West Crack, Daff Dome 5.9

 
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Tuolumne Meadows, California USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
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Summary of All Ratings

SuperTopo Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.8)
Your Rating:     (none)
Rating Distribution
18 Total Ratings
5 star: 78%  (14)
4 star: 22%  (4)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Greg Barnes

climber
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   Aug 14, 2013 - 04:02pm
There are 2 rap routes off the east side of DAFF, the main one has a bolted anchor on top of a block, then one down on the slab below, then you rap over a headwall/roof below that. It's very possible for experienced climbers to simply walk down to the second station and not even notice the first.

Also there's a rap station off the northeast corner of DAFF, it used to be a Petzl caving bolt and a piton, we upgraded to 2 good bolts a few years back. Not too many people use that one, lots of downclimbing (mostly 3rd) to the anchor (which is at the top of the final steep part, which is high 4th class/low 5th).

Also various natural anchor rap routes appear now and then particularly on the southeast side of the dome (skier's left of the walk off).

I never even knew about the rap routes for many years, always walked off (or ran off one time with a thunderstorm bearing down!).
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kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
Aug 14, 2013 - 03:17pm
 
What's up with the 2 raps - you can get down with one OR you could walk off. That's what I did the first time I climbed it.

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Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Aug 14, 2013 - 02:15pm
 
Wait a minute, the times I've done it we rapped off the opposite side
with only one rap and a bit more walking. But then I've always been
a simpleton.
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jeffblankman

Trad climber
San Diego, Ca
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   Aug 14, 2013 - 01:52pm
QUESTIONABLE RAP ANCHOR? NEED REPLACEMENT? I'm not an expert on rap anchors, but on 8/13/13 the old iron ring style maillon that attaches the rap chain to the left bolt/hanger on the 2nd rap station is not fully closed. To me, it looked like it would be possible for it to slip out of the hanger, given the right (wrong) weight and direction. Someone with more experience and knowledge about rap anchors should check it out.

On another note, what a great climb. We lucked out arriving at around 11am with no one else on the route and beautiful weather.

We were able to link Ps 2 & 3 into one long rope-stretching pitch with a 60m rope, and finished the route in only 3 pitches. Note that linking the roof, "offwidth", and 5.7 sustained fingers/hands in one 200+ foot pitch was pretty strenuous--on the feet and calves especially.
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Joseph Cress

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
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   Aug 5, 2013 - 05:12pm
I climbed this route last Tuesday with a partner and really enjoyed it. Suprisingly we didn't see a soul. Clearing the roof was exciting. My partner clipped the piton and placed a piece before really getting into the roof so the pro was fine.

The second pitch belay was not easy to find. There is not really a good place to belay and the bolted anchor for Blown Away is right there so we used that. I set the third belay at the end of the left crack/beginning of the right crack. You only have about 10-15 feet of real climbing after that point but I couldn't see past the incline.

I found the 5.8 fingers after the second belay to be sustained. Decent pro though. The route is really only 3 pitches of real climbing, at least with a 70m rope.

I definitely recommend the rap from the big block with the 70m. We were down in no time. Great weather but a little cold in the shade.
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Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
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   May 12, 2012 - 11:30pm
Did this route the other day.... fresh snow still on the approach, with no footprints!

I looked at the other beta for this route but did not see this:
We did the rap from the big block by the big tree with one 70m rope and it gets you to the blocky talus that is right on the trail. No need for two raps and we did not use the midway station. 10 feet of easy scrambling puts you right on the trail.
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Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 29, 2011 - 06:23pm
 
This route description appeared in the 1969 Steve Roper Ascent article Eleven Domes.

West Crack. III 5.8 First ascent in July 1963 by Frank Sacherer and Wally Reed. About 100 left of Crescent Arch is a remarkable crack which extends almost unbroken for 400 feet. The single most difficult move is only 20 feet up and is protected by a bolt. The rest of the first pitch is continuous 5.6 and 5.7 on beautiful knobs. A wild but easy overhang is crossed on the second pitch. The third lead entails jamming in a thin crack. A superb climb.

