Nutcracker, Manure Pile Buttress 5.8

 
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Yosemite Valley, California USA

  • Currently 5.0/5
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Summary of All Ratings

SuperTopo Rating:   
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  • 5
 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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Rating Distribution
29 Total Ratings
5 star: 69%  (20)
4 star: 21%  (6)
3 star: 3%  (1)
2 star: 7%  (2)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Nov 26, 2008 - 11:11pm
 
Nutcracker, Manure Pile Buttress, Yosemite. Two years ago Yvon Chouinard discovered the remarkable potential of a 600-foot rock sitting modestly between El Capitan and the Three Brothers, a rock used as a training ground by the Park Service but largely ignored by others. Chouinard returned one evening to Camp 4 voluble about an easy route he had just found on Manure Pile Buttress (named for its proximity to a horse-dung dump). He christened his route “After Six,” for it was climbable in the coolness of a Yosemite summer evening. This pleasant route starts in a dihedral with a little tree 30 feet up, and follows (more or less) the crest of a rounded ridge all the way. The first pitch is F7, the rest easier; and one can take weaker parties around to the left to avoid the first pitch.

Last spring my wife Liz and I did “Nutcracker,” a new route of exciting and varied but never severe free climbing. Two weeks later Chouinard and I found a direct and more logical finish which rounds out the climb nicely. What is unusual about Nutcracker is that it is a 600-foot Yosemite climb and pitons are unnecessary. It can reasonably be done with nuts (artificial chockstones) and natural runners alone. The first ascent went like this: In May, we turned off onto a dirt road halfway between the Lower Brother and the east buttress of El Capitan and drove to the base of the rock. Starting 200 feet east of the dihedral of After Six, we scrambled up 20 feet to a tree and climbed a 50-foot jam-crack-squeezechimney to a good stance. Then easy face-climbing and a nut in a corner, a traverse out right and a runner on a flake and I was nose to nose with the hard part. So I fitted a so-so nut and draped a so-so runner on a so-so crystal (be brave, I thought, that’s a good runner on the flake below) and moved up. Then it was fingertips and toes across to the dihedral on the right, and easily up this corner to a good ledge, but with a belay in the corner because I did not have a 180-foot rope. The next pitch is terrific: jams, laybacks, and face-climbing for 150 feet with 7 nuts and 2 runners along the way. You can fix the stance at the end with belays through holes in the rock. Before the leader takes off on the next pitch, move the belay up 10 feet. He can use the extra rope. A good slotted nut in a little overhang starts the next pitch; 15 feet higher I slipped in a couple of little wedges which would probably hold the sort of sliding, bouncing fall one would take here slipping off the friction on the traverse, I told myself moving carefully left. I next went straight up past an overhang that required first thinking and then resolution; next it was marvelously sustained low-angle face-climbing where I could have placed twice as many nuts as I did. Reaching a small ledge bristling with quartz crystals, I climbed a bit higher to fix some nuts for the belay. Liz had some trouble on the overhang, but the rest went fine and she soon joined me. It was late and cold, and so we traversed off and went up easy rock to the top. When Yvon and I did the direct finish, he cracked the headwall in an open corner on the left--there are a couple of funny moves here--and then went slightly right and straight up. The finish is a bit thin, but if you don’t like it you can end in a bushy gully on the left. A selection of about a dozen nuts plus several runners will do. And a couple of the smallest Clog wedges are useful. Take them. NCCS II, F7.

ROYAL ROBBINS [url="http://www.americanalpineclub.org/AAJO/pdfs/1968/unitedstates1968_117-156.pdf"]AAJ 1968 p141[/url]
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mrbaksh

Trad climber
Fresno, CA
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   May 17, 2011 - 01:03am
The mental crux for me was the friction traverse on P4 . Caught me totally by surprise. I climbed ,right, over the bulge plugged a cam and was like okay, so I can go up or left, went left and found it exhilaratingly scary, but managable. If you are a 5.8 climber and have some experience climbing on Tollhouse Rock, then don't worry about this friction section. The physical crux for me was the whole route b/c for some reason (i wonder), my calves were on fire.
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Sonic

Trad climber
Boulder, Co
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   May 29, 2011 - 02:57pm
Did it this weekend, before the rain set in and Pitch 3 is still slowly dripping water. There's enough to make that pitch pretty uncomfortable if you're just getting into leading 5.8. Harder climbers wont find it that bad, just really annoying.
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Shaking Knee Nelson

