Flake T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Peruvian flake right T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Poker Face S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Rambler, The T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
Royal Arches T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Royal Arches Alt. Start - Crack T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Royal Flush T 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Royal Perogative T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Rupto Pac T,S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a PG13
Serenity Crack T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b PG13
Shaky Flakes T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c R
Sons of Yesterday T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Super Slide T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Surf Nazi T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Surplus Cheaper Hands T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Texas Chainsaw Massacre T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c PG13
Trial By Fire T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Unnamed 5.3 T Easy 5th 1+ 3 I 5 M 1c
Unnamed Chimney T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Violent Bear It Away, The T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Y Crack T 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Type: Trad, 15 pitches
FA: Adam, Harris, & Davis - 1936
Page Views: 84,948 total, 621/month
Shared By: Josh Janes on Sep 21, 2006 with updates
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection Details

Description

Royal Arches is considered by many to be one of Yosemite's all-time classics. Commonly done at 5.7 A0 with a point of aid off a fixed line, the route is easily freed at 5.10-. While the route weaves its way up an impressive band of rock at a relatively easy grade, there are other moderate climbs of superior aesthetic quality, but perhaps it earns it's classic status due to the history behind the climb, first negotiated in 1936, or the easy approach combined with an accessible grade, or the simple fact that it serves as the most effective approach to North Dome that makes the climb so popular... don't expect to be alone on this route.

Approach Royal Arches from the Ahwahnee parking lot. The most heavily traveled trail, well right of Serenity Crack, is likely to be the correct trail. The start of the climb is in a chimney in the back of a huge left-facing corner. The highlights: Climb up the chimney past a chockstone (5.6). Make a long 3rd class traverse on ledges to the right. Climb a steep, polished ramp/groove (5.5). Once again, traverse right on 3rd and 4th class ground -- do not be tempted to start climbing up the face or corners, continue right as far as possible. Eventually head up on a 5.7 finger crack. At this point, follow the chalk and clean rock up various crack and ledge systems for several pitches, eventually ending up in a left-facing corner system. At the top of this corner system there is a bolted anchor on the face from which a 30' length of fixed line is attached. Clip this for pro, and either pendulum left or climb left (two moves of polished 5.10-) to a ledge system. Follow this way to the left. Climb up either side of a giant hollow flake, then step left to some tree climbing to a belay alcove. Step around a corner to the left and continue up on low angle 5.6-5.7 terrain. Just below the headwall and roof systems, continue traversing left following the line of least resistance. One pitch climbs through some dirt mounds. Shortly after there is another traversing pitch with a two bolt anchor -- make note of this if you plan to rappel. One more traversing pitch finishes the climb -- this one can feel a bit sketchy compared to the rest of the climb. Traverse high for gear in a dirty undercling, or traverse low to clip a lone bolt. Either way beware of pine needles on the slab. This pitch is strange in that it seamlessly merges into an actual trail into the woods... kinda cool.

Other miscellaneous notes:

  • Topping out involves following the trail left and then up.
  • Right where the climb ends there is a great spring with water that is safe to drink -- you can't miss it.
  • Sleep in! There are numerous places on the climb to pass or be passed.
  • The rappel route is fast and effective and can be done with one or two ropes. I highly recommend consulting with the SuperTopo guide for specific details on the locations of the rap stations.
  • The walkoff is via the North Dome Gully. For parties only doing Royal Arches (and not doing another climb on North Dome), the raps are the way to go. For parties continuing on to North Dome (or for climbs on the Washington Column), the Gully would be much faster.

Protection

Standard rack.

Pitch by Pitch Description

The start of the climb is in a chimney in the back of a huge left-facing corner.

1. 5.6 100' Climb up the polished chimney past a chockstone to an awkward move up and over a small bulge to a belay stance.

Pick up your ropes and scramble up along the groove until a short steep wall is reached.

2. 5.6 120' Climb the slabby terraced face until a steep move gains a left facing groove. Follow this up to the belay. This pitch is the first of many where pins scars are very evident.

3. 4th 160' A long wandering pitch of easy climbing and scrambling. Belay at the tree to the right of a polished groove.

