Regular Route, Third Pillar of Dana 5.10b

 
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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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Rating Distribution
18 Total Ratings
5 star: 89%  (16)
4 star: 11%  (2)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
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   Jul 8, 2013 - 10:48am
"Consider the Black Canyon mantra....." a rope, a rack and the shirt on your back."

Except maybe consider that the route can get very cold when the sun leaves in the afternoon. Best to have a warm hat and some layer

Peace

Karl
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donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 8, 2013 - 09:52am
 
Like the lady said, many people bring WAY too much gear. For a five pitch route hydrating yourself before climbing should be sufficient. Heavy packs slow you down considerably and take a lot of enjoyment away from the climb.
Consider the Black Canyon mantra....." a rope, a rack and the shirt on your back."
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chick_on_ice

Trad climber
Jul 8, 2013 - 09:40am
 
If you're like me, and are more of a 5.8/5.9 climber, and haven't been climbing for all that long (read: a year and a half), but really, really wanted to do this climb, here is some dumb advice I have from my climb yesterday.
1) stash extra stuff at the top of the climb. Why we decided to lug up a gallon of water and enough clothes to keep someone warm in Russia, is beyond me. Experienced alpine climbers are probably laughing at me right now.
2) on pitch 3, don't do what I did and somehow (still not sure what I was thinking) convince yourself that the big chimney is the wrong one, and try to go left into a dihedral right below a 3 foot roof. Me = swearing while pumping out on a thin undercling seam, while standing on lichen. Live and learn. *disclaimer: that was my first chimney ever, so I didn't know what I was looking at. Dumb. I know.

3) If you try to climb the '10b finger' variation for the start of pitch 5 and you're not that good at climbing AND you're short (I'm 5'1"), you won't be too happy. I downclimbed and went left onto the 5.9R flakes instead, because I couldn't quite reach the good fingers and totally psyched myself out.

4) the infamous '10b move' on pitch 5 that I was dreading wasn't bad. I do have small fingers, so maybe that helped. One move wonder. High feet and you're through.

5) The 5.8 mantle. Right. So I was tired by then, couldn't quite reach the good holds, and I'm sure you can find a nice, elegant way to do it, or you can be a dumbass like me and dyno it. The holds are good. I never dyno, but this last pitch was so awesome that it felt apropos.

6) approach was easy compared to Mt. Conness. Took us about 2hr, and of course, the last pitch is TOTALLY RAD!

Not that I advise newbie trad leaders like myself to go out on alpine climbs that are on the edge of their abilities, but if you are stubborn and SUPER psyched, hopefully you won't make the same mistakes I did.
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ddriver

Trad climber
SLC, UT
Oct 10, 2012 - 10:39am
 
Re that pitch 4 pin business, I repeated this route a month ago. My observations are that a #1 (yellow) lowe ball fits perfectly in the lower spot and a tcu fits the upper one. Good gear, maybe the best lowe ball placement ever. Both times I've done the step and long reach right and just pulled through some flake moves to get a good stance. Its not 11a and the moves are to me secure.
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Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
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   Aug 10, 2012 - 10:45pm
pvalchev, good to hear...we must have indeed had the older topo...
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Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
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   Jul 31, 2012 - 12:21pm
Personally though, I found the approach gully even more gripping...

+1. In winter with snow on ledges it was scary in places.
I remember the move on p4 being protected with small nuts and you can put a c3 (as I remember) in a pin hole. The move up is pretty much just getting off the ledge, one move, and it gets easier. Still kind of scary though.
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pvalchev

Social climber
Truckee, CA
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   Jul 31, 2012 - 11:36am
Hummerchine said:
"Did get in 3 decent RPs...I guess that makes a good piece. But after traversing out left and committing to the 5.10...I've only been that gripped a handful of times ever, was shaking from the horror and the adrenaline. I'm 97% certain if you fell you'd hit the ledge...that ain't gonna turn out well"

In the latest Tuolumne supertopo (second edition) this is clearly indicated - in fact there are 3 variations - left, straight up (after a step right), and far right. Left is indicated as 5.10 R, which it sounds like you climbed - straight up is 5.10 with RP's and no pin anymore (when you step right there is another small nut placement) - and right is 5.11 R. Even straight up is not 100% bomber as that ledge is close below you, but it's not as gripping as you found the left variation (that said, without small nuts, it would be terrifying). Maybe you were looking at an older topo? The High Sierra topo is also correct/up to date... (I climbed the route in June)

Personally though, I found the approach gully even more gripping...
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Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
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   Jul 30, 2012 - 08:06pm
Did the route last week, and YES it RULES! Truly one of the finest day climbs I have ever done after 30+ years of avid climbing...one of the hardest days too, factoring in the hike and elevation. Stunning hike btw...you don't have to be a rock climber to dig that!

