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Elephant Dome
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YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 800', Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Mayhew et al, 1989
New Route: Yes
Season: not summer
Page Views: 616
Submitted By: Charles Vernon on Feb 13, 2012

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The route follows the prominent left-diagonaling c...

  • There is no public access road provided by the BLM to the Coyote Mountains Wilderness Area. MORE INFO >>>
  • Access is via PRIVATE land and may be CLOSED! MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    This unique route climbs the prominent left-diagonaling crack system on the west side of Elephant Dome, roughly in the vicinity of the west-side rap route. It has only seen a few ascents despite being put up over 20 years ago. Scary, runout, and loose in places, it also has some excellent climbing. In particular, the crux 4th pitch is sustained, well-protected and probably one of the best pitches in the canyon. The first pitch is classic Mendoza exfoliating face climbing with 6 bolts and just a couple gear placements for a full ropelength. It will keep your full attention from the first move off the ground all the way to the belay.

    See topo for full description. The topo is mostly accurate, although the first rappel length is incorrect (see below), and on pitch 2 it's better to continue to the large ledge for the belay.

    The route gets sun starting early afternoon. The hard (and best) climbing is over after the first 4 pitches, so one strategy would be to rap from chains at that point and combine it with something else to maximize sun or shade depending on the temps. Another option if you can figure it out is to rap in and just climb from the crux 4th pitch on up, after finishing another route on Elephant Dome. But the best option is to do the whole route :)


    Follow the approach to Table Dome, but just before the dome, break off right following cairns that lead toward the right side of Roof Wall. Just below that, a not very obvious series of cairns leads over to the very steep backside of Elephant Dome. Follow the wall until below the obvious left-diagonaling system (see topo). This is a little ways uphill from a steep line of bolts (the start of "Colin Goes to Colorado, 5.10 A3".

    Note also that if you didn't leave anything at the base, you could leave the second rope at home and do the east-side descent, making for a faster trip back to the car.


    We brought a single set of cams from 0 tcu to 4 friend, nuts, rps, and some tri-cams. This was perfect. There are some lead bolts so some draws are nice in addition to the usual aresnal of slings. The bolts are over 20 years old but seem in ok shape; on the crux pitch good gear is generally available nearby.

    Photos of Diagonemesis Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: topo and description
    topo and description

    Comments on Diagonemesis Add Comment
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    By Bill Lundeen
    From: Lee Vining, CA
    Dec 31, 2016

    Quite surprised no one has commented on this obscure, good route. I did it at least 15 years ago and always figured I'd do it again (yes--its that good). The first pitch was rather crumbly then but has probably cleaned up nicely now (due to all the traffic it gets!). Awesome crux (solid at 10+) that protects well in the slanting crack system. Go do it!
    By Charles Vernon
    From: Tucson, AZ
    Feb 10, 2017

    That's cool to hear from someone else who has climbed this other than Jeff!

    On the first pitch I stepped up onto the first foothold of the route and it promptly blew, sending me sprawling backward onto my belayer in a cloud of dried leaves and dirt. Then, high up I found myself 15 or 20 feet out from a bolt on 5.9 climbing, I saw a beautiful chickenhead and scampered toward it, only to have it come off in my hand when I grabbed it. Narrowly avoided the big cheese-grating whipper. So, uh, yeah, it's cleaned up a bit :)

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