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Voyager

5.11c, Trad, 700 ft (212 m), 7 pitches,  Avg: 3.7 from 135 votes
FA: Dan McDevitt & Ryan Kelly. October 2013.
California > Yosemite NP > Yosemite Valley > Valley S Side > Leaning Tower Area > Fifi Buttress
Access Issue: Latest updates on Covid and 2020 visits. Details

Description

Voyager is a fantastic route. Established in 2013, it offers sustained climbing on surprisingly clean and solid rock. Each pitch is high-quality, featuring numerous stem corners and hand cracks. Almost all of the belays are at comfortable ledges and the route catches shade until around 1-2pm (May). Great route for a warm day in a secluded spot.

P1: Blocky bolt-protected climbing leads to a long clean stretch of fingers in a corner. Stemming and jamming segues into fun face climbing on edges and knobs. Step right to a bolted anchor below the tree. Alternatively, continue to a larger ledge and below directly below the base of the next pitch. 11a. 105'.

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[Alternative Start: Begin on Running Wood (5.10 c/d, 4P) and traverse over to the ledge at the base of the Incinerator (P3 of Voyager).

The starting corner of Running Wood is hard to miss as it leads through an obvious crack system in orange granite directly right of a big roof. It's immediately left of Voyager. Awesome pitch!

Alt. P1: Stemming and reaches lead through varied cracks down low. Reach a stance and follow a perfect hand crack though overhanging bulges. A short squeeze leads to a bolted anchor on a ledge. 10 c/d. ~115'.

Alt P2: Climb up a nice crack in a left-facing corner. Traverse right past a shrubby ledge to meet the original route. Continue up a short left-facing corner to the base of P3. ]

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P2: Move up and past the tree to the base of a stem box. Climb the corner past a small roof. Wide stemming leads to a bolted anchor next to a large ledge. 10c. 105'.

P3: The Incinerator! Flared fingers in a left-facing corner. Lay it back or stem it out. Keep your cool or you might get...burned. Heh. Bolted anchor. 11c. 80'.

P4: Boulder Problem. Move right across a ledge to the first bolt. Nice movement leads past a couple bolts to a stance at the base of a short right-facing corner. Technical difficulties begin as the corner ends and the slab begins. Draws and a few finger-sized pieces are all you need for this pitch. Bolted anchor. 11c. 70'.

P5: Delicate opening sequence of stemming in a steep corner. Hit a jam and pull into a stretch of hands and fists. Bolted anchor. 11a. 105'.

P6: Follow the cracks up into lower angle terrain. As the crack thins and the angle eases look for a bolt on the right. Clip it and move right onto the slab. Face climbing leads past another bolt to a stance. Work your way up a fist crack in a short left-facing pillar. Bolted anchor. 10c. 105'.

P7: Starts out with a punchy crux of overhanging tight hands. Gain a stance, catch your breath, and press on through an enjoyable hand crack to a blocky section below the anchor. Watch for loose rock here. A tricky mantle guards the anchors. Bolted anchor. 11a. 105'.

Rap the route with a single 70m rope.

Location

The route is easily identified by looking for a large section of orange and white rock with several large roofs. The route begins in a corner just right of these large orange roofs. Look for a series of bolts that leads into a thin crack in a corner below a tree.

Rap the route with a single 70m rope.

Protection

Double 0.5".
Triple 0.6"-0.75".
Double 1"-3".
Single 4".

Nuts & Draws.

P1, 4 & 6 have protection bolts.

