Type: Trad, Sport, 1000 ft, 9 pitches, Grade III
FA: Jim Langford & Doug Cardinal, 10/1973
Page Views: 8,623 total · 78/month
Shared By: John Knight on Oct 27, 2009
Admins: Aron Quiter, andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Access Issue: Seasonal Raptor Closures Details


If you're looking for some Pinnacles, High Peaks Adventure, this climb has it all. This climb includes route finding difficulties, loose rock, old bolts, poor belays, pigeons, and some of the most improbable climbing you'll find anywhere. That said, it is some of the best adventure climbing you'll find with a real alpine feel.

From the west side parking lot, you'll need about 8 hours "car to car" for the whole adventure. See approach & descent description below. This is rated "only" 5.8 but would not be a good route for someone just breaking into that grade.

Pitch 1 – 5.5: From the stacked boulders, work your way left up a short ramp (sling the small tree for protection) then head right using a few chimney moves. Scramble into the HUGE chamber and belay off one old bolt on the right wall.

Pitch 2 – 3rd & 4th Class: Pick up the belay and move to the far end of the chamber. You’ll have to do a few chimney moves to get to the start of the next pitch. You will have passed under the large chockstone and be at the highest point just before the floor starts to drop.

Pitch 3 – 5.6: This improbable pitch, chimneys and stems its way back toward the chockstone 70’ over your head. From the highest point of the chamber floor, (facing back toward the chockstone), look up about 15’ on the right wall and you’ll see your first bolt. You’ll clip two bolts on the right wall and then switch and clip 2 bolts on the left wall (4 total). Somewhere around bolt 3 you’ll need to switch from stemming/chimneying to climbing the left wall. At the top, cross over the chockstone and belay from the shrub/small tree.

Pitch 4 – 5.8: Move the belay from the small tree to the base of a water chute/chimney. You should be standing beneath 2 closely spaced bolts. The crux of this pitch is making it past the 1st bolt. There are a total of 3 bolts on this pitch. Once at the top move through a scree filled trough and belay from a small tree at the back of the chute.

Pitch 5 – 5.6: Move the belay north (right) to the base of another water chute/chimney. Start just right of the water chute, clip one bolt, then move left into the chimney and clip one more bolt. Belay from another small tree at the back of the meadow.

Pitch 6 – 5.3: Move the belay right, past the most obvious pinnacle, just below a short wall (about 10’). Climb the short wall (no protection), then move right and climb another short, unprotected wall (about 15’) to the top of a pinnacle. Belay by placing a large loop or rope over the pinnacle to your right.

Pitch 7 – 5.4: Climb down 10’ and then up a small face past one bolt. From the top of this face, walk down and left and belay at one bolt in front of another face.

Pitch 8 – 5.4: Step out left onto an exposed ledge, clip 1 bolt, then move right up a ramp and clip another bolt as you move to the top of the pinnacle. Work your way over a series of humps and clip 1 more bolt before reaching the south summit of H & L Dome. Belay from 2 old bolts on the south summit.

Pitch 9 – 5.1: Downclimb from the south summit then climb back up to the north summit. One short rappel from the chains on the north summit of H & L Dome will get you back to the ground.


Approach: Approximately 2.5 miles and 1.5 hours. From the west side parking lot, take the Juniper Canyon Trail to the Tunnel Trail. Turn left at the junction and head up the Tunnel Trail to the High Peaks Trail. Once at the High Peaks Trail you have a couple options for the approach. You can either turn left, head over the top, and go down the other side toward the Don Genaro overlook (this may be farther but easier) OR you can turn right. The following directions assume you turn right. After passing The Sponge, look for a “use trail” that heads up and left toward Pot Pinnacle and Peyote Pillar. The turn is about one third of the distance between The Sponge and the stairs that head up to Condor Crags. If you reach the stairs, you’ve gone too far. Note – you’ll want to drop your packs and rack up before you leave the High Peaks Trail. Scramble up the “use trail” for a few hundred yards, then drop down a steep, gravely slope. There will be a large wall on your left side that makes up the base of H & L Dome. We stayed close to the wall and had to do one rappel (about 70’) to get to the base of the climb. The climb starts off some large, stacked boulders just right of a pink section of rock. There should be a large pine tree at your back and you should see a ramp leading left past a small pine.

Descent: Approximately 2 miles and 1 hour. Take the “use trail” from H & L Dome/Tuff Dome back to the High Peaks Trail to collect your packs. Turn left on the High Peaks Trail and then right on the Tunnel Trail back toward the parking lot. The descent takes about an hour.


The protection consists of mostly old bolts. A few have been replaced in key locations. You'll want to bring 8 shoulder length slings & 16 carabiners. You may want to supplement with a couple small nuts. A cordellete may be helpful for slinging trees at the belays.
Joe Forrester
Palo Alto
Joe Forrester   Palo Alto
Fun route. Can definitely be done much faster than 8 hours car to car. The 5.8 move is easily aidable if needed although it is really only one move or so of 5.8 climbing. The climb has a bunch of pigeon crap on it, but overall, is a pretty fun route. Worth the drive and the hike. Oct 19, 2011
Fun, and quite adventurous.....Bring a helmet, condors love giving flybys Apr 30, 2013
Mat J
El Dorado Hills, Ca
Mat J   El Dorado Hills, Ca
This route was cruisy and pretty laid back. I think the crux for us was getting to the start of the route. Leading the chimney was easy but a little spicy knowing that those bolts have seen MUCH better days. I'm doubtful that they would hold any kind of considerable fall. Mar 5, 2014
A Johnson
A Johnson   Atascadero
Did this route last weekend with my partner. The most difficult part is finding the beginning. The descriptions we found on this site, mud-n-crud, and the Brad Young book were all accurate but still lacking in specificity. The way we approached from the high peaks trail, south of the H&L Dome we trail cut down the gravel slope and through a bit of veg. Tried to hug the wall to our left but were rebuffed by PO. Found a shoot that looked close to where the several descriptions said to begin the 4th class approach and I ended up free soloing up a 5th class shoot beneath a balanced boulder. Once up there was a tree with a blue sling and a rappel ring so I was able to belay my second. This was an additional pitch not included in the route but put us right on the actual start.

