Munginella, Five Open Books 5.6

 
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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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  • 5
 (3.6)
Your Rating:     (none)
Rating Distribution
28 Total Ratings
5 star: 18%  (5)
4 star: 32%  (9)
3 star: 46%  (13)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 4%  (1)
Kevin Dahlstrom

Intermediate climber
May 22, 2001 - 11:40am
 
We climbed Munginella on May 20 (after being forced to bail from the second pitch in a hailstorm two days earlier). The GPS coordinates for the route are:

N 37 degrees 44.915'
W 119 degrees 35.879'
ELEVATION: 4247 feet

Use the photograph in the SuperTopo to locate Munginella. It is not obvious from the approach trail. There is a right-facing corner about 100 feet left and 30 feet below the start of Munginella, and you may even think you've done some 3rd class scrambling when you get there. The group ahead of us accidentally started on this route and they claimed to have climbed Munginella several years before.

Munginella is a fun climb with good protection. Bring your hexes - there are lots of nice big tapered cracks. It is a hard 5.6, so you should be very comfortable with 5.7 climbing to lead the route. The second pitch is the most challenging but it wanders considerably, causing considerable rope drag even with 4 foot runners on the protection. Also, you'll have to climb a few feet above protection on the face moves.

The third belay station is an 18 inch ledge at the arch. There is an old piton right before the arch and another broken piton in the crack you'll use to set up your belay anchor. I found the 3rd pitch to be the most enjoyable. It is steep and consistent and offers great protection. At the top of the 3rd pitch there are several trees that provide both shade and good anchor points. The hike back down wasn't very fun in climbing shoes (the path isn't that easy to follow). Next time I'd probably rappel down.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Mar 9, 2001 - 08:43pm
This route is a hard a 5.6. I found the crux second pitch thought-provoking and sustained. I also found the route very enjoyable and liked the mix of face and crack moves. The route goes into the shade in the afternoon making it a great hot-weather climb. Allmost all the tricky crux are well protected. If you are climbing behind a slower party, consider passing on the 5.8 finish at the top. The toughest parts of the climb were protecting against rope drag on the second pitch and finding the third belay (belay right after the arch.)
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Rich the Brit

Trad climber
San Ramon, CA
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   Apr 23, 2003 - 08:44am
I climbed this route on Sunday 4/20. The crux traverse under the arch is soaking wet, making it a grade or two harder. It is still very doable - the wet footholds are very positive and the smears are dry, but you need to reach right to find anything dry and positive to pull up on.
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Mike duzinski

Advanced climber
San Ramon, CA
Jun 8, 2001 - 07:25am
 
Great route, however with a 60 meter rope it can easily be done in 2 pitches. This is an excellent way to approach the climb if you are not behind a large crowd.

To do the climb in 2 pitches, save several peices in the 1-2.5 range and belay on the ledge above the third tree. The ledge is small but comfortable for 2. And it takes gear really nice.

If you are not very comfortable at leading 5.6 or have a sparse rack, then 3 pitches is reccomended in order make sure you have ample gear. The crux seems to be the last pitch. Be careful of rocks when you exit the top - loose.
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Chris McNamara

Big Wall climber
Mill Valley, CA
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   Sep 12, 2001 - 03:05pm
On August 25th, Climb for Yosemite volunteers, along with climbing ranger Lincoln Else, went to the base of Five Open Books, where they cleaned the trail and placed a subtle trail marker at the base and top of the trail, a three-foot post bearing a single image of a carabiner.
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Mike

Advanced climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 16, 2002 - 12:02pm
 
A word of caution. These are great climbs but there is a serious potential for rockfall, especially when exiting or hiking off the climbs. I was hit this past weekend by a softball sized rock right at the start of commitment. Luckily, I will be able to climb again this spring. There were three other climbers injured much more seriously than myself the day before on sangenella. Please use extreme caution when climbing, exiting, and descending these climbs. Please wear a helmet around the base as well at all times!
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Steve

Intermediate climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 16, 2002 - 12:38pm
 
Hey Mike, no kidding about the rockfall. I was at the base of The Surprise and looked up just in time to see this rock falling. I was quite impressed at the size of the branch the rock removed from the tree next to the first belay. I wonder if my helmet would have saved me?Climb safe!!
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SuperTopo
Alert!
Apr 16, 2002 - 07:18pm
 
Rock Fall Danger : many climber have been hit or nearly hit when climbers above them dislodged rocks from the end of the last pitch.

