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Routes in Calaveras Dome

Fallen Angel T 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Fine Line S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
King Kong T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Layin' On The Hands T 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Medicine Man T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c A0 R
Mighty Joe Young T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Mr. Stiffy T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Old Smokey T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Sands of Time T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Schizophrenic Dike T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Silk Road (High Times) T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13
Wall of the Worlds T 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13
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Type: Trad, 9 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Jay Smith, Jeff Altenburg, 1978.
Page Views: 14,619 total · 107/month
Shared By: Blitzo on May 7, 2007 with updates from jpvandever and 1 other
Admins: Aron Quiter, Lurker, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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This climbs a line near the center of the North side of the dome.
Start from a terrace and to the left of a right facing dihedral.
Climb a 5.10a crack to a belay.
Continue up the crack (5.10b) to a belay with two Bolts. These two pitches can be combined with a 60M rope.
Move up a left leaning arch to a sling belay (5.10c).
Climb a 5.8 crack and corner to a two bolt belay.
A 5.9 corner is followed to a two bolt belay at it's end.
Climb 5.9 face past two bolts, then up and right to a third bolt and head left to a two bolt belay.
Face climb past a bolt to a left-leaning dike system. Follow this past two more bolts to a sling belay from two bolts.
Head up to a short 5.6 corner, then face climb to a two bolt belay.
Move up a right-leaning arch to where it is possible to climb up face to a 5.5 crack to a two bolt belay at the cracks end.
Class 4, leads to a two bolt belay.

Either Rappel the route (two ropes) or walk off to the right.


Head up to the right side of the face then follow a terrace to the left, to the base of the route.


Standard rack, slings.
Greg S.  
I've done quite a few multipitch trad routes and this is one of the finest at its grade. Better then Serenity Crack/ Sons of Yesterday in the Valley - this route is that good. Sep 12, 2007
Ryan Curry
Ryan Curry  
The 5.10 splitter first pitch, when linked, offers perhaps the best pure granite crack climbing at the grade in the state of California (Yosemite included). This pitch alone adds two stars to the route as a whole. Jun 7, 2008
Rick D
Reno, NV
Rick D   Reno, NV
Incredible route. Only climbed to the top of Mexican Flake so can't speak for anything above that. But the 10c crack and the Mexican flake dihedrial are some of the most stellar climbing I've done. Heads up on the 10c traverse, it'll wake you up. The raps are percfectly situated, need two 60m ropes. Jun 10, 2009
Monica Jones
Bishop, CA
Monica Jones   Bishop, CA
Yeah, this route is perfect. Every pitch is amazing. Good to have small hands going through the bulge at the beginning of pitch 2. Jun 16, 2009
J. Albers
  5.10+ PG13
J. Albers   Colorado
  5.10+ PG13
...that's an understatment Monica. All I get is ringlocks at that stinkin' bulge. Great route. Nov 26, 2009
I think (actually I'm pretty sure) you have the name of this route wrong. It's "Wall of the Worlds." Nov 28, 2009
Peter Valchev
Truckee, CA
Peter Valchev   Truckee, CA
Sweet climb, definitely one of the best! The green camalot section on the first pitch the definite crux for those with larger hands, as mentioned (I also had to ringlock, and lieback a short section). Linking is the way to go... to a perfect belay ledge with fat bolts. We then belayed after the 10c traverse for easy communication with the 2nd, from there it's 1 pitch to the base of the Mexican Flake - so basically done this way, going to ledge on top of the Mexican Flake can be done in 4 pitches (with a 70 meter rope and running it out a little, maybe even 3).

The first 5.9 face pitch was the mental crux - it took me 20-30 minutes to see the first bolt and figure out where the pitch goes. It is above the small roof/overlap straight above the belay bolts, but about 40-50 feet up and tough to see. The climbing getting to it is fairly easy, the crux comes before the 2nd bolt - felt like solid 5.9+ moves with a huge fall potential, definitely R. After clipping the second bolt it gets a little better, and the next face pitch felt much easier/safer, despite that one getting 5.9+ R in the newest topo... (I think they are reversed).

