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The Yawn 

YDS: 5.9+ French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: E1 5a

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 400'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: TM Herbert and Gordon Webster, June 1965, FFA: Phil Bircheff & Jan Ebeltoft, July 1969
Season: summer, fall
Page Views: 7,175
Submitted By: Adam on Dec 31, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (29)
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Jose leading the "handcrack in a corner that ...

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  • Description 

    Find the HUGE chimney/corner. The second pitch holds the crux offwidth/weirdness. 3rd pitch (5.7) hands! If you have huge hands!


    You can't miss it. Huge corner on the far east side of the face.


    Bring a bunch of big cams.

    Photos of The Yawn Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Jose following pitch 2
    Jose following pitch 2
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back on P3
    Looking back on P3
    Rock Climbing Photo: Lost lake after topping out on The Yawn
    Lost lake after topping out on The Yawn
    Rock Climbing Photo: P3
    Rock Climbing Photo: Looking back on P2
    Looking back on P2
    Rock Climbing Photo: Starting out P2
    Starting out P2
    Rock Climbing Photo: Close up of The Yawn.
    BETA PHOTO: Close up of The Yawn.
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Yawn approaching from Medlicott, Right.
    BETA PHOTO: The Yawn approaching from Medlicott, Right.
    Rock Climbing Photo: Wide pitch from the belay. This climb is SICK!
    Wide pitch from the belay. This climb is SICK!
    Rock Climbing Photo: The first pitch (stay right of the corner).
    BETA PHOTO: The first pitch (stay right of the corner).

    Comments on The Yawn Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Tyler Logan
    From: Mammoth Lakes, CA
    Aug 5, 2008

    Anyone who sees this route up close will be impressed by it, even if they have no desire to climb it. Amazing line. Route-finding on the first pitch is tricky (no, you don't just find the corner and climb it). The standard start begins right of the corner and climbs up broken, somewhat-vegetated cracks and ledge systems to the quality crux headwall (which is still right of the true corner). Route-finding on the 2nd pitch is a no-brainer. Follow the steep, intimidating wide crack as it goes from surprisingly positive jams to awkward, leaning nothingness. The Reid guide describes the final pitch as a "crack in a corner that climbers dream about." I'd say the 2nd pitch is also the kind of pitch climbers dream about, but I'd call these dreams nightmares.

    I'd say the 2nd pitch ranks with Reeds Direct in the Valley as a top contender for hardest 5.9 of all time.

    Gear is excellent. Bring a lot of 3" for the final pitch, and consider taking a couple large cams for the offwidth.
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Aug 5, 2008
    rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

    Good training for climbing the Salathe Wall on El Cap.
    By Rob Dillon
    Aug 19, 2008

    A bunch of big nuts would really keep your rack light and bomber on this routes' knobby, convergent flakes. Hardly any small ones, though.
    By Bryan G
    From: Yosemite
    Oct 3, 2011

    I got off route on the first pitch. Climbed into the main corner too soon and found myself beneath an 8-foot long offwidth roof.

    The 3rd pitch is a spectacular rope-stretcher and can be protected entirely with passive pro if you're inclined to dust off the hexes. Seriously though, this pitch is as good as anything I've climbed in Tuolumne (ranking up there with Blue's Riff, Speed of Life, the corner pitch on Oz, and the final pitch of 3rd Pillar).
    By trying hard
    From: Sierra East Side
    Nov 6, 2012

    This climb is awesome. The most valley like climbing I have done in the meadows. Pitch 1 is a bit tricky route finding though a fun roof and into a wide section. The 2nd pitch is burly awesome, and the 3rd is just straight up mean 5.7. This is one of the most beautiful rock formations to look up at from the base. When you get up close you cant help but get exited about this climb.

    This is a majorly overlooked climb in the meadows and if you are looking to climb hard valley pitches, this is great starter and training climb.
    By BFK
    From: San Francisco
    Jun 10, 2013
    rating: 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a

    Definitely found this route to be burly! P2 has the classic off-width/V-slot dilemma: -Should I go as far in as possible for the security of some (bad) jams and ease of gear placement OR do I leave the security of the slot and squeeze-chimney my way up?
    If you choose the former you don't need anything bigger than a #4,... but it'll feel way harder than 5.9.