4. 4th 80' Move left from the belay and start up a wide groove. Move right half way up and move up to the belay at the top of the groove.

Pick up your ropes and move the belay 160' to the base of a pin scarred crack. Now the climbing becomes more sustained and certainly more enjoyable.

5. 5.7 130' Start up the polished pins scared crack with a couple of good finger locks. At the top of the cracks move right then back left up towards a good belay ledge. Make sure you belay on the left end of the ledge.

6. 5.7 160' Move up left from the belay but quickly move back right and continue up perfect cracks and liebacks. This is a great pitch.

7. 5.5 100' Continue up the steep steps until possible to move right towards an obvious off width crack. Belay at the base of the crack.

8. 5.6 120' Climb up the off width. At the end of the off width move directly up the obvious flakes to the large ledge with a tree. The large hollow sounding flake near the top can be disconcerting so plan accordingly.

Note: It is possible to link pitches 7 and 8 with a 60m ropes and good rope management.

9. 5.7 or 5.10b 125' The pendulum pitch! Climb up the chimney and then step right up a crack system. Move back left into the groove and place high gear up right. You now have a choice, traverse the slab leftwards free at 5.10b, or grab the fixed rope and pendulum across. Either way it is fun. Belay on the flake at the end of the traverse.

10. 5.4 110' Traverse left towards the tree and the base of a right facing corner.

11. 5.7 100' This pitch is relatively short, but feels sustained. Start directly above the belay and head up a pleasant crack system. Continue up leftwards into the corner with good face moves before an awkward section allows a tree and belay to be reached.

12. 5.7 110' From the belay make an awkward move left around the arete and then climb directly up the steep hand crack. At the top of the crack make a couple of extra moves on the face to gain a good belay below a shallow groove.

13. 5.6 130' Looks can be deceiving and this pitch is true to the saying. Climb the easy angled grooves to a good belay stance at a large pine tree.

14. 5.4 150' Steep down from the belay and make a delicate traverse leftwards. As the end of the traverse approaches move up to the right of the tree. Continue up and left to belay on the blunt arete.

15. 5.3 150' Delicate slabby climbing up and left eventually will lead to the triple bolt rappel station at the top of the slab.

16. 5.4 170' Move left and then down towards the bottom of the slab. Gear can be found at the lowest point of this traverse. Step up left onto the slab proper and climb the solitary bolt. Now make the crux moves across the slab. Stay low and traverse leftwards towards the pine needles. The traverse gets easier the farther you are form the bolt. It is only 5.4, but it comes at the end of the climb and offers maximum exposure.

Note: Due to the position of the bolt seconding this pitch is scarier than leading.

17. 5.4 170' (optional) If you want to make the rappel descent you must now reverse the last pitch (16) to return to the rappel station. This time the leader has the harder time!

Photos

Taylor Lapeyre
San Francisco, CA
 
Taylor Lapeyre   San Francisco, CA
 
The climbing on RA is very wandering and low-angle, but it definitely has its moments. Think how you felt on Sunnyside Bench, but with sporadic interesting 5.7 layback pitches, a big fun pendulum in the middle, and some delicate slab traverse pitches. And like 4 times longer! I highly suggest simul-climbing every "pitch" after the initial chimney, up until the first finger crack past the Manzanita trail. Doing so will allow you to easily pass slow parties and likely bring down your ascent time by a matter of hours.

The route definitely feels “old,” for lack of a better word. You can kinda tell that it was put up in the 1930s, it has a “we just want to get to the top as easily as possible” kind of feel to it. But definitely classic, and it’s nuts to get in 14 pitches in 4 hours. Totally worth doing.

The rappelling was not a huge deal with two 60m ropes. Like maybe 6 or 7 raps total, with a little bit of downclimbing. Definitely exhausting and tedious, but not worth avoiding the route over.

The route-finding can be a bit challenging, for instance at one point the guidebook instructs you to “pick up your rope and walk 150’ to the right through a manzanita jungle until you hit a pin scarred finger crack,” and you’re like 4 pitches up! Crazy stuff. 6 days ago
Jaime M
 
Jaime M  
 
Did the walk off descent down the North Dome Gully today (following this beta: supertopo.com/inc/photo_zoo…), and discovered there was a fixed line on the 20' horizontal crack - thanks whoever put that in!

