Mountain Project Logo
To save paper & ink, use the [Hide] controls next to photos and comments so you only print what you need.

Bulging Puke

5.9 A2+, Trad, Aid, 1400 ft (424 m), 12 pitches, Grade V,  Avg: 3 from 2 votes
FA: Bill Russell and Chris Friel (Nov, 1983)
California > Yosemite NP > Yosemite Valley > Valley N Side > H. Royal Arches… > Royal Arches > Eastern Royal Arches
Access Issue: Latest updates on Covid and 2020 visits. Details


This is a pretty good climb that unfortunately has a lot of grass and bushes growing out of some of the cracks. If it gets more traffic it will become a lot better. Don't try to climb it in the spring or you'll have to deal with a lot of runoff and slime as well. Late fall is the best time. Also this thing cooks in the sun, so bring plenty of water.

The route goes mostly free at 13a A0, but some of the 5.10 pitches would be a nightmare to try freeing without first doing some serious gardening. Some of the 5.11 and 5.12 pitches look pretty bold, with small tricky pro placed from bad stances.

Erik's Bigwalls guidebook has a solid topo for the route, but here's a quick pitch breakdown.

Pitch 1: Short bolt ladder, move right, then up a shallow corner that's really dirty. With a coupe camhook moves you can avoid nailing. C2+
Pitch 2: Mostly a bolt ladder up the slab with a couple little cruxes. I think i might have hammered once on this pitch. A2-
Pitch 3: Pulled on gear somewhere near the start then free climbed the rest of the pitch. Mostly 5.6 and under.
Pitch 4: Free climb up and left, then after a bolt move back right. Some aid on dirty rock, and then at the top of the pitch it looked easier to free than try aiding. Seemed maybe 5.8 or so, with big fall potential if you fuck up. I thought this was the mandatory free crux of the climb. C2
Pitch 5: Walk left along Angel Ledge past 1 bolt and then climb up blocky terrain, mixed aid and free. C1+
Pitch 6: Climb a short steep crack, watch out for the detached block on corner of the shelf, then at the right side of the shelf get on an old rivet and aid the short chossy seam. Easy for "A3", only nailed once actually, and it'd go clean with a hand placed beak. A2, but don't fall.
Pitch 7: Steep C1 to beaks, to a cool hook move (the only hook i placed on the route), and finally a few bolts take you around the arete to the anchor. Awesome pitch. A2
Pitch 8: Really dirty seam leads into a big corner under the roof, then work left on fixed gear and out the roof. The beginning of the pitch sucks but the rest is spectacular. A1+
Pitch 9: Dirty and sort of chossy low angle crack and groove. Kind of miserable. C2
Pitch 10: Big awesome corner. If you free mid/hard 5.11 this will be super fun! C1

So above you is a big roof with two ways around it. An offwidth takes you out right to an A3 seam, and i guess this is the "standard" finish. I wasn't sure how to get to the start of the wide crack, it looked like some mandatory free slab climbing or something that I wasn't up for.

The alternative is a thin arching flake straight up from the anchor which gains a ledge with a tree to the left of the roof. Begin on the thin splitter to the right of the flake and then penjji over to it after about 20ft. This is an excellent pitch and it went clean up until the bolt at the top of the flake, then I had to nail a couple arrows traversing left under the roof. The final pitch is a C1 corner crack or fun and burly 5.10.


Located on the far right side of the Royal Arches wall. Climbs in and around the large left-facing corner before exiting through roofs.


Cams from the smallest micros to 4.5", triples in the 0.3-3" sizes, including offsets in the smaller sizes.
Offset nuts, all sizes.
5 large beaks, and maybe one medium.
A few LA's and a knifeblade.
One medium hook.
One regular camhook.

The #5 C4 might not be necessary on the route if you do the left finish. I definitely placed it, but I think I could have gotten by with just a #4 placed a little tipped out?

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

The middle pitches of Bulging Puke.
[Hide Photo] The middle pitches of Bulging Puke.
Bulging Puke
[Hide Photo] Bulging Puke

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Bryan G
  5.9 A2+
[Hide Comment] Here's some additional beta on soloing this route in a "light and fast" style, which is how I did it.

I used just one 80m rope, spent a night at Angel Ledge, no hauling just jugged with the bag clipped to me. It works good because day 1 all the jugging is low angle and easy, so by the time you get to the steep stuff you'll only have one days food and water remaining so the bag should be ultra light. The 80m allows you to link pitches but most importantly allows you to fix pitches 5 and 6 on day 1.

Here's the breakdown:
You can fix pitch one before the climb, but there's really no need, since it won't help you on day 2 and that's the longer day of climbing.
Link pitches 2 and 3, easy because it's a bolt ladder then free climbing without much pro. Obviously you should re-fix off the pitch 2 anchors to eliminate rope drag for the free climbing. 80m is just barely long enough for this one.
Link and fix 5 and 6 and then bivy on Angel Ledge.
Link 7 and 8. I lowered down to back-clean my beaks at the top of pitch 7 but this ended up being unnecessary since I only placed one beak on pitch 8. The roof itself is C1.
If you do the left finish, link 11 and 12 and this also makes it easier to clean the top of pitch 11 on rappel which makes an 8ft traverse under a roof. Nov 6, 2019
Nick J
Yosemite Valley
  5.7 A2+
[Hide Comment] Did this October 2020. Fun obscure route! Although the cracks were a bit grassy, there were placements dug out every few feet, so the lower cracks seemed relatively mild.


The free climbing on pitch 3/4 I thought was fairly straight forward, and the protection on pitch 4 was really good (maybe a little loose at the very top). No nailing necessary.

The pitches above Angel ledge (5/6) were straight forward. Be very careful of the block right below the “A3” section. It’s loose, you really want to grab it, and it is right over your belayer.

I thought pitch 7 and 8 were by far the best on the route. Top of pitch 7 is very thin and there is a fixed beak and solid hook move to gain the bolts. The roof has solid gear throughout.

As for the alternative left finish. The crack is pretty thin (C2 / C2+), but the whole pitch goes clean. No need to nail on the traverse, but save a black totem sized piece to move off the bolt. The rest is straight forward.

Gear: no need for a #5 (using the left finish, don’t know about right finish), but 2 4s are useful for pitch 9. Oct 21, 2020