Type: Trad, 400 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Jerry Anderson & Jim Pettigrew, 1970
Page Views: 9,372 total · 66/month
Shared By: M. Morley on Jul 24, 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


P1: Take your choice of two cracks off the ground, both of which lead to a tricky traverse right under a roof (a #3 or #4 Camalot comes in handy here). Continue up to belay at a tree. See
Elli on the first pitch of The Caverns. .

P2: Continue up right-facing corner to another belay tree.

P3: Climb crack and face above tree and traverse right along the path of least resistance to the base of the "Caverns". Belay at a tree.

P4: Several options. Either delve into the depths and chimney up with no pro, climb the face just right of the chimney (also no pro), or climb a somewhat grungy right-facing crack above the belay tree (best option). All options are 5.7. Continue on easier ground to belay at a pine tree.

P5: Scramble right on dirty ground, skirting through the trees. Finish with a short 5.6 crack.

Descend by hiking to climber's left on reasonably well-defined trail.


The fourth "open book" from the left.


Standard rack to 4".


This climb is great! Commitment gets most of the attention at Five Open Books, but I thought this climb was just as good if not better. The roof part is very reminiscent of the Commitment roof, just smaller and a little easier. The second pitch had an awesome hands section, and the last pitch was so fun. I really recommend getting into the chimney and shimmying up it. I would call it (the chimney) 5.6, so the lack of gear is no big deal if you're comfortable at this level. And it feels so adventurous climbing down into the cave/chimney, and then birthing yourself back out!! Jan 20, 2009
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
Tricky, heads-up (or down, in my case) crux and sustained climbing for the grade--made more exciting due to much running water over the route this May!

Except for the finishing pitch (we did it all in 4, not 5), I thought this route was pretty darn good. The color/texture of the rock on some parts of the route was remininscent of ORG tuff for some reason. Jun 1, 2010
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
It's that dark slicky stuff from water polish I think. For more rock like that, check out some of the climbs in the lower falls amphitheater.

I did this climb mid may and it was still pretty wet. I figured it's 5.8, no big deal. But as it turned out, it was wet at the crux of every pitch! Made for some fun gear in wet cracks and then tiptoeing onto the slab for some harder but dryer climbing. Jun 4, 2010
Bonesaw   CA
Just did this for the second time yesterday (7 March 2012). Route was completely dry despite snowfall the day prior. This is probably my favorite of the six first tier routes. Not particularly difficult for Yosemite 5.8. Linked with Selaginella, which is more sustained and physical. Mar 8, 2012
Morgan Nutting
Bishop, CA
Morgan Nutting   Bishop, CA
A good alternative if Commitment is crowded. Jun 15, 2012
Pretty fun route. My partner and I both thought the "heady" lieback on the second pitch was harder than the crux first pitch. On the 3rd pitch, supertopo shows cutting over to the caverns themselves and then up 5.4 to the tree that you back up with cams. I thought the more natural line went up further and then traversed to directly under that tree. If you've coiled the rope at the final belay tree and done the 4th class, but dont feel comfortable soloing the short 5.6 section to the descent you can go around it to the right on a climbers trail. Oct 21, 2012
Really fun route. Awesome splitter hands and layback on p2. We traversed over dirt ledges to the base of the caverns on p3. Chimney the first ~30' of the cavern and stepped left back into the corner at a big tree. Following the corner up and back across the top of the cavern felt like the headiest climbing on the route... May 7, 2013
Jon W
Bishop, CA
Jon W   Bishop, CA
Cool chimney in the cavern.

Let me know if you find a 5.10 approach shoe down in there. Oct 25, 2014
Robert Shortt
San Francisco, CA
Robert Shortt   San Francisco, CA
This is just not a fun climb. There's a few 5.8 moves in there, but I mainly remember munge, trees, leaves, slab, unaesthetic corner/lieback moves, and a chimney I avoided entirely. Oh and a short 5.6 free solo if you don't feel like poking around for a trail up. Nov 17, 2014
Oak Park, CA
Sean   Oak Park, CA
enjoyable climb. exciting liebacks, or some tricky jamming. ended up doing a long leftward descent with raps. had passed belay anchors along the route all equipped with rap slings. best to just rap the route, or connect to Hanging Teeth partway to continue down? Mar 14, 2017
Lance Brown
Santa Rosa, CA
Lance Brown   Santa Rosa, CA
Did this on 06/12/17 and the last two pitches have biting red ants. Watch out. Jun 18, 2017
Bill Lundeen
Lee Vining, CA
Bill Lundeen   Lee Vining, CA
Very good old-school route. Heads up last pitch! Nasty fall potential if you came off either in the chimney or on the face to the right of the chimney (both of which are pro-less). Having said that, they're not that hard, just committing. Found the pitches to be clean and interesting.
If you're using the old Reid guide like I did, there's some confusion as to where the second pitch ends... As it's set up in the guide the pitch would be 220 feet long (which would NOT have been the case in 1970 with 50m ropes). Turns out to be an extra pitch in there, which the supertopo brings out more clearly. Nov 12, 2017