Best semi-obscure 5.10 in the Valley


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Mountain climber
Cali Via Canada
Topic Author's Original Post - Oct 27, 2006 - 04:53pm PT
Allright, as the climbing season is coming to a close, I find myself wanting to get one last blast in the valley. I have done all the trade routes; Sons, Brail, DNB, Frenzy, Everything on Manure Pile, The Spires.

What is left? I am looking for something 5.10 or easier, without offwidths or body chimneys (unless incredibly easy).

Not really interested in single pitch stuff either. Anybody have any great suggestions? Snake dike would be good, but it is a heck of a hike for this late in the year. Any gems that you care to share?

In exchange, I can tell you about the incredibly easy 11a sport line just uphill of brail book, loads of fun. Called "Remain in Light". Feels more like 10a or b.

Trad climber
Somewhere, CA
Oct 27, 2006 - 05:00pm PT
Pitches 1-10 of Salathe.
Cat Dancing - a little on the R side of things.
Rammer (if you do Cat Dancing).


Social climber
Oct 27, 2006 - 05:30pm PT
You might like the East Arete of Split Pinnacle, but it has a not too hard squeeze chimney.

The crux is a 5.10c lieback pitch you can see from the road (binoculars might help, but not required), and you can see if it appeals. The crux pitch is a blast to climb, if hard to lead or follow. It can be toproped by climbing the original finish, a short A1 pin ladder.

Social climber
Oct 27, 2006 - 05:36pm PT
If you want slab, you might like Cold Fusion on GPA.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Oct 27, 2006 - 05:41pm PT
How about:

 North Buttress of Middle Cathedral (better for midsummer, in my opinion, since it's long). It may have a squeeze, but if you are 6' tall you should be able to do a wide stem past it.

 Rixon's West (rarely done because of rockfall hazard, but I did it last spring, after I saw Karl was doing it again). The climbing is pretty fun, but the rockfall hazard is not so fun.

 East Buttress of Lower Cathedral (it has a wide crack - Fissure Beck, but you can lieback it)

> In exchange, I can tell you about the incredibly easy 11a sport line just uphill of brail book, loads of fun. Called "Remain in Light". Feels more like 10a or b.

But I knew about that one already. :-)

Why is the climbing season coming to a close?
Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Oct 27, 2006 - 05:45pm PT
Phantom Pinnacle is a remote, challenging and fun 5.9, maybe a tad chilly this time of year...

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Oct 27, 2006 - 07:03pm PT
East Butt Middle Cathedral?

Brutus of Wyde

Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
Oct 27, 2006 - 07:24pm PT
Didn't see the E. Butt of El Cap on your list.

Didn't even see Arrowhead Arete.

What about Golden Bough?

South Face of North Dome?

Crest Jewel?

E. Buttress of Lower Cathedral Rock.

Put on those kneepads! then do:

Steck Salathe'

LA Chimney (The Harding Hole can be easily avoided via 5.9 fingers)

Yosemite Point Buttress (the DNB of the south facing walls)

Have fun.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Oct 27, 2006 - 07:41pm PT
The East Buttress of Everything
Pat or Jack Pinnacle via the routes below.
Werners Ant Trees to Selaginella
Indepedence Pinnacle (pick your side)

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Oct 27, 2006 - 07:42pm PT
2nd the suggestion of the N butt of MCR- cool easyish long route, and you get to do the whole kat walk too. will mostly feel like a path as compared to the DNB.

there is also supposed to be some pretty cool "adventure route" going off the top of reeds pinnacle that's about 5.10- ask around about that one.

already done the EB of EC and the NEB of HCR?
what about the WF of EC?
chouinard herbert?

galactic hitchhiker?

Monument Manor
Oct 27, 2006 - 07:49pm PT
Stoner's Highway


Mothers Lament

NE Shoulder - Half Dome

Doctor Feelgood / Mr. Natural

Complete Outer Limits

Mid-life Crisis
John Black

Social climber
Boulder, CO
Oct 27, 2006 - 09:27pm PT
Lunatic Fringe is *

Also, Highway star for laps... no one hardly ever there.