If you are climbing the last pitch, use extreme care not to dislodge rocks near the top. When belaying the follower, be sure that the rope is not running over any loose rocks.

Everyone should always wear a helmet when climbing in Yosemite. At Five Open Books, it is especially important.

If you are just starting the route and there are climbers above, you may want to wait until they have finished climbing. This is a hassle, and may not leave you enough time to finish the route, but it is the only way to be sure someone above does not send a rock only your head.
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Jeff Franklin

Novice climber
Mill Valley, CA
Jul 30, 2002 - 11:53am
 
Just wanted to take a minute and comment on the rock fall hazards in this area. I was the only climber who escaped serious injury in the April 13th Selaginella accident Mike mentioned. My partner and both members of another party would have sustained even worse injuries and probably death had it not been for everyone wearing helmets. There are a lot of loose rocks at the top of Munginella that can be easily dislodged when topping out and by the rope while belaying the 2nd. The descent trail also has the potential to send rocks over the edge. The rock fall on Selaginella (in our case) was caused by seeming solid rock breaking loose about 10 feet above the final belay ledge. Climb safe and expect the unexpected!!!
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RopeGirl

Novice climber
Mill Valley, CA
Nov 19, 2002 - 10:00am
 
We climbed Munginella twice on the weekend of Nov 16/17 -- with full sun until about 2:00 pm it was a warm escape from the chilly Valley floor. Just above the top of the first pitch (where Chris has marked "loose" on his Topo) there's a large bolder that it tempting to pull on, BUT DON'T! It's not wedged into anything -- it's just sitting on top of a ledge and it moves readily when pulled/stepped on. You can easily get through this section without using the bolder for hand/foot-hold; just step over it.

On both tries we were able to shorten the climb to 2 pitches using a 60m rope with lots of long slings to minimize rope drag (which was still considerable anyway).

For our first climb, my leader anchored the top of pitch 1 from a small, butt-sized ledge on the right side of the 3rd tree up from the base of the climb (just past the 5.6 fingers crack). Following, I joined him at the tree and then easily traversed left along the "off route" crack to a generous ledge (complete with oblidging, anchorable tree which is not shown on Chris's Topo) under the open book crack that defines Munginella. I set up anchor there, then my leader followed my traverse and proceeded up the open book crack, rejoining the traditional route at the undercling above the 5.6 face. One advantage of belaying from this slightly off-route ledge was that I was well out of the way of the dirt and leaves that got knocked down by my leader on the upper part of the climb. We got off-route above the roof and veered left up a gully which proved interesting (with a gutsy committing move to begin with), but overall a little less challenging than the traditional on-route finish and quite cruddy with loose dirt and leaves.

For our second try, I led up past the 3rd tree again to the ledge where I had belayed my leader from on our first try. I made it with 3m of rope to spare. The disadvantages of using this ledge to belay were that there was additional rope drag (while bringing up the second) and I quickly lost sight of my leader as he proceeded up the second pitch. We finished the climb as we had the first time, but skipped the cruddy gully and used the traditional route up the steep 5.6 stem at the top. It looks intimidating when you get there, but there's lots of small hand/foot-holds if you look for them. They're likely to be covered with sandy-dirt, so be sure to brush off the footholds and your shoes before stepping up to ensure better footing. The crack on the left takes small nuts nicely.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Nov 19, 2002 - 07:09pm
Hi Rope Girl,

Right now i am updating the Yosemite free climbing topos and i would like to get the optional belay you described in there. would you mind annotating a topo and either faxing it to me (415 389 8595) or emailing it?

thank you!

chris
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Gene

climber
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   Mar 4, 2003 - 01:30pm
The boulder RopeGirl mentions above is still on the right trending ledge about 10 feet above the first belay as shown on ST topo. It's about a 40-pounder and wiggles when you look at it. Be careful when you step over it.