The unfortunate habit of omitting first ascent personnel in the TM guidebooks really takes the history out of play. Sacherer and Reed nabbed a plum with this one! It was one of my first Meadows routes almost forty years ago with Brad Udall.
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razmonster

climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
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   Dec 29, 2011 - 02:23pm
Finally got a chance to climb this fun cruiser yesterday. Given it was the 28th of December it didn't have the usual traffic on it. For anyone wondering, it can be climbed in 3 pitches with a 70m. First pitch to the bolted anchors, second pitch for a full rope length, and the third pitch gets you to the top of the 4th class section.
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lywang

Trad climber
Providence
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   Jul 23, 2011 - 11:14am
The roof at the beginning of the second pitch is pretty stiffly rated. If you're really short (i stand at 5'1'' ish), the jug up and left is out of reach. There is a small crimp/sidepull for your left hand that gets you the height and leveraged needed.
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Simmeron

Trad climber
Reno, NV
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   Sep 2, 2008 - 01:39pm
Now that I've done this route twice I'll post some beta, so if you want to climb into the unknown, then stop reading.

This is a great route for the aspiring 5.9 climber since the official crux is right off the ground and it felt like it was only two thin moves right above the bolt, then you can put in a .75 camalot and move on up.

For most people it seems that the crux is pulling the roof, but I'd say study the roof from the bolted belay so you get your sequencing right and hopefully float right up. For me, though, the crux was the end of the first pitch. The crack seams out and you have to make some friction moves (the topo lists it as 5.8) above your last piece of gear until you get to the bomber jugs under the belay. In the grand scheme of things, not that hard, but I've never felt comfortable on this part of the climb.

The third pitch . . . fingers to heaven. The second time on this route the wind was blowing on that pitch and I slowly started to barn door before I caught myself. Very exciting. And if you're having fun, look down from your finger jams and see if you can spot your car down on the road.

Oh yeah, four pitches is the only way to go on this route. Five pitches just seems too much. Overall, this felt like a hard route without being difficult.
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blacksheep

Social climber
bangor
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   Aug 31, 2008 - 05:29pm
There is an error in the 2003 supertopo which states twice in the text that the 5-6" offwidth is on pitch 4. The offwidth is actually on pitch 2, as is correctly identified in the topo.
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Shimanilami

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
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   Aug 26, 2008 - 02:09pm
We did the route in 3 pitches with a 70m rope. It's definitely the way to go. Note that a 60m rope will not link pitches 2 and 3, and there are no good belay stances until you reach the twin cracks ledge. (My follower had to let go of the end of my 60m tag line so I could reach the ledge.)
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truckee trad

Trad climber
truckee
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   Sep 12, 2007 - 01:58pm
great route and great beta. the roof is the business. big jugs on left block, but don't let it suck your right-side in like I did making it much more awkward than it needed to be. up higher on the second pitch the "wide-crack" takes gear up to 5 inches. After the wide crack it's not intuitive where to build a belay, so just look for something that feels comfortable. third pitch is beautiful. watch for building t-storms. A few parties behind got stuck on the second pitch in a heavy downpour on 9-9-07. The rap on southside facing Fairview is a single rope rappel done twice (the second set of anchors are 50 feet below the first anchors near the tree & block).
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lazide

Big Wall climber
Bay Area, CA
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   Jul 5, 2006 - 07:02pm
a very fun moderate route, with lots of fun cracks. The day we did it, the 5.8 roof seemed to be the crux for everyone. (no one fell or took tension on the 5.9 down low, but almost everyone seemed to be having problems with the roof). That said, if you follow the beta, it is WAAY easier than it looks, and very fun.

The 5.7 fingers pitch is one of my all time favorites!
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Greg Barnes

climber
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   Jul 28, 2005 - 12:42am
If you're waiting in line, we just put up a fun short 5.8 a bit to the right of Witch of the West, the 5.9 4-bolt route about 60' right of the start of West Crack:

West of the Witch 5.8, 4 bolts, optional thin pro for the first 30'. Starting at the huge trees 20' right of Witch of the West, climb up past a small roof, then up flakes, knobs, and slab to a 2-bolt anchor with rap rings (70' rap). FA 7.23.05 Greg Barnes, Karin Wuhrmann, Florence Scholl.