One other note, in October this climb gets zero sun, and can be cold (and a little wet after rain). We didn't start climbing until 11:30am and belayed in puffy jackets... Oct 11, 2011
I've only climbed to the top of Mexican Flake before rapping off (immediately behind Peter V, coincidentally, last time I did it). The ratings in the description above (p1 10a, p2 10b, p3 10c) are more accurate than those in the guidebook I used (which calls p2 10c). For me, p1 is at least as hard as the p2 (I've done them 3 times). It is very logical to link them. The p3 10c traverse crux is pretty stout if you're short (5'6"), and much harder than the previous pitches. The start moves and the Mexican Flake corner stay wet for a few days after a storm--like Peter says, there's no sun to dry them out.

Also, my friends and I have started calling this climb "the WOW" since no one can remember the right name. A little cheesy-sounding, but it has stuck. Oct 13, 2011
There is a variation to the first pitch which starts just right of the route. Climb an unprotected lieback and surmount an overhang (5.10- poorly protected) and then follow a short, very thin crack(5.11 with small Aliens/TCU's) up and then left to the dihedral midway up the first pitch. Mar 28, 2012
J. Albers
  5.10+ PG13
J. Albers   Colorado
  5.10+ PG13
re: Bruce Hildenbrand's comment:

The variation to the right that Bruce mentions is indeed around 5.11-, however, it is very protectable. The undercling and lieback flake takes good small nuts and cams. The only portion that is a little heads up is at the base of the finger crack proper. Once you pull up and left out of the undercling and lieback flake, you will be standing at a reasonably good stance where most people will want to place some gear. Unfortunately, what appears at first to be a bomber 0.75 Camalot placement at the base of the crack, actually opens up inside and is not very good. You can get some okay gear here, but it does take a bit of fiddling. Fortunately you can get some better thin gear (TCU's and Aliens) up another move or two. Anyway, a while back I posted a picture showing this variation; you can see this picture here:… Mar 28, 2012
J. Hickok
J. Hickok  
Only climbed the first 5 pitches to the top of the 5.9 corner, but loved it up to that point. Excellent crack climbing, and like somebody else said, if you weren't quite awake already that traverse under the roof will probably wake you up. Aug 17, 2012
LeeAB Brinckerhoff
  5.10+ PG13
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
  5.10+ PG13
  • Note to self: Bring two ropes and rap, the descent SUCKS took 2.5 hours with my wife and we made it out just before dark.
  • Note to everyone else: Do the first two face pitches above the Mexican Flake, you are short changing yourself if you don't, they are great and add variety to the route....then rap.
  • We climbed the route at the end of September and found the weather to be quite pleasant. We wore light pants because of concerns about poison oak and I wore a light long sleeve fore the same reason while my wife wore a t-shirt most of the time, she may have put on a wind shirt to belay once. The route stayed in the shade until about 2:30 when we were through all the harder climbing having finished the first 2 face pitches above the Mexican Flake.
Sep 27, 2012
LeeAB Brinckerhoff
  5.10+ PG13
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
  5.10+ PG13
Time for a better description.....

Rack:We carried a double set of cams from a blue TCU/Green Alien to a #2 camalot with one smaller cam and one #3 friend along with a set of stoppers including brass. 6 runners and 10 QD's. This seemed adequate though one may want more in the #.75 range for the first pitch which could then be left at that anchor to be retrieved on the way down.

Approach:Make sure that you approach up the right hand side of the to reach the shelf that the route starts from, we were suckered by a fixed line leading part way up to the middle of the ledge and ended up doing a junky pitch with a couple of bolts, a dirty crack, tunneling through a tree and a traverse into a corner that a fall from would be very ugly. Had I known we would have gone back down and around but I saw bolts and figured it couldn't be that bad, rude wake up.


These are pitch descriptions as I climbed the route with my wife. We certainly linked the first 2 pitches from the topo as most everyone does and I choose to belay just above the roof so we could communicate better, the river was quite loud.

