The Caverns, Five Open Books 5.8

 
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Yosemite Valley, California USA

  • Currently 3.0/5
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Summary of All Ratings

SuperTopo Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (3.4)
Your Rating:     (none)
Rating Distribution
14 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 50%  (7)
3 star: 43%  (6)
2 star: 7%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Jim

climber
Mammoth Lakes
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   Jul 14, 2003 - 12:05am
Climbed Caverns today with Rich the Brit. It's completely dry, so no need to worry about the previous posting (at the other end of the spectrum in fact: one could fry an egg on the face moves at the start of pitch 3). Really enjoyed this route: a great alternative to Commitment. We thought the crux moves on pitches 1 (more of a roof than a lie-back) and 2 were of approximately equal difficulty.

The Supertopo directs you to traverse right into the chimney in the middle of pitch 3. Instead, I suggest continuing up straight: after a little bit of bushwhacking through some manzanita, you get to an enjoyable and well protected hand-traverse to get to the next belay. Looked better than the chimney.

Fun, underrecognized route, and it finishes directly under Selaginella is you're looking for a link-up.
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JD Morris

Mountain climber
Bay Area, CA
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   Nov 26, 2012 - 11:15am
The first two pitches as marked in the supertopo were great fun with great liebacks and the splitter hand crack (marked 'cool slitter' in the topo) was a great little treat.

There's a significant lack of info in the topo for P3 and I didn't climb any face other than the first 10' out of the belay. It's certainly possible to take 5.7-ish face unprotected from the belay straight to a big ledge with a big manzanita which would allow for some protection, but wanting some better pro I climbed 5.7 face up and left to a very nice (and well chalked) 5.6 lieback up to the same manzanita ledge. There is a large and well slung tree a short walk up into that corner as marked (currently free of ravens) where a good hand traverse or lieback would lead directly right to the next marked belay. I instead wandered over to the caverns on a dirty ledge with a down-mantle and then ran out the rest of the pitch without pro mostly to the right of the cavern crack. Other than to the right of the square, bus-sized block between "4th" and "5.4" on the topo, there are no protection options and although nothing is harder than the occasional 5.4 move you are looking at an enormous fall / slide.

For P4 the 5.7 lieback is as good the previous lieback sections and the stepover of the deep and giant cavern crack is as wild as described. Getting around the corner to the final belay stance sucked for me as a lieback but my second followed the obvious shallow dike right and came up on 5.5-5.6 face as a much more pleasant option.

I tailed the rope walking through trees and up the "5.6 steep" section to a nice cluster of belay trees so my second would have a belay for the walk off and that worked very nicely.
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Joe

Social climber
Santa Cruz
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   May 19, 2003 - 02:27pm
With long lines on Commitment and other open book routes, we instead climbed The Caverns this past Saturday (5/18/03). Climbers should be aware that the first and third pitches were particularly wet, with occasional moisture elsewhere. The first pitch was especially wet which detracted from the enjoyment of the route. During the walk off, if you choose to rap to the creek/run off, use care when pulling the rope to keep it out of the water.
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Sascha

climber
Oakland, CA
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   Apr 14, 2004 - 02:53pm
We climbed this route on April 7, and it was mostly dry; there's still some vegation on the bottom part of the first pitch, but it goes safely. Staying out of the chimney above definitely seemed preferable; the topo doesn't show all the detail on pitch 3 but be sure to go left of the large manzanita to avoid dragging your rope through its branches. The last pitch really is fun, and worth the climb! Very accurate beta in SuperTopo.
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Kurt Ettinger

Trad climber
Martinez, CA
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   Oct 18, 2006 - 04:44pm
Did this one on October 15. Good route, good variety (lb, crack, face,etc.) Would be a good route for a beggining leader wanting to move past the Mungenella/Grack level. Tons of places to put Pro of all sizes and types. Watch the first and last portions of the climb for loose debris/dirt. Yodall into the depths!
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jpdreamer

Trad climber
St. Louis
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   Oct 22, 2007 - 01:08am
Loved the first two pitches - that first 5.8 crux is pretty cool and the splitter on the second pitch is just joyous climbing. The last two pitches however were less interesting. The caverns were sort of cool, but the climbing was more work than fun and the climb ends with a bit of a whimper, and an annoying bit of 5.6 to begin the walk off. That said, I would recomend this climb to anyone for the first two pitches alone. (If I did it again I would climb the first two pitches then rap off)
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steele

Trad climber
CA
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   Mar 7, 2008 - 10:41pm
climbed this with phil a when we were just beginning, the 1st pitch calls for a 5.8 leader. fun climb, crux low, eases up higher, more scrambling than anything after p. 2.
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Senor Pinche Wey