Intermediate climber
Boulder, Co
Feb 12, 2001 - 05:36pm
 
Try the 5.9 alternative first pitch. It has pretty good pro, and gets your heart pumping right from the start. Higher up (5th pitch I think) be careful on the mantle-move crux (5.8). The pro there is not very good. I didn't actually mantle the crux move, as I found some small holds for my hands to the left of the natural place for the mantle. I found that easier than a mantle.
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Mar 9, 2001 - 08:26pm
There is not one pitch on Nutcracker that stands out as being "exceptional." Rather, Nutcracker is a classic becuase every pitch is clean, enjoyable and extremely sustained in the 5.7 to 5.8 range. In stead of following a major dihedral or splitter crack system, Nutcracker follows a variety of shallow cracks and corners that emphasize finger, lieback and face moves. You will remember Nutrcracker specifically for its bold 5.8 mantle and generally for its sustained and consistent flow of classic climbing pitches.
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Bryon Snapp

Advanced climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 15, 2001 - 09:16am
 
I came to Yosemite for a big wall but the weather was not on my side so I was told that nutcracker was worth the 5 minute approch. It was! The first pitch was wet but it can be done. The rest was great! Some one needs to bring a stiff coat hanger for the beginning of pitch three. There are two Hexes and a nut that some one dropped in the crack. The crack is about 14 inches deep.We took the left variation at the top of the 3rd pitch. That was fun. Bring a 60 meter rope so that you have plenty of rope on the 4th pitch. And dont use all your gear down low! I just want to salute Royal Robbins for doing this route without cams! Good Style!
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Mike Duzinski

Advanced climber
Mill Valley, CA
Jun 8, 2001 - 07:30am
 
Just want to add to the comment below, the 5.9 start is fantastic, and it offers an excellent variation to pitch two. Immediately after the belay on the top of 5.9 pitch climb to the tree, go over tree and cut a sharp right to a crack on the face, this leads to good pro and several bolts, crux is 5.9 but real short at top of pitch, much more exposed and fun than the 5.7 standard approach. Enjoy
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ThomasKeefer

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Mar 26, 2004 - 07:08am
 
Just out of curiosity.. how is the gear on the direct start? (5.9 var?)
Any beta on the lieback after the tree on teh first pitch if doing it the standard way? Four years back I got on this and it seemed pretty gnarly with high consequeces of becoming a skewer if you fall..
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WC

Trad climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 26, 2004 - 03:15pm
 
Thomas,

The gear is OK. Look for small stoppers and TCUs/Aliens. I liked the 5.9 direct better than the 5.10 face variation to it's left. I have not done the 5.8 LB start.

Have fun.

Will
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Bob Jones

Trad climber
san luis obispo
Mar 26, 2004 - 10:18pm
 
never had a problem getting gear on the 5.9 direct start when i needed it. seems the crux sections always have good gear before it gets tough. as for the tree on the 5.8 original start, it doesnt really get hard for a bit after the tree, you can get lots of good peices after the tree to protect from a branch enima. the slippery lieback section starts well above the tree, so plug some gear and go for it.
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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 26, 2004 - 10:33pm
 
You've got to be careful on the 5.9 start as it is slick... a great crack to follow and get pro in though. I usually just climb up on the little step with no pro and get my first piece in the bottom of the crack, but it is a bit of a ways up.

Mick ("Social Climber from Dutchland") had a bad morning-after, took a slip while placing gear and broke his ankle pretty badly hitting the top of the step on his way past.

I like this start inspite of the history that I know about.

The 5.8 lieback start is a lot of fun and should be done sometime when you go up. I never worry about trees for some reason. The pro in the corner/lieback is good and there are places for your feet as you move up. Tie off the vegetable, grab it and move up on it.. Protect to keep your brain happy as you get up above the tree...

..."Call any vegetable Call it by name
Call one today When you get off the train
Call any vegetable And the chances are good
That the vegatable will respond to you

Call any vegetable Pick up your phone
Think of a vegetable Lonely at home
Call any vegetable And the chances are good
That a vegetable will repsond to you

No one will know
If you don't want to let them know
No one will know
'Less it's you that might tell them so
Call and they'll come to you
Covered with dew
Vegetables dream, Of responding to you

Standing there shiny and proud by your side
Holding your hand while the neighbors decide
Why is a vegetable something to hide?"
FAZ
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sfclimber

Trad climber
Redwood City, CA
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   Feb 2, 2004 - 05:33pm
Climbed this for the fist time over the weekend. Party of 3, all went well, ample room at belay stations except top of 3rd pitch. Third pitch also suffers from some zig zagging - use runners. Made extensive use of yellow aliens. A bit run out from your last piece to top out at the end of the 5th pitch.
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oldguy climber dude

Intermediate climber
Redwood City, CA
Nov 5, 2001 - 10:22am
 
Climbed on Manure pile buttress last weekend- Nov 2,3,4 2001-- WARNING THERE IS
A BEEHIVE IN THE FIRST PITCH OF NUTCRACKER! (choose one of the alternate
first pitches)
Watcher an woman climber get stung on the arms, nose while leading it,
she did an AWESOME job of staying cool while getting stung, and leading (Kat,
you are my hero!)
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Granitewalker