GPS tracks of the descent: gaiagps.com/datasummary/tra…

Although if I did it again I'd definitely skip the friction traverse and walk off and just do the raps. Nov 12, 2017
J Saarela
Park City
J Saarela   Park City
LOST A ROPE? A friend asked me to post this as he has no data in the valley: Hello newly rope-less person. Sucks to be bad at rappels. We all make mistakes but I do believe I have joined a very exclusive club of people who have bootied an entire rope on their climb. If you lost your rope and want it back. Text me at 7757212130 the description of the rope and where you lost it. In the valley till Oct 12th or so. My favorite beer is lagunitas. Oct 7, 2017
Climbed on Sept 09 and there was definitely water coming from the spring in the Jungle. The last pitch was totally dry and clean aside from the black water streaks, it didn't feel too sketchy. I could totally see it being terrifying early in the season when wet/dirty though. Agreed that the bolt is an ancient spinner.

My partner led the traverse and went slightly upward, such that he was able to get a solid cam in (.4 C4 I believe) at an undercling crack near the end. This made it much less scary for the follower once the bolt was unclipped. It also looked like you could just stay high for the entire traverse and get some solid holds and gear in, the Sloan topo rates this 5.7. Sep 11, 2017
Isaiah Foulks
Monterey
Isaiah Foulks   Monterey
Heads up! There is a large, dead pine tree at the very top of the route, and it looms very ominously over the route base and about half of the rappel route we were on our fourth-or-so rap, a five foot log went rocketing by us with a few smaller branches trailing behind. Only after we returned to the base did I notice all the evidence of semi frequent tree fall all around the route base. Helmets! Aug 31, 2017
Brant Hysell
Huntington Beach, CA
 
Brant Hysell   Huntington Beach, CA
 
Can anyone confirm that the spring at the top still has water in it? Looking to link this with North Dome and that would cut down on a lot of water. Aug 28, 2017
Alex Zucca
University Heights
 
Alex Zucca   University Heights
 
While climbing this route last week, I knocked off a dinner-table sized flake at Pitch 16. I was following the final pitch, and had just unclipped the bolt, and stepped off the good foot hold (a flake, I later realized), and somehow managed to stay on the slab and not take the pendulum-whip when the massive flake dislodged.

This probably doesn't make the route any harder, but be careful. There are 2 similar looking flakes you use as hand holds to clip the bolt that may come off soon too.

Also, the bolt is basically a fidget spinner. When I come back to do this route again, I will not be doing Pitch 16, and I will be rapping instead of the gully descent. Aug 28, 2017
Joshua Burns 1
Yosemite, ca
Joshua Burns 1   Yosemite, ca
Climbed Royal Arches two weeks ago and loved it! We simulclimbed the first few pitches, linked a couple of them and ended up thinking we were a bit lower on the topo than we were. On pitch 13, instead of traversing, we ended up heading up the lie back/widening hand crack. Looks like we weren't the only ones to have made this mistake as the tree at the top of this pitch had slings for rappel. Anyone know any beta for this detour?
We finished the climb and made the rappells instead of taking NDG. We plan on doing this one again, it was too much fun. Aug 25, 2017
Climbed 7/8/2017. No bears or water on the route.

Partner freed the 5.10b tips corner to the left of the pendulum. We both thought it was pretty soft for the grade, also VERY easy to protect. A great option if anybody wants to free the route. Jul 9, 2017
It's a classic because it's much better than the sum of its parts. No one pitch is great, but the fact that they all pretty seamlessly link together up a beautiful face in place with near-perfect weather, that makes it special.

If you have a #4 you can place it on the off-width pitch halfway up the route.

