Type: Trad, 310 ft, 3 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 12,196 total · 81/month
Shared By: Matthew Fienup on Nov 22, 2006
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


Three pitches of climbing that gets better and better with height. Finishes on a cool ledge with excellent views. All in all, straight-forward and fun.

P1 (5.6, 70')
Jam and stem your way up 70 feet of cracks in a gully. Belay from a big oak tree on a spacious ledge.

P2 (5.5, 130')
Perhaps the least aesthetic pitch on the climb. Follow a crack in an obvious corner. After approximately 80 feet, step right and follow cracks up mostly-4th class terrain. Belay from a big oak tree on a spacious ledge.

P3 (5.5, 120')
Walk up the gully and head right for about 40 feet along a grassy ledge. Climb up to meet a left-slanting hand crack. Climb the crack until it ends. Traverse right for 25 feet on an unprotected slab (5.4?). Climb a 5.5 finger crack to the top. Belay from trees and bushes.


Located in the middle of the crag, Swan Slab Gully is one of the most obvious and popular climbs on the Swan Slab--look for the line of people immediately right of Penelope's Problem.

If the first pitch is occupied with top-ropers, climb Hanging Flake, which is located around the corner to the right. From the top of Hanging Flake, make a Class 2-3 traverse to the tree atop Swan Slab Gully's first pitch.

Descent (Class 2)
From the ledge atop P3, walk back and left away from the cliff. Turn right and walk up and around a higher tier of rock. Turn left and traverse the top of the tier. Gradually walk back away from the cliff and follow a climbers' trail through the bushes. Eventually, these descend and join a well-worn trail down the west side of Swan Slab.


Small to 3 inches
Pitch one is a bit slippery and tricky at the start but eases after about 15 feet. Oct 19, 2008
A great beginner multi-pitch outing. The walk off will present moderate difficulties for first time climbers. All in all, a great preperation for what you will find as you begin to explore a valley full of demanding yet rewarding adventures. Sep 5, 2010
Rodger Raubach  
The first pitch is a little tricky, but the upper pitches are relatively straightforward and enjoyable. The walk off is a bit grungy. Standard rack. May 21, 2011
Mark P Thomas
Mark P Thomas   Draper
With a 70m rope the first 2 pitches link nicely :-) Though hard to follow at times, there is a climbers trail that cuts through the brush above and down a gully to the West. Jun 7, 2011
Brian Snider
Brian Snider   NorCal
Fun route with great belay ledges. Gets a lot of sun so bring pro if you need it. The descent was pretty straight forward and only took 20 minutes or so. The webbing and rapp ring is gone at p1 if your planing on top roping. Jun 13, 2011
Rodger Raubach  
Climbed just the first pitch again after an interval of > 25 years. Seemed that the first 10 feet of the climb are still a bit of a grunt but then the stemming and crack climbing above are fun. Not a total grovel-fest as some have described it. Easily protected. My partner replaced the slings at the first tree on 9/25/2011. Sep 27, 2011
Rodger Raubach  
The easiest descent line is at the intersection of the whole buttress formation with the upper wall, and descend EAST!! Brushy with manzanita bushes, but pretty secure in the corner. Oct 2, 2012
Jim H
Pasadena, CA
Jim H   Pasadena, CA
I have climbed this several times and think the lengths are off. P1 is more like 30 ft. (40 tops). Also hass a very easy anchor at the top. Aug 25, 2013
David Dennis
High Sierra
David Dennis   High Sierra
As mentioned, this is a great route for a beginner's first multipitch. Varied climbing, large belay ledges that don't feel exposed, and eats up pro for the 5.5< parts. The last pitch hand/finger crack is actually pretty sweet; if it were 100 feet longer it would be "classic." Nov 10, 2013
Nick Roberts 1
Austin, TX
Nick Roberts 1   Austin, TX
Great first multipitch lead/multiptich follow! Very easy climbing, the first 20 feet of pitch 1 are the most difficult. All of the anchors are trees. Aug 13, 2015
Beau Griffith
Fresno, CA
Beau Griffith   Fresno, CA
As one of the aforementioned beginning multi-pitch leaders, I can confirm that this is an AWESOME!!!!!! choice. The route is straightforward, scenic but not too exposed, and takes good gear.

The above beta is all accurate. First 15-20 feet are the hardest, and slowly eases off over the course of the climb. I was intimidated by some of the descriptions of Pitch 3 but it was actually probably the most mellow, comfortable climbing of the entire route - great feet the whole way up. Additionally, I agree with the above comment that distances seem overestimated. I did not measure myself but I don't think the actual climbing (as opposed to walking) part of P3 is any longer than 35'.

Traffic and wind noise from the road nearby can make hearing your partner a little difficult. When I walked from the P2 belay up to the begin of the actual 5th class part of P3, I built an anchor there and had my partner come up and belay me from that spot. It allowed better communication and also reduced sideways rope pull if I were to fall. Quite honestly you could probably belay from that spot even without an anchor as the ledge is still quite large. There are thick manzanita bushes, boulders, and of course the crack itself which all support good anchoring if necessary.

There is some webbing with a rap ring off to the right of the top of P3. We walked off WEST. Was relatively easy to find the climber's trail. Go back and slightly left from the top of P3 and you can't miss it. No significantly dangerous parts of the walk-off so I recommend choosing that over rapping. Sep 19, 2017
Winston-Salem, NC
Benandstuff   Winston-Salem, NC
The 3rd pitch has an alternate direct finish up the small corner/seam that is extremely fun but also completely protectionless. Still goes at 5.6. Probably not the best option for a new leader. Nov 16, 2017
Isaac   Portland
Really enjoyable relaxed climbing to some great views of the valley! Easy approach/descent. Girlfriend loved the succulent plants on the way up as well. May 17, 2018
Peter J
Ford E-150, wherever
Peter J   Ford E-150, wherever
the unprotected P3 traverse is an easy 5th class traverse on positive dikes/features. not 5.4 at all Jul 9, 2018
Sarah T
Sarah T  
We rapped off the 2nd pitch to avoid the walk off. Walk climber's right to the bolted anchor at the top of Aid Route. 1 rap with 2 60m ropes or 2 raps with one 60m rope. Oct 2, 2018