Type: Trad, Sport, 700 ft, 6 pitches
FA: Dan Zimmerlin
Page Views: 13,207 total · 87/month
Shared By: littlemike on Nov 6, 2006 with improvements by Dillbag
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


Zee Tree Route is a well-bolted face climb located to the right of the Dike route and ascends an independent line for 3 pitches, after which it joins House Calls and Boche-Dope in a left facing book which leads to the base of the crack pitch of the Dike Route.

The climbing is fairly varied. The first pitch, which is the most interesting, starts at a two bolt anchor just where the angle steepens and ascends a short slightly steep section of knobs (2 bolts with old leeper-style hangers), crosses glacier polish (2 bolts) to a miniature roof. Step over the roof (1 bolt) and pass a small tree growing in a solution pocket (Zee Tree). The pitch originally ended at the tree, but to reduce impact on the fragile tree, the route now passes the tree on the right and ascends (5 bolts) to a comfortable stance and a two bolt anchor. This pitch is a full 165 feet.

The angle slackens above and the climbing eases as well. The second pitch is easy (5.5?) face climbing past 3 bolts to a another two bolt anchor. The final pitch is also easy face climbing , though interesting as the angle varies. It heads up and right past 2 bolts, then straight up and ends in a left facing book. This belay requires gear, medium nuts to medium friends.

To exit, climb up the left facing book and belay near the base of the crack pitch on the Dike Route. Either climb this crack (pro to #4 friend) and rappel the east end of Pywiak, or walk off to the west (not recommended).

Alternative descent per user Dillbag: Escape left prior to the final (5.7 crack) pitch. It is an easy 5.0 traverse (60ish feet) to the bolted rap anchors at the top of the Dike Route. One short rappel followed by two long (two 60 meter ropes required) rappels will deliver you to the 3rd class base. This is helpful if it begins to rain or if necessary to make a quick exit.

The route was put up in good style. A mix of eighteen 5/16 and 3/8 inch bolts were placed by hand, on lead, from the ground up, though not in a continuous push. Two others were "filled in" while seconding after leading though originally, to eliminate uncharacteristic runout sections.


Pywack Dome


Well Bolted except for the last pitch
Greg Gavin
Greg Gavin   SLC, UT
fun route for those not ready for the mondo bolt spacing on the dike route. the route climbs quickly so it is good to squeeze in after you've already done something harder earlier in the day. not to mention the approach is 2 min. May 3, 2011
North Kingstown, RI
Brian   North Kingstown, RI
Has anyone (ASCA sponsored maybe) thought about replacing the bolts on this route? It is a very popular route and has some rusty 1/4" or 5/16" button-heads. Especially the two-bolt anchor on the top of the 3rd? pitch. Granted you are not going to generate a lot of force sliding down this slab but there is no telling what these bolts look like under the rock. Nov 10, 2011
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
Hmmm....I'm pretty sure that there are not any 1/4" bolts on Zee. I don't recall there even being any 5/16" bolts (maybe just a couple?). I think most of the bolts on there are 3/8". Perhaps Greg Barnes will see this post and comment, but my recollection is that he told me that those 5/16" rigs that you see all over California are actually pretty truck. That is not to say that the bolts on Zee don't need replacing (though I don't remember being nervous and I am pretty whiny about rusty old buttons), but there are probably many other candidate routes that need the hardware more than Zee does.

Also, I think that the route description needs to be updated, because there definitely aren't any Leeper hangers at the anchors on Zee any longer.

On a much more sad note, I think that the last time I drove through the Meadows, I thought that I noticed that the namesake tree is missing from the little bowl it was in. Can anyone confirm this? Nov 10, 2011
North Kingstown, RI
Brian   North Kingstown, RI
They were there in July. Definitely button-heads with Leeper hangers. I wish I took a photo of them. Nov 11, 2011
North Kingstown, RI
Brian   North Kingstown, RI
J. Albers,

You ever climb this route or are you just guessing about the bolts? I looked on SuperTopo and someone said the same thing I did about the bolts.

