Sea of Dreams, El Capitan A4 5.9

 
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Yosemite Valley, California USA

  • Currently 4.0/5
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Summary of All Ratings

SuperTopo Rating:   
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  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.0)
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Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (1)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 33%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
nopantsben

climber
Oct 21, 2013 - 10:44am
 
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=2248990&tn=20
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Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
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   Feb 3, 2009 - 08:40am
There are some great shots & stories in this link.
http://supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=208845&msg=212292#msg212292
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Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
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   Jul 12, 2006 - 10:04am
I did this route in June, 2006 and thought I'd share my thoughts with others to update info regarding the route. The rack list was pretty much correct but it seemed a bit heavy on 2" to 3" cams, I think 3 of each is too much. 2 of each seem like plenty. We took more than the 30 heads suggested and placed most of 'em. We ran short of #3 aluminum & copper but had plenty of the rest. In places where water runs down the wall, the heads were often rusty and the cables fraying. I daisy whipped when a cable broke and pulled several more while testing them.

There was lost of loose rock throughout the entire route. From Big Sur all the way to the Igloo, there was loose rock, detaching features, and loose blocks that the haulbags knocked off when hauling 'em up.
Pitch 7, the groovy arch, like Bart mentioned, I too hooked across to the belay rather than pendulum to another feature. The hooks were OK and seemed better than the alternative.
Pitch 8- A pitch of 1 & 2 heads connected with hooks. Sporty for A2+.
Pitch 9- the hooks or free section to get to the Continential Shelf was pretty hard. I did a few natural hook moves that ended up being harder than anything on the Hook Or Book pitch, which were often enhanced with a little divot in the back of them, where on this pitch, they were au-natural and a bit spicy! The last moves to the shelf were free but you can assist the moves with hooks but they're sketchy.

Pitch 10- No big Deal. We could have done it without monster big gear.
Pitch 11- Hook Or Book- more intimidating from the shelf than it was on the pitch. Once I got going, it wasn't too bad. The hardest hook moves are near the rivets and the others were either decent natural hooks, or enhanced hooks that were OK. I really like the Cassin hook for these placements, they come in 2 sizes and are realy handy. The equalized heads near where the A4 is indicated on the S.T. topo are oxidizing badly and won't hold a fall. One pulled as I passed it, I replaced it but they're poor. Heads up here but at least the hooks are decent the rest of the way.
Pitch 13-The expando belay was fine. The gear was bomber, no wonder Bridwell forbade anybody from drilling there. With gear that good a bolt would be just plain wrong.
Pitch 14- There is now a big fat bolt halfway up the pitch, perhaps where the guy lost his finger. This bolt reduced the difficulty greatly. More like A3+
The Blue Room pitch(#17) in particular seemed as if it were going to detach from the wall. My partner, Erik, said when I was hitting some pins on the horizontal nailing section, rocks & gravel were pouring out onto the belay! In my experience, that is a sure sign of serious loosness. If the Blue room block(a 50' x 50' x 50' stealth bomber) detaches, the whole team is getting squeegied off the wall. Near the end of this pitch, a surfboard flake that leads to the RURP belay is missing.
Pitch 18- Loose, reachy hooking on crunchy flakes and the occasional rivet make this a spicy pitch. This used to be called "ace in space" on the old Reid/Meyers topo but the real one is pitch 21. We called it "the false ace in space", or FAIS,which rhymes with face. Solid A3+.
Pitch 19- the Bulldyke This pitch seemed hard, I could barely get the initial placement off the belay, I ripped it out testing several times before I got it to stick. The whole pitch was loose & rotten. TCU's & sawed off angles were key, especially the 1 1/2 one. I was all over the place on this pitch. Above the dike, below the dike, hooking the dike. This pitch took a fair amount of creative thinking and routefinding.
On the Price Is Light (Pitch 20), a 60' x 30' flake right above the belay is gone. You can see Price's rivets in blank rock with no way to get to them. Erik went left along the continuation of the Bulldyke for 20 or 30 feet then up a corner that led back to the poor rivets shown on the topo. This section is super steep! The belay is in a dumb place though, too low in my opinion. It should have been a bit higher.
On the Ace In Space(pitch 21), there's some circle heads & a rivet leading out right along a crumbly seam. I daisy whipped here when a head pulled after I had been on it for awhile getting the next placement, luckily I was daisied to both my previous placement and the one I was placing so when the head failed I was held from either side by my daisies. I felt like a marionette! Above, the hooks were OK and there were more rivets than shown on the topo. There is a key move to get to a roof that takes a #1 red camalot near the end of the pitch that takes some fortitude to figure out. There's a key bathook hole left of the expando flake that lets you avoid pulling the flake off trying to get to the roof.

On the Peruvian Flakes,(pitches 22 - 24) many of the heads in place were junky & rusty. The hooking sections were not too bad, but the heading in between was more demanding of one's attention. I don't know what the previous poster from Poland was talking about, there was no hook throw(pitch 23) whatsoever, I just hooked right on over above the ramp that took sawed-offs. Some hook moves were straight up & some were straight right. The feature he threw the hook at was obvious but you have to just get to it one move at a time. No big deal compared to the heads to get to the sawed-off ramp which were rusty and fraying. I backed up some of them.