Trad climber
3rd Stone from the Sun
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   Nov 11, 2001 - 07:30pm
My partner and I climbed on Nov 5th, 2001. I just want to say "you're welcome" to who ever cleans the #9 stopper fixed at the begining of the first pitch (5.9) start it's in there pretty good. As always a truly enjoyable climb.
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Bryan Bower

Intermediate climber
3rd Stone from the Sun
Feb 7, 2002 - 02:35pm
 
TCU's help protect the mantle crux
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Andrew

Intermediate climber
3rd Stone from the Sun
Nov 27, 2001 - 11:32am
 
I still don't think the final roof/mantle is the crux. The crux, in my opinion is the first 5.8 roof. I did this climb last month and it was fairly busy on the route, like usual. I watched 3 people climb the first roof and if you attack it as a lieback, which seems like the obvious method, it's brutal, or so those 3 people made it seem. The easier method, is to highstep for this nub on the right hand side, which is hard for some people to see. The mantle on the last roof doesn't require a full mantle. There are so many holds on the left hand side that it can be easily bypassed. Well, just my opinion.
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Riley Wyna

Trad climber
A crack near you
Feb 7, 2002 - 04:48pm
 
I used the tcu placement the first time I did the mantel move and it made for an awkward rock up on my left foot.(or is it right foot?)
The second time I climbed it I didn't protect at all above the inital few pieces and used the the tcu placement as a hand hold...Sweet and easy and a much nicer way to do that move. Just a little more heady.
I think if you are confident, the mantel move is way easier than laybacking that roof(which is the way I did it), even with the nubs out and left it is still a burly bit of 5.8....What I found much harder was that greasy 5.9 start, I did it on a hot day but I found that a stout 5.9 lead...although a very nice one...radical
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radical

Novice climber
A crack near you
Feb 7, 2002 - 04:50pm
 
sorry, forgot the rating...radical.....
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b$

Trad climber
sf
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   Mar 14, 2002 - 10:31am
Nutcracker almost cracked my cajones on those two overhangs (especially the first one). So fun though. Killer views with alpen glow illumintaing Cathedral Rocks and the ridgleine above. C.M. and I climbed it late Saturday afternoon. Just in time too - the approaching storm was right on our heels. The third and fourth pitches are spouting minor waterfalls, but I guess it just adds to the thrill, right? If you haven't climbed this route, and you're in the 5.8 - 5.10 purgatory that I'm in...climb it, now, go ahead, why not?
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Mar 14, 2002 - 05:52pm
only four stars, barely intermediate brad? thats probably the best 5.8 in the valley. guess your saving the fifth star for an el cap climb. (soon!)

Barely Int. Brad probably didn't realize it, but he was in some danger on the first pitch (didn't want to tell you while you were climbing, sorry). we did the 5.8 left variation start and I kinda forgot to place much pro until i reached the flake/fake traverse at the top of the pitch. my one sling on the flake was really only good for a small fall which luckily didn't happer to either of us. future parties beware: place stacks of pro before the flake, on the flake, and right after the flake. sew in it up, baby!

the standard 5.8 start first pitch was running with water. the 5.8 lieback crux looked like scary 5.10 in the current sloppy conditions. don't do it until the pitch dries in late april. till then, consider the 5.9 direct start which is the most secure way to start at the moment.

pitch three was definitely the crux in wet conditions. it had my full attention. next time you are leading that one, brad.

the crux mantel is just as exhilerating as always: DONT FALL ON LEAD! right after you pull the mantel try to the find some pro because 5.6 friction moves follow...

despite the wet conditions, this is one of the best times to climb in the valley.
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Dan Russell

Advanced climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 7, 2002 - 07:39pm
 
I did Nutcracker a couple weeks back, it was very wet. I'd agree that it kept my eyes open. Still sucks up pro everywhere though. Also, I think it makes the route feel more classic to lead it with only nuts! Isn't that how Royal did it? A bit runout, but since it's all solid climbing, and you can get good nuts in at the cruxes, why not?
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Novice climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 8, 2002 - 12:27am
 
I agree, I have thought about that before..A definite must do for any climber interested in history...I am curious, did Royal do the direct 5.9 or the 5.8 start on his intial clean ascent.
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Crispy fried Scotsman

Novice climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 10, 2002 - 02:15am
 
I did this route in July 2001, but have just found this site so please pardon the out of date info...
WOW, this is such an outstanding route, where to start? It was my first 5.8 lead as a novice climber and it really lived up to my expectations..especially the 5.8 bulge on pitch 4, which I agree is a lot more fun than the mantle! A good sustained route with no uninteresting pitches and a magnificent introduction to Yosemite rock.
I agree with the idea of using a 60M rope...I sure will be next time I come for more fun in the sun...see ya all then!
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Steffens

