I've never done this route, but based on what I've read I'd submit that you just do Northwest Books instead. NW Books is pretty straight-forward. I'll have to jump on this route next time I'm in the meadows, just for the analysis factor. I've done NW Books like 6 times and it is always 5 stars, even when I'm hauling 4 Noobs up it.
At 5.4, I thought this was a bit of a sandbag route. As mentioned the first pitch is 3rd class. The move out of the short corner on the second pitch seemed more than 5.4. It is protect-able though. The move up to the new bolt and past it seemed more like 5.7.
The Beginnerís Route (5.4 R) is a really fun 1st climb in Tuolumne Meadows. To get to the base of the route scramble up the same ramp for Northwest Books and set up the 1st belay at the tree. Then traverse right on staircase ledges and perform 2 consecutive "beached whale" mantels. Then you'll reach the short face with a bolt protecting the crux. Getting to the bolt is relatively simple just use good footwork to avoid falling on the ledge below. After climbing the face, go to the big tree and set up the 2nd belay. Then traverse right again and climb up to the summit and belay off some cracks. Then scramble up to the top of Lembert Dome.
To sum it up the climbing is easy and fun and the views from the summit are spectacular! If you're new to the area, it's a great route to warm up on before climbing Northwest Books (5.6).
THe splitter crack system up Lembert Dome creates the Direct Northwest Face.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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