Type: Trad, 550 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Galen Rowell, Joe McKeown, Scott Walker (June '62)
Page Views: 101 total · 2/month
Shared By: Bryan G on Oct 13, 2014
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


Real Error is the first major chimney system you will encounter when walking uphill along the Northeast Face. If you plan only climbing a few pitches and rapping down, then it is best to approach by crossing the Merced at the Monster Boulder and walking the base of Elephant Rock. If you plan on linking Real Error into one of the routes on the upper tier and making a complete ascent of the formation, then it is best to approach from Hwy 41 via a fixed ropes rappel (see Reality Check for more details)

This route has two starting variations. The left variation starts the same as Trundling Juan, and then at the 100ft tall pine, cuts right up a low angle corner to reach a forested ledge. The right variation is much higher quality and is described below.

Approach pitch: Climb up broken ledges with moss and dirt to reach a large ledge with a major chimney in a left-facing corner. This pitch isn't shown in the Reid guide, but it's about 5.7.

Pitch 1: The best pitch on the route. Lots of lichen, but very aesthetic and fun. Climb the chimney with some blocks in the start. The crux is a flared section with a offwidth crack in the back. Bring a #6 if you don't like climbing several feet above your pro on 5.9 terrain. The chimney pinches down to a jam crack at the top, then belay at a tree on a ledge.

Pitch 2: Like basically every party, we opted to climb the classic hand/fist splitter to the left (Straight Error 10c), so I haven't actually done this pitch. It's a chimney with a couple chock-stone roofs and supposedly goes at 5.9. Looks like it's got some wild and steep sections which could be fun, but it's also sort of dirty and maybe has some loose stuff near the top.

Pitch 3: A terrible pitch up a low-angle gully, not worth it unless you're going all the way to the top. Mantel over some chockstones and thrash past some bushes, then climb a very low-angle offwidth crack to the notch. Scramble out the other side of the notch to reach a broad brush-covered ledge which accesses routes to the summit (Pink Elephant, Elephantiasis, ect...)

It's also worth noting, from the notch I climbed straight up the 5.7 chimney to the top of the pinnacle, where I found a stack of cairns and a single 1960's era ring-eye angle for an anchor. I was able to add a couple marginal nuts and make a scary free-hanging rappel back down, but I wouldn't recommend going up there without a bolt kit or a hammer and pins.

Pitch 1 of this route (the right start), combined with Straight Error makes for a 3 star climb. And then on the walk back down stop off at Crashline for a well-rounded day of Yosemite cracks (Crashline for fingers, Straight Error for hands/fists, Real Error for chimney)


Pro to 6" for the right side starting variation.


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