Third Pillar of Dana - Am I going to die?


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Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:23am PT
Zander, GREAT photo of the approach rib, that's just the way it is: a big giant house of cards. If there's an earthquake while you're on that thing, yer definitely gonna...
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:30am PT
mongrel, can't think of a better way to send to the heavenlies. lrl
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:34am PT
"Hey karl, nice photos. As I understand, to get to start at some point you cross over the snow and on to a ledge system - you don't go all the way down to the toe. Is the beginning of the route shown in that lower photo of yours?"

There's a variation where you start at the toe or you can start a few pitches higher by traversing the ledge. Most Traverse. Didn't see it obvious in my photo.

The descent from Dana Plateau is loose and therefore scary. Not just loose like you grab a few things that move. Loose like you are walking over unstable stuff and sometimes there's nothing solid to grab. Now there are several ways to get down the rib and some are far less sketchy than others. I found that downclimbing the bigger rocks near the arete of the rib was more solid than starting further to the North away from the Pillar and walking easier but far looser ground.

Then there's routefinding when you reach a gully, which you can climb over to the other side or go way down and around and up. It can be confusing.

Full value route even though it's not super pumpy. Talked to a few climbers who felt surprised by it.

Used to be rated 5.9 (ma) didn't it?



Trad climber
a buttery white sand beach... I wish!
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:52am PT
It's quite stunning and easy to pick out as you drive up Lee Vining Canyon as well (and changes with the light throughout the day).

One of these days, when I get a lot more mileage and a lot more confident I might just climb that thing....


Bay Area, CA
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:55am PT

I agree with all who said make sure the time is right.

Listen to Pip's advice. I did almost all those things wrong (there is a post on rec.climbing from over 15 years ago...) and I'm lucky to be able to tell the story. All I got was a permanent dent in the butt. It is a fantastic route, and you definitely want to enjoy it, so stack all the odds in your favor. I lead most of it, and I remember the top particularly well. By then I already had the dent in my butt, so I was very cautious, and sinking two pieces of pro every 5 feet, in between those great hand and arm jams. Earlier on, I went slightly off route. In Wallyeye's photo of the leader, you can see the pro to the right of where the leader came up. For me it was to the left, until I straightened myself out. (After all these years, weird to see that photo and that very piece of rock where I went wrong...) Since I had a near miss, I thought constantly for the next two weeks about what happened, what was done wrong (lots of things) and what I would do next time. Most of them are in Pip's list.
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Aug 8, 2009 - 12:59am PT
Thanks Blue Dragon and Pip, of Course....serious and a newbie like me needs to consider it. Again dankeschoern....lynne

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Aug 8, 2009 - 01:02am PT
Do IT! Leading every pitch would be awsome. Consider yourself lucky your partner has the Pre-Pre Snaileye, His loss.

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 8, 2009 - 01:03am PT
Agree that Crescent ARch and Lucky streaks would be good tests for Third Pillar.

If you're not sure of going fast, know this...No matter how sunny and nice it seems when you are climbing in the sun, when the sun goes past the rock in the early afternoon, it's almost always dang cold on third pillar so climb with a layer and hat in your pack.



Trad climber
a buttery white sand beach... I wish!
Aug 8, 2009 - 02:02am PT
By the way, Zander, as a slightly younger guy than you, you are an inspiration to me. Your TR of Steck-Salathe is awesome! Likewise with the TPoD.


Mountain climber
Bay Area
Aug 8, 2009 - 02:07am PT
party above us slipped and broke an ankle. you may die or hurt yourself if you fall in a bad spot. just like anywhere else in alpine.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Aug 8, 2009 - 03:31am PT
Hear that Zander? He called you OLd!

Social climber
Aug 8, 2009 - 03:40am PT
hey there say, wow.. lots of you all are here...

hey there to you all!

say, zander, oh my YES, THOSE ARE lovely photos... oh my...

crisp and clear, and "speaking" out to us...

thanks for all these shares, all...


Las Vegas, Nevada
Aug 8, 2009 - 04:34am PT
Thanks for starting a great thread. Have really enjoyed ALL the replies and pics. Really got to single out pip the dog's post on page one though. Wisdom and humility in them words. I wanna climb Third Pillar with pip.


Trad climber
Aug 8, 2009 - 11:21am PT
I still gotta finish this thing! It would be fun with you guys.

"Hear that Zander? He called you OLd!"
Dammit Karl, how did he find out!

Glad you liked the Steck Salathe TR. Climb on!

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 8, 2009 - 11:27am PT
I added a link to this to the Route Beta page

fist clamp
Aug 8, 2009 - 11:38am PT
JAkey on the last pitch

If this guy can do it anyone can. It is kind of a steep jugwalk.

Gym climber
Happy Boulders
Aug 9, 2009 - 06:13pm PT
Dana Plateau, and Glacier Canyon are really neat places
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Aug 9, 2009 - 06:24pm PT
Still as beautiful as the last time. Sigh, So much to do .... so poquito tiempo.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Aug 9, 2009 - 06:33pm PT
We're all going to die...

but in the meantime, you should go and climb it...

from the west side above the descent:

Did someone mention that the last pitch is steep?
These taken from the east side:

these from a hike that Debbie and I did last year

D still hasn't given me all the IDs yet... I'll ping here today for what she's got...

Trad climber
Currently Nomadic
Aug 10, 2009 - 12:46am PT
My Picasa site has some good pics, including a couple from the "10b" section.

I'd say it depends what kind of "5.9" leader you are... IMHO the third pillar is really just a stiff 5.9, on the order of higher cathedral spire, NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral, crescent arch, etc., maybe a bit harder than Central Pillar of Frenzy.

On the other hand, if you can do any of those 5.9s, there are probably quite a few 10bs you feel ok on too. See how you feel. I say go for it - it's all well protected. Others have said this, but start EARLY, or be prepared to retreat. Also, do a few climbs in Tuolumne first to get acclimated. The 5.7 offwidth at 11000 feet was pretty winding.

Do it at some point though - amazing climb. And get someone to come along and take sweet pictures of you like Ed Hartouni posted.
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