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The Caverns 

YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.8 French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 15 British: HVS 4c [details]
FA: Jerry Anderson & Jim Pettigrew, 1970
Page Views: 7,565
Submitted By: M. Morley on Jul 24, 2007

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Elli on the first pitch of The Caverns.

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


P1: Take your choice of two cracks off the ground, both of which lead to a tricky traverse right under a roof (a #3 or #4 Camalot comes in handy here). Continue up to belay at a tree. See Photo.

P2: Continue up right-facing corner to another belay tree.

P3: Climb crack and face above tree and traverse right along the path of least resistance to the base of the "Caverns". Belay at a tree.

P4: Several options. Either delve into the depths and chimney up with no pro, climb the face just right of the chimney (also no pro), or climb a somewhat grungy right-facing crack above the belay tree (best option). All options are 5.7. Continue on easier ground to belay at a pine tree.

P5: Scramble right on dirty ground, skirting through the trees. Finish with a short 5.6 crack.

Descend by hiking to climber's left on reasonably well-defined trail.


The fourth "open book" from the left.


Standard rack to 4".

Photos of The Caverns Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: In "The Caverns" on pitch 3
In "The Caverns" on pitch 3
Rock Climbing Photo: Fun lieback moves on pitch 1
Fun lieback moves on pitch 1
Rock Climbing Photo: John Hoffman working on the second pitch of this i...
John Hoffman working on the second pitch of this i...
Rock Climbing Photo: Route showing The Caverns to Selaginella. About 8 ...
BETA PHOTO: Route showing The Caverns to Selaginella. About 8 ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Five Open Books (photo stolen from Mike Morley - T...
BETA PHOTO: Five Open Books (photo stolen from Mike Morley - T...

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 18, 2017
By aa-lex
Jan 20, 2009

This climb is great! Commitment gets most of the attention at Five Open Books, but I thought this climb was just as good if not better. The roof part is very reminiscent of the Commitment roof, just smaller and a little easier. The second pitch had an awesome hands section, and the last pitch was so fun. I really recommend getting into the chimney and shimmying up it. I would call it (the chimney) 5.6, so the lack of gear is no big deal if you're comfortable at this level. And it feels so adventurous climbing down into the cave/chimney, and then birthing yourself back out!!
By Aerili
From: Los Alamos, NM
Jun 1, 2010

Tricky, heads-up (or down, in my case) crux and sustained climbing for the grade--made more exciting due to much running water over the route this May!

Except for the finishing pitch (we did it all in 4, not 5), I thought this route was pretty darn good. The color/texture of the rock on some parts of the route was remininscent of ORG tuff for some reason.
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Jun 4, 2010

It's that dark slicky stuff from water polish I think. For more rock like that, check out some of the climbs in the lower falls amphitheater.

I did this climb mid may and it was still pretty wet. I figured it's 5.8, no big deal. But as it turned out, it was wet at the crux of every pitch! Made for some fun gear in wet cracks and then tiptoeing onto the slab for some harder but dryer climbing.
By Bonesaw
From: CA
Mar 8, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

Just did this for the second time yesterday (7 March 2012). Route was completely dry despite snowfall the day prior. This is probably my favorite of the six first tier routes. Not particularly difficult for Yosemite 5.8. Linked with Selaginella, which is more sustained and physical.
By Morgan Nutting
From: Bishop, CA
Jun 15, 2012
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

A good alternative if Commitment is crowded.
By Yosemitesam
Oct 21, 2012

Pretty fun route. My partner and I both thought the "heady" lieback on the second pitch was harder than the crux first pitch. On the 3rd pitch, supertopo shows cutting over to the caverns themselves and then up 5.4 to the tree that you back up with cams. I thought the more natural line went up further and then traversed to directly under that tree. If you've coiled the rope at the final belay tree and done the 4th class, but dont feel comfortable soloing the short 5.6 section to the descent you can go around it to the right on a climbers trail.
By Patrick Callery
May 7, 2013

Really fun route. Awesome splitter hands and layback on p2. We traversed over dirt ledges to the base of the caverns on p3. Chimney the first ~30' of the cavern and stepped left back into the corner at a big tree. Following the corner up and back across the top of the cavern felt like the headiest climbing on the route...
By weisseseis
Oct 25, 2014

Cool chimney in the cavern.

Let me know if you find a 5.10 approach shoe down in there.
By Crimpanzee Shortt
From: San Francisco, California
Nov 17, 2014
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

This is just not a fun climb. There's a few 5.8 moves in there, but I mainly remember munge, trees, leaves, slab, unaesthetic corner/lieback moves, and a chimney I avoided entirely. Oh and a short 5.6 free solo if you don't feel like poking around for a trail up.
By Sean
From: Oak Park, CA
Mar 14, 2017

enjoyable climb. exciting liebacks, or some tricky jamming. ended up doing a long leftward descent with raps. had passed belay anchors along the route all equipped with rap slings. best to just rap the route, or connect to Hanging Teeth partway to continue down?
By Lance Brown
From: Santa Rosa, CA
Jun 18, 2017

Did this on 06/12/17 and the last two pitches have biting red ants. Watch out.

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