  • Pitch 1-Climb steep flakes that trend up and right into the main crack line. The pitch stretches for about 200' and goes from fingers to hands with a choice to break the pitch at a sloping shelf about mid-way right at the crux getting off the self and over the bulge that the wall above forms. Pitch finishes on a great ledge with 2 bolts. 5.10+ 200'+
  • Pitch 2-Move left on the ledge as it narrows and step down under the roof. Continue traversing below the roof using all sorts of holds in all kinds of places. This pitch actually protects quite well. Move left until you come to a crack going up where the roof has narrowed to only a foot or so. Move just a body length up the crack and set a belay with your feet in a pod (finger sized gear) for better communication with your partner or continue up the right angling crack above to an area with some big cut outs. 5.10, short and sideways or somewhat longer.
  • Pitch 3-Climb up the beautiful right angling crack until it starts to peter out. You will be below an obvious left facing corner which is the route we took, though you could go left through a vegetated area to gain another right angling crack. Interesting move get you into the corner, then stem and layback up to the spacious ledge. This is a very long pitch if starting from the "pod", with a 70m rope I was able to set an anchor at the back of the ledge and still sit back at the edge to better communicate (this probably ate up 40-50' of rope) with a 60m rope you might need a cordalette to tie off on of the huge blocks or use the rap anchor that is to the right just below the ledge. 5.9, 200'
  • Pitch 4-The stunning right facing corner. Not much else to say except enjoy and again the pitch is long. With the belayer sitting on the sandy part of the ledge I made the anchor with about 15' of rope using a 70m so with a 60m you will likely need to move the anchor up the starting ramp into the corner. 5.9, 200'+
  • Pitch 5-After stressing out about where the first bolt is climb easily, if you go the "right" way to it and clip. Very fun face climbing on knobs leads up to a second bolt then right to the third and finally left to the anchor. 5.9, 150'
  • Pitch 6-Move straight up off the belay to a bolt in the dike curtain, then right to a second one. Now start surfing a pair of dikes as they trend up and left passing a roof and a ramp/flake feature, continue another 30-40' then step left to the anchor. 5.9, 160'

You should climb to at least here before rappelling, all the climbing is stellar. Above the quality of the rock and movement deteriorates, not terrible just not amazing.

  • Pitch 7-Face climb up to a shallow groove that ends quickly. Head up the face to a right trending ramp. The anchor is a little below the right trending ramp and about 15-20' right of directly above the groove. 5.6, 120'? (really seemed short)
  • Pitch 8-Follow the ramp right for quite a ways, 40-50' until you come to some flakes and and easy way to climb onto the face above. Once on the face you may still need to step right to gain a thin left angling crack that is followed to an anchor. 5.8, 165'
  • Pitch 9-You can either face climb up the low angle rock for 120' or so to the anchor or continue to follow the thin crack as it angles left till near the top of the wall then step right to the bolted anchor. 5.4, 120'
Oct 2, 2012
J. Albers
  5.10+ PG13
J. Albers   Colorado
  5.10+ PG13
Lee!!!! Wow, so funny about the bushwack up from the left side. Funny not because you had to go through that mess, but because I did the same damn thing the first time I visited Cal Dome, though I think my partner and I ended up soloing through some scary a$$ moss sections instead of clipping bolts. Glad you are okay.

Thanks for adding the new description, I'm sure that new visitors to the area will appreciate it.

A couple of things about your description.

On the third pitch, the left facing corner you describe is a variation to the original route. I believe the original FA connected left into the second crack system you describe. Also, you can reach the the rap anchor at the top of the third pitch with a 60m rope from the hanging belay at the end of the roof traverse pitch, but it is tight. Likewise, you can reach the 4th pitch bolted anchor from the bolted anchor at the top of the third pitch, but again you will have virtually no rope to spare to set an anchor (use a cordelette, slings or a daisy). Oct 2, 2012
LeeAB Brinckerhoff
  5.10+ PG13
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
  5.10+ PG13
J.A., yeah, I know that the corner on the 3rd pitch was a variation, but it looks more interesting and it seems as though quite a few plants have sprouted in the cracks leading out left to the other right angling crack that I did not want to fight with. The fact that a 60m rope reaches on those pitches is great to know, I only carried one short cordalette (maybe a 7' piece of cord) and used runners at the opposite belays since they are mostly bolted. Oct 2, 2012
i've climbed granite around the world, and this is one of the finest climbs at the grade. Every pitch is fantastic.

LeeABs comments are spot on.

My two cents about the face climbing pitches above the mexican flake-- the face is very featured, and does not climb like a "true" slab. The climbing is very secure, so the runouts between bolts didn't feel like a big deal. I would recommend doing only the first two pitches of face climbing, the stuff beyond that is not very interesting. Jun 26, 2014
Climbed to the top of the Mexican Hat on 8/31/14, where we decided to rap as the route came into the 95 degree sun which did not seem conducive to runout 5.9 slab climbing. As mentioned many times in this thread, this route in undoubtedly some of the finest 5.10 granite climbing anywhere. Superb.