From SuperTopo: Posted July 23, 2011 "At the bolts for the top of the third pitch, there are two rusty buttonheads that look like they would tear right out of the rock if the leader fell. Above that, the first bolt is a spinning rusty buttonhead that doesn't inspire a lot of confidence given what the belay bolts are, and the lack of gear above that spinning rusty buttonhead. They should be replaced for the safety of the climb." Nov 11, 2011
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
Yes Brian, I have climbed Zee at least 3 times over the last 5 years.....and I surely don't remember clipping any old Leeper hangers. There is a big difference between a couple of 5/16" buttons with SMC hangers (even spinners) and a 1/4" bolt with a Leeper hanger. While possible, it is hard for me to believe that I wouldn't remember if the belays were quarters with Leepers. Nov 11, 2011
North Kingstown, RI
Brian   North Kingstown, RI
I don't want to get too far down in the weeds as to what they are. I can't tell from the button-head whether they are 1/4" or 5/16", a 1/16 of an inch difference. The point is they are old rusty spinners that should be replaced on a highly travelled route. And as of July 2011 they were there. This is approximately what they look like.

Nov 12, 2011
Michael Schneiter
Glenwood Springs, CO
Michael Schneiter   Glenwood Springs, CO
That's definitely a 1/4" Star Dryvin (safeclimbing.org/education/…) with a Leeper hanger but I'm surprised they were on Zee Tree as I don't remember any of the anchors being in such bad shape. Nov 12, 2011
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
Yeah, that is definitely a Leeper, but that is not an anchor bolt from Zee. Is it possible that either: (a) you wandered a bit off route and clipped that thing; or (b) that was an intermediate bolt between two good bolts that during a rebolting effort was just left in place?

I remember the bolts being pretty new and the some of the pictures posted above seem to corroborate my recollection. Moreover, if you look up Zee Tree on the ASCA website you will notice that the bolts on Zee Tree have indeed been upgraded.


If you read the notes on the ASCA website, it states "Replaced 4 bolts; all others good." I think this precludes the possibility of a StarDryvin with a Leeper hanger on Zee. If looking at the ASCA listing of Zee Tree, notice that there is a route immediately right of Zee Tree where Greg et al. replaced some bolts, but left at least one old bolt alone. Perhaps you wandered onto this route? Nov 12, 2011
North Kingstown, RI
Brian   North Kingstown, RI
Yes it is possible that I, and the person who posted on SuperTopo, were off route. Although it was pretty much straight under where you traverse over to the off-width corner crack. I go to Tuoulumne every other year. Next time I'm there I'll climb the route again just to take a photo (if they are still there). I saw that ASCA replaced the bolts in 2005. I can't believe that they wouldn't have replaced the ones in question so I can only conclude that I was off route. Although I don't think there are any other routes close by. Nov 14, 2011
Weston L
From my recollection of leading the route two years ago all bolts were confidence inspiring back then. Jan 25, 2012
Matt N
Santa Barbara, CA
  5.7 PG13
Matt N   Santa Barbara, CA
  5.7 PG13
No leepers on this route.

Only buttonhead I remember (w/ good SMC hanger) that wasn't replaced is the most tightly spaced bolt on the first pitch - didn't expect to see that one so close to the bolt above and below it (which is why they didn't replace it).

Fun route, take the first pitch - its the most exciting, rest is cruiser. On the third pitch, I recommend clipping the first bolt, then heading up the black streak - easy, secure climbing and more enjoyable than going up right past the second bolt. Jul 4, 2012
Rob Davies UK
Cheshire, UK
Rob Davies UK   Cheshire, UK
A much saner way to the top of the dome than Dike Route! 5.7 for the P1 slab is typical for Tuolumne grades but to me it seemed much harder than the 5.7 finishing crack. In UK grades I'd give the latter pitch HS 4b but P1 HVS 5a/b. Sep 12, 2012
Coco Bell  
Go to the right of the black streak, otherwise you'll miss 2 bolts and have a fun runout. Jul 9, 2013
Countzen Shin
Santa Monica, CA
Countzen Shin   Santa Monica, CA
The walk off, which are well marked by cairns actually goes to the FRONT and a bit climbers left of zee tree, ending near the tiny-sometimes-dry-creek at the base.