New route, so watch out for breakable knobs (especially before the first bolt).
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Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
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   Jul 20, 2005 - 09:59am
To find the rap off, walk towards the regular route on fairview dome. the anchors are on a large block next to the tree, one rope is required.
We ran into a slow party on saturday morning (first on route july 16th 2005) and had a long wait, we were third in line.
I love this climb, you do need a #2 camalot at the roof.
The route can be climbed in 4 ptiches, skip the 2nd belay and run the third pitch to where the cracks come to and end.
I do like to have one #4 camalot for the wide section, but that is usually the only piece I put after getting onto the knobs of the wide crack.
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dmalloy

Trad climber
eastside
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   Jul 20, 2005 - 03:05am
Coupla things I could add here.

Seemed like getting up to that bolt at the start was a pretty hard move - 5.8ish? with a bad landing.

Just above the roof on pitch 2 there is an amazing hand jam which would also make for a very solid 2" cam placement. But those were on my right hip, which I was basically laying on....maybe keep one of those on your left side for the start of that pitch. I made a couple of moves off those hand jams that felt really solid, but a little ways above my pro considering how close to the belay I was.

I don't think there is much call for anything larger than a 3" cam on the whole route, and probably only one of those. The p2 "wide crack" has enough constrictions that take large nuts or med. cams that you can protect it pretty well that way. If you want to be able to put in a piece wherever you want you might want a 3.5-4" piece, but if you can take the pro where it is given, leave that heavy stuff behind.

3rd pitch....so sweet. One of the nicest stretches of rock I can remember.

To get off, we headed up and right to the tree - stepping up to the left of it, as the topo seems to indicate, looked like needless complication. The thunderclaps we were hearing a few miles south were probably encouraging us to find the most straightforward path, though.

It's great, go dig it for yourself.
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TIM SHEA

Trad climber
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA
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   May 24, 2005 - 04:47pm
I'm really glad we climbed this one. The 5.9 move on the first pitch was one move as stated. But that 2nd pitch overhang was tough. I loved the belay below the overhang, looking and wondering how it could be only 5.8. The 3rd pitch is a finger crack that's a lot of fun.
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makalu

climber
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   Sep 28, 2003 - 09:29pm
Hey Greg,
Thanks for the info. Like the story too. Cheers.
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Greg Barnes

climber
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   Sep 28, 2003 - 04:37pm
FA: Frank Sacherer and Wally Reed, July 1963.

Rumored history is that Sacherer broke a knob off on the initial face section and decked onto the ledge, twisting his ankle (luckily he didn't go past the ledge and down the slab below!). Deciding he needed a bolt, he had to go all the way back to the Valley and get a bolt kit.

West Crack used to be rated 5.8 with the crux near the bolt, but supposedly various small knobs snapped off to give it it's current rating. Of course, Dike Route was rated 5.8 and obviously nothing's broken off on that one...

Greg
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makalu

climber
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   Sep 28, 2003 - 02:49pm
Who has the first ascent of West Crack and what year? Anyone? Thanks.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 25, 2003 - 11:08am
 
The American Safe Climbing Assn. may have replaced anchor bolts on this climb. To find out visit the ASCA Replacement Page

The ASCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to replacing unsafe anchors. To learn about helping the ASCA click here


DONATE NOW
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WC

Trad climber
Flagstaff, AZ
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   Aug 21, 2003 - 09:42pm
After running pitches 2 & 3 (or what the Don Reid book calles 2 & 3) where is the best spot to belay? I built my belay right were the wide crack pinches down and starts taking stoppers. (The crack makes kind of a split right there.) The supertopo indicates something that looks like a small stance to the right of the crack, but I don't know that I found it. My belay was about 40-50' above the spot where you traverse out for "Blown Away". (By the way, Blown Away looks awesome. It is definitly on our tick list for the next trip.)

Like most folks, we used the rap stations on the east end of the dome. On the way down we climbed Alimony Cracks, then TRed Finger Tips. Made a nice end to the day.