Turns out topo is horribly wrong. Chris, I know you want corrections, so here is mine!

That 4th pitch is terribly dangerous...I never even would have done the route had I known I was going to lead something this rad. On a one pitch route I would have bailed for sure. I got up to where the pin was supposed to be, no pin. Did get in 3 decent RPs...I guess that makes a good piece. But after traversing out left and committing to the 5.10...I've only been that gripped a handful of times ever, was shaking from the horror and the adrenaline. I'm 97% certain if you fell you'd hit the ledge...that ain't gonna turn out well. So my dear friend fallows me, I'm waiting to see him terrified too. He goes straight up from the RPs and declares it trivial...and it has more pro to boot!

He is just certain I read the topo wrong, but after we study it again he realizes I was right on. I still consider it an error in judgement on my part...but the topo makes it so clear that you have to traverse left and commit to the dicey stuff...anything else people try is supposed to be even worse!

According to Mountain Project the route has changed...here's the link:

http://www.mountainproject.com/v/third-pillar-regular-route/105816995

Please read the comments, especially by Greg Barnes.

Chris, please update the topo...someone could, and probably will, be seriously injured or killed....

Because we are sluts to the topos!
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kurthicks

climber
Washington
Sep 19, 2011 - 06:46pm
 
I just did this route for the first time a couple days ago (post-pin). The route does not need a replacement pin, nor does it need a bolt.

Take a set of RPs and the crux is perfectly protected. You can get in a good tiny RP while standing on top of the blocks, then another bomber big RP a couple moves later where I assume the pin used to be.

It's easy to walk around the snow at the base right now.
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MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Aug 21, 2011 - 05:03pm
 
Well, here is the full disclosure: the pin was there yesterday, too. When I stepped up and clipped it, I thought I saw it move. Not to worry, I thought to myself, for in the two other times I've done the route I was pretty sure I remember getting the above mentioned brass nut in the crack immediately below the pin. However, when I stepped over to where I had a better view of the crack, there was no such placement. Further, the pin appeared only half driven and was situated in a weird angle in the crack so that the eye pointed skyward, which would obviously create an unsavory torque if it were weighted. I left the pin clipped while I fudged in a blind- and, as it turned out, suspect, green c3 cam placement in the hand pocket above my head. I knew the next move wasn't too bad, and decided to just go for it. But first, for extra reassurance, I gave the draw I had clipped to the piton a gentle tug, at which point the piton literally dropped right out. Now this would have been quite disconcerting, however, the vacated placement revealed the beautiful brass nut placement I remembered. Before putting in the nut, however, I messed around with the piton for a second and discovered that it also fit (and much better) in the crack about 1/2" higher. Clearly, somebody had pulled it out recently, then hand placed it back in the crack, and in the lower slot. I slotted the #6 HB and then stuffed the pin back into its original spot, leaving it unclipped, and moved on. While my partner was following, I thought the better of it and told him to just pull it out and take it.

Given my experience, I had to make a judgment call- I feel that it is safer to commit to that move out there knowing that there is no fixed piton and that you will have to place a nut, rather than doing as I did and charging out there and clipping what I only later discovered to be a completely jingus piece of gear, one which is the only thing keeping you from probable broken bones. I felt solid climbing through this section, but, I reasoned, if somebody went shaking their way out there relying on that piton, well, there's no doubt that it's a bad fall there. I hope nobody has an issue with my taking it with me, but as I had no hammer (why would I) to properly replace it, I believe it was the safest option for future parties, in conjunction with writing in here with the small nut beta so folks will be prepared. For what it's worth, it's one move to a left hand jug, from which you can get a very bomber yellow alien.
I disagree that a bolt is needed here. The crack seems pretty solid.
take care all- Mark

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Brock Wagstaff

Trad climber
Larkspur
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   Aug 21, 2011 - 12:26pm
We climbed the route on Aug 16th and the pin was in place. I my opinion, given the fractured nature of that particular piece of rock, and also the fact that the chunk of rock just above the pin is already gone, I don't think the pin or any other piece of gear placed there is worth very much. A fall from that spot would be nasty, and if there was ever a good place for a bolt, that's it! Just my 2 cents worth...
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rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
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   Aug 21, 2011 - 09:01am
I was there a week ago, and the pin was in place. A critical piece for stepping on in my opinion. If its gone the grade just went up.
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MarkWestman

