Best Valley obscurities 5.9 and under


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Apr 3, 2013 - 06:21pm PT
Lower Brother is a fun romp with stellar views. A neglected oldie but goodie is the Church Tower. Isn't there an old 5.easy up the Leaning Tower from near Briadalviel Falls?

Dave Davis

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 3, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
Maybe not that obscure, but the regular route on Phantom Pinnacle is quite nice.

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2013 - 10:21pm PT
Have done Positively Fourth and a couple of others mentioned, but I'm really digging the sound of some of those I'm not familiar with. Love technically "easy" but "adventurous".

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 4, 2013 - 01:46am PT
huge list of obscurities at 5.9 and under, but don't forget that 5.9 used to be the maximum grade, so you might get schooled on some of the really old ones...

Pohono Pinnacle
Split Pinnacle
Circular Staircase
This 'n' That & Whim
Ski Jump
Peter Pan
Andy's Inferno
Loggerhead Buttress
Chockstone Chimney
After Five
Ahwiyah Point
Michael's Ledge

various chimneys

False Verde
The Gardener Did It
Snow Creek

I'm working on finding Crack of Dawn

so many more...

2 l l

Sport climber
Rancho Verga, CA
Apr 4, 2013 - 01:59am PT

Trad climber
Washington DC
Apr 4, 2013 - 08:43am PT
Arrowhead Arete is a great fun adventure. Also, Peter Pan way up on the west side of El Cap used to get no traffic but was really cool. Nice views up there as well.
yosemite 5.9

santa cruz
Apr 4, 2013 - 08:34pm PT
Immediately west of Cascade Falls, close to the falls (on the west side) is an easy crack, Mud Shark 5.8, leading up to a block that is very slimy underneath. I use a pinky to find a dry spot. Then a tree above to rap off of. Being near the falls on a hot day is a relief. There are other routes in this shady cool area.

Showtime at Pat and Jack has a very accessible roof only 20 feet off the ground. You can lie back or hand jam it horizontally. It is rated 10a but I think it is easier.

Trad climber
Greeley Hill
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 5, 2013 - 11:32am PT
Ed, thanks for that list. I'd read some of your reports but missed others. Pretty fascinating...

I've been dreaming of the west face of Cloud's Rest for a long time, alas being so busy with the farm it's seriously hard to find time to get out enough.

So at the very PG end of the spectrum, what other routes used to be considered trade routes (such that BITD you'd have poo-poo'ed it) but have fallen into obscurity?

It's really interesting how much influence guide books have on what's done or not... if the ST valley guide had say 50% more routes, would traffic be better "managed"?

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Apr 5, 2013 - 02:27pm PT
The last pitch of Peter Pan always seems rather stout for 5.9 to me, but only for a few moves. Then again, Kamps originally rated it 5.8. The climbing generally is interesting, and very scenic. I'm doubtful that it really rates as an "obscurity," though.

I'm probably one of the very few on this forum who actually climbed the corner route of Pohono Pinnacle, though that was several decades ago. One of the more amusing entries in the summit register was one calling it the "most worthless" climb they'd done. Unfortunately, I can't remember who the party was. Other than a few 5.6 moves getting around a chockstone, the climbing seldom exceeds fourth class, but it was, as I remember, quite pretty.

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 5, 2013 - 05:27pm PT

Big Wall climber
Mill Valley
Apr 24, 2013 - 02:25pm PT
I have to say Positively Fourth Street is awesome and Jam Crack. Also at the base of El Cap there are some real fun routes. Central Pillar of Frenzy is another favorite.

Trad climber
Bolinas, CA
Apr 24, 2013 - 02:31pm PT
Suprised you didn't add a modern one, "Edge of Abusurdity". We've been calling it "Edge of Obscurity".......
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 24, 2013 - 03:07pm PT
there are a bunch more, as I'm learning, generally they are victims of the guidebook hiatus from the mid-1990's up to the SuperTopo select guide...

but Edge of Absurdity is a great route which is obscure... and I only got a spot of Poison Oak when I did it with Linda a couple of years ago

Edge of Absurdity

Social climber
1187 Hunterwasser
Apr 24, 2013 - 03:13pm PT
Knob Hill area is pretty fun and light, although I wouldn't call it obscure.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Apr 24, 2013 - 04:29pm PT
Right side of Gollum (left side also)
Sacherer Fredericks on MCR
The Tilted Mitten routes
Left side of Moby Dick
Hawkman's Escape
Split Pinnacle, East arete

Captain...or Skully

Apr 24, 2013 - 05:35pm PT
I liked The Flakes on Middle. I don't know if it's in the Taco book.
Routefinding is KEY.

Trad climber
East Coast US
Apr 24, 2013 - 05:41pm PT
Good thread... more photos.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 24, 2013 - 06:05pm PT
Sacherer Fredericks on MCR

It definitely gets very little traffic.
But it's well over 5.9.
I was thinking 5.11a/b when I was following the crux some years back.
G Zeus

Trad climber
Tucson, AZ
Apr 24, 2013 - 06:10pm PT

Not even close to 5.9

Credit: G Zeus


The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
Apr 24, 2013 - 06:25pm PT
Commissioner Buttress: the Rowell Route. I forget what it's called
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