Sherrie's Crack... I had a long love/hate affair with that one for a long while.

right here, right now
Oct 27, 2006 - 09:49pm PT
I agree with Brutus & Clint on the E Butt of Lower,
Classic, obsure, stout 5.10, sorry, chimney-flare-stem-lie back crux.

Also, as you do it, (must do for the lichened 5.7 jammy hummocks up top) as you do it,
Recall what Bachar may have felt during his on-site solo.

Then, Jeepers:
Fatal Mistake!
Obscure, High Qual & oops, 11- with 2 OW approach pitches & a rap-in climb-out scenario,
But quite connoiseur (long list)...

right here, right now
Oct 27, 2006 - 09:59pm PT
oh oh oh!
Lots of neato stuff on lower falls wall.
black, grippy, end of season rock & sumuvit requires a pitch plus.

Bishop, California
Oct 27, 2006 - 10:24pm PT
Golden Dawn would seem to fit your interests.

Middle Rock routes like Stoner's, Paradise Lost, Quicksilver and Freewheelin.

Slab Happy seemed worth the walk.

I've always wondered about the Salathe Rt on the west side of Half Dome -- go do it and get back to me.

As Roy suggests, Fatal Mistake is a great outing -- the approach pitches up Pink Dreams are a worthy outing by themselves.

Oct 27, 2006 - 11:26pm PT
Aldude called out Doctor Feelgood / Mr. Natural are indeed kick assed climbs, I love em and that combo may be the best 2 pitches around there, but that area of the Apron is pretty damned exposed to regular rockfall still.

Same with the far other side of the Apron too.

Nobody called out Sherries Crack or Serenity Crack, or Serenity/Sons of Yesterday for a long one - both of which will be getting sunshine and less rockfall than Mr Natural and Rixons. Futhermore, they have no chimneys (another requirement)


Oppps, John Black did call out Sherries, shorter than you want, but awesome and good pro too.

5.10 or less may mean Harry Daley (probably too short for you) or an Apron slab route up to the Oasis. Coonyard, Angels Approach to Lucifers and Goodrich right all are awesome and will work ya, will get some sun and not be in the rockfall areas.

Probably anything on Brutus's list will set ya right too. E Buttress of El Cap if it's dry would be a perfect day for you I suspect with a single spot of sort of a chimney. Of course, Steck Salethe would have chimneys an may be cold as well..... maybe let that one go....

Let us know what you choose OK?



Mountain climber
Anchorage, Alaska
Oct 28, 2006 - 12:05am PT
Stoner's Hwy
Ho Chi Mihn Trail

right here, right now
Oct 28, 2006 - 12:43pm PT
Tower of the Cosmic Gods (cold right now):
Windfall is 11 and one of the best obscure routes in the valley.
Windjammer is 10, I have not done it but it fits your criteria (except for the OW) and I hear it is good too.

IMHO, once you get the OW/squeeze courses back on your menu, the obscure multi pitch stuff really opens up; as so many multi pitch routes have the obligatory sections.

Center route on Independence
Right Side of the Folly (Good Book)
All of Vendetta
The Sermon

I think Center route on Absolutely Free is pretty mellow,
Has a chunk of perfect OW near the bottom, & nice cruising 5.9 above; that may be one of the better offbeat not so stout suggestions.
Rick L

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Oct 28, 2006 - 01:40pm PT
I think avoiding OW's misses some of the best climbing architecture and climbing history that Yosemite has to offer. Once you get the hang of it, many doors will open up. L Side of Reed's- apparently seldomly done any more- is like climbing a granite cathedral. Cracks and chimneys of various sizes. In the pre-cam days of yore, I recall being able to protect the crux OW with a 1" or so angle in a side wall crack. Now, you could probably use a small cam/nut or push a large cam in the main OW. The L Side of Independence Pinnacle is also good and likely to be deserted. After a somewhat decomposed 1st pitch, the next two are pretty good- hand/fist and a rather aerobic OW to the top. If you want a real rush, find an old pair of Pivetta hiking boots (like the boys wore on the first ascent of the Salathe) or the blue suede RR's and cast off on one of the Apron 5.9's like Patio or Coonyard (if they are not in the bombing zone). Perhaps "Renaissance" ascents will become fashionable someday. Might be a good way compare skills to the first ascent parties. But for rock destruction, placing (and cleaning) pitons on stout liebacks would also be an "eye-opening" reminder.