Big Wall climber
OB
Oct 20, 2008 - 08:24pm
 
We were climbing Commitment on Sunday and a party to the right of us on the Caverns were attacked by Hornets. The leader sounded pretty upset and was stung several times. I don't know any more details but WATCH OUT for hornets!
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del cross

climber
Oct 21, 2008 - 09:23am
 
"...on Sunday and a party to the right of us on the Caverns were attacked by Hornets"

That party was on The Surprise, not The Caverns.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Oct 27, 2008 - 08:40am
 
Great photo trip report on climbing all the Five Open Books routes in a Day

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=707959
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Bertrand

climber
California
Apr 26, 2010 - 12:17pm
 
Right now it is soaked! The wet algae turned turned the otherwise-nice lieback sections on P1 and P4 into a french mess.
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budmiller

Trad climber
California
Apr 27, 2010 - 01:00pm
 
Haha. Yeah Bert, it is soaked and i know EXACTLY what your talking about. I was going to run up the flakey unprotected face, but my brain kicked in and I French freed the lieback instead. It was kinda cool in it own way though, and the second pitch splitter was worth the whole thing.
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aliebling

climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Oct 17, 2010 - 04:24pm
The Supertopo directs you to traverse right into the chimney in the middle of pitch 3. Instead, I suggest continuing up straight: after a little bit of bushwhacking through some manzanita, you get to an enjoyable and well protected hand-traverse to get to the next belay. Looked better than the chimney.

If you're not comfortable with runout or you're leading near your limit, I very much recommend this variation. We followed the supertopo route and it felt bare of protection...while not hard, a fall for either the leader or follower could have gotten ugly. The party behind us did the variation and it was much more protectable.
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Mason

Trad climber
Yay Area
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   May 2, 2011 - 11:16am
Did this Saturday. Still pretty wet. Liebacking on wet granite is quite the "thrill!"

Very fun route, and the friend with whom I climbed it said it was definitely full value, much better than Commitment. That cavern/chimney is awesome!
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jfailing

Trad climber
PDX, North Slope, The Open Road
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   Jun 20, 2011 - 08:11am
Finally did this when it was dry! The moves are interesting, as is the route. We were the only folks on the route on fathers day, and were in the shade the entire time due to the overhanging nature of the open book.

The coolest move is either transitioning to a layback halfway up the second pitch, or stepping over the Caverns on the last pitch - pretty sweet!
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Old Dame on the Dome

Trad climber
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   Jun 22, 2012 - 09:56am
Heads up: Ravens are currently (June 20, 2012) nesting at the top of pitch 3, apparently in the anchor tree. They actively dive bombed us as we approached, and actually hit a fellow climber who came up to verify the fuss I was making! Discretion being the better part of valor, we opted to downclimb and rap off.

Don't know how long the nesting season is, but you may want to avoid going beyond pitch 2 until much later in the summer.

Otherwise---- FUN climb!

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steele

Trad climber
CA
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   Jun 22, 2012 - 10:56am
The best linkup with Selaginella IMO. If you're a 5.9+ leader, forget greasy Munginella. Climb Commitment, Surprise or Caverns instead. P1 is a stout lieback for 5.8. P2 5.7 splitter crack. BD Jrs, 1s and 2s. Rest is chimney/cavern/slab, really neat rock architecture. Damn crows, damn hornets, these climbs seem to always have "wild"life--rate 5.9 for crow attacks, 5.10 for hornet attack!
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brooks8970

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
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   May 7, 2013 - 04:41pm
You can link 1 and 2; and 3 and 4 with a 70m, maybe a 60m?

The 'tricky' lieback traverse on pitch 1 was more like wide hands, but still felt tough for 5.8. The 'heady' section on 2 is easier than it looks and protects well.

I recommend going straight up on pitch 3 and following the hand crack traverse right to the belay tree. A fall anywhere in the chimney would be ugly. There isn't any protection that I could see, and it's deep and kinda wide. Instead, cross the chimney (chasm) at the chockstone, and climb the face on it's righthand side liebacking the edge. You can get one small micronut for protection. A fall would suck on this pitch, but it's easy 5.7 slab.

Linked in two pitches, this is a great, fast approach for Selaginella, however, the climbing isn't that memorable compared with Commitment. My 2 cents.
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ct

climber
CO
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   Mar 22, 2004 - 09:20am
Got a bit of a late start on this climb, which was a mistake. The first, all of the second and part of the third pitches were soaking wet, making for... adventurous... climbing. The crux lieback on the second pitch had slippery feet for the entire section, and the heady move out around the corner was the same. Do not attempt this route right now unless you like to be damp and clammy. The climbing took much longer as a result of the wetness, and we topped out in the dark. Fortunately, we did bring our headlamps, found the descent path at the top, and rapped into the stream during the descent. More wet. While the moves, especially the 1st and 2nd crux sections were fun, this route is not of the caliber of Commitment or Munginella, and is not, repeat, NOT recommended during the wet season.
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Five Open Books - The Caverns 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Chris McNamara
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