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The Good Book

5.10d, Trad, 5 pitches,  Avg: 3.9 from 51 votes
FA: FA: Harding & Fender - 1965FFA: Bard, Bridwell, Worrall, & Kauk - 1973
California > Yosemite NP > Yosemite Valley > Valley N Side > D. Camp 4 Area > 4. The Folly
Access Issue: Latest updates on Covid and falcon closures. Details


This is a fantastic route that has not seen much traffic in recent years due to major rockfall. The entire route is capped by a huge roof (above which a rockfall scar is clear), and for this reason most of the climb is not only unaffected, but also sheltered from future rockfall. However, you will find that the first two pitches have been affected. I don't know what they were like before, but presently there are some loose blocks, flakes, and other features on these pitches which must be navigated. There is good gear to be had, however, and if you tread lightly, you're likely to be OK -- just try to be careful not to pull off a big loose block onto yourself or your belayer. I also don't recommend bivying at the base.

P1 & 2: Link these with a 60m rope and judicious use of runners. This puts you at a huge belay ledge and under the protection of the roof. The rap anchors are modern but have clearly been struck by rocks. They appear safe to use and at least worked for us. On the way up this long pitch you'll encounter lots of loose flakes and a bolt that has been flattened. 5.9.

P3: This is a long, hard pitch. 5.10d liebacking up a corner with exactly one handjam rest and exactly zero stem rests. Sometimes wet, always pumpy. 120' or so.

P4: This is a totally rad pitch of 5.8/5.9 that hand traverses out a series of huge wedged flakes. Savor the exposure and bring a few large cams and long runners to protect it. Easily link it into the next pitch if you runner it well. 50' or so.

P5: Strenuous overhanging fists to hands in the corner. 5.10c, 50' or so.

P6: Perhaps the true crux of the route? This pitch is not to be missed. Starts off as hands and quickly goes to enjoyable fists, then enjoyable handstacks (new #5 Camalot size), then very difficult armbars/liebacks (new #6 Camalot). If you're flexible you can stem through some of this El Matador style. The bolts on this pitch have been (appropriately) chopped -- the pitch can be well protected with modern large cams. 5.9 old school.

A double-rope rap will get you to the top of the long 10d corner (just barely with two 60m ropes). Another rap to the big ledge below this pitch, and a final double-rope rap to terra firma.


Double or triple set of cams from small to thin hands, singles from hands to very wide. A couple long slings. Hardhats for leader and belayer.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

pitch 5
[Hide Photo] pitch 5
The long and spectacular second pitch.<br>
The Good Book
[Hide Photo] The long and spectacular second pitch. The Good Book
Steep rappels on the way down.
[Hide Photo] Steep rappels on the way down.
Big exposure above the roof on the 3rd pitch.
[Hide Photo] Big exposure above the roof on the 3rd pitch.
Looking down at the LB pitch
[Hide Photo] Looking down at the LB pitch

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] I went to do this route in August 2006. The first pitch is completly shattered by rock fall(bad pro and loose).Rockfall came flying in as I was almost finished with the first pitch. I can't believe my belayer wasn't killed. We bailed quickly. Stupid Stupid Stupid. If you could get through the first pitch you would be sheltered by the enormous roof above the climb. Dec 1, 2006
Greg Barnes
[Hide Comment] Note on the chopped bolts on the last pitch: we actually only chopped 1 bolt in the offwidth section, the other 2 had fallen out previously. We chopped 2 bolts next to splitter smaller cracks as well: a bolt next to perfect 2" crack on the 10c hands pitch, and the first bolt on the last pitch, which was right next to a perfect 1.5" crack. These bolts next to bomber hand cracks served as a good reminder that cams didn't exist when the route was established, and we couldn't in good conscience replace bolts along a perfect crack that just happened to be 4-5" instead of 2".

This generated a fair bit of controversy at the time (ended by the rockfall), but Harding never would have placed those bolts with modern big cams, and anyone who doesn't want to bring a couple big cams for the last pitch can rap before it -- you rap the route either way.

This is a sweet climb, hopefully the rockfall zone will stabilize itself! Dec 28, 2006
Scotty Nelson
[Hide Comment] Recommend extra 1" cams for the 10d lieback pitch. Jun 19, 2007
sean barb
winston salem, north carolina,
[Hide Comment] Great route; although I climbed it before the major rockfall. The lieback corner pitch is really classic; bring doubles in the 1-1.5" stuff. Bring some big cams for the last pitch, its worth it! Dec 18, 2008
Lisa Montgomery
Golden, CO
[Hide Comment] Did this route early June 2009. Excellent! Using 2 60m ropes, we rapped from P6 to P4, then to P2 (required some very easy unroped downclimbing on ledge), then to the ground. I'm not sure about the other raps, but for the last one (P2 to ground), a 70m rope won't get you down. Jun 2, 2009
Lucas Barth
Grand Canyon Village
[Hide Comment] Anybody climb this route recently? Is the loose rock danger from the rockfall still there? Oct 23, 2010
George Bell
Boulder, CO
[Hide Comment] There used to be lines at the base of this route (20 years ago). Awesome 3rd pitch, super pumpy. I seconded that pitch and still couldn't go fast enough! I'm sure my technique was poor, the harder you lieback the sooner you will come off! May 6, 2011
Roger Suen
Los Angeles, CA
[Hide Comment] Last pitch is def a crux, if you bring a 5 you will still have to run it out a little, then you can get some c3's 00 in a little crack. Super dirty last pitch.
LB pitch has 2 good rest a stem and hand/jam ledgey thing.
Superb climb, one of the best