The Warbler

the edge of America
Oct 28, 2006 - 11:28pm PT
I almost suggested Windjammer earlier, but I was thinking obscure meant something different to the general climbing population after seeing some of the other recommendations. Comparatively ultraobscure, with a fortyfive minute approach, it is a very cool 3 pitch route, one of my favorite first ascents in the Valley, and probably rarely touched.

The first pitch climbs intermittent thin cracks and features up steep excellent rock, the Reid guide mentions a loose flake, but I don't remember anything that wasn't easy to avoid, I only remember unique, interesting, continuous climbing. The pitch cimbs to an alcove belay under a prominent roof with a splitter handcrack/undercling.

The roof is intimidating, or was with hexes, because the crack is perfectly parallel sided, but the difficulties ease after the roof as the climber enters a long yawning flared chimney with some nice easy wide stemming on lots of texture.

After a belay in the chimney, another intimidating obstacle presents itself. The chimney converges and becomes a classic Valley offwidth, five or six inches and super clean. Fortunately, the leader can tunnel up high inside the chimney behind the crack, protect, downclimb and wrassle the outside crack with a toprope.

The summit ledge is shared by Windfall, a fine four pitch crack climb, including one of the steepest leads in the Valley, the third pitch.

The spacious ledge is on the outermost point of the Stanford Point Buttress and seemingly sits guarding the entrance to the Valley, with a commanding view all the way to the crest of the sierra if I remember well.

The Widow's Tears Ampitheater, particularly in spring, is one of the most beautiful and magical places I've been in Yosemite, and one of the least visited.

Left side of Reeds is probably the friendliest 5.10 offsize in the Valley and a classic line on excellent rock. Left side of Independence is great too, I agree the first pich is B grade, but the second is alltime, and the third is worth doing also.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Oct 29, 2006 - 02:32pm PT
The left side of Reeds (5.10a) is probably the friendliest OW in the Valley and is a sun spot in winter. But you do have to con your partner into leading the 5.8 first pitch chimney start to get up to the OW. "Sure, I'll lead the OW if you lead the chimney and get me up there!" Donn Reed told me he did the left side of Reeds once.

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Oct 29, 2006 - 06:27pm PT
Final Exam--all time crack but quite a hike.

Is Stoner's Highway really "semi-obscure?"

The Warbler

the edge of America
Oct 30, 2006 - 12:57am PT
Doesn't seem much more obscure than say, Central Pillar, does it , Largo?


Oct 30, 2006 - 01:06am PT

Can you believe it. There is a "entrance exam" and a "final exam".

And then there is "extra credit". You get extra credit if you go do that?

Wild Bill

Oct 31, 2006 - 04:31pm PT
For south-facing, how about Serenity Crack and it's continuation, Sons of Yesterday? Sorta the opposite of OW, I guess. You do have to rap off Sons of Yesterday, unless you really love the gulley. BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR BELAY LOOP, EH?

For just fooling around on one pitch stuff, check out New Diversions (the route, and then the other stuff on the ND wall). Bring a few long slings for SLINGING CHICKENHEADS! Don't hear that too often in the Valley.

For short cracks in the sun, check out the Little Wing area near Ribbon Falls amphitheater. A bit of an ankle-twisting walk but the rock is a bit different from other Valley granite as I recall.

Have fun, I'm jealous but still kinds queasy from Skinner's flight.

