Type: Trad, 115 ft, 2 pitches
FA: Warren Harding, 1950s.
Page Views: 3,984 total · 28/month
Shared By: Blitzo on Mar 16, 2007
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


From the parking lot, two obvious water grooves can be seen. These are The Water Cracks.
Scramble up to the base and belay. Follow the left groove, past bolts to a ledge.
Descend to the right.


Draws, some gear for anchors.


Anthony Anagnostou   nyc
one of the most obvious and unique lines in tuolumne. you better be cool-headed and bring some chalk if 5.7 is hard for you. i think that experienced wide/mountain climbers call this 5.7, and the rest spend a lot of time lunging to knee-stances and chalking up.

four or five bolts and chains at the top. a 70 would do it in one pitch. a 60 requires a little simul (which might be spicy as the opening friction is one of the harder technical moves and the leader is run out 40 feet).

Some folks just barely toprope it with a long 60m rope if they rap in and stretch the rope out beforehand. i bring a couple nuts and a couple small aliens (and really long slings) for the first moves of the climb and the corner before the water crack proper. most folks just gun it on draws.

in '06 three tourist teenagers downclimbed all but the last ten feet of the route. in tennis shoes.

And it's totally classic. Mar 27, 2007
Greg DeMatteo
W. Lebanon, NH
Greg DeMatteo   W. Lebanon, NH
The water cracks are great mostly for their unique climbing and the obviousness of the features. Doesn't suprise me about those tourists...I've had to warn off several from trying to climb UP it in their tennis shoes with no rope.

If you fix a line to the rap anchors on the ledge you can tick off all the routes in the vicinity in short order and the rope can double as an anchor for some of them. May 17, 2007
Rob Davies UK
Cheshire, UK
Rob Davies UK   Cheshire, UK
Quite hard bridging, sorry stemming, moves but each one is above a big ledge. Weird and wonderful.

NOTE ADDED 2014: This was so memorable that I repeated it in 2014, 22 years after I first did it. This would be a great route for a gym-trained climber who thinks that "5.7" is utterly trivial as it's a mix of thin slab moves and weird crack climbing - no holds whatever to actually pull on! Once you get in the "crack" there are lots of knee-bars / toe-heel moves between good rests.

I've now tried two different ways to reach the Left Crack from the belay:

(1) traverse directly left for about 12' (thin, about UK 5b/c);

(2) move up from the belay to reach the Right Crack, and up this for about 25' to a bolt, then step left into the Left Crack (quite tricky to start, then easier until an all-out friction move for the step left (UK 5b).

I'm guessing the easiest way of all (which I haven't tried) is to down-climb 15' from the belay then step across into the start of the Left Crack.

Does anyone know how many (if any) protection bolts were placed by Harding on the first ascent? I spotted the remains of only one really old bolt placement. May 8, 2009
DJ Reyes
Northern Nevada
DJ Reyes   Northern Nevada
I led this in July of 09' and found it totally memorable. It is awkward and scary. I did use my knees at one point as seems to be the tradition. A unique route, but you better be solid on run out 5.7. Jun 23, 2013
Patrick Barnett
Louisville, CO
Patrick Barnett   Louisville, CO
Climbed this on 10-5-14. Was very surprised to see the second bolt located about 45 feet above the first (there was a chopped bolt in between that both major guide books indicated was present). I suppose there is the option of clipping one of the anchor bolts up and to the right, but its far off route and necessitates downclimbing. Point being, I felt this was a seriously heads up route with huge fall potential on insecure terrain. A fall from 5-10 feet below the second bolt would result in great bodily injury. Other than that it was super fun! Oct 6, 2014