We thought the crux was the first pitch, the off-width section right before the chockstone. Pretty damn polished! May 24, 2017
Stacy Bloom
Oakland, California
Stacy Bloom   Oakland, California
No bear on route yesterday (5/19/17). The pendulum pitch is very wet, so be careful! Also the tree you belay at after that pitch is blanketed in ants. Chimney starting pitch is a little wet too. No bear tho! :) May 20, 2017
Update to bear on route, I spoke with Ranger today and the bear has left the area of its own accord, and the climb is now open. She said they don't know how the bear got up there or how it got down. May 17, 2017
Ben Horowitz
Berkeley
 
Ben Horowitz   Berkeley
 
Note, as of 5/14 the route was closed due to bear on the route... I would love to know what they did about him/her.


Also, as of 5/13 the route was extremely wet... May 15, 2017
Andre H.
Boulder
Andre H.   Boulder
It is my understanding that freeing the rope section requires a sidways dyno.

#whatisyourdawnwall Nov 28, 2016
Vlad S
  5.10b
Vlad S  
  5.10b
The natural gear is something like 6 feet off to the right side in the main corner which would make for an awkward fall, but you can always clip the pendulum rope for "pro" as long as you don't weight it. Nov 22, 2016
Safty Third
San Diego, CA
Safty Third   San Diego, CA
So can anybody tell me what the situation is regarding pro for freeing the pendulum traverse? Thanks. Nov 22, 2016
Michael Dom  
 
My partner and I went up instead of left on the 14th pitch and ended up climbing a 5.8-9 corner until he built a belay. From the belay there is a splitter crack that you can lieback until you get to the top of the flake. From the flake you do a lieback move which felt like 5.10. after that you scurry right until you hit a bush with a sling on it. Does anybody know what we did? Thanks in advance! Oct 9, 2016
current spring water on the very end of the route. taken july 24, 2016 with high temps in the 80s

(13 sec video clip)
instagram.com/p/BITSdTTDwL-/ Jul 25, 2016
Vlad S
  5.10b
Vlad S  
  5.10b
I think a lot of people seem to think this route goes at 5.7 and don't realize that the free rating is HARD 10b when there is no water flowing over the miscroscopic crimps. 5.9 might just be an average taken from all the votes cast. The whole route can be easily simulclimbed or even soloed (in which case I'd use the pendulum rope). The only insecure pitch is the last 5.4 slab traverse at the very end, since it often has a bunch of dirt and pine needle covering the slab. Definitely get a solid belay there and make sure to protect the pendulum swing with a good anchor as well. May 25, 2016
crackatoa Spiesbach
Boulder,Co
crackatoa Spiesbach   Boulder,Co
How the fuck did this get rated 5.9????
Are you kidding me M.P fix your new system this is a joke. May 25, 2016
Any thoughts on simul-climbing this? That is, are all the ledges and 4th/5th class sections relatively clean? Thanks! May 23, 2016
Salamanizer suchoski
Vacaville Ca.
 
Salamanizer suchoski   Vacaville Ca.  
 
No! But it's getting pretty toasty up there. Apr 29, 2016
Greg
Sierras
Greg   Sierras
I second Jeff's question. Anyone know? Apr 27, 2016
Jeff Strauss
Boulder, CO
Jeff Strauss   Boulder, CO
Does anyone know if Royal Arches will be too wet to climb right now? Apr 21, 2016
King Tut
Citrus Heights
  5.10b/c
King Tut   Citrus Heights
  5.10b/c
(5.7 A0 or 5.10c) To be entirely honest I wish the author of this page would reconsider his trashing of the route in the introduction. Nowhere in North America is there a longer route with plenty of quality climbing (albeit in short sections) available to the fledgling leader or old timer fatty looking to elevate his attitude with a little altitude. In my experience, the relative measure of "classic" is often proportional to the challenges faced (subjective) by one at the time....so this certainly is no solid 5.10 leader's classic unless he has deeper perspective.

Slab crux is very thin on very slick rock. Not 5.9 by any measure, probably 10c.

