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Chouinard-Herbert T 
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YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a

Type:  Trad, 15 pitches, 1400', Grade V
Original:  YDS: 5.11c French: 6c+ Ewbanks: 24 UIAA: VIII- ZA: 24 British: E4 6a [details]
FA: FA: 1962 Yvon Chouinard and T.M Herbert FFA John Long, Pete Minks, Erik Erickson 1976
Season: Summer
Page Views: 11,817
Submitted By: S. Stember on Aug 19, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (23)
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Afro-Cuban Flakes

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


P1: 5.6 Climb up easy steps on the left edge of the Flying Buttress. Bolted Anchor.
P2: 3/4th class ramp. Link first two Ps by simul-climbing. Two Bolts
P3: 5.8 Chimney
P4: 5.8 Hand crack. Move out onto the front of the pinnacle. Link P3 and 4 with a 60M rope.
P5: 5.10C From the top of the pinnacle, move right off a ledge towards a vegetated crack. Clip several pins on your way upwards. Bolted Anchor.
P6: 5.11B Move right on some 5.9 slab towards a corner system with pitons in it. Move up 5.11B l/b or C1 for about 25 feet. Bolter anchor.
P7: 5.10A Many pitons. Mantle and l/b a very enjoyable face below a left angling and facing crack system.
P8: 5.10A Move up 1-2 inch crack system (careful, loose rock) and move right over several blocks and ledges. Bolted anchor.
P9: 4th class move right for awhile then left when terrain allows.
P10: 5.9 Climb towards obvious pillar. The right side of the pillar is splitter hands (easy) and will leave you at an anchor with one bolt and one piton (ackward belay). Link P9 and 10 with a 60M rope.
P11: 5.11A Off the pillar, climb the strenuous 5.8 OW crack to a roof. 5.11A. Move upwards to another short roof. 5.10+. Bolted anchor.
P12: 5.11C or C1 Afro-Cuban Flakes. Climb up a 5.10A dihedral to many pitons that traverse to the right. When you reach a thin crack going up, continue up this crack (5.10A, airy!)to a bolted anchor.
P13: 5.8 Climb a chimney/crack system. Trad anchor.
P14: 5.4 ramp/chimney. Trad anchor/tree anchor. Link P13-14 with a 60M rope.
P15: Climb up easy crack to the summit.

Route notes: All anchors are new ASCA bolts, most have two bolts some have just one with a piton to back it up. This is a top-notch route that has great climbing in the middle. The approach pitches and last couple are less than amazing, but the heart of the route is phenomenal.


Start up the Four Mile Trail for about a mile, then 30 meters before the first creek, find a climbers trail on the right side (south) of the trail. Scramble upwards following the climbers trail for about 10-15 minutes until you reach an obvious ramp. Leave any extra gear (backpacks, water, etc) here. Continue up the 2nd class ramp, with occasional exposure, until you can look up and see the Chessman Pinnacle. From here choose the easiest looking approach towards the pinnacle. The terrain is 4th/easy 5th so roping up is a good idea. A rope length will bring you to the base of the pinnacle. Now, the actual climbing begins.


Double set of Cams #.3-2 camalot, one #3
Supplement alients for camalots, they are very useful on most pitches for pin scars
1 set of nuts (optional)
15 draws (some quick draws, some trad draws)

Photos of Chouinard-Herbert Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 5 lined with a bunch of old pins that have t...
Pitch 5 lined with a bunch of old pins that have t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 11 or so. Maybe the best pitch on the route....
Pitch 11 or so. Maybe the best pitch on the route....
Rock Climbing Photo: P11, stellar 5.8+++ OW climbing
P11, stellar 5.8+++ OW climbing
Rock Climbing Photo: Afro-Cuban flakes
Afro-Cuban flakes

Comments on Chouinard-Herbert Add Comment
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By J. Thompson
From: denver, co
Aug 25, 2008

