Crest Jewel, North Dome 5.10a


Yosemite Valley, California USA

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The GPS coordinates for this route are shown below. See the GPS Marker Legend at right for details on each marker. Click on the Marker to see the actual GPS coordinates.

Access North Dome from Porcupine Creek Trailhead, by climbing Royal Arches, or by reversing the North Dome Gully (see North Dome Gully page). Porcupine Creek Trailhead is the fastest and most popular approach. However, if you climb fast, the Royal Arches option makes for a combined total of 24 classic pitches. Both approaches are long and make for a demanding day.

Approach from Porcupine Creek Trailhead
This approach is about 5 miles long and is flat until it descends to the base of the dome. Park at the Porcupine Creek Trailhead (1 mile east of Porcupine Flat or 4.5 miles west of Olmstead Point). Hike the trail for 4 miles to just before North Dome. Leave the trail and hike cross-country down the drainage on the west side of the dome. Traverse across when steep slabs are encountered. When you hit the large ramp system, hike up. You may encounter bad bushwhacking. Contour around when possible to a ramp leading to the base of the South Face route, which is marked by the huge obvious dihedral. Note: This approach is only viable when Highway 120 (Tioga Road) is open, usually between June and November, depending on the snow year.

Approach from Royal Arches
After climbing Royal Arches, head east on a climbers’ trail toward Washington Column. At the slabs, walk up and slightly right over the slabs aiming for the lower of the two obvious terraces with trees at the base of North Dome. Skirt a large rock ridge along its left side and gain the base of the dome at the eastern end of the terrace. The route is the obvious left-facing dihedral. From the top of Royal Arches, the approach is 0.8 miles long and gains 500 feet of elevation.

North Dome - Crest Jewel 5.10a - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Crest Jewel follows a series of unique but hard to see features.
Photo: Chris McNamara