Type: Trad, 600 ft, 7 pitches, Grade III
FA: Skyler and Clint Cummins and John Tuttle, 2018
Page Views: 3,622 total · 872/month
Shared By: Harumpfster Boondoggle on Jan 17, 2019
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


Tenaya's Tears completes the ascent of the major features of the Awahnee Buttress taking a slab approach to the large corners that form the right side of the formation. Despite some seasonal wetness on the second pitch of Maxine's Wall (5.8) this route takes a not at first obvious line with remarkably high quality climbing. Not quite SoY/Serenity quality but still very good and all the pitches except one have some 5.10 climbing for a sustained moderate. Where it needs bolts its pretty tightly bolted but a standard rack is needed for long crack sections too or for the occasional mid-pitch piece. A modern "Sprad" route (Type I Fun) and worthy alternative if Serenity Crack or Sons of Yesterday is the usual cluster.

It also completes a memorial for the indigenous people of Yosemite, the Awahneechee, for whom the buttress is named. Routes on Awahnee Buttress including Sons of Yesterday (Sons of Chief Tenaya Memorial Route), Daughter's Direct, Mother of the Future and Tenaya's Tears are all commentaries on the fate of the original inhabitants of the magnificent Valley of the Yosemite whose former home is now our playground.

The pitches break down as follows:

1. Sustained 5.10 edging. Basically a better pro'd pitch similar to the first pitch of Fire Fingers. PG13 to clip second bolt and the belayer needs maximum attention here. Belay at Maxine's anchors. Might be the sustained crux but can be avoided by doing the first pitch of Maxine's. 7 bolts.

2. Follow Maxine's second pitch up a seasonally (winter/spring) wet corner (5.8+). Belay at two bolts to the right of the main crack or alternatively, build a gear anchor at the tree below to reduce the cluster at the traverse and make the traverse moves more continuous. This pitch can be linked with the first. Easy to get around the wet if needed and the route gets much better the remaining pitches.

3. Hard slab moves right at the bolted anchor then another well protected hard and thin step across (5.10c) right above the wet streak to "Mini-Wheat" an amazing thin flake offering solid small cam pro. At the top of the flake clip a bolt to protect the second then easy climbing up ramps to the right and belay from bolts.

4. Continue in the crack above the belay going straight up when bolts appear (5.9+) to avoid some ugly wide under "The Ear". Then continue up a wild arete (save a yellow totem or similar for a crack to protect the end of the arete, 5.10b/c). Rejoin the main corner for some nice stone to the "Bivy Ledge". This pitch is called "Auricle Overpass".

5. Step right off of the Bivy Ledge clipping bolts. Crux at the second bolt (scrunchy 5.10) reaching right then fun stemming/lay-backing up parallel cracks to a 5.9+ reach up to a crucial lock. One green camalot or similar for pro and easy climbing to the belay. Belay at bolts before a face traverse to the White Corner. "Changing Corners Lite". 6 bolts.

6. Friction off the belay (5.10a) to gain the immaculate "White Corner" (5.9). Pro can be found (small cams) in a flake to the right before the corner opens up to classic splitter. Belay from  bolts to the left of the main corner at a ledge or continue on linking 6 and 7. This pitch is PG13 at present right off the belay but only runout on the easier ground. Still, don't fall as a nasty flake below comes into play.

7. Continue up a thin corner/flake to the right of the larger corner (5.10b) to "Block Ledge" with bolted anchors. Above this is acres of munge and remains an ongoing project.

Rappel the route with 2 ropes (some rappels are mandatory 130') to the top of the third pitch then go straight down using Permanent Wave's anchor to reach the ground in 2 more rappels finishing to the left and right above the Awahnee Cascade stream bed. Walk back around to the base of the route or 3rd Class some easy 5th class chimney moves (careful) up corners directly West to the Serenity ledge system if you left gear there.


From the Awahnee Hotel (Majestic w/e) parking lot follow the climbers trail and scramble 3rd Class to the ledges at the base of Serenity Crack. This route starts just to the right of Maxine's Wall in a sustained first pitch that can be avoided by the more moderate first pitch of Maxine's as they both finish at the same anchor. It joins Maxine's for the second pitch then heads out right on beautiful stone and interesting features before gaining the immaculate White Corner that forms the right side of Awahnee Buttress.


Standard rack. 7 QD/Alpine draws plus wires and doubles on cams to gold Camalot. 2 ropes to rappel as one rap is 40m.


M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
Looks awesome, John! Nice work! Jan 17, 2019
Thomas Claiborne
North County of SD or Idyll…
Thomas Claiborne   North County of SD or Idyll…
The Cummins team?! Gonna be chossnanza.

All joking aside, I gotta get my beautiful beach bod out of Southern California and climb this rig! Good work gents. Jan 19, 2019
Leo Franchi  
Got on it on Saturday. Thank you FA team for the excellent new route! Amazing how you can still find new high quality routes 20ft from Serenity/Sons :)

Sustained edging on P1 -- probably the crux pitch of the route. Edges are there but they are real small! Once it cleans up a bit (ie some of the most friable edges are gone), it'll be even better. Bolts are where you need them throughout, with some spice to make the face moves at times.

I didn't feel there were more bolts needed on the last two pitches, but YMMV. I didn't lead P6 but it seemed ok, and P7 i took the right crack which looked cleaner than the main corner, the gear felt fully adequate. P7 crux felt like 10b or so. Looks like the rest of the route will be good too! Just needs some more cleaning :) Jan 28, 2019
Eben Freeman
San Francisco, CA
Eben Freeman   San Francisco, CA
Went to check this out -- very cool! At times the route climbs within a few feet of the seasonal waterfall. Wild! Some minor notes:
- can rappel with one 80m rope (tie knots)
- p7 is short; it makes sense to combine pitches 6 and 7
- we didn't place the #3 camalot.

Thanks to the FA crew for posting up and for all your work establishing the line!! Jan 28, 2019
Cathie Yun
San Francisco, CA
Cathie Yun   San Francisco, CA
Awesome route! Some notes:
- The second bolt on the first pitch is spooky, don't deck here!
- The moves off of the belay at pitch 6 could result in a bad fall, but felt pretty secure.
- I didn't feel like pitch 6 was run out, I got good gear the whole way (even on easier ground)
- If you don't link pitches, you probably only need a single rack up to #2, thanks to all the bolts!

The crazy arete moves on the "auricle overpass" were my favorite! Thanks for putting up this route! May 6, 2019