There is another loose rock off to the right near the start of the third pitch. It's not an issue if you stay in the corner.

The potential of sending loose rock down is minimized if you belay at the tree that is immediately at the top of the last pitch. Have your second go about ten feet above and pass the rope up rather than dragging it.
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burger

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
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   Mar 5, 2003 - 05:36pm
Almost got killed by a bowling ball size rock on this climb a couple of years ago. It exploded into a thousand pieces about 10 feet away from me and my partner at the first belay. I wouldn't even get close to this route if there are people on it. Toooo sketchy. Has anyone ever considered cleaning all the loose rock off the top?
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Jim

climber
Mammoth Lakes
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   May 5, 2003 - 10:53am
Climbed this route on 5/2. 2nd pitch still quite wet as Rich said, but you can stay completely dry by trending right out onto the face. Something like 5.8 and not a ton of pro, but fun. The descent was a running river: no way to use the rap station and keep the rope dry when pulled. This should not deter one from doing the route though.
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   May 12, 2003 - 01:00pm
climbed on 5/11/03 ..

the crux has some water -- but it did not get in the way. we arrived at 9 am and were 2nd on route, topped out at 11:30 .

    ricardo
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Jun 5, 2003 - 02:24pm
The normal parking area for this climb, The Lower Yosemite Falls parking, is closed permanently. This means that to climb an routes and Five Open Books or Sunnyside Bench you need to park either at the Yosemite Lodge or Camp 4.
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indigo_nite

Social climber
los angeles, ca
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   Jun 30, 2003 - 08:47am
climbed about the 3rd week of June 2003. I overshot the first lead, belayed at the tree under the "hole" (looks like a crater in the rock; referenced in Reid's "Rock Climbing Yosemite Free Climbs").

using a 60m rope, my partner accidentally linked up the 2nd and 3rd pitches (while possible, introduces significant rope drag).

my partner (and another friend on a different day) went off-route on P2. he continued at first too far right on an upwards/diagonal ledge, which ends at bolts leading up to the left of the corner before Commitment. the bolted route goes at 5.9 (which my partner was not keen on).

on quality... a fun route.
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dougs510

Trad climber
los angeles, ca
Jul 1, 2003 - 08:14am
 
Just got back from the valley and munginella was the 1st route I did. Nice easy intro to valley climbing. Personally, I thought the 3rd pitch was the most demanding as the climb seems to go more vertical there (Right facing corner with good hands), however, there was good pro and it is a nice lead. Lots of loose rock but if careful, there shouldn't be any problems. The big loose block on p2 has an X chalked on it. Perhaps the climb could be cleaned up some when traffic slows down this winter?
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Greg Barnes

climber
Jul 4, 2003 - 12:15am
 
Hey dougs510, where's the big loose block with the X on it? I must have been out of it, didn't notice it yesterday.

Warm but fine climb for late afternoon even on hot days, but nasty mosquitoes in the trees, bottom and top. Watch out for ants too.
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smitty

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, Ca
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   Aug 18, 2003 - 10:26pm
This climb was as un-enjoyable alone as it was with people practicing hauling and dumping copious amounts of rocks over us. Overall, this climb isn't worth the small effort of getting there. My recommendation...stop short and climb the commitment...you'll be happy you did.
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whiteknight

Trad climber
Staffordshire England
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   Apr 22, 2004 - 06:46am
1) How can anyone get lost finding this route? It's obvious!
2) Good moves on all pitches
3) Loose sections waiting to get pulled off by novices in some areas - the big perched flake that beginners obviously put a big cam behind.........don't fall off now then!
4) Endless small crap getting pushed off the top by lizards and squirrels etc let alone climbers. NEVER do this route behind other climbers.
5) Excellent view when you walk back to the car.......you're looking forward on the level and EVERYONE comming towards you is looking up at 45 degrees with their eyes fully on yosemite falls!
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Rev.