All anchors are big, shiny and rap equipped.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

First pitch of Voyager. <br>
<br>
Photo: Corey Gargano
[Hide Photo] First pitch of Voyager. Photo: Corey Gargano
The slab traverse, so much fun.
[Hide Photo] The slab traverse, so much fun.
"The Incinerator" <br>
Great pitch.  Offset cams not necessary at all but  they would work terrifically.
[Hide Photo] "The Incinerator" Great pitch. Offset cams not necessary at all but they would work terrifically.
Looking down the beautiful corner on pitch one
[Hide Photo] Looking down the beautiful corner on pitch one
Randy Leavitt leading The Incinerator, pitch 3
[Hide Photo] Randy Leavitt leading The Incinerator, pitch 3
slab traverse on 2nd to last pitch
[Hide Photo] slab traverse on 2nd to last pitch
Pitch 3 enduro layback
[Hide Photo] Pitch 3 enduro layback
The 1st pitch from the belay.<br>
<br>
The 1st and the 2nd bolt are outlined.
[Hide Photo] The 1st pitch from the belay. The 1st and the 2nd bolt are outlined.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Jonathan Adam
California
 
[Hide Comment] Great belay ledges. Well-protected. Short pitches. Summer shade until early afternoon. We thought it was "as good as a three-star route can be." Jun 9, 2014
bud miller
SAR site, Camp4
[Hide Comment] Great climb, many 4 star (if short) pitches. It is not as big of an undertaking as it looks on paper. Safe and feels like cragging pitches stacked on top of itself. I would bring (3) purple camalots for pitch 3. Jun 18, 2014
Pavel Burov
Russia
 
[Hide Comment] Great climb. Nice granite. Solid protection.

We did not find any spot where #4 could be of any use. I placed it at some random spot just because it was hanging on my harness. And it was a real challenge to find a wide enough crack for #4. One #3 is enough. Offset nuts are useful.

Sun hits the climb around 4pm. Sep 15, 2014
[Hide Comment] First pitch felt sustained and pumpy with tricky gear at the crux (when the splitter finger crack begins to peter out).

On the sixth pitch traverse, stay below the second bolt.

We didn't bring a #4 and the the route still felt plenty safe, but both my partner and I found places where it would have been nice to have it on at least three separate pitches. It could also make the tricky gear section on P1, less tricky.

I would opt for three yellow alien sized pieces next time, either in place of or in addition to three purple Camalot sized pieces.

In shade until 2-3pm. Sep 22, 2014
Adal Bermann
San Diego, CA
  5.11d
[Hide Comment] I thought last pitch was the hardest just because of the start. Had to do an awkward lay-back. Would personally rate it 5.11c if any other pitch is... Sep 29, 2014
Vlad S
San Francisco, CA
  5.11c
[Hide Comment] You have get up early for this one unless you want to wait behind a few other parties. Five parties on it this Saturday and I think the people who hiked up afterwards did the smart thing and turned around. From the 4th party on people got a bit hosed by the sun. The last pitch is definitely no harder than a very soft 11a. If you don't jam it straight in - you are doing it wrong. Two cranker moves off the belay and it's over. The 11c boulder problem on pitch 4 was quite baffling, though. Be prepared for a puzzle. Oct 6, 2014
aaron hope
Walnut Creek, CA
  5.11c
[Hide Comment] We did it in perfect weather on an hot October Saturday. Only one other party. No crowding. My partner and I agreed that the incinerator pitch was way harder than anything on the Rostrum and Pinky paralysis. To be fair, it was also just different than those other climbs. However, the 11c boulder pitch was surprisingly easy. I guess I stumbled on the beta. Felt like 10D.
Great climb, good location, nice ledges. Easy raps. Oct 13, 2015
[Hide Comment] Staying below the second bolt at 6th pitch traverse is good advice.
Small nut is useful for the beginning of the fifth pitch, that's the only part of the route where I would use nut.
#4 is good to have. Oct 26, 2015
erik rieger
North Carolina
 
[Hide Comment] Fun route that goes quickly. A few very good pitches. Removed (and did not clip) some unsightly cheater webbing from the fourth pitch boulder problem. The Rostrum is a way more demanding route. Oct 29, 2015
Mei (pronounced as May)
Bay Area, but not in SF
 
[Hide Comment] Now I can see why this route gets so popular/crowded. With the easy approach, low commitment, and good protection, it is basically Serenity/Sons in the 5.11 grade.