Trad climber
Talkeetna, Alaska
Aug 20, 2011 - 08:58pm
 
Climbed this route today- the piton protecting the face section crux on p4 is gone. A #6 (blue) HB brass (or size equivalent) makes a bomber substitute- I think it's better than the piton ever was and I don't think the pin needs to be replaced.
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jvSF

Trad climber
San Francisco
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   Jul 18, 2011 - 11:05pm
climbed this on sunday in perfect conditions. approach was nearly snow free. lots of water. followed kick steps across snow field. route was excellent and challenging at altitude.

photos here
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LMC

Trad climber
Lafayette,CA
Jul 10, 2011 - 11:39am
 
Climbed this 6/25/11. Approach had suncups until plateau. Down climb had a bit of snow. Lots of snow in the couloir. None on the route. Also no other climbers that day. Quiet, fantastic bluebird day. No problems
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Sonic

Trad climber
Boulder, Co
Jul 8, 2011 - 01:32pm
 
Anybody been back there yet and know how the conditions are?
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 20, 2009 - 10:14am
 
Some beta on the route here from a supertopo user with links to photos

I just did the Third Pillar of Dana route ( http://yip.webhop.net/pixpage/20090715-ThirdPillar ) and noticed that the approach time and descent times were a bit off. Usually the times are pretty conservative, but it took us about 3-3.5hrs to approach, about 5hrs to do the climb (we weren't climbing particularly fast), and 2-2.5hrs to get back to the car. Maybe these times are fixed in the new edition.

Oddly enough we were the party in front of rockermike in the recent TPoD thread ( http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=923660 ). Small world...
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 8, 2009 - 08:26am
 
Some great photos and stories here http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=923660
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Dire Wolf

Trad climber
Fresno
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   Aug 14, 2008 - 05:14pm
I feel that the 2nd pitch is the crux. The p.2 flared finger section is much harder than the face move on p.4, and seems .10b. The p.4 face crux at the fixed pin feels like 5.9, and if it was in the valley it might be rated 5.8. Nothing else on the route seems to compare in difficulty to p.2; which is really not so bad either.

Great route!
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Sascha

climber
Oakland, CA
Aug 7, 2008 - 02:50pm
 
Could the approach beta for this route be the first of many that need to be edited on account of climate change? No snow this year in the place where it was suggested...

This left my partner and me feeling mighty stupid after we failed to locate the start of the route. No, the remaining steep snow field to the right of the Pillar as you look up is NOT the one you want to traverse, and what's above it is NOT third class ledges. (The bail slings and gear we found, however, suggest that our routefinding folly did not make for a first ascent... it was going to be 5.4 R/X with an unprintable name; zero stars.)

I know SuperTopo really tried hard with the approach beta including the photo, but the perspective is foreshortened and it's still confusing. Might someone help out with more detail? Thank you!
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 4, 2008 - 09:59am
 
some great photos of topping out the route here: http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=647242
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martygarrison

Trad climber
Washington DC
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   Feb 12, 2008 - 06:52pm
Interesting that the rating of this route has changed so much. When we did it in the 80's it was 5.9 and I thought on one of my leads, this is fairly stiff 5.9. I am not surprised by a 10b rating. 10d it is not however.
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Lucas

Trad climber
Goleta, CA
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   Aug 11, 2007 - 10:45pm
Amazing climb. Begin the descent to the left of the descent pillar, instead of down the steep chute immediately left of the third pillar. Also, a #4 stopper protects the spicy thin jagged lieback flake halfway up the last pitch.

We did the route friday, Aug 10 - to the guys on the route with us: thanks for letting us look at your topo, and for taking pictures! My email is lukasf@gmail.com, I look forward to seeing them!
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Mr_T

Trad climber
Northern California
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   Aug 31, 2006 - 06:28pm
Stay WAY left on descent in. There's a cairn up above. As you descend, you should not be able to see the snow gully or the route until way down.

Route is amazing!
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ikellen

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
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   Aug 8, 2006 - 07:25am
Did the route August 7th, 2006. Snow was still in the gully - we traversed down below it and then back up to the third class ledge. The detour wasn't that long. Otherwise route is in great shape, but beware, it goes into the shade around 2:00pm and can get very cold - bring a fleece or other belay jacket if you're not a fast party or getting on the route late. We also encountered 30-40 mph winds on the plateau after summitting. You can read my full trip report here:

http://www.kellenholt.com/musings.php?id=3
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NinjaChimp

climber
someplace in-between
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   Aug 9, 2005 - 06:03pm
Did this one on Sunday. Absolutely amazing. We did the "Croft Variation," which was stellar and not very difficult. The off-width above the traverse was just as invigorating. We beat the weather, but just barely, get an early start.

