Sons of Yesterday, Royal Arches Area 5.10a
Avg time to climb route: 3-3.5 hours
Approach time: 2-3 hours
Descent time: 1 hour
Number of pitches: 5
Height of route: 500'
OverviewBeautifully clean, sustained and exposed, this is a proud tick. The climbing is mostly straight-in jams with the occasional face moves. Unlike Serenity Crack, this line is free of pin scars. However, be prepared for a few tenuous sections of sloping pods and insecure moves.
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StrategyA fair number of parties rappel after Serenity Crack, tending to reduce the traffic on Sons. However, unless you are one of the first groups up, the parties rapping down on you can be annoying and time consuming. It’s easy and common to be hit by pulled ropes and more than a few climbers have come away with rope burns from descending parties. Serenity requires many smaller cams; Sons requires many medium to hand-sized protection.
The 5.10a second pitch can be more of a challenge than even the crux pitch of Serenity if you are not strong on off-fingers, slightly flared jamming. The perfect hand crack on this takes only 1-1.25” protection for about 60-70 feet. While the bomber hands allow most to comfortably run the pitch out, only two 2” cams will prevent a huge fall.
The key to the first 5.10a pitch is to stay calm, concentrate on your feet and trust the often tenuous off-finger jams. The bulk of this pitch requires endurance with its steep thin hands and hands. To negotiate the crux, the offwidth bypass, move left on slippery 5.10a face with no crack to plug pro. At the belay, while standing on the tree manage the rope carefully. It is easy to snag the rope on the tree’s hidden branch stubs, which can cause problems for the leader on the next pitch.
On Pitch 5, a cool, traversing, offset off-finger crack heads left. If you traverse with your hands in the crack, it is possible to place pro, but it’s hard. Alternatively, if you place a piece and then carefully “walk the plank” on the one-inch offset ledge, there will be no hand holds and no chance to place pro. This option is much easier, but scary! The wide crack at the end of this pitch is easy even if you have no offwidth experience. Simple liebacks to the left, with careful footjams, gain the top quickly. A 4 inch cam protects this well, but most people just run this section out rather than carry the extra weight of the piece.
The 6th pitch, a short slab to a tree, is rarely done.
All anchors were replaced by the ASCA in 1998.
RetreatRap the route with two 50m or 60m ropes then rappel Serenity Crack.
ApproachFrom the northeast corner of the Ahwahnee parking lot, take the hikers’ trail east. After 250 feet, just before a stream crossing (may be dry in summer and fall), locate a climbers’ trail on the left. Follow this for 100 feet toward the base of the wall. Skirt the base up left for another 100 yards to the second major corner system on the right. Scramble up 4th class to a platform.
DescentRappel the route with two 50m or 60m ropes. From Pitch 2 of Serenity Crack, use the rap anchors to the west of the route (can rap these pitches with one 60m rope).
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