Nov 1, 2006 - 07:10pm PT
Some great route suggestions but most of y'all missed one of the 'best semi-obscure' multi-pitch 10's. But I'm going to stay 'quiet' on that one so as to keep it that way.
Wild Bill

Nov 15, 2006 - 04:41pm PT
Summerprophet - what route did you end up climbing? Was it obscure enough that you didn't have to toss some gumbies out of your way?
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
Nov 15, 2006 - 07:03pm PT
By the way, Windfall continues for 6 more pitches via Wind Chill to the rim. nothing harder than midling 5.10.

Brutus of Wyde

Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
Nov 15, 2006 - 08:42pm PT
"I've always wondered about the Salathe Rt on the west side of Half Dome -- go do it and get back to me."

Good route. A little spicy for the likes of me, in places. Definitely take some Ball Nutz and some offset brass for the thin pitches. Screamers provide peace of mind as well.


Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Nov 15, 2006 - 09:18pm PT
Spooky Tooth on Lower. Scare the crap out of you.

The Warbler

the edge of America
Nov 15, 2006 - 09:47pm PT
Largo, what's up man?! Did you ever do that route or did you just hear tales? I was just up there scoping that wall thinking that probably nobody ever does or has done those routes.

At the risk of riling up some sack draggin trad dudes, I was thinking it was kind of a waste of killer face climbing in an awesome location.

You could do more routes up there, but since those guys didn't place any pro bolts you might end up drilling on a route they did 30 years ago in their eebs.

Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Nov 16, 2006 - 12:37am PT
Just do the ones you haven't done yet that sound interesting. If you are asking that question it won't matter what you do, it is all fun.


p.s. Make it fun!

Oakland, CA
Feb 19, 2015 - 09:40am PT
Great list. I didn't realize that Brutus did so many obscure lines in the Valley - thought he was more of a far afield obscurist.

If you're not as opposed to the wide stuff as the OP, add in Hawkman's Escape (link Ab Free Center from below), Bridalveil East w the Midget Chimney variation, and the Chockstone Chimney (a 5.8 but you'll forget all about grades on this one).

Another vote for both routes on the Tower of the Cosmic Winds. They could use the traffic.

Beyond Lunacy, Ablegabel's 7 or 8 pitch extension of Lunatic Fringe, is worthy and belongs on this list. Same goes for the less intimidating Angry Natives.

Thought that the EB of Lower Cathedral was better than its cousins on Middle and El Cap, though I'm not sure many would agree with me. NEB reigns over all of the east'ish buttresses that I've done, even with the crowds. But I haven't done HD's NE Buttress/Face yet. Want to.

Feb 19, 2015 - 09:43am PT

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Feb 19, 2015 - 10:06am PT
I haven't done it but I've dreamed about and spied from up close the Ramblin' Rose. At the scary shaking pillar on Hawkman's Escape, head off to the left.
Jim Pettigrew

Social climber
Crowley Lake, CA
Feb 19, 2015 - 11:50am PT
Was Bridalveil East mentioned! Crucifix!

A pile of dirt.
Feb 19, 2015 - 12:20pm PT
Trust me if the natives are out they are very intimidating! I've never the language that came out of Ablegable's mouth on that before or after.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Feb 19, 2015 - 12:48pm PT
"I've always wondered about the Salathe Rt on the west side of Half Dome -- go do it and get back to me."

Good route. A little spicy for the likes of me, in places. Definitely take some Ball Nutz and some offset brass for the thin pitches. Screamers provide peace of mind as well.

The route is almost as low-angle as Snake Dike, but, as stated above, the crux pitches have some thin spots. Just when I thought the difficulties were over (and they were, at least as far as protecting was concerned), that little roof gave me much more trouble than it should have.

East Arete of Split Pinnacle is a nice climb, mostly non-continuous 5.7 and 5.8, but the final lieback is a whole 'nother story, and the chimney is just a chimney, not a squeeze.

I'd been waiting until I was in my 60's to do YPB, and now that I'm in my 60's . . . let me know how it is!


A pile of dirt.
Feb 19, 2015 - 12:58pm PT
+1 for Split Pinnacle

East of Heaven
Feb 19, 2015 - 01:34pm PT
Apron Jam (5.9+++) into Mr. Natural (5.10D)
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