    As for P3,... if you go into it thinking it's just a 5.7 you will get slaughtered. Nothing more to say there.
    By Neil Rankin
    From: Winston-Salem, NC
    Jan 10, 2014

    From a distance, one of the prettiest lines in Tuolumne. The second pitch is weird, and my rack was a little too small when I did it, but it's not too bad. The third pitch is harder than 5.7, and it requires the leader to run it between protection. No worries though, there are features for stemming and good jams in between the wider spots. A fantastic route.
    By Mark P Thomas
    From: Draper
    Sep 18, 2017

    A few notes to fill in on this climb:

    P1 - One section can be incredibly wet and slimy. It kind of reminded me of the first pitch of the Harding Route on Conness. I'd say that and a few other parts made P1 the technical and protection crux of the climb. Nearly the entire pitch leans awkwardly to the right and has some non-intuitive moves to step around lots of little corners and roofs. Climbing with a pack makes this significantly harder.

    P2 - Depending on your point of reference, I'd call the OW 5.8-5.9- in comparison to wide at Vedauwoo or the Wasatch Range (and old school Yosemite, perhaps). It never got too technical or insecure if you have your OW & chimney skills down. You can always rest well and there is nearly always pro within reach (but not the best for sliding gear, so you need to be strategic with placements as it is a long & sustained pitch). I even trailed a pack and found the crux to be my left glute tiring out by the end due to the lean of the crack and how I used my left leg to hold me in.

    A #5 C4 can be optionally useful on one section of this pitch, but you could also just place gear before/after the wider part and climb a body length without gear. We did find it useful to have 3 #4 C4s though.

    Before the OW the right side is more of a wall that lets you take big swings and splatter into the slab below, so it was more unnerving and physical on the arms. If the leader is not careful, the follower faces this risk (as I did), but the follower can use earlier pieces as leapfrogged directionals pretty easily ahead of moves to prevent a bad swing (mostly #2 or #3 C4s).

    At the OW, the right wall has lots of texture that makes the climbing easy. I basically climbed up belly down, heel-toed with my left leg, while chimneying with my right leg. You can usually get a good chicken wing with the left arm to rest, and to position/rotate yourself to move up by mantling with your right arm on the ripples while pushing with your legs. A few foot stacks helped here and there, but otherwise this was the position/technique I used for 90% of the OW.

    Bring kneepads for this pitch! (At least for the right leg) I wish I did.

    P3 - Great corner. It is not as straightforward as expected, but I'd say it is on par for old school wide 5.7. Just be ready for it to be sustained and physical, and your arms will be tired at the end. You can place pro everywhere on the crack - it just has the similar problem to the OW that you can't leapfrog or slide cams well, so be strategic with placements.

    The crack width varies a lot so it is not all C4 #2s & #3s, but we did find having triples in those sizes helpful. Between the knobs, rough rock, and yanking hard on jams, the jams hurt a lot more than expected! Tape or jammies might make this pitch more Type I fun than Type II fun. BryanG's comment on hexes is spot on. The crack pinches a lot due to knobs, so hexes could work real well here. It sort of reminded me a bit of the jam style on P2 of Reed's Direct at Reed's Pinnacle.

    It was mostly fist jams for the best jams, but all of the knobs made for solid feet and there was a decent amount of hand jams or even the occasional finger jam pinch around constrictions. The corner geometry is mostly what made the climbing awkward and physical. If climbing with a pack, you might want to trail it on this pitch.

    P4 - A bit of a continuation of style to P3, but with some ledge breaks & zig-zags, and a full rope length. You're not done yet!

    P5 - Cl. 3-4 with occasional low 5th moves. Some may still want a rope out. You can reach walkable terrain in about 50m.

    Descent: Cl. 3 downclimb to your right (West) to a nice lake. Follow the shore to the drainage to the left (East) and follow this down (cl. 2-3). Easy but loose/steep forest slopes let you wrap around the dome and intersect a well-maintained trail below.

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