The Vision - Tuolumne Meadows


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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 19, 2005 - 12:01am PT
Another "list climb", The Vision, 5.10a, Pennyroyal Arches, Tuolumne Meadows, FA 1970 Tom Higgins and Tom Gerughty.

This is a four pitch climb which follows a face up to the left of the "Great Fissure" so prominent from the road. Reid & Falkenstein have a correct photo and topo.

The first pitch is straight foward with some 5.8 between the top of the knobby right facing corner/arete to the two bolt belay anchors. The corner gets very thin and there really is no pro moving to the bolts. I tied off a couple of crystals, the moves weren't all that bad. The bolts are ASCA with rings, bomber.

Second pitch zigs and zags a bit, bolts are new ASCA up to a left facing corner the top of which is a long ledge. BELAY ON THIS LEDGE. The two adjacent bolts shown on the topo don't look all that good and are not the belay anchor. Roper's "Climber's Guide to the High Sierra" intimates that the belay is on the ledge, stating that there are 3 bolts on the crux pitch, apparently another one was added and the original not removed. The added bolt must have been in the 70's, it has the same antique patina as the original. The third bolt is hard to spot.

The third pitch is the crux, move up on classic Tuolumne gold polish and thin feet and hands. The second bolt does not inspire confidence, you have to step up through a steep section, at this point you are used to the fact that you are standing on really thin edges, bumps and just friction while your fingers feel around for some indentations. You should see the third bolt by now... directly up and in a bit of a dish, the bottom of which is sheer joy to handle. The bolt has a stainless steel SMC hanger on it, I didn't inspect it very carefully because there was nothing I could do except to climb out if it turned out to be mank.... I just didn't need to know that. Now clip and collect your thoughts... move right and up heading for a crack system. Lots of thin stuff, delicate feet, friction... etc. I remember two knobs just below the jam-able part of the crack, but be careful not to abandon your form before you have a that jam. You are only about 10' out from the bolt... so not too bad. Plug some pro and climb up to find a good place to hang on a sling belay. I did that just below the second crack system which is to the left and starts slighty before the one you are in peters out.

The fourth pitch goes up this left crack system to a low angle corner, then to the slabs above.

Take in the view, we scrambled off the slabs to the right (climber's right) which is west, onto a ledge system... a 100' rappel gets you down quickly to more slabs which you can carefully scramble down picking your way to the scree and the brush. This is a little tricky, don't go to far west (did this before), use your common sense... but this is exposed 3rd and 4th class.

I liked this climb. Pennyroyal Arches is a very nice crag.. we saw no one even close today.

Gym climber
Sep 19, 2005 - 12:16am PT
It's great that those bolts were replaced, when I did The Vision a few years ago, it had the scaries bolts ever.

:- k

Social climber
Joshua Tree, CA
Sep 19, 2005 - 12:18am PT
Super classic to be sure!!!!

Santa Cruz
Sep 19, 2005 - 12:58am PT
K: yup.

can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Sep 19, 2005 - 10:06am PT
I did way it back in 77 and those bolts back then didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence. It's a fun climb in a beautiful location. Can't ask for too much more then that.

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Sep 19, 2005 - 12:53pm PT
That route is cosmic.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 19, 2005 - 01:42pm PT
Very on-topic, helpful and informative post Kartouni. What were you thinking?

Trying to make us look bad eh?


J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
Aug 13, 2010 - 08:46pm PT
Really enjoyed the Vision also. Nice off-the-path location. Good go and belated thanks for the write up.

Way out there....
Aug 13, 2010 - 08:53pm PT
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Aug 13, 2010 - 11:20pm PT
Glad your back at it Ed (pun?).

Restraining the mounting urge to lunge for the crack- I remember that.

I rapped of the top anchor (slung tree) down and left into a slot- some downclinbing and rapped off a nut. A bit awkward.

Are there other good routes there?

Trad climber
Aug 13, 2010 - 11:27pm PT
Nice Ed! Way to go get it.

Trad climber
Aug 13, 2010 - 11:31pm PT
Go Ed!

Trad climber
Aug 13, 2010 - 11:33pm PT
Nice report. I've only seen the area from afar but it has intriguing look.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Aug 14, 2010 - 03:06pm PT
Another eye-opening thought about this excellent route is that, the FA having been done in 1970, that means it was in the piton era (just prior to the advent of the Chouinard wired stoppers), consequently the pro in those shallow rounded often-flaring cracks would not have been stellar. Not that those guys were particularly bothered by poor pro. The other routes on this same buttress/facet of Pennyroyal look excellent too but, as far as I could see, still have original bolts.

fist clamp
Aug 14, 2010 - 04:07pm PT
hmm, are the bolts new? Around 2005-2006 I remeber them being old 1/4in. Great splitter. The Alchemist it another great route on that buttress. Some really good gold polish climbing with newer bolts. Cucamonga Honey (Lembert) like but the bolts are a little closer.

Trad climber
Aug 14, 2010 - 05:09pm PT

Glad to see your review of the old Vision. It is one of my favorites too, but of course having done the FA with Tom I'm biased, I guess. I also think another FA, Piece de Resistance, is a good route on Fairview, but people tell me nope, too flakey on the crux. O well.

The walk in felt magical to us, as we went away from the crowds and hiked across lovely slabs with streaming water then onto the arches with some of the best glacier polish around. The rock gleams above you like, well, a vision, depending on the time of day.

As I recall the crux, there are pretty good flakes to work with, though I pulled one off once in a repeat ascent, so again my judgment on the point of rock quality may be tainted. The last move is a stem to a good foothold and, yes, good to keep concentrating on your feet and resist a rushed move to get into the crack and get done. Lost form here can spill you. At that point, I think maybe you are a bit further out than 10 feet, but not much.

Regarding the descent, Tom and I did a walk off east not west and followed a ledge overlap system filled with flowers and maybe a little stream, if I remember correctly. Somewhere there we looked back at the glowing polish in the afternoon sun and both got the "vision" again. Tom came up with the name and did I ever agree.

All - enjoy!

Tom Higgins

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
Aug 14, 2010 - 05:29pm PT
I keeping looking at that crag, Pennyroyal, when I'm out there and I have still yet to do it. I guess I'm saving it...but it's on my 'list'.

Good stuff Ed. And Tom.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
Aug 14, 2010 - 06:41pm PT
One of my favorites, the smell of pennyroyal anywhere brings back geat memories of my first summer in TM with my wife to be on the Vision. Thanks Ed for the reflection today as I remain here in office bondage ;^(
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Aug 14, 2010 - 08:00pm PT
> hmm, are the bolts new? Around 2005-2006 I remeber them being old 1/4in.

From the other thread
Greg Barnes replaced all the bolts on the Vision except on p3, in 2002. On 8/19/2006, Bruce Hildenbrand and I replaced the (two) bolts on p3, so The Vision bolts are all replaced now.

Bruce also replaced the only remaining 1/4" bolt on Alchemists's Re-vision p3 that day. Higher bolts on Alchemist's Re-vision were 5/16" with one 3/8" at a belay.

More notes from my trip report:
"Note for future rebolters: the bolts on p1 of Ooze and Ahs are still 1/4", as is the first bolt on p3."

Trad climber
san diego
Aug 14, 2010 - 08:23pm PT
can't say- "I did it back in '77..."

Same here, '77 "and those bolts back then didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence" But my buddies did(Kevin L/Art H/Rick L)...some old school daddio's!
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