West Crack, Daff Dome 5.9

   
Search
Go

Tuolumne Meadows, California USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
Avg time to climb route: 2-4 hours
Approach time: 20 minutes
Descent time: 30 minutes
Number of pitches: 6
Height of route: 700'
Overview
Looking at Daff Dome from the parking area, you would never imagine that the west face could be climbed at anything less than 5.12. Yet a splitter finger crack in the middle of the giant golden face goes at only 5.8. Except for a few face moves off the ground, which are protected by a bomber bolt, the entire route is 5.8. While the roof at the start of the second pitch is intimidating, hidden holds make it reasonable. Even the offwidth on Pitch 4 is climbed via great face holds to the right.
Photos - View all 3 photos of West Crack as: Thumbnails | Slideshow
Climber Beta on West Crack
  A total of (43) submissions of route beta on West Crack
Which SuperTopo guidebooks include a topo for West Crack?

Tuolumne Free Climbs
Find other routes like West Crack

 
History
It’s hard to believe that this handsome chunk of granite had no name as late as 1963. Frank Sacherer and Wally Reed, in July of that year, climbed the classic West Crack, one of the earliest Tuolumne climbs. When Valley climbers asked where this gem was, Sacherer hesitated only a moment before replying: “dome across from Fairview.” Within weeks this had been shortened to Daff.
The admirable Tuolumne ethic of never using aid perhaps originates from the climb of West Crack (Pratt and Reed, on Fairview in 1958, had used lots of aid, but this was in the Dark Ages and the cracks brimmed with dirt, meaning that jamming was out of the question). By 1963 Sacherer and Reed were superb free climbers and as they stood beneath the west face of Daff they spotted crystals and dikes and knobs and cracks everywhere. This was high-country granite, weathered far more than the smooth walls of the Valley. It seems safe to say that as they roped up they were thinking of a free ascent. Trouble was, about 20 feet above the ground the rock was, for a short distance, smooth and featureless, almost Valley-like. But it posed little problem, going at 5.9. Higher, the climbing proved thrilling and amazingly easy, and pitons could be driven anywhere for protection. Because Sacherer had a huge free-climbing agenda down in the Valley, he never again put up a first ascent in Tuolumne. One wonders what he would have done had he lived in the Meadows for a few months!
– Steve Roper

Strategy
Come prepared to wait in line or climb nearby routes. Large cams are needed to protect the fourth pitch or you can run it out. Beware of the possibility that the rope may drag cams into the crack on this pitch. If you have a #11 Hexcentric, bring it and use it at the bottom of the offwidth—not only is it great pro, it also keeps the rope running smoothly. With a 60m rope you can climb the route in four pitches with no difficulty.
The crux of the route is the first 30 feet. Clip the bolt with a single locker and stand on thin polished edges, working up to a good crimp. A few easier moves gain the crack, which stays easy for the next 60 feet. For the roof on the second pitch, jam with the right hand and use bomber jugs up and left to work your way through the overhang. This section is easier if you are tall.
West Crack is high up and often windy. Since it gets afternoon sun, strong parties often finish the day by running ...   [full history for SuperTopo members only!]

Sign In or Join SuperTopo (it's FREE!) to read the complete route history, the recommended strategy for climbing this route, and useful tips should you need to retreat.
Everything You Need to Know About Tuolumne Meadows
Search the internet for beta on West Crack
  Search the internet for information on West Crack
Other guidebooks that include info on West Crack
  • Rock Climbs of Tuolumne Meadows, by Don Reid and Chris Falkenstein.
Source: SuperTopo Guidebook Staff Last update: August 14, 2013
Daff Dome - West Crack 5.9 - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click to Enlarge
One of the most striking crack lines in Tuolumne.
Photo: Todd Snyder
Other Routes on Daff Dome
Daff Dome - Crescent Arch 5.10b - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click for details.
Crescent Arch, 5.10b
Daff Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Crescent Arch takes the obvious line in the middle.
Daff Dome - Blown Away 5.9 - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click for details.
Blown Away, 5.9
Daff Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Daff Dome, South Flank - Guide Cracks 5.5 - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click for details.
Guide Cracks, 5.5
Daff Dome, South Flank
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The South Flank routes are located in the tree-filled area in the center of the photo.
Daff Dome - Bombs Over Tokyo 5.10c - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click for details.
Bombs Over Tokyo, 5.10c
Daff Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Daff Dome - Cooke Book 5.10a - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click for details.
Cooke Book, 5.10a
Daff Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Cooke Book, as seen from the base, curves around the north side of Daff Dome.
More routes on Daff Dome
SuperTopo on the Web