Type: Trad, 400 ft, 3 pitches
FA: unknown
Page Views: 26,028 total · 199/month
Shared By: Linnea Williams on Oct 4, 2009 with improvements by Brad Erickson
Admins: M Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Sunnyside Bench, Regular Route is one of the easiest multi-pitch climbs in the Valley. It is an awesome first lead due its varied climbing challenges (bouldering, face, chimney, off-width, corner, traverse) and gear placements (micro-cams to #4 Camalot). It also offers one of the most direct ways to the top of Lower Yosemite Falls. During the early season, watch out for running water on the 1st pitch and on the rappel down.

Pitch 1 (5.2, 80'): From the end of the Class 3 section, rope up and climb into the squeeze chimney. This chimney is pretty narrow and may be hard to manage with a pack. Follow the chimney for 10-15' and go left over the flake. The wide crack on the left of the flake is probably the first spot where you can place gear (a larger cam). Continue up the crack until the big tree on your right. This is your anchor!

Pitch 2 (4, 100'): From the 2nd belay station near the big tree, you'll see the obvious gully that goes straight up the formation. DO NOT be tempted to go there. While it is climbable and not very hard, it is not the route you're here to do. It is unaesthetic and not very interesting. Also, early in the season it will have a lot of mungey wet spots. Instead traverse right and up, following obvious cracks. Climbing here is easy, exposed and very enjoyable. After negotiating a couple of headwalls, ledges and bouldering problems (aka "the tricky bouldering problem" in SuperTopo), you'll arrive at the 3rd belay station at another big tree.

Pitch 3 (5.4-5.5, 150'): From the 3rd belay station you can see the first 80 or so feet of the 3rd pitch. At first you'll continue up an easy crack (4th class) towards another tree. Do not pass it. Move right for the base of the crux. From here you can either go slightly to the right over 5.4 jugs (unprotected), or continue straight up into the 5.5 crack/corner, which is a bit too wide for hand jams, but still easy going. The well-protected corner is probably a better alternative to the run-out jugs, even though it is a little bit harder. Make sure to extend your placements with slings in this section. Once you handle the crux, you may be surprised to find a steep unprotected face right above you. Don't let it intimidate you and don't go that way, look to your right. You'll see a tiny ledge (1-2" wide) that extends across the face to a small tree. Follow that ledge until you are directly below that tree. If you experience a lot of rope drag, you can set up a belay station here. Follow the 5th class hand-crack above the tree all the way up until the easier ground. Use one of the larger trees for your anchor and enjoy the views!

Descent: A couple of options exist here. You can continue up low-angle slabs for 250-300' until you find the climbers trail. Follow that trail to the right and down climb the gully to get back to the Valley. It will take you anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes to get back to the Lower Yosemite Falls trail. Though the trail seems to disappear at times, just keep going and don't lose faith.

Another option will require three rappels down the obvious gully that you can see from your 2nd belay station. The first rappel station is located at the very top of that gully. To find it, look to the left as you finish the route. Bring your own slings to be safe, the ones I saw didn't look very good.


on the left side of Sunnyside Bench, around the corner from Jamcrack, etc.


Regular rack (one #4 cam is helpful but not essential) and some smaller pieces.