Maybe I let my imagination get the best of me but it sure seems like someone is going to get a nasty surprise on S. O. D. one day when a big section falls off with somebody riding it down. Most of the time, the system works fine and the leader just goes for big air, but there are those times when... So a big heads up to future parties.

Levy
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Pastor

Big Wall climber
Warsaw, Poland
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   Nov 5, 2002 - 12:47am
I made the route in October 2002 with to other Polish climbers.
As for don't skate mate- we made it without drilling holes. one expando has fallen down, but there is another and you have to use kb under it which is risky. there are two beaks on the pitchbut it's impossible to take them without destroying the rock. Hook or Book is truly A4R - at 3/4 of the pitch lemght there are 3 heads together then hooking. Take stubai "clifhangers" with you!!! After pendulum 2 hooks 45 degree contra! What links:Pitches 1 and 2 pitches 15 and 16 DO LINK - iled them but watch out the rope drag - use very looong runners (1- 1.5 m), haul from 4 to 6 from 17 to 19. Pitch 25 is easy, igloo is obvious - you can't miss it. Pitch 13 - don't hook it! The expando moved when my friend try to hook it and crushed a ball-nut. I don't think there is a fixed piton. Pitch 18- just 2 meters right the old rurp balay there is an arrow blade. Even don't look at it. It's under the flake which moves when you touch the piton. pitch 20 : from station straight up along the crack - you see some fixed heads. Pitch 23 second hooking section: after sawed offs hook move right(2 moves) and up (three moves) and right and key piece of rock for the hook fell off so throw right and up a small petzl hook with 2.5 m long runner (good luck) then hook down then right and use the runner with the "blind" hook. it could be A3+ now. Pitch 24 - after A3 section, instaed of hooking right I climbed further up (beaks and hooks)to small roof then easy right to the 5.7 section.
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Rob Steiner

Advanced climber
Warsaw, Poland
Apr 26, 2001 - 01:31pm
 
The little feature in the middle of the "don't skate mate" pitch which is shown as expanding in the supertopo is not expanding any more because it fell off last tuesday when I weighted it. It cut off my left ringfinger, bad luck.

I do not know if this section now can be climbed without drilling but it looked like it would be ok. Unfortunately I did not really feel like checking it out, i better made my way down. There are still a couple of beaks, pins and so on in the pitch and of course the next climber should take them!
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Bart Bledsoe

Advanced climber
Warsaw, Poland
Feb 1, 2001 - 11:47pm
 
I spent 16 days on Sea of Dreams (mid September, through Oct. 3), and as a result, have become very familiar with both the route, and the supertopo, and have noted a few inconcistencies. But first let me say, my motivation for submitting these corrections is not to nit-pick an already fine creation, but rather, to help the supertopos to be as super as possible. without further adu, the inconsistencies: (All pitch #\'s are from the supertopo and not the Ried book) Pitch 4 - has no rivet and ends with mandatory freeclimbing.

Pitch 6 - ends with mandatory free climbing

Pitch 7 - The \"hard swing\" penji is optional. the better option (to me) was to hook left to the belay

pitch 11 (hook or book) OK, this is definitely Nit-picking, but, the topo depicts 4 rivets, rather there are two fixed pins, right off the shelf,then 3 rivets. (minor correction, but it\'s a proud pitch)

pitch 13 There are 3 rivets depicted on this pitch. the first two are correct. the third rivet is actually a fixed blade, that is the penji point, to swing left (easy)into the c1 crack that leads to the expando anchor. The topo shows hooks as an alternative, I however could not find anything hookable. (I bet maybe this pendulum was confused with the pendo on pitch 7)

pitch 20 - I didn\'t notice a missing flake, but I hadn\'t heard about that when I was there. Anyway, didn\'t consider it an issue. from station 19, I went left, maybe 12 feet, then straight up a left facing corner, on easy aid, bypassing the first 3 rivets on this pitch, with a natural line, to the base of the 1st roof, where one picks up the steep rock and the shitty rivets.

Pitch 25 - this pitch is missing entirely. Most everybody probably knows where the Igloo is, but with my lack of yosemite experience, I was a little stiffled as to exactly what was the Igloo, but luckily a high-energy fellow named peter, from austria, was on a neighboring route, and he had done Sea of Dreams and shouted the key beta. An easy free pitch up and left onto the igloo. obvious once I did it, but I thought I was already on the Igloo. No big deal.


Pitch Length
The numbers imply that 6 and 7 would link. Not possible. 6 and 7 together are over 200 feet. maybe like 230 feet total.

The topo says 15 and 16 link. those are the pitch numbers as given in the Ried book, these are pitches 16 and 17 on the super topo, so 15 and 16 do Not link, but 16 and 17 do link.

I also linked 18 and 19 as well as 10 and 11 (solo, probably wouldn\'t link otherwise)

One final issue, that of ratings, which are totally subjective for sure, and the following is strictly my opinion, and is offered just for your review

If peregrine pillar is A4R, then hook or book is at least A4R, because I found hook or book to be fully heads up, while the aid on peregrine pillar, I thought was relatively benign (the free climbing however, I found to be completely terrifying!)

pitch 18 I thought this pitch was pretty darn tricky. maybe something fell off. I had to hook something that literally crumbled while I was on it. It was very kitty -litter-esque. I feel like this pitch could sport a plus.
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El Capitan - Sea of Dreams A4 5.9 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Sea of Dreams is route number 18.
Photo: Galen Rowell
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