Type: Trad, 1400 ft, 15 pitches, Grade V
FA: FA: 1962 Yvon Chouinard and T.M Herbert FFA John Long, Pete Minks, Erik Erickson 1976
Page Views: 14,106 total · 110/month
Shared By: S. Stember on Aug 19, 2008
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: 5.6 Climb up easy steps on the left edge of the Flying Buttress. Bolted Anchor.
P2: 3/4th class ramp. Link first two Ps by simul-climbing. Two Bolts
P3: 5.8 Chimney
P4: 5.8 Hand crack. Move out onto the front of the pinnacle. Link P3 and 4 with a 60M rope.
P5: 5.10C From the top of the pinnacle, move right off a ledge towards a vegetated crack. Clip several pins on your way upwards. Bolted Anchor.
P6: 5.11B Move right on some 5.9 slab towards a corner system with pitons in it. Move up 5.11B l/b or C1 for about 25 feet. Bolter anchor.
P7: 5.10A Many pitons. Mantle and l/b a very enjoyable face below a left angling and facing crack system.
P8: 5.10A Move up 1-2 inch crack system (careful, loose rock) and move right over several blocks and ledges. Bolted anchor.
P9: 4th class move right for awhile then left when terrain allows.
P10: 5.9 Climb towards obvious pillar. The right side of the pillar is splitter hands (easy) and will leave you at an anchor with one bolt and one piton (ackward belay). Link P9 and 10 with a 60M rope.
P11: 5.11A Off the pillar, climb the strenuous 5.8 OW crack to a roof. 5.11A. Move upwards to another short roof. 5.10+. Bolted anchor.
P12: 5.11C or C1 Afro-Cuban Flakes. Climb up a 5.10A dihedral to many pitons that traverse to the right. When you reach a thin crack going up, continue up this crack (5.10A, airy!)to a bolted anchor.
P13: 5.8 Climb a chimney/crack system. Trad anchor.
P14: 5.4 ramp/chimney. Trad anchor/tree anchor. Link P13-14 with a 60M rope.
P15: Climb up easy crack to the summit.

Route notes: All anchors are new ASCA bolts, most have two bolts some have just one with a piton to back it up. This is a top-notch route that has great climbing in the middle. The approach pitches and last couple are less than amazing, but the heart of the route is phenomenal.


Start up the Four Mile Trail for about a mile, then 30 meters before the first creek, find a climbers trail on the right side (south) of the trail. Scramble upwards following the climbers trail for about 10-15 minutes until you reach an obvious ramp. Leave any extra gear (backpacks, water, etc) here. Continue up the 2nd class ramp, with occasional exposure, until you can look up and see the Chessman Pinnacle. From here choose the easiest looking approach towards the pinnacle. The terrain is 4th/easy 5th so roping up is a good idea. A rope length will bring you to the base of the pinnacle. Now, the actual climbing begins.


Double set of Cams #.3-2 camalot, one #3
Supplement alients for camalots, they are very useful on most pitches for pin scars
1 set of nuts (optional)
15 draws (some quick draws, some trad draws)
J. Thompson
denver, co
J. Thompson   denver, co
I'm almost wondering if you missed something...maybe you climb a varation???
No mention of the Afro/Cuban flakes? That pitch is at least 5.11c and not mentioned.... This description is off. Aug 25, 2008
S. Stember
St. Paul, MN
S. Stember   St. Paul, MN
J. Thompson-

I definitely missed something. Initially I only had time to post up to P11 and decided to come back to it when I had more time. Now the description is accurate, complete, and up to date. Thanks for the concern. Aug 27, 2008
...or just freesolo it climbingnarc.com/2011/10/al… 60 Minutes Video Oct 3, 2011
El Manzano
kirkadirka   El Manzano
Would love to see a legit description of this route if anyone has got one. Jun 12, 2012
Drew R.
Boulder, CO
Drew R.   Boulder, CO
Did this route on Jul 31 2012. Fantastic climb. I found the description by Stember to be basically accurate.