Trad climber
Visalia, California
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   Oct 13, 2004 - 03:17pm
Munginella (& the 5 Open Books)has a history of bad rockfall as there is alot of unstable rock perched above the climbs (for Munginella specifically, the top of the 3rd pitch).
On Monday, 9/27/04 I elected to let my three companions climb the route while I hiked around to check for potential rock fall that I remembered from former times that we had climbed it. I met two Brits that had just finished it and reported that it was "a bit loose" up on top.
After locating the top of the third pitch I spent about two hours gingerly picking up small rocks (anything larger than a small marble)and tossing them away from the brink towards the trail. I did this very, very carefully knowing that anything that I knocked off would rain down injury or death on my brother and two friends. They said they experienced some sand falling, but that was it & I felt somewhat successful in making the route a bit safer AT LEAST FOR THE MOMENT. Erosion is happening continually around the 10 Scrub Oak trunks that mark the top of the climb. The unstable nature of that area will undoubtably continue even though my small endevor should remove killer rocks until winter rains return to the Sierra.
Following winter storms, all sorts of loose projectiles can be expected once again. Please heed the warnings posted by other climbers on this website page; don't climb behind another party on Munginella (wait out of harms way to the left of the bowling alley until they are all of the way off), wear helmets (I just recently started wearing one after 25 years of going without), and be very cautious not to knock anything off unto your second from the belay at the top of the third pitch. Clumsiness on your part could change a memorable, classic outing into an unforgettable tragedy.
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Scott Bullock

Trad climber
Merced, CA
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   Oct 25, 2004 - 08:34pm
Climbed this route two weeks ago. Yes rock fall is a big problem. I hate to admit it but while packing up at the top I dislodged a double fist sized rock the plumeted down the escape gully near the top of the route. It shot straight to the valley floor!

I did see the Rev's handy work last Friday after climbing Commitment. All the small stones were neatly piled and set aside. Thanks Rev!
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Rev.

Trad climber
Visalia, California
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   Oct 31, 2004 - 09:43pm
Thanks for the kudos, Scott. When we were up there I noticed that the escape gully on the 3rd pitch of Munginella was full of sand (not the regular 3rd pitch finish, but the escape gully). The SuperTopo Guide marks it astutely as "sandy", but when I looked at it in late September it was more like "Sands of Iwo Jima", a virtual beach suspended above the climb. It seemed to me at that point, if someone tried to lead off to try and finish the climb that way it would be a dangerous, horrible mess to try and climb (extensively dirty, very little pro & raining down debris on your second). This escape crack variation (that is marked "5.1" in the SuperTopo Guide) seemed non-existant as it was covered by sand and small rocks, ready to be launched by mere sound waves. Yes, it seemed that the whole 75 degree beach was so fragile that something as innocuous as human voices could have set off a small slide of airborne crud. The optional "sandy" escape route can be plainly observed from the normal descent trail along the "Five Open Books" bench. It is no surprise that you knocked a rock off the plank. With such rockfall, you're certainly not the Lone Ranger, but you're at least as honest as he would be about it. History has shown that rockfall is epidemic in area's such as the "Books" as the cliffs slowly but surely fall rock by rock into the valley. We just have to try and be as careful as possible not to rain down whizzing death. Solution? Don't climb behind anyone on Munginella, wear a helmet and be very, very careful as you top out. It would be easy to knock rocks off of the descent trail right down upon the escape gully and unto other climbers on Munginella or, with enough velocity, even over onto Commitment.
Other area's of horrendous, life threatening rockfall concern in the Valley: the bowling alley on the Gunsight, Sierra Point, Three Brothers and, of course, the death routes on Glacier Point Apron just to name a few. Chris Mac. would probably have some other notoriously dangerous area's of the Valley that he might remind us of in this off season.
I have a great climbing partner, John Wettstein (who hauled my fat butt up Snake Dike) who almost lost his favorite right thumb on Middle Cathedral due to rockfall.
Also, John Dill has a section in his "Staying Alive" article that deals specifically with rockfall that can be accessed in this site. He states that no less than six deaths and one permanent disability can be attributed to rockfall in the Valley. Sobering Stats.
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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 11, 2004 - 08:12pm
 
The second of our routes today, had John lead p1 and 3. Good thing too, p2 was VERY WET at the crux. I remember this crux as slick when it was dry, today the entire face under the roof was wet...ugh... I got a good cam in standing high in the corner above the old angle (which has gotten even older) and then carefully traversed with very wet hands and feet. Made the move grade a bit harder (a Canadian 5.6) but somehow it was not terrible.