Also, no one else in sight. Awsome.
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casey

climber
oakland
Jul 27, 2005 - 07:13am
 
we did this one last sat.. no problems with snow on the approach at all. we descended probably too close to the route and it was *scary*! next time will stay more left.

we started out behind a party climbing w/ 2 50m ropes. probably a bad idea- they had to make up belays in all sorts of weird spots and probably did it in closer to 8 pitches. 1 60 worked great for us.

climb itself was amazing, probably one of my favorites thus far. last pitch is one of the best i've ever led. the top out is stellar. can't wait to do it again!
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ThomasKeefer

Trad climber
San Diego
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   Jul 24, 2005 - 08:41pm
Did this route over the weekend and wanted to offer some beta about the approach. The first chute that you would drop into according to the ST description is totally choked with a ton of snow still. We went down the next chute over and it only makes it slightly longer but completly dry. I was on snow just before the start for about 30ft and my partner didnt climb any snow at all.
We took the variation list in this beta page and it was awesome. The belay prior to the 'wild hand traverse' is on the smaller, less obvious ledge about 20ft below the rap slings. The belay with slings works fine too but is about 3ft above the hand traverse.
The route is not as bad routefinding as some people say but it is not entirely straightforward either..
Overall the entire route is spectacular including the approach.
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Spinmaster K-Rove

Trad climber
San Diego
Jan 12, 2005 - 08:20am
 
No, not run out by any stretch by Tuolumne standards (though it arguably isnt in Tuolumne) but when it is a bit run out or there is thin pro the fall is often not good. This is a serious route IMO both because you have to hike down and climb out (bailing with an injured partner would be a nightmare) and the route finding (at least with the Reid topo) is not super easy. A super fantastic adventure, incredible view and spectacular finish, but not for a leader not feeling comfortable on 5.10 terrain.
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Spinmaster K-Rove

Trad climber
San Diego
Jan 12, 2005 - 08:19am
 
No, not run out by any stretch by Tuolumne standards (though it arguably isnt in Tuolumne) but when it is a bit run out or there is thin pro the fall is often not good. This is a serious route IMO both because you have to hike down and climb out (bailing with an injured partner would be a nightmare) and the route finding (at least with the Reid topo) is not super easy. A super fantastic adventure, incredible view and spectacular finish, but not for a leader not feeling comfortable on 5.10 terrain.
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Jedi

Trad climber
Upland, CA
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   Dec 22, 2004 - 03:11pm
super fun route with a great view... prepare to wait in line. It's a popular route.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Sep 9, 2004 - 06:59pm
 
I climbed this a few days ago and did the variation that Peter Croft recommended to me. Wow. by taking a more direct variation to pitches 2 and 3, the climbing was much more exposed, direct, and wild. The variation was a little harder than what is currently in the book... but its so much more fun. So i have drawn up the variations and posted them below. Use this topo with your topo found in either Tuolumne Free Climbs http://www.supertopo.com/packs/tuolfree.html or High Sierra Climbing http://www.supertopo.com/packs/highsierra.html

if you climb these variations, i think the Third Pillar is the second best high sierra 5.10, second only to Red Dihedral on the incredible Hulk. But, i have to admit i have not climbed many of the classics on Mt. Russell.

for a pdf version of the topo (that is better for printing) click here:
http://www.supertopo.com/topos/ThirdPillar_topo2.pdf


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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Aug 25, 2003 - 08:08am
 
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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BCD

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Aug 21, 2003 - 01:31am
 
I have heard of a few folks getting off route for pitch 2 (myself included), so I will share some advice:
When starting pitch 2 be sure to go HARD LEFT!!! The cracks straight off the belay look very good (and chalked-up), but will lead to trouble. If you find yourself on a ledge with a small tree (slung with webbing) or at a large pillar (also slung with webbing) you are off route. Use that webbing and descend back to the belay. Continuing up the "cracks" turns out to be steep 5.10 water streaks with no pro and no rest. This is legitimate 5.10 RUNOUT (not that sissy Supertopo "runout" you might encounter on Golfers Route or Hoodwink.)
Also, no need to fear the face climbing around the piton (pitch 4). Supertopo lists the moves as .10b, but it's closer to 5.7 and the pin looks bomber.
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David Weaver

Trad climber
Palo Alto, CA
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   Aug 18, 2003 - 01:47pm
FOUND BOOTY CLOTHING ON THIRD PILLAR!

We found booty clothes on Aug 10th on 3rd pillar. If you dropped something, email us and describe it...we found it.