The left of two belay bolts at belay 6 (top of .11b/c layback) was loose. It is a new good bolt (rawl 3/8) and I was able to tighten it a bit by hand, but somebody needs to take a wrench and snug it up a bit. Aug 4, 2012
Will M.
Will M.   Oakland
Good TR and route description here: dreaminvertical.com/2011/11… Feb 12, 2013
I did this route this last weekend and thought it was awesome. The approach to the first pitch is ambiguous and the descent is involved, but the climbing makes it worth it. I ended up leading every pitch. The cruxes are bouldery and not super sustained. I thought the pitch below the Afro-Cuban flakes was the crux, as it is the most sustained bit of climbing (the actual moves over the roof aren't too bad, but you have to continue on through 5.10d climbing above). Pulling over the AC flakes isn't that bad and there are good right handholds on the face you can crimp while your left hand is in the crack. Lots of fixed pins, gear is good at the cruxes and the pitches go pretty fast. May 20, 2013
Vlad S
Vlad S  
I was expecting something a bit better of this route. Worst approach in the valley (including almost an hour of roped scrambling in our hiking shoes through munge), worst descent in the valley, and tons of mank on the climb including probably over a hundred old rusty pins, many with cracked eyes.

The two belays below and above the 11a pitch are the worst/most cramped belays I've ever hung on/stemmed through. The one below has a nice pedestal, but the only bolt is at your ankle level if you stand on it and the crack is too far to the side. The pin is gone, but you can back up the bolt with a #1 cam (don't leave the #2 here, since it's nice to have 2 hand-size pieces for the wyde). The belay at the top of the 11a pitch is a nice new pair of bolts that were placed 4 feet shy of the small stance and the original manchor that is still there consisting of 3 pins and an ancient tattered sling.

A note on the approach. I've tried 3 different options. The best way to go is if you identify a very polished and clean-looking OW that is about 60 feet below the start of Steak-Salad. Start a little higher than that by hiking up the sandy slope up to the big tree for 20 feet, then scramble up and back left aiming toward the top of the said polished OW, that at it's top turns into an easy gully. You end up climbing up a mossy 5.5 handcrack to a ramp with the tree at its top, then slide down into the gully or campus the edge of the ramp around the tree. That will get you to the bolted anchor that is mentioned in the nice approach topo that someone posted.

Go light on the rack, just bring 15 draws for all the pins. I kept running short on them with 12. Singles from green alien to #3, with the second #1 and #2 camalots will get you to the top if you are into a minimalist rack. Leave the stoppers in the trunk. If you find my 0.5 cam on the approach - congratulations! Oct 14, 2014
King Tut
Citrus Heights
King Tut   Citrus Heights
Well, you can't please everybody. This route is a Yosemite Classic testing the fledgling Big Wall climber with a myriad of free and aid challenges...but if you are solid 5.11/12 leader looking for a great free route in the Astroman/Rostrum mold you will be disappointed.

Still a great Yosemite challenge (there is no 5th class on the approach or you are doing it wrong) with a full day or two in a real "mountain" atmosphere.

Ask me to tell you about the 2 days I spent on the bivy ledge with a concussed partner, verglas making rappelling impossible and ice sheets raining down.

Then we topped out. Feb 21, 2017
Flagstaff, AZ
Wylie   Flagstaff, AZ
Long approach, wonderful route. Good rock and varied pitches. I would repeat this route with pleasure.

Approach: Same as Steck-Salathe until you hit the sandy slope. For Steck you go all the way up the slope then trend right under the wall. For C-H go a bit up the slope and keep your eyes peeled up and left for a chimney/trough feature that is about 100ft tall. It shows obvious wear on the rock of being climbed. Go up this at ~5.6 with some loose mangy rock. Then ascend 4th class cracks/ledges for a bit. Go up an easy 5th slab trough feature. Above this we found fixed hand lines to ascend. At this point you can easily ID the pillar and 5.7 ledgy start to the climb.

Mainly, find the trough/chimney left side of sandy slope and then ascend whatever is most direct and easiest to base of route. It wasn't that difficult to figure out. It just takes a little while.

Descent: Go off summit weaving through manzanita tunnels directly to saddle behind sentinel. Descend lowest point of saddle to the left/East into gully. Hang skiers right down the gully weaving through trees midway then leave trees back into gully when obvious and slowly trend to middle of gully as you near the creek.

At creek find easiest way to cross then hang left towards valley floor. At this point you will be on a series of slabs. Weave down the slabs staying about dead center between both creeks. Don't be swayed by easy looking options far left or right, they lead to bullshit. You are aiming for a patch of trees in the middle of the slabs. Eventually do a 20ft ish 4th down climb then go down and skiers left on obvious dirt trail which goes behind a large tree then to a 3rd class dirty trough. Once down the trough the route finding trickery is mostly over. Head down and skiers left on whatever is easiest eventually trending around the face of the Sentinel and meeting back up with the approach climbers trail.

There are numerous ways to descend, but this is the fastest/easiest way I've found.

Go get it! It's a wonderful free climb. Jun 14, 2017