The Royal Arches is a grand adventure for the grade in a magnificent setting. Take the time to enjoy the view. Some days all you need is some clean rock and good movement to be stoked in the incomparable Yosemite Valley. Mar 29, 2016
Walt Barker
Reno NV
 
Walt Barker   Reno NV
 
Simul-rap on a single 70; the pulls are way faster and a lot less time spent managing rope, not to mention moving faster without extra rope weight on the way up. Oct 8, 2015
pigsflyinsd
San Diego, CA
 
pigsflyinsd   San Diego, CA
 
I second Shingles' comment about bringing a second rope. We rappelled off a single rope and holy cow that took a long time. The ground looked so close but never got any closer. Aug 31, 2015
Ferisimo Kilpatrick
Austin, Texas
 
Ferisimo Kilpatrick   Austin, Texas
 
Started at 4:30am to beat the heat. To make things move faster, I ONLY used tree belays! Didn't plug a single piece for an anchor. Leave the cordelette at camp. If you feel SOLID on 5.7, you could moderately protect this route with a single set of nuts and a single rack from .5 to 2". Yes, 4 pieces, a set of nuts, and your happy tree friends! Aug 29, 2015
Stefan Griebel
Boulder, Colorado
 
Stefan Griebel   Boulder, Colorado
 
It's gone a lot faster since then. Climbing/scrambling splits are in the neighborhood of 20-25 minutes. No new times reported in the last 15 years, but these are pretty crazy! speedclimb.com/yosemite/roy… Apr 6, 2015
dnaiscool  
 
Back in the 60's a competitive frenzy filled Camp Vi, and one game being played was speed ascents. During this time guide book author Steve Roper soloed the Royal Arches in 47 minutes. Mar 31, 2015
dnaiscool  
 
This route IS one of THE Yosemite Valley Classic climbs. Many who climb in the 5.6-5.9 range will find this to be a terrific, long climb with lots of variety and adventure. It is not a "4 Star" route for those of us who climb 5.10 and beyond, especially when compared to other long free routes in the area, but this does not diminish the virtues of this route.
I first did this climb with Mike Jaffe in the summer of '72, and back then the infamous "Rotten Log" pitch was still in place. This 25 foot, busted up, dead tree spanned from a ledge high on the route (past the second pendulum) over a monster gap to the arete of a dihedral. You had to shimmy up the 30 degree angled log...I even threaded a hole in the log mid-way, which, in retrospect was lame..if I fell I could have pulled the log down onto myself.
I'd left my water bottle on he shuttle, so Mike and I were pretty dry when we topped out. We did not know of that spring on the top, and when Mike found it, we went nuts!! Anyway, just sharing, and I think the route is 4 star for adventure, length, variety and that view! Mar 31, 2015
I have a hard time believing anyone could safely descend via the north dome gully in 30 min to one hour. For those interested it in it, it could take a few hours if it is your first time. It is far more scary than the climbing. Leave ample time as there are many trails that dead end and you must backtrack. From the last pitch, stay high and traverse across the a 30 ft slab and then climb up and top out. The trail starts from the left of the big boulders. Somewhere around there I've heard there is a spring if you are interested in water.

If it is your first time, do not attempt in the dark! Leave extra time!

But most of all, just bring a second rope and rap the thing. Oct 13, 2014
Mike Holley
Boone, NC
 
Mike Holley   Boone, NC
 
GReat day out!! The original line is simple but I can guarantee you will stray from the original line once or twice. Loads of fun variations, can be as hard or as easy as you want. Great location, full length route with a touch of adventure climbing added in! Easy Rap at the end makes for a totally do able day climb and be back in time for some Pie and Pints!

P.S. The Swing Rules! Sep 12, 2014
Jan Tarculas
Riverside, Ca
Jan Tarculas   Riverside, Ca
did this route up to pitch 8 on 3/13/14 and had to bail do to time constraints and not really feeling the route.