A few notes:
-Approach: when the approach trail hits the dome, dont waste any time in hoping on the ledges that lead up to the route--the sooner you do this, the easier and faster your approach will be.
-pitch 1, if linked to the ledge before the .10c crux traverse, is not .10b. The bulge felt like .10d, and the section leading up to it .10b. As you can see in the topo on the stanford site (…) the lower section is marked .10a/c, the upper .10b/d.
-pitch 3 after the .10c crux, as noted in this thread, you have 2 options, the obvious from the belay left facing corner and the not obvious from the belay splitter fingers to hands crack. We took the splitter fingers to hands crack, and found it to be awesome. Get to this crack by climbing up from the belay and making a move through the bushes to a very good hold whereby you gain the right leaning crack that takes you to the belay ledge. The party behind us took the left facing corner and found it to be fun but pretty difficult for 5.9. If your rope doesn't reach the ledge proper (and if it does, you're gonna deal with some severe rope drag), you can easily set the belay at the top of the crack, then move the belay over onto the ledge for the next pitch, the big corner, which is AWESOME!
Rack: Double set of cam to a #2 camalot, with an extra .75 camalot. We seemed to use small gear often as well, so don't skimp there. Sep 2, 2014
San Francisco, CA
  5.10c PG13
jpvandever   San Francisco, CA
  5.10c PG13
climbed this up to top of pitch 9 then rapped. for what it's worth, the climbing above that did not look to be 4th class, as indicated in the topo. so probably one more easy 5th class pitch to reach the top...

agree with doubles to #2. we thought an extra #0.75 would have been good on the P1/2 link Oct 6, 2014
Will M.
  5.10+ PG13
Will M.   Oakland
  5.10+ PG13
We climbed the two face pitches above the mexican flake and rapped. Since we were the only people on the route we left our backpack and remaining gear on the anchor at the top of the mexican flake which was nice not to have to carry.

Bring a singles rack of finger to off finger sized gear for the 5.9+ face pitches above. No fall territory where the bolts do not necessarily protect the crux moves without a big scary fall. Worth doing once if only you are very solid at the grade, even when the pro disappears. Nov 17, 2014
Sooo good. Climbed up until the top of the first 5.9 face pitch. Every pitch was great, with the p1/2 link up and the traverse definitely the best. Thought that the first face pitch was pretty runout with kinda committing moves, and if linking the first two pitches triples of .75 are handy. Mar 29, 2015
Crimper E6
cheltenham, UK, SW is the BEST
Crimper E6   cheltenham, UK, SW is the BEST
accidently did a new variation to pitch 5, missed the 3rd bolt and went direct at 5.11aR ish or E4/5 6a in real trad grades ;) May 19, 2015
At the base of the 4th pitch (the long pillar). The sandy ledge. As of yesterday 4/24 there was a falcon nest right here. With two eggs. just a heads up. Be careful to not smoosh them. Or bother the Falcons. Dry until here besides a little seepage on the pitch 2 traverse. At the base of the 6th pitch... A river is runnin. Apr 25, 2016
Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz   Berkeley
Nesting falcon is still on pillar as of today May 15th. Would advise people to avoid the route for a bit, as I bet the falcon will get even more defensive once they hatch and all these climbers might cause nest failure :( May 15, 2016
greg t
Chevy, Silverado
greg t   Chevy, Silverado
I would bring a 70m lead line and a 60m tag. Leave the tag on top of pitch 4.

All day sun on June 26

Did not see any baby falcons Jun 30, 2016
How is to follow the 10.c crux traverse if 10.c is pushing your grade limits? Is it possible for the leader to place a lot of pro so that the follower can pull through the crux? If the follower falls, would he/she be able to get back up to the crack? Jul 11, 2016
Anthony H
Mountain View, CA
Anthony H   Mountain View, CA
David - you can definitely sew up the 10c traverse if you wish. Jul 19, 2016
King Tut
Citrus Heights
King Tut   Citrus Heights
Jeff Altenburg posted here:…

That the proper route name is "Wall of the Worlds". Being a member of the FA party he ought to know. :) Dec 11, 2016
Actually, the name of the route is "Wall of the Worlds" because I named it. Jay Smith Jun 10, 2018

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