BETA ALERT: I've heard at least two people got busted up having decked at the start of the Incinerator pitch. It's very easily avoided. When the leader finishes Pitch 2, do not set up anchor at the bolts, which are well placed for rappel; instead, go ahead and step left around the corner and set up a gear anchor on the huge platform. It takes great gear (BD #3 and nut, etc) that you won't need for P3. This way, the leader starts right above the belayer. There is no extra rope needed for the step left around corner, and the belayer can easily spot the leader because she/he is on a giant platform. No more broken ankles!

I won't take credit for this idea. My partner belayed me this way and I thought it was ingenious! Didn't think he even paused to ponder about it even though it was both our first time on the route. This is a retired Chamonix mtn guide, who had to go through some grueling and very demanding certification process (4-year school). The skills showed! Jun 10, 2016
Bababata
Oakland, CA
  5.11c
[Hide Comment] Excellent route. Way overbolted though (in an uncharacteristic for Yosemite fashion). The bolts on the first pitch in particular are a complete travesty - not a single one is needed as there is plenty of pro in the crack right next to them. This pitch sets a pretty bad ethical example and, in my opinion, needs to be chopped. Nov 13, 2016
Alexey Zelditch
San Jose
[Hide Comment] Bababata, in my opinion "pretty bad ethical example" is to chop someone else route, just to spray how "cool" you are. Go climb something harder and less protected Nov 14, 2016
Bababata
Oakland, CA
  5.11c
[Hide Comment] Alexey, sorry, didn't get the memo that someone owned this particular piece of rock. Overbolting is a slippery slope, my friend, which is why we need some sort of ethical standard. And an ethical standard is partly established by setting a good example. I'm no hardcore badass climber, but having multiple bolts next to a beautiful crack seems like a bad example to me. Pray tell, what do you think sets the best example here? Leaving things as they are? Nov 16, 2016
Vlad S
San Francisco, CA
  5.11c
[Hide Comment] Hey Boris, I don't remember seeing a "beautiful crack" next to the bolts. Even if the route can be done with fewer bolts it's mostly up to the FA to decide and he has enough experience climbing new routes during his climbing career that is probably as long as your and mine whole lives. For beginners and anyone breaking into a new grade it's good to have something safe like Voyager to jump on. I would just enjoy that we have both routes like this one where you can enjoy a day of "multipich cragging" and routes like Freestone, Beggar's, and Ribbon Candy. Go get on those - no overbolting, no crowds, should be no complaints...

There are much worse ethical transgressions happening in the valley to worry about like people leaving trash all over, bolting anchors in the middle of established pitches, and doing routes on shit gear like beaks and copperheads without regard for us - weaker climbers (-: Nov 16, 2016
Alexey Zelditch
San Jose
[Hide Comment] Babarata, no one "owned this particular piece of rock", but but there are simple thighs like respect to other climbers who put a lot of work and thoughts when they developed a new route. And respect to other climbers who climbed this route and enjoy it how it is. Chopping the bolts on other climbers routes is equally disgusting as adding bolts to someone else route without consent of FA party. Be aware that since no one "owned this particular piece of rock" you can find the line in the Vally and make your own route which will satisfy your taste.
I do not know you Babarata, but when you start talking about " ethical standards" you make me worry - Is he is really an asshole and can make one more trip to Voyager to chop the route? I hope you not. I personally know Dan McDevitt [ who made Voyager] and he is making stelar routes in the Valley all his life. He does not do overbolted routes, he just does not like when climbers brake bones on his routes. Believe me - he does not need those bolts for himself to make FA, he need those bolts for majority of climbers who can have a good time there. Nov 16, 2016
Bababata
Oakland, CA
  5.11c
[Hide Comment] Hey Vlad! I think we mostly agree. I'm worried though that there's a trend these days for more and more bolts to pop up all over the place and for new routes to become more and more sanitized on average. In fact, this route is a good example of this trend, when you compare it to similar routes that were put up 20 or 30 yrs ago. And I think that an FAist has a responsibility to try to mitigate this trend as much as possible by setting a good example. You know, I'm just an average wknd warrior - I'm scared of C2 and I like all my gear to be bomber. So the fact that even someone like me thinks that this route is overbolted says something. There's perfectly good gear just 2 ft to the left of some of the bolts on pitch 1. There's a perfectly good piton just 10 inches from the bolt on the 4th pitch crux.

