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Penny Lane

5.7, Trad, 350 ft (106 m), 3 pitches, Grade II,  Avg: 1.8 from 8 votes
FA: Bruce Hildenbrand and Clint Cummins 9/2009
California > Yosemite NP > Tuolumne Meadows > Penny Royal Arches
Access Issue: Latest updates on Covid and 2020 visits. Details


This route includes gear-protected crack climbing, bolt protected face climbing and a fun roof.  The first two pitches are a great place for leaders getting into trad climbing to practice placing gear.

Pitch 1 - head up and slightly left on a short headwall and gain a crack which runs up the face. Climb this crack for about 30 feet then traverse right into another crack which runs longer up the face. Follow this crack for about 100' to the belay which takes a #2 and #3 Camalot. This pitch is about 215' so if you have a 60m rope you will need to simulclimb with the follower on easy terrain. 5.6.

Pitch 2 - work up and left into a left facing dihedral which turns into a roof. Surmount the roof on nice holds and proceed left to a ledge and belay(#1 Camalot and other gear). 5.5.

Pitch 3 - climb up and left following a small crack for 20 feet to the base of a dark water streak. Climb the water streak past seven bolts with the crux coming at the top. Two bolt anchor. Some gear placements can be found to supplement the bolts, if desired. 5.7.


This route begins at the low point of the rock buttress about 200' left of the huge dihedral which splits the Pennyroyal Arches formation.

To descend either traverse straight right about 100' to the tree atop the third pitch of Penny Dreadful(stay roped together; there is a 5th class move halfway) and do two double rope rappels(two 60m ropes mandatory). Alternately, head straight left on exposed ledges(be careful here) to the left end of the formation and around back to the start.


Full rack of trad gear up to a #3 Camalot.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Penny Lane on the left.  Penny Dreadful on the right.<br>
Descents in blue.
[Hide Photo] Penny Lane on the left. Penny Dreadful on the right. Descents in blue.
Shau pausing for picture on P2 with Tenaya Lake in the background.
[Hide Photo] Shau pausing for picture on P2 with Tenaya Lake in the background.
Ramsey leading P3 of Penny Lane
[Hide Photo] Ramsey leading P3 of Penny Lane
Shau climbing up P1 of Penny Lane
[Hide Photo] Shau climbing up P1 of Penny Lane
Left side of Pennyroyal Arches formation.
[Hide Photo] Left side of Pennyroyal Arches formation.
Longer view.
[Hide Photo] Longer view.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Fun climb. On the second pitch, I inadvertently went up around the roof on the right, then did an unprotected face traverse to the belay -- not recommended. Go left under the roof until the crack appears. The third pitch will keep your full attention -- it's possible to get some small to medium cams in horizontals between the bolts. Jul 28, 2016
Bill Lundeen
Lee Vining, CA
[Hide Comment] Good climb on good rock. Vague first pitch; you could climb up in any number of places within a 30 foot span off the ground. We did go over the roof and then traverse to the anchor ledge on the second pitch; seemed fine in spite of no pro because it's so easy. Awesome old-school third pitch which, for TMdws, is pretty well bolted. Not for the budding 5.7 leader, however.... Aug 23, 2018
Matt N
Santa Barbara, CA
[Hide Comment] Good 3rd pitch, first two were forgettable, but necessary to get to the nice 5.7 knob pitch!
Be sure to download the photos - we didn't have them and were unsure if we were on the route at first. Matched the description well enough and eventually found bolts to show the way.

Also, this is a new(er) and rarely done route, so when you read "crack" in the description, be sure to add grassy/bushy. More pro could be had with gardening/traffic, but I just ran it out due to the easy/secure climbing. Aug 14, 2019