If you don't like wet don't go up there anytime soon.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   May 20, 2005 - 11:02pm

After climbing this Saturday in the Valley, we went scouting to look at
Munginella for the next day. It was my first time to Five Open Books, so
I followed the SuperTopo approach. We did not find the carabiner post
before dark fell, and the directions did not seem to match. The next day,
we quickly figured it out.

There are two entrances to walk up to Lower Yosemite Falls. We approached
from the area located near the shuttle stop (someone told me this was a
new entrance). The walkway takes you around the west of Yosemite Creek
and meets up with the other walkway at the falls.

You might want to add the following to future revisions:
Starting at the entrance near the restrooms, walk toward Lower Yosemite
Falls....

Thanks,

Mark
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fareastclimber

climber
Jun 22, 2005 - 06:54pm
 
Providing some extra beta on the approach. I found that I was able to follow a faint trail most of the way. If you walk up hill as far as you can until you can see the rockwall maybe 30-50m away... break off left going up hill and away from the falls. Doing this you will eventually come across a stream (maybe dry by this time) cross the stream and you will find some simple switchbacks to the base of the wall. Follow the rock all the way to the start of the climb - there were one or two very short 3-4th class down climbs. The walk off? You can skip those raps if it's still wet and gingerly walk across the top of the wet slabs on some firm grass (there is already a faint path going through the grass and flowers) the logical step is then to break off downhill.
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Jun 23, 2005 - 12:42pm
shouldn't the beta say:

follow the stream of climbers heading up towards the 5 open books ..
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tweek

Trad climber
Pacific Grove, CA
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   Jun 23, 2005 - 03:30pm
Climbed June 20, 2005. There was an ant hill at the first belay (not the alternate, but the one next to the tree) which may get your attention. They didn't bite my partner who lead the first pitch but may bite others. Not that anyone would notice after being consumed by the mosquitoes on the approach...

The route was crowded but very fun and worth the wait.
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Jonathan Willy

climber
Bishop, CA
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   May 13, 2007 - 10:38pm
Just wondering, today we went right instead of up the normal route because bootie hanging on the right hand lip at the top of the standard 2nd pitch/bottom of the 3rd where you go up the cruiser right breaking crack to the right bulge with the bolts. What the heck is the boltline? It's not in my guidebook and I would strongly recomend not doing the route that way. But hey it's just my opinion and you might enjoy the mantel into the dirt exit on a micro. Anyway just wandering who else has gone over there and what the heck it is. By the way, there appears to be a line of fixed pieces along the right side of the formation very close to the lip that looks over to commitment.
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jsb

Trad climber
Bay area
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   Oct 21, 2007 - 10:35pm
Climbed this on Saturday, October 20 and found a spicy variation to the second pitch. You can do a few delicate friction moves to get over the bulge that is just above and to the left of Supertopo's "off route" label on P2. Above that, you'll gain a few finger locks in a dirty seam maybe 30 ft to the right of the standard corner. Higher, the seam closes up and you finish with a few more delicate friction moves up to the start of Supertopo's P3. It's maybe 10a climbing. I mostly just went this way b/c I wasn't paying attention until it was too much of a bother (read, too hard) to downclimb.
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tadhunt