Alexey, I have no desire to argue. I just expressed an opinion, you're entitled to yours. At any rate, this is not a discussion forum, so PM me if you wanna discuss more. Cheers Nov 17, 2016
Alexey Zelditch
San Jose
[Hide Comment] Barabata, there is nothing to discuss more with you privately. Yes this is not a discussion forum but it is you, not me who started this choping-bolting shit. If you want to delete your posts, I can delete mine after you do it. If you are worry [really?] about numbers of bolts on this particular routes you can PM Dan McDevitt & Ryan Kelly via ST- [where they have nick names as McDevitt, ryankelly ] I am sure they will answer to your questions why they did this route this way and not other.
If you worry generally about "trend these days for more and more bolts to pop up all over the place and for new routes to become more and more sanitized on average" you can complain to the God Nov 17, 2016
Dan Ressler
Silver Spring, MD
[Hide Comment] Fun and accessible route done with a bit of a hangover. Trip report here. Nov 28, 2016
Andre H.
Boulder
[Hide Comment] Dan - Holy blogspray!!!! TL;DR

Other dudes up-thread...get a room for the wang-slapping about bolts. Nov 28, 2016
[Hide Comment] Great route. Maybe one of the best I have climbed in Yosemite.

a few notes for those that want some beta:

1. You can rap it with a 60m.
2. You don't need to bring nuts. I placed cams throughout the entire route and felt well protected.
3. Before the incinerator pitch I plugged a #3 camalot around the corner as mentioned before in the comments. It was great beta because you can belay comfortably using the enormous ledge.
4. When you start the Incinerator pitch, put all of your gear on the right side of your harness.
5. A #4 came in handy multiple times during this route so I would bring it. May 25, 2017
Jeremy Park
Seattle, WA
  5.11c
[Hide Comment] Great route that stays pretty cool throughout the day. A couple of gear notes:

-Note on gear: Most of the gear beta is spot on. The only extra gear I would add is a .2 (yellow X4). If you decide to stem the 11c this can be super useful. Also not sure what people where climbing who said you don't need a #4 C4. We found tons of placements for this. I even bummed it for about 20ft on one of the 10c sections. Oct 10, 2017
WadeM
Golden, Co
 
[Hide Comment] Super classic route! Nice find.

Gear: I thought doubles from .1-2, single 3,4 was fine
I stemmed the Incinerator pitch so found it quite easy to plug gear in the small crack on the right wall. If you went full layback you'd want the 3x .4/.5

Can't wait to try the other lines on this wall Jun 4, 2019
[Hide Comment] The best and most common way to rappel this route is with a 70m rope. From the top of p7, reverse all pitches, skipping *only* the belay at the top of the boulder problem. A 70m rope is just short and may require shenanigans if you skip the top of p5 instead (NOT recommended). The standard first pitch is 35 meters exactly, so a 70m is required. Jun 13, 2019
Daniel Melnyk
Covina
 
[Hide Comment] One of the best routes in the Valley. All 7 pitches are within 4 grades of each other How amazing and sustained! The pitches go quick and the route stays in the shade until 12:30 (June 20) making it a great option in the summer. Jul 22, 2019
Tommy D
Santa Cruz + Silver Meadow, Ca
  5.11d
[Hide Comment] Mega Classic and hat's off again to Dan McDevitt! As good as the Rostrum w/out any OW or Chimney. Just stunning. Dan is the Grand Wizard of FA's. Grades are a little schizo... First pitch is a stiff warm-up! The Incinerator feels more like 11a, and the Boulder Problem pitch is quite hard, even after you know the beta. I'd give that 11d for sure. Dec 20, 2019