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malabarista

Trad climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 18, 2003 - 02:11pm
 
What an incredible route! We climbed Witch of the West first, -great warmup for West Crack. The roof is easy. The finger crack is bliss. Like Radical, I'm sitting at work daydreaming of this line. We bootied a Friend out of the roof...bonus!
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Matt

Trad climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 30, 2003 - 03:26pm
 
R-
it's only got the one 5.9 move if you go directly up to the bolt, it's much easier if you wander in from the right.
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Jun 30, 2003 - 03:16pm
Just did this route on 6/29/03

Swung leads and i got p1, p3 + p4 (linked), and a free solo of the last pitch ..

P1 - the 5.9 did not seem very hard, and is well protected by the bolt, geting to the bolt is not 5.9 -- so go for it.

P2 - totally awesome bouldery roof .. some great holds are there if you look for them --

P3 + P4 - wide climbing outside of the crack, on the face. (easy 5.7) .. then down to a finger crack 5.8 -- a pretty sustained 2 pitches, i was exhausted when i reached the belay.

the supertopo says to bring some pretty wide cams (i forgot what size it says) -- not neccesary .. our big cam rack was a #3, #3.5, #4 camalot and that was plenty to protect the wide climbing (it pinches down in some places to a #2) .. and setup a belay where the cracks split. -- i saved the #4 and used it on the belay of P4

(we did bring doubles on .75, 1, 2 .. which we used!) ..

P5 - easy, lower angle --

P6 - 4th class to the top ..

incredibly good route .. and awesome views of fairview.

    ricardo
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bubba

Novice climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 16, 2002 - 11:47am
 
See Crescent Arch beta for a a double rappel solution to getting off of Daff. No downclimbing involved!
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Bruce Hildenbrand

Novice climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 14, 2002 - 01:26am
 
For the absolute best way to get off of Daff Dome, see Karl Baba's and
my comments on the subject in the route beta section for Crescent Arch.
Please make the climb, not the descent the crux of your Daff Dome
experience.
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vinnie

Novice climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 12, 2002 - 04:07pm
 
Did any one else find the standard "walk off" way more attention getting than anything on else on the route? Perfect jams on the way down but a very high penalty for getting it wrong. Yeah, that decent sticks out in my mind almost as much as that combined P2-P3 fun roof to perfect hands to generous face. Yummy.
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Dorothy

Novice climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 11, 2002 - 01:15am
 
It's in Reid/Falkenstein. Witch o' the West, 5.9 (PG/R), no stars, 80'. The topo shows 3 bolts, but I pencilled in a fourth that I found in the lower dihedral thingy. I'd give it a star. Nice chatting with you, Karl.

Heel, Toto.
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Karl Baba

Novice climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 10, 2002 - 10:35pm
 
The bolts were all bomber. The route's not in Falkenstein's book if I remember correctly. I only noticed it this year when I saw the SUPERTOPO!!!!

That Swiss route with the unpronouncable name is great. I think it pretty much harder than Wicked Witch, but the pro is decent. For 5.11 climbers, the second pitch is good too.
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Dorothy

Novice climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 10, 2002 - 11:32am
 
So what's new about it? Did it get rebolted?

Another waiting in line for West Crack diversion: The first pitch of Chvchichaschtli, which is right of Crescent Arch. It's 5.9 and similar in character to Witch of the West. You'll need a second rope for the 160' rappel.
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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
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   Sep 9, 2002 - 09:04pm
It IS Witch of the West! I just couldn't remember the name of the route.

But don't bring that ratty dog Toto to the crag, eh?

Peace

karl
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Dorothy

Novice climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 9, 2002 - 12:38pm
 
Karl, where is this new route in relation to Witch of the West?
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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
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   Sep 9, 2002 - 10:41am
Nice advice on the alimony cracks start. Don't expect to finish your day on the rest of those cracks though. YMS does their crack class there most of the time and there tends to be a crowd there of their clients.

The new 5.9 well bolted climb to the right of WEst crack is a nice diversion while you wait in line for the climb
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Rob

Intermediate climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 9, 2002 - 09:36am
 
For a day at Daff dome you can start on Alimony crack, leave your packs here and take all you'll need for West Crack. After you climb Alimony walk over to West Crack and route it out. Then rap or walk off and this will take you back to your packs and you can climb all of the cracks in the Honeymoon area.
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sumdood hoozrad

Novice climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 6, 2002 - 04:06pm
 
how good of punters were they? could they kick the ball at least 20 yds. with the wind at their back?