Awesome route, although the downclimb is a freaking bowling alley. We descended in climbing shoes which was a pretty good idea. It didn't bash our toes, and made some of the technical (3rd class, maybe a bit of 4th) downclimb moves mellower. Crossing the 3 foot wide snow field was not a problem at all, even in climbing shoes.
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Ed

Novice climber
Palo Alto, CA
Oct 16, 2002 - 05:17pm
 
brrr... its aweful cold up there now. we climbed it last weekend with down jackets on and were shivering the whole way up.
this climb is awesome thoug - just pure fun.
i think the approach time of 2 hours is not enough considering the descent to the climb. we descended as high on the arete as possible and had no problems but the descent added at least a half hour to the approach
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chum wallace

Novice climber
Palo Alto, CA
Sep 27, 2002 - 11:31am
 
Best 5.9 free solo anywhere. This routes rating of 10b is not correct in my book, though you can go anyf*#kingwhere you want. Good stuff.
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Ed Diffendal

Advanced climber
Palo Alto, CA
Sep 16, 2002 - 03:32pm
 
This is an absolutely fantastic route, probably the best at this grade and duration I've done. On the approach, we descended the arete and it was pretty casual, nice to top out right next to your pack. The direct approach is recommended (skip the "first" pitch from the Reid book). It is easy to get off route on the lower pitches, head for the detached flake/chimney section on the 2nd pitch. There are several places that could be the crux, but the thin 10b above the manky pin will definitely get your attention. The last pitch is absolutely spectacular, and the climbing is stout throughout.
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CA Dreamin'

climber
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   Aug 5, 2002 - 12:53pm
The Third Pillar is one of the best routes I've done. It contains a wide variety of climbing on amazing quality rock. We descended the right hand side of the rib which was not bad. As for the route itself, we used a combination of the Supertopo and of the Moynier/Fiddler guides, although mainly the Moynier/Fiddler. It would be interesting to hear from Chris Mac or Greg Barnes as to why the Supertopo varies from the Moynier/Fiddler on the second pitch. The climb was awesome, classic, and fun. I would highly recomend it.
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Neal H. Konami

Advanced climber
Aug 1, 2002 - 03:18pm
 
The approach time on this route is definitely longer than 2 hours! It is more like 3 hours plus! Find the trail above the lake, and to the the left of the creek. Don't be tempted to strike out left too soon. Remember, once you're on top of the Dana Plateau, looking up at the impressive prow of the Pillar, you still have to descend the steep left side of the gully to get to the start of the route. Stash extraneous packs/gear on the plateau before you descend. Flip a coin with your partner to see who gets to lead the last pitch, which has to be one of the most spectacular and exposed 5.9 leads in the Sierra. Scope out the route next time you're driving to Tuolumne from Lee Vining.
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Novice climber
Jul 30, 2002 - 11:57am
 
Incidently, the Reid guide topo is just plain wrong for this route. See the Sierra classics guide or get the supertopo for an accurate topo.
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Jason

Novice climber
Jul 29, 2002 - 03:52pm
 
It's 10b. It's no gimme 10b though because of the thin pro at the crux.
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Novice climber
Jul 29, 2002 - 12:50pm
 
so is it 5.10a or 5.10d?
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Jason

Novice climber
Jul 28, 2002 - 12:15am
 
Yes, this route is thin on pro at the cruxes, although not runnout (at least not by Tuolumne standards).

One of the the cruxes of the route is the high altitude as well as the approach. It took me and my partner 4+ hours (we were a mile off route) to get to the base of the climb (and we weren't even sure we were there). Once we were on the route I started climbing at my normal pace, I almost threw up by the second belay. I paced myself slower and felt much better.

And if you're still wondering how good this route is... the last pitch is some of the best climbing I've ever touched with my bare hands. The lieback flake, the finger crack, the square cut jugs, the white granite, the thin yet well set pro, ahhh... Marvelous!
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Sumdood Hoozrad

Intermediate climber
Jul 22, 2002 - 12:51pm
 
This route is committing. Scary descent and far away from road. Protection may not be as abundant as expected. Be sure you're solid at .10+ trad.

Plant life on Dana Plateau fragile and susceptible to impact from foot traffic. We did our best to tiptoe around the vegetation but the damage potential from increased climber traffic in the area is worrisome. Maybe an approach that avoids the streambed altogether can be devised.

Be careful on the descent - we took the route on the left side of the chute and it was heinous! Don't get caught in a thunderstorm...

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bill

Intermediate climber
Jun 5, 2001 - 08:38pm
 
I've done a lot of routes in the Sierra, and this is the best. Absolutely fan-f*#king-tastic.
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Third Pillar of Dana - Regular Route 5.10b - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click to Enlarge
One of the more spectacular lines in Tuolumne.
Photo: Marshall Minobe
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