So now you can bail from top of pitch 8 to the ground because we left 4 bail biners and taped the gates closed. During the rap we only had to sling 1 extra tree and all other raps had slings BUT missing rings. Not sure if people took the rings or left biners and those got stolen. Hopefully people leave these behind for future parties that need to bail.

that being said this route was not fun at all to me. Some good climbing for like 20-30 feet then scrambling, couple feet of climbing then more scrambling and more scrambling. To much scrambling on this pitch. I don't know why it's a classic Mar 19, 2014
JeffL
Salt Lake City
JeffL   Salt Lake City
There is a left facing just before the last pitch or two of traversing to the rappel bolts. Do not go up the steep crack! We did two 5.10 pitches to top out, but ended up bailing back down because there was no walk off or access to the North Dome that we could find. Oct 8, 2012
AdamG
Berkeley, CA
 
AdamG   Berkeley, CA
 
Some of these pitches are better off linked. Use your best judgement on this (read the topo!). The rappels are perfect with a 60m rope, be mindful about the knots at the ends, there are few chance to climb up and untie one if you pull it above you. One of the bottom rappel stations puts you into the 5.5 polished gully (pitch 3 I believe), careful with this, a 60m rope is just enough to put you halfway down the gully but that's it. There is a great stance there for you to pull the rope through and I would suggest this instead of rapping to the top of that pitch. Chimney down it to the 3rd class. Sep 17, 2012
Colin Schour
Big Bear Lake, CA
 
Colin Schour   Big Bear Lake, CA
 
Great way to start the day if you're linking this with North Dome! Pendulum, shoeless waterfall traverse, a few fun cracks, and the most terrifying 5.4 traverse I've ever been on. A classic despite the wandering nature and short pitches. Apr 30, 2012
Cliff M
Davis, CA
Cliff M   Davis, CA
anyone have any info/rating about the variation - i think its a variation - around pitch 3 or 4, after some 3rd/4th class you can see a really nice right-facing corner with a right-leaning scoop at top, just right of that corner there is a thin seam with a tree in it. going up the left corner, really nice hands and lieback... After that pitch there is a ledge, and then a more tenuous right facing crack/lieback that you take up, then around the corner to the left into the gully... At some points the rock is kinda flakey... probably harder than 5.7... name/rating for this variation? Oct 23, 2011
Did this on Father's day with my son. Please note that the wet sections on the last traversing pitch have turned to slime. I would not recommend soloing this pitch right now. We both slipped (somehow without actually falling) about 20 feet from the woods. Some kind soul has rigged a fixed line for the traverse out of the woods, which is also covered with slime. Jun 22, 2011
Dave Alden
Seattle, WA
  5.9 PG13
Dave Alden   Seattle, WA
  5.9 PG13
1st attempt bailed off the large ledge above P3 due to the crowds. 2nd attempt bailed off of P6 due to time and size of group. Haven't given up, gonna make it to the top one of these days. Feb 28, 2011
JonathanC   CO
Single rope raps- can be rapped with a 60 m rope and only one section of downclimbing.
The first rap from a tree (about the 5th or 6th single rope rap) will send you down a 4th class slot to the rappeller's right. When you run out of rope on ledges, look for a tall very dead tree standing on its own. To the (skier's) right of the tree is a hidden bolted station--just be careful on the last move to the station. Nov 4, 2010
Colin Simon
Boulder, CO
 
Colin Simon   Boulder, CO
 
Don't let the 5.9 or 5.10a rating fool you.

If you grab the pendulum rope (FUN!) the whole thing goes at 5.7 or less.

Perfect for beginners looking for an adventure! Oct 27, 2010
Did this route just yesterday (may 9th, 2010).

The only wet spot was crossing the pendulum pitch. We stayed pretty dry. The waterfall is boiling but where you have to cross it there is an obvious crack that you can climb even when wet. We could place adequate protection and the rest of the way was a hoot and dry.

The rappel down can be done with one 70m rope. May 10, 2010
What do you who are familiar with this route think of climbing it in the middle of May(16th-22ndish). I understand there is potential for a "raging river" to form, is the climb still climbable, or does it need time to dry?
Just dreaming of what lines Ill be able to do while Im down there.

Thanks, May 4, 2010
raygay
Las Vegas, Nevada
raygay   Las Vegas, Nevada
We started just before dawn on a hot day in mid July and happily discovered that by maintaining reasonable upward progress we could stay in the shade until quite high on the wall. It was approaching 9 am before the sun caught up with us well beyond the rope traverse, making the route quite pleasant in spite of the warm temps. A fast party could beat the sun to the top if climbing on a day near the summer solstice. Though the descent on the North Dome gully trail was brutally hot in direct sun. Jul 28, 2009
jpvandever
San Francisco, CA
 
jpvandever   San Francisco, CA
 
Lost camera - I seemed to have lost my nikon digital point and shoot somewhere on the Royal Arches descent/North Dome Gulley this weekend.