I'm almost wondering if you missed something...maybe you climb a varation???
No mention of the Afro/Cuban flakes? That pitch is at least 5.11c and not mentioned.... This description is off.
By S. Stember
From: St. Paul, MN
Aug 27, 2008

J. Thompson-

I definitely missed something. Initially I only had time to post up to P11 and decided to come back to it when I had more time. Now the description is accurate, complete, and up to date. Thanks for the concern.
By justaguy11
Oct 3, 2011

...or just freesolo it 60 Minutes Video
By kirkadirka
From: Boulder
Jun 12, 2012

Would love to see a legit description of this route if anyone has got one.
By Drew R.
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 4, 2012

Did this route on Jul 31 2012. Fantastic climb. I found the description by Stember to be basically accurate.

The left of two belay bolts at belay 6 (top of .11b/c layback) was loose. It is a new good bolt (rawl 3/8) and I was able to tighten it a bit by hand, but somebody needs to take a wrench and snug it up a bit.
By fivefun
Feb 12, 2013

Good TR and route description here:
By B Collet
May 20, 2013

I did this route this last weekend and thought it was awesome. The approach to the first pitch is ambiguous and the descent is involved, but the climbing makes it worth it. I ended up leading every pitch. The cruxes are bouldery and not super sustained. I thought the pitch below the Afro-Cuban flakes was the crux, as it is the most sustained bit of climbing (the actual moves over the roof aren't too bad, but you have to continue on through 5.10d climbing above). Pulling over the AC flakes isn't that bad and there are good right handholds on the face you can crimp while your left hand is in the crack. Lots of fixed pins, gear is good at the cruxes and the pitches go pretty fast.
By Vlad S
Oct 14, 2014

I was expecting something a bit better of this route. Worst approach in the valley (including almost an hour of roped scrambling in our hiking shoes through munge), worst descent in the valley, and tons of mank on the climb including probably over a hundred old rusty pins, many with cracked eyes.

The two belays below and above the 11a pitch are the worst/most cramped belays I've ever hung on/stemmed through. The one below has a nice pedestal, but the only bolt is at your ankle level if you stand on it and the crack is too far to the side. The pin is gone, but you can back up the bolt with a #1 cam (don't leave the #2 here, since it's nice to have 2 hand-size pieces for the wyde). The belay at the top of the 11a pitch is a nice new pair of bolts that were placed 4 feet shy of the small stance and the original manchor that is still there consisting of 3 pins and an ancient tattered sling.

A note on the approach. I've tried 3 different options. The best way to go is if you identify a very polished and clean-looking OW that is about 60 feet below the start of Steak-Salad. Start a little higher than that by hiking up the sandy slope up to the big tree for 20 feet, then scramble up and back left aiming toward the top of the said polished OW, that at it's top turns into an easy gully. You end up climbing up a mossy 5.5 handcrack to a ramp with the tree at its top, then slide down into the gully or campus the edge of the ramp around the tree. That will get you to the bolted anchor that is mentioned in the nice approach topo that someone posted.

Go light on the rack, just bring 15 draws for all the pins. I kept running short on them with 12. Singles from green alien to #3, with the second #1 and #2 camalots will get you to the top if you are into a minimalist rack. Leave the stoppers in the trunk. If you find my 0.5 cam on the approach - congratulations!
By King Tut
From: Citrus Heights
Feb 21, 2017

Well, you can't please everybody. This route is a Yosemite Classic testing the fledgling Big Wall climber with a myriad of free and aid challenges...but if you are solid 5.11/12 leader looking for a great free route in the Astroman/Rostrum mold you will be disappointed.

Still a great Yosemite challenge (there is no 5th class on the approach or you are doing it wrong) with a full day or two in a real "mountain" atmosphere.

Ask me to tell you about the 2 days I spent on the bivy ledge with a concussed partner, verglas making rappelling impossible and ice sheets raining down.

Then we topped out.

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