Trad climber
Sunnyvale, CA
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   Feb 17, 2008 - 08:32pm
Climbed this Feb 17, 2008. Beautiful weather, climbed in a T-Shirt under a deep blue cloudless sky while looking down on views of the snow covered valley floor. Didn't see a soul on the route or at the base. If you're gonna climb a easy 4 star climb and want to avoid the crowds, this was the weekend to do it! I think the snow scared everyone away.
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Matthew Malovic

climber
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   May 18, 2008 - 02:50pm
Good fun, thought pitch three was the one.Lots of loose rock at the top.(5/12/08)
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Floyd Hayes

Trad climber
Hidden Valley Lake, CA
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   Sep 14, 2008 - 04:24pm
To avoid knocking dirt and rocks down from the top of the climb, BELAY FROM THE UPPER RIGHT TREE(S) among the clump of trees at the top, which keeps the rope to the right of the dirt-and-rock gully. If you belay from a tree lower down, especially to the left, the rope runs through the dirt-and-rock gully, and climbers below won't be happy.

The first two carabiner posts appear to be missing from the approach; as I recall they were present last year.
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10b4me

climber
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   Sep 22, 2008 - 10:59pm
as of 9/20/08 the only carabiner post still standing is the one just before the base of the route
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Oct 27, 2008 - 08:38am
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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raz

Mountain climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Nov 24, 2008 - 02:24pm
Did it yesterday and it qas a great mellow climb!
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tomtom

Social climber
Seattle, Wa
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   Sep 29, 2010 - 10:57am
On the left at the top out is a red sling around a tree. It's not an anchor as it appears to be holding a boulder from sliding down the route.
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j-tree

Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
Sep 29, 2010 - 05:05pm
 
The boulder is held by on by one lone strip of webbing. The boulder is about the size of a briefcase and moves freely when you touch it. It's a bit too heavy to move out of the way (for me) and def qualifies as a widowmaker.

I would assume that setting a 3:1 haul off the trees further back can be used to drag it up to a safer resting space but I didn't think of that until later, plus one would have to spend a good amount of time clearing smaller boulders away from the edge before attempting this.

But def something that could conceivably fall through the chute and rain terror down the routes below.
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briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose and south lake tahoe, ca
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   Sep 19, 2011 - 11:52am
saw two carabiner post on the way up. As mentioned earlier, start from the west entrance of lower yosemite falls (where the bathrooms are) not the east or you will be confused. Linked the climb into two pitches. From the start I climbed to the third tree and then the top, no problem with a 60m rope. As I was gearing up at the bottom an older guy approached us and I noticed he had no gear....and yep, there he goes free soloing it...made me feel lame with all the gear on my back haha
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Dear Leader

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
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   Jul 30, 2013 - 05:25pm
Approach from the Westernmost trail (past the bathrooms) to Lower Yosemite Falls - pick up the dirt trail just to the left (West) of the asphalt trail. You'll see the carabiner post in the trees to the left - that's your approach trail. Once to the top, scramble straight up from the end of the approach trail to the start of the climb.

I read the betas & trip reports before climbing (thanks, SuperTopeeps), but would like to reiterate: the top-out is super blocky. As you top out, you'll see many microwave-sized blocks that are precariously balanced in place. Use extreme care to avoid trundling. Going right as you top out seems to be a better option than left, as most of the deathblocks are left or straight up from the top of the climb.
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jeffsnox

Big Wall climber
Tadcaster
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   Nov 11, 2005 - 08:04pm
Great little climb this. Just finished it a few hours ago and got back to the day use car park just after dark.

Took my gf up it - she doesn't climb a great deal and got seriously phazed by it... and, to my horror, dropped or left in place THREE cams, and dropped a qd and a wire!!! Aaagh! And we were pushing it for time to finish in the daylight, so no time to rap down and retrieve them :(

There's a purple HB Quad Cam, and two old-style "Friends", a black and a blue, I forget the size numbers. Not sure what size wire it was.

If anyone finds them I'll pay for the shipping and buy a beer for the finder!!!!! WOW! :)

Without these medium sized cams, some of the upper two pitches were pretty run out for the grade. The "don't underestimate the difficulty of this route" comment is appropriate. I'd not like to have this as my first lead if it was close to my limit.
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Five Open Books - Munginella 5.6 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Munginella is the left most of the Five Open Books.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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