Please let me know if you find it! Thanks. May 18, 2009
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
 
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
 
I thought Royal Arches was fun but probably has the classic status more for its history than for the quality of climbing. Super fun to link Royal Arches up with Crest Jewel Direct. We hiked out to Hwy. 120/Tuolumne and hitch hiked back. A competent party should be able to move fast on Royal Arches as well as Crest Jewel and do the linkup no problem. Have fun! Mar 19, 2009
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
  5.10a
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
  5.10a
I think the North Dome Gulley descent is not a bad option. That being said DON'T SCREW IT UP. I have done this descent in like 30 min before but most people will take an hour or so. Take your time and get it right or you'll be facing dangerous cliff-outs. The raps might be a good option if darkness is approaching but for many the descent can provide some of the most spectacular views of half dome. Oct 29, 2007
ttriche
Altadena, CA
 
ttriche   Altadena, CA
 
Thomas Keefer and I linked this with Crest Jewel one fine day in 2005 (?) and climbed all day long without seeing another soul until we topped out on North Dome. It's a classic linkup and well worth doing. We started at sunrise and got down just in time to hit the pizza deck. Tom subsequently went back and linked up Crest Jewel Direct, which he said was even better. Either way, you can blast up Royal Arches in an hour or two if you simul, and then gawk at the face of Half Dome while climbing pristine, judiciously bolted slabs for 10 more pitches. Just don't screw up the 'reproach' down North Dome Gully (or back to the top of RA for the raps, which we chose instead). Highly recommended linkup. Jul 24, 2007
Jeff Dunbar
Charlotte, NC
 
Jeff Dunbar   Charlotte, NC
 
Ok, just did Royal Arches last weekend. Awesome experience (highly recomend taking advantage of the bivy spot with the freshwater spring at the top for a most memorable night in Yosemite). Regarding my previous 2x60M vs. 1x70M rope question, I can now say with confidence that one 70M rope would've made for MUCH faster/easier climbing in the summer heat. We came across two other parties who were able to link more pitches than us with their 70M rope, and I guarantee I would've climbed faster if I wasn't lugging up that damn 2nd rope in my pack. Jun 29, 2007
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
 
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
 
Jeff, Royal Arches is in the direct sun almost all day. My suggestion would be to start early, go fast, and plan on being back on the ground before noon. Carry one single 60 or 70m rope. In my opinion, carrying a second rope in order to do a few less raps isn't really worth the extra effort. Jun 29, 2007
Take 2 60's and do the 7 raps in the dark with one headlamp. That was our strategy..... Jun 28, 2007
Jeff Dunbar
Charlotte, NC
 
Jeff Dunbar   Charlotte, NC
 
I'm considering this for my first long climb in the Valley in just a few weeks. Anybody got advice on trying to take just a single 70M rope for this route? Does a 70M allow you to link more pitches? Can you rap safely to all the standard rap stations on a 70M? Sure would be nice to leave my two 60s at home... Jun 4, 2007
George Bell
Boulder, CO
  5.9
George Bell   Boulder, CO
  5.9
This was literally the first climb I did in Yosemite, in 1983. It is rather amazing that some parties can blast up this route in an hour, while other parties take 12 hours. My first trip up was in the latter category! Many years later I climbed it in a leisurely 4 hours, why the heck did it take us so long the first time? Inexperience, confusion, no sense of urgency I guess. However, in 1983 we were one of the last parties to cross the rotten log. The crux of the original route was the second traverse just before the rotten log. This crux is no longer part of the route.

In the spring this route is susceptible to snow-melt streams (even into July after a big winter). You can still do the route, but you have to navigate some stream crossings for extra fun.

The descent down the North Dome Gully used to be one of the most terrifying parts of the climb (if you went the wrong way). Now that a nice series of rappels have been added it is still one of the most terrifying parts of the climb. Nov 20, 2006