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Yellow Door, The T 

The Yellow Door 

YDS: 5.13a/b French: 8a Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E7 6c

Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 220'
Original:  YDS: 5.13a/b French: 8a Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E7 6c [details]
FA: Phil Gruber, March 2017
New Route: Yes
Page Views: 343
Submitted By: Phil Gruber on Jul 11, 2017

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Lynn Hill working on the second ascent. Photo c...

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  • Description 

    The Yellow Door is a two pitch route that ascends the full length of the beautiful and imposing north face of Seal Rock, starting from the lower left corner and finishing on the upper right corner of the headwall. The route climbs across two natural features – a long, arching roof on the first pitch, and a yellow dike that splits the tombstone-shaped headwall on the second pitch (imagine the tombstone leaning 45 degrees to the right).

    The pitches are long and continuous, and the headwall feels steeper than it looks given that hands are on the protruding dike, with feet underneath.

    The crux sections are well-protected, but the route finishes on the final section of Archaeopteryx, which requires placing somewhat spaced gear on 5.10 climbing (5.10 PG-13).

    The rock quality is good on the difficult climbing. Both pitches finish on lichen-infested sections of rock, but by that point, the difficulties are over. Also, great effort has been put into cleaning these sections of the wall, so if the hold isn’t clean, then you don't need to use it.

    P1. 5.12b, 110’. Start 20’ to the left of Shortcut (the notch to the north of the east face) and 80’ left of Sea of Joy. Climb a short, left-trending crack (place a #1 Camalot) to a stance at a bolt. Climb up and right to a fixed stopper, and then continue right to a long, undercling flake. Place a #0.5 Camalot in the undercling flake, and then traverse across the flake to a bolt. Now the fun begins! Climb the line of bolts through continuous and technical terrain to the roof. At the roof, climb out the rail to the right, and then step back left across the roof and onto the face above. Easier terrain leads up and then right to the anchor, 14 bolts, plus a #0.5 and #1 Camalot.

    P2. 5.13a/b (5.10 PG). Start up the V-slot to the left of the belay, then step right onto a ledge. Traverse across the ledge to the first bolt, and continue to the right side of the ledge. Enter The Yellow Door, and climb through continuous and well-protected ground that eventually joins up with the 3rd pitch of Sea of Joy. Climb up Sea of Joy clipping 3 bolts on that route before continuing right across the dike system clipping two more bolts on The Yellow Door. After the final bolt, climb down and across to the slab and final corner of Archaeopteryx. Climb up and out the exit slot on Archaeopteryx, and then look left for a two bolt belay, 13 bolts, plus a set of cams from blue Alien to #1 Camalot, plus a #3 Camalot. A second #0.5 Camalot is also handy.

    Due to the traversing nature of the route (especially the final section of the second pitch), care and attention needs to be taken when lowering the leader or belaying/protecting the second.

    The best way to descend is via the Sea of Joy rappel (from the top of the route, downclimb 30 feet to the east). You can also downclimb the east face to the notch (start of Shortcut), and exit to the north. Descending from the anchor at the top of the route is not advised.

    Spoiler Alert!!!
    The crux is just past the last bolt before joining Sea of Joy. Shorter climbers will want to climb up to a rounded hold on the dike and then across thin holds before clipping a bolt on Sea of Joy. Taller climbers may prefer the sideways dyno that leads to Sea of Joy a bit lower. I’m 5’10” and have climbed the route both ways.

    The order of gear placements at the end of the second pitch is: #1 Camalot (I backed up with a #0.5 Camalot and used an extended sling), #4 Camalot, #0.5 Camalot, yellow Alien, and green Alien (might also be able to fiddle a smaller cam between yellow and green).

    Thanks to OSMP, the Flatiron Climbing Council, and the crew who took turns hiking up to Seal and helping me establish the route: Steve, Kevin, Mike, Chip, Jon, Joe, and Lynn. Special thanks to Caroline Treadway who took the amazing photos from across Bear Canyon.


    Quickdraws and cams as described above. A 70m rope is required for the first pitch and will barely make it to the anchor on the second pitch and back down to the belay. For rappelling Sea of Joy, you will need an 80m or second rope.

    Photos of The Yellow Door Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Lynn Hill about to drop down onto the finish on Ar...
    Lynn Hill about to drop down onto the finish on Ar...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Phil Gruber pulling over the roof on pitch one.
    Phil Gruber pulling over the roof on pitch one. ...

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