Just did it 2 weeks ago, twice, no rock fall Oct 9, 2011
Laine Christman
Reno, NV
[Hide Comment] Climbed this route 5/20-12 and there was rockfall. Might be wise to heed the locals' warnings. May 29, 2012
[Hide Comment] what's the status on this route, has it cleaned up? Oct 22, 2015
Vlad S
San Francisco, CA
[Hide Comment] The route is REALLY good! Get on it! Link the fist 2 pitches (some loose flakes) and that will put you in a relatively sheltered position for the rest of the climb. The rap anchor on the 2nd pitch should be replaced as the hangers are bent, but it's not a serious concern. First pitch and the amazing 3rd pitch layback seep a bit after rainy weather, so beware. Oct 22, 2015
Lucas Barth
Grand Canyon Village
[Hide Comment] No rockfall when I did this 2 years ago, but I thought the first pitch was fairly serious. No harder than 5.9, but not much good protection. Nov 29, 2015
Matt Peres
Golden, CO
[Hide Comment] Amazing climb! The description of pitch 3 is inaccurate. This entire pitch is a stem problem with many great finger jams and lieback sections. There are many substantial foot features to be found on the left wall combined with smearing on the right wall make strong stems. There are also 2-3 great stances spaced out pretty equidistant throughout the route. Apr 30, 2017
Mei (pronounced as May)
Bay Area, but not in SF
[Hide Comment] I don't know if the route is always this dirty, or it's just exceptionally dirty shortly (2 days) after the season's first heavy rain. Clothes are pretty much covered in mud and slime from the wet wide sections. Didn't experience any rockfall (even small ones) on our ascent a few days ago.

Park about 0.4 miles west of Camp 4 where you see a white sand wash on the right and go up from there. I don't think there is an official pullout there, but there is room for a car or two on the side of the road.

The hand traverse followed by a few mantle moves on Pitch 4 is fun and easy. I made a mistake not placing any gear there (where the mantle is). As a result, the rope kept getting sucked into a choke point in the corner. If you wish to link pitchs 4 and 5 (both are short), it's a good idea to place a piece on Pitch 4 at the end of the traverse (but use long runners) just to keep rope from falling into the pinching corner. You'll see what I mean once you are up there. Nov 20, 2017
Matthew Stein
Truckee, CA
[Hide Comment] I did this route back in 1980. Was super fun back then and very clean, so I suspect all the dirt is what is coming down from the major slide up above. Pumpy lie-back corner, but as I recall, some good finger locks in the crack and good stems, or opposition pushes from feet to a hip against the wall, and you can take the load off your hands in several places, so pay close attention to those feet and use the jams to take whatever rests you can. Jun 30, 2018
Kevin Dixson
san luis obispo
[Hide Comment] We had some softball-sized rocks rain down from above the giant roof and explode on P2. Luckily we were sheltered as we had just started up P3. I would suggest gunning through P1 and P2 as fast as you can to avoid being in the blast zone from above. Other than that, this is a pretty stout climb and is pretty pumpy. P3 is exactly 120 feet of pure liebacking on a muddy corner with maybe one rest pod. Jun 9, 2019
Bruce Hildenbrand
Silicon Valley/Boulder
[Hide Comment] My friend Jeff and I did this route in 1978 before cams. We had a single rack of hexes and stoppers. The LB pitch and the off width pitch at the top were pretty interesting protection-wise. I pulled on a large flake inside the offwidth only to have it let loose and cascade, seemingly forever, down into the inner bowels of the route. What a great climb! Jan 23, 2020
Paul Wolf 1
Washington, District of Col…
[Hide Comment] There are no footholds on the layback pitch, and you really have to pull hard to get your feet up. I got about 75% up, got really pumped and was plugging in TCUs. Fingertips only as I recall - this was 30 years ago. Then my hand popped out and I sprung off the wall like a back dive, was looking straight up at my feet as I saw three pieces ping out of the wall. The route is steep and I landed in mid air, unharmed. Then I made my partner finish it, which he had not expected to have to do, lol. We made it to the top because I remember the OW pitch above also. I think we had a single #4 cam and I had to pull on it on lead. Well, it was a very memorable route however I got up it. Sep 27, 2020
[Hide Comment] You can rap with a single 70 every pitch but the first. Leave your tag line/2nd rope on the ground and only use it on the last rap, having the second person to rap tag it up.

Also we had no rockfall all day. May 10, 2021
[Hide Comment] Did the first three pitches way back in the day (1987). Led the lieback pitch without falling - but just barely. Fingers liebacking and one hand jam. Was thinking about letting go but then thought, nope, I am not coming off unless gravity pulls me off. Despite what the write-up above says, I was able to get a kind of “stemming rest” by a left-shoulder scum and both feet on the right wall. Didn’t finish because we ran out of time. We were on our mid-day “break” between split shifts at the (almost) Michelin-starred Curry Cafeteria (work 4 hrs in the morning, get 4 hrs off in the sweltering heat of the Valley in summer, then go back to work for 4 more hrs, doing dishes no less!). My partner was Mark Smith (Wings of Steel FA). Super nice guy. Oct 18, 2021
Steve McGee
Sandpoint, ID
[Hide Comment] I did it in early summer 1994 and there was slime coming out of the corner. Narrow enough ribbon to step over but that made it a bit harder. Oct 31, 2021