Having done both the rappell and walk off, I am going to say the walk off is faster and easier. May 3, 2016
We couldn't found the start of the climb. Part of the reason was because the base still was covered in now. But the supertopo guidebook shows a tree about halfway up in the topo. There is a prominent tree halfway up and the climb is called "Zee Tree", so we went over there to look for the start of the climb and never found it. After some fun wandering around on low angle slab for a while looking for bolts, we gave up. On the way back to the car, we finally realized where it was, and that "tree" on the topo was in reality just a small bush. Jun 9, 2016
Alex Chiang  
We were here on Saturday, June 18, 2016, and simply could not find the bolts.

I feel fairly certain that we were in the right place (not like the poster just above), and we climbed up and down the start several times.

I hate to say it but it really felt like the bolts have been removed, but of course someone who has definitely done it before should confirm. Jun 21, 2016
Climbed on June 25. All the bolts are still there. They are just hard to find.

I've climbed the route before and pretty much knew where the route starts and goes and still had trouble finding the bolts. I wasn't able to see them until I was basically on them. The beta photo helps. Jun 27, 2016
I climbed this route the same day as Adrian, and yes, the first bolts were definitely tricky to find. Hope this photo helps as well:

The single climber is by the first anchor, and the other two climbers are at the second anchor.

Also, we walked past the slings a couple times while looking for the rap route. Walk NE and go down a bit and look for a big tree with slings. Then it's one steep rappel (We used a 70 and were able to land at another tree.) Then we were in for a short scramble down, and a sharp left through some bushes along the dome led to a pretty clear climbers trail around the dome and through the talus! Jun 27, 2016
San Francisco
pdao   San Francisco
Rap slings were in the most NE corner possible of Pywiack. Walk in that direction until you can clearly see Medlicott and Dozier Dome in the distance. Supertopo said there was 4th class downclimbing but it was a nice walk off. Sep 26, 2016
Gilbert AZ
walmongr   Gilbert AZ
Fun route, with an easy approach.. The start bolts are a little hard to find just where it gets steep and you are thinking it might be a little dangerous to go higher they appear. Hardest part for us was finding the correct decent. we ended up going to the Very N.E part of the dome and found a small tree with some old tat on it (we replaced it 6/16) an easy single rappel 60M rope deposited us right near the trail down the slope back to the road. A group appeared from further South of us and had used a descent further S/W (correct descent??). Mar 2, 2017
Tatiana Cottam
Oakland, CA
Tatiana Cottam   Oakland, CA
Bolts at bottom for first pitch had tat on it when we climbed this route a couple days ago, which really helped to find the start. A common occurrence on this route is to not see your next bolt until you continue climbing or when it's right in front of you.
The beginning 3-4 moves off the bottom of the first pitch are surprisingly spicy. This route is worth doing because of the first pitch and last pitch of Dike Route.
Build your anchor at the top of pitch 4 before doing the traverse to the left. Placements are much better there than those you'll find at the base of the crack.
For the descent, keep going climber's left until you reach the edge of the dome and see a cairn, then look behind you, to your right. You'll see the tat to rap off of. Sep 4, 2017
Jason Kim
Encinitas, CA
Jason Kim   Encinitas, CA
We linked the first two pitches with a 70 m rope. Belay was from the obvious ledge about 30' up the 3rd class slab. Climb the 4th class first pitch - no pro so just keep moving toward the anchor and don't look down! Clip the anchor and then go from bolt to bolt til you reach the 2nd anchor, which will be out of view until you are almost there, to your right. Grade felt on par with Joshua Tree slab, but different and perhaps less confidence inspiring! The rock is more featured, but also a bit polished. Sep 11, 2017
Someone left a death triangle on the first anchor. The webbing was reasonably new too. I took it down and replaced it with another sling that's not going to kill people if they rap on it. Jun 24, 2018