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Routes in e. "South" Face

ESX S 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Easy Wind T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
Jolly Hockey Sticks T 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Mule Train T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Poking Papa Bear T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Second Honeymoon S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
South Pillar T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Whiskey Bill T 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
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Type: Trad, 600 ft, 4 pitches, Grade II
FA: Blaine Neeley, Randy Miller (July 1985)
Page Views: 4,597 total · 54/month
Shared By: Bryan G on Nov 1, 2011
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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The South Pillar is the obvious buttress which divides the South Face and the West Face. It offers one of longest climbs on the formation. With lots of easy terrain and good belay ledges, it makes for a fun romp. My brief description only details the path that we took, but many variations exist. Really this climb is best as a "choose your own path" sort of adventure.

P1. Near the toe of the pillar are a couple bolts on steep knobby terrain. We began here. I did a 5.10 boulder problem to get up to the first bolt, but my partner said she traversed in from the right and found that to be much easier. Either way though, the first 10 feet could very well be the crux of the climb. Anyway, climb up past a couple more bolts onto the ridge. Lots of easy scrambling on ledgy terrain leads up the ridge. Take your pick of comfy belay ledges before you hit the end of the rope.

P2. Another pitch of similar terrain will lead to the top of the pillar. Belay among the boulders. You might want to move the belay towards the main wall after you bring your second up.

P3. Start by downclimbing into the notch between the pillar and the rest of the main wall. Then climb up a crack to the right of a 'bulbous' looking feature on the wall. Follow this up and belay on the slab below the overhang near the end.

P4. I traversed to the left of the overhang and finished up a left facing corner, but this required some runout 5.7 moves beneath the roof. Alternatively, climb to the right of the overhang and finish on the steep juggy knobs. Either way you will arrive at a 2 bolt anchor atop the buttress.

The top of the climb is detached from the main dome. Downclimb a short section of easy crack (there's an old buttonhead here) and then scramble over to the top of the dome.


Most of your pro will either be slung chicken-heads or cracks from 2-4".
Bryan G
Bryan G   Yosemite
A Supertopo Trip Report with lots of photos of the South Pillar.…

I think this TR might have also been the first time I heard about Fresno Dome. Nov 1, 2011
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
Bryan's description is good and more or less describes the way we climbed the route. I would agree that starting directly below the first bolt on the first pitch is probably 9+/10a, while it is probably around 5.7/5.8 if you start up and to the right of the bolt line and traverse in on the good holds.

Also, I did not stop at the top of the first pillar at the end of the second pitch as Bryan suggests. Instead, I put in a piece of gear at the top of the pillar with a 4 foot sling attached and then downclimbed into the notch (I placed a couple of pieces of gear as I downclimbed to protect my second). Surprisingly, there was very little rope drag and it saved us from having to move the belay from the top of the pillar to the notch where the third pitch starts. Nov 30, 2012
Dave Daly
Kernville, CA
Dave Daly   Kernville, CA
When Blaine and Randy FA'd the route, it was a direct start below the bolt. Moves to the bolt are 5.9 and most locals will agree. 5.7? Sure, even the remaining pitches. Lets be a little realistic here. Pull it down for sandbagging. Good idea.... Jan 9, 2013
J. Albers
J. Albers   Colorado
I'm confused Dave, are you saying that people posting here are grading things softly, while simultaneously saying that they are sandbaggers?

Dave Daly wrote: Moves to the bolt are 5.9 and most locals will agree.
So we are soft, okay.

Dave Daly wrote: 5.7? Sure, even the remaining pitches. Lets be a little realistic here. Pull it down for sandbagging. Good idea....
But now we are being chastised for being sandbaggers? Huh, I see.

You graded the climb 5.8, but state above that it is 5.9. And then you get after people for being "wrong" about the grade. Confusing stuff. Jul 16, 2013
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
We found the So Pillar a bit difficult to find (we didn't have the "start" photo, just a line-topo drawing) ....basically we didn't go far enough. We first started up a Pillar which turned out to be the pillar between the East face and the So. face (4 bolts easily visible from the ground, 5.9 - 5.10 moves between bolts 1 and 3) but when I saw the 5th bolt, and consistently hit harder-than-5.7 moves, we backed off and a helpful climber pointed us to Whiskey Bill.
Looks like South Pillar is between the So. Face and the West face, and is beyond Whiskey Bill, after the trail gets "rough". Aug 27, 2013
Cory Brooks
Fresno, CA
Cory Brooks   Fresno, CA
Interestingly it appears this route had been claimed several times for first ascents. I suspect the real FA was in 1976 by Simon King and Jack Forsythe. They called the route "Torn and Frayed"

They report in the AAJ -- Fresno Dome, Torn and Frayed. This short, four-pitch climb was done by Jack Forsythe and me in June. It lies on the right side of a prominent pillar a few hundred feet right of the Beckey-Stuart route. Three obvious pitches lead to a huge ledge from where easy face-climbing leads right, then up to the unroping spot. NCCS II, F8." Dec 8, 2017
Can anyone tell me how you get down? Is it a hike down or do you rappel? I don't see anything mentioning this. Thanks! Apr 25, 2018
Visalia, CA
limpingcrab   Visalia, CA
It's been a while, but if I remember correctly we brought everything with us and walked off the top to the car. Apr 25, 2018

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