As far as the route goes, ALL of the bolts have been replaced recently. The first bolt on pitch three is a bit high, and all four are there even though you cant really see them from the deck.

Pitch four has 5 bolts now.

Pitch five has a ton of loose rock so be sure to warn you belayer. Rather than belaying off any vegetation on the top of this pitch, there is a chockstone you can sling with a shoulder length.

All in all a really interesting route with some challenging climbing. Give yourself all day just for time to spare and have a blast. Oct 19, 2015
Echoing the last post, all of the bolts have been replaced, they are now shiny and solid.

At the top of the fourth pitch there is a scree filled trough and small tree to the left (which it seems others have used to belay). My partner used that tree for the belay/anchor while I followed the fourth pitch. I took a short, top-rope fall in that slick chimney, and got to the top to find the tree mostly uprooted. (See image below). There is one more smallish tree up and to the right that could probably be used to protect the fourth pitch, but as of this posting there aren't great anchors for the fourth pitch, at least if you're going without trad gear.

Mar 24, 2016
Rew Exo
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Rew Exo   Mammoth Lakes, CA
The route begins at 36°29'16.3"N 121°11'44.3"W. Aug 6, 2017
Isaiah Foulks
Isaiah Foulks   Monterey
HEADS UP: Rock fall potential very high onto follower of fourth (crux 5.8) pitch. Leader climbs up awesome chimney then over a lip into the gully. The lip of this gully (that looms over belayer) has a scree of rocks that can (and did) easily slip over and fall onto belayer/follower. I (third person in party) watched two baseball sized rocks fall right pass the follower (one hit her in the foot). After another minute I watched a football sized flake nail her right on the head. She unroped and downclimbed (5 feet) and we yelled up to leader to hold still while she got the hell out of the rock fall zone. Leader was able to lower himself down to the lip from the belay, and he spent a few minutes throwing many many large rocks up into the gully from the lip. Subsequent ascentionists should be very much aware of this as there are still many rocks ready to pour over said lip onto belayer below. Having belayer stand outside of chamber (on the opposite side of the bushes) keeps you out of rock fall zone, but you might want to keep belayer anchored onto the small tree belay from previous pitch. To be clear,.still a fantastic climb. Just be careful and don't forget those helmets :) Nov 24, 2017
Brad Young
Brad Young  
Now that's just weird.

Two posts about Pinnacles routes on this web site today and in both cases the climbers were climbing routes in areas that are closed for raptor nesting (some pair were climbing Shake and Bake too last weekend - it's also closed).

H&L Dome (and therefore the route Feather Canyon) are currently closed. They were closed last weekend too (they closed in mid-January).

Is the word just not getting out? Do people just not care? I worry about the inevitable Park Service reaction to these errors. Feb 12, 2018
Marc Squiddo
Mountain View, CA
Marc Squiddo   Mountain View, CA
If I had to guess I would say they care Brad. Honestly my guess is confusion on understanding the Cyn versus H&L itself. No excuse but.....Hi btw! Mar 7, 2018
Isaiah Foulks
Isaiah Foulks   Monterey
Just did this route again, this time leading every pitch... and in approach shoes! Highly recommend, as the most difficult moves on the climb are all stem/chimneying... you dont need tight edges... and it makes the oh-so-comfy! If you are comfortable on pinnacles rock, i highly recommend leaving normal free shoes behind.

We made it car to car in less than six hours and that was with stopping to climb Burgundy dome and Piglet Pinnacle on the way down.

Additionally, we found no less than four non locking carabiners left behind on this round... as well as several very unecessary slings in some belays... as well as a grigri! If you messgae me about the gri and describe it (it has a few "defining" characteristics) Ill try to get it back to you.

Regarding Brad Youngs previous comment, i do want to make it clear that someone (not me!) climbed this route during closures (a wag of thr finger) and it appears they deleted their comment. As far as Im aware, closures typically begin around January, and a subsequent conversation with Brad revealed that indeed someone else had climbed the route during no-no season. Check mudncrud website for raptor closure information!!! Sep 30, 2018
John Knight
John Knight   Sedona
Glad to see others enjoying this route. I have to say that this was one of my more memorable Pinnacles adventures. There were a couple others but this one was certainly up there. Years before Brad Young's book, i was intent on climbing Feather Canyon but wasn't too sure about the route and location. Even with all the beta. One day I convinced Tyler to come with me and off we went. It may be that the crux of this whole adventure is finding the start. Study the book, study the comments and expect to spend some time fumbling around. It's all par for the course when climbing at Pinn. This route is not about climbing, it's about Adventure. Hope you enjoy this route as much as I did. Oct 2, 2018