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radical

Intermediate climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 6, 2002 - 02:39pm
 
Just dreaming about this line as I sit here at work.This is one beautiful bit of climbing. Still can't believe it is 700 feet, it felt very easy. I had to concentrate on the greasy 5.9 start,and with 6 pairs of eyes on my feet it made for fun moves. After bringing my partner up to the first belay we ripped up the rest of the climb. The roof I had heard so much about felt like 5.5 and after I cleared the wide stuff, we simulclimbed off in a borderline free solo, plunking fingers and jamming feet.
We passed the couple that had taken an hour to finish the first pitch. The guy said " heh I guess I was the first one on this route this year eh".
I said "I'm not sure about that but I'll bet you're the first one to hang on that piton below the roof".
He scowled at us, but we were already gone. We walked off and as we came back around we noticed the first of the 3 parties behind us epicing all ready. They had set up a belay 1 foot above the roof as there third pitch. I guess nobody wanted to climb the wide stuff...loll....
punters, and they talked like super stars at the base....gotta lov it

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bozo

Novice climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 5, 2002 - 10:57am
 
Did it on Tuesday (the day after Labor Day!) Even with dealing with a friends totalled truck from the day before managed to hit the base about 11:30. Only one other car in the lot, and no one on route. It was nearly noon before another party showed. Walk up season has DEFINATELY arrived in Tuolomne. Bring a a pack and a jacket though as temps are definately dropping!
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Neal H. Konami

Advanced climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 12, 2002 - 01:02pm
 
Climbed the route on a Monday morning, 7/8/02. A 10AM start still put us first on the route, though we had several parties line up after us. Using a 60M rope, we did the first pitch and belayed. We then climbed and belayed from the top of the very short second pitch. From there, we strung together pitches three and four, belaying where the splitter crack peters out, and the 5.2 crack begins. Still two short pitches to summit erratic due to few protection placement opportunities. I descended per the guidebook descent. My partner hated this descent and opted to descend to the North, saying he found a single rappel, and a descent which took him by the "shoulder" of Daff Dome (i.e., Hogwash, etc.).
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sam

Novice climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 23, 2002 - 01:12am
 
Very fun, one of the most splitter 5.7 cracks in Tuolumne. The route can easily be done in 3 pithches with a 60 meter cord. Belay number one is at he standard 2 bolt station below the roof. Link the next 2 pitches, the wide section and the splitter crack above it, and belat at a small stance
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Andy Steele

Intermediate climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 8, 2001 - 05:57pm
 
This is a fantastic route, but don't underestimate the 5.8 bulge/roof on the second pitch! It is a very bizarre and awkward move, and most people I've talked to consider it to be the crux of the climb--despite there being some fairly insigificant 5.9 face on the first pitch. I wasn't really prepared for the strangeness of it and had a hard time pulling through it. Most 5.9 leaders I've talked to felt the same way. And make sure you don't pump yourself out on the second pitch, because the finger crack on the third is completely amazing!
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Mike Fyten

Advanced climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 27, 2001 - 02:59pm
 
We took the new Supertopo with us, did the route, and have the following comments.

We had no trouble doing the West Crack in only 4 pitches with a standard sixty meter rope, not the six pitches the topo shows. We skipped the "second" belay, right above the 5.8 slot section low on the route and were able to go from the top of the first pitch to the belay right above the 5.7 wide section, which is where the supertopo shows the third belay. This was not a problem and there was no rope drag. From there we ran it out through the finger crack section and then one more pitch put us on top; 4 pitches in all. We also eliminated a belay higher up.

To do it in six pitches would seem to be extra time spent setting up and tearing down belays. Four pitches seemed to have a more natural flow and the belay ledges or stances were good to excellent. Maybe the supertopo could give both ideas; a four pitch topo and a six pitch topo and let the climber
decide which works for them.

The descriptions of the physical features on the supertopo were perfect. 5.8 crack, 5.7 wide,... and so on were right on target.

All in all a very good topo that would work as written.
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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
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