Intermediate climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 29, 2002 - 08:34am
 
We did the Nutcracker on April 27th...Saturday. The morning was wet with residual rain and mist, so we waited as it cleard up and dried a little bit. Waited behind a party of three for a while, but I didnt really care that much...I mean the rock isnt going anywhere, and neither was O. We did the 5.8 start and just enjoyed the climb. Kind of chilly, especially when the wind blew...The rack of small to medium cams worked out well, and protected the mantle...kind of...with a tcu on the bottom undercling. Above the mantle, I climbed left a little because of the slow party still finishing, and found that there was no many pro options...so I sort of ran out past the tcu I placed on the mantle...very heady, but fun. Got to the top and just enjoyed the views. A great climb...my first time onNutcracker and a great expereince!
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Dan

Advanced climber
Mill Valley, CA
May 1, 2002 - 09:21am
 
i'm telling you, bring just nuts and it will work. and nuts protect the crux better anyway (in my opinion).
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AJ

Advanced climber
Mill Valley, CA
Jun 10, 2002 - 10:57am
 
Did Nutcracker for the first time Saturday 6/8. All time classic!
Did 5.9 finger crack on the right for Pitch 1- excellent.
The route is in great shape.
The mantle is scarier than I expected... a yellow alien/tcu is key, but you still don't want to fall.
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Other Greg

Novice climber
Mill Valley, CA
Jun 12, 2002 - 09:19am
 
Finally did this route after ten years visiting the Valley. Always crowds before, but we got it first this time. I guess that getting up early stuff really works! Thought the 5.9 crack start was excellent, if a bit slick at the start. My buddies had been playing up the mantle move at the top so much that I was getting kinda worried about it before I got there. I was nearly disappointed when I pulled the move. The hold is HUGE!!! You can get a pair of TCU's in the corner just below the mantle. After the last TCU placement, stem between the corner sides and step onto a good hold on the right wall, reach up and the big hold is yours. Then just muscle it out. Not that big of a deal.

WAY excellent route. Nothing too airy or scary, but just a buttload of great moderate climbing. Very nice.


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Fatboy

Intermediate climber
Mill Valley, CA
Jul 7, 2002 - 11:09am
 
We climbed this route on 7/3 and the day couldn't have been nicer. We did the 5.9 start and it was a little greasy down low but an awesome pitch. Also a nice belay at the tree in the shade. The 5.8 roof on pitch 4 was challenging but not that scary. I heard so much about the mantle pitch that I was all worked up before trying it but it's really not that bad. It was the only spot on the route that was hard to protect a good fall. Was pretty psyched after pulling over the top of the mantle. Also a thunderstorm was starting to crackle and we wanted out of there in a hurry. All in all, it was the best intermediate route that we tried in the valley. Highly recommend it!
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History buff

Intermediate climber
Mill Valley, CA
Jul 22, 2002 - 09:33am
 
Climbed this route for the first time in may. My partner and I were looking for something casual and still interesting. So we did this route in the way Royal first climbed it- we only brought nuts. This was the first climb in the US done without the use of pitons on the first ascent ( hence the name). I would recommend trying Nutcracker this way as it adds a little historical spice.
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Nathan Lunstrum

Trad climber
South Bend, IN
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   Mar 10, 2003 - 07:31pm
Did this route on 3/8/03. We were first on the route at 10:45! Route was dry except a 10' section on the third pitch. First time up it for me. I found that a #8 BD nut protected the mantel as well as could be expected. I didn't find the mantel to be a big deal on lead, I'm 5'10", it seemed over hyped...you don't want to fall of course. The normal start looks hard from the ground but isn't that bad, the 5.8 section has a good flake, which isn't obvious from the ground, for your left foot till about two moves from the corner, get as high on the flake as you can then just smear and go, the holds around the corner are good. A great route, have fun!
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b$

Trad climber
sf
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   Mar 11, 2003 - 07:58am
Where is the earliest place to place protection above the mantle?
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WC

Trad climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Mar 11, 2003 - 09:01am
 

If memory serves after the mantle traverse right 5-10 feet where you will find a thin horizontal crack. (could be short thin vertical crack) I recall wiggling in a stopper and a small cam. Don't fear though, the climbing is much easier after the mantle.
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Bob Jones

Trad climber
san luis obispo
Mar 11, 2003 - 08:30pm
 
used to be a bomber pin after the mantle. just over the buckets you pull yourself up on. if i recall corectly you can get a pretty solid alien in there, sorry cant remember which size.
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spacemonkey

Big Wall climber
sweden
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   Mar 12, 2003 - 04:38am
Does anyone know the speedrecord for this route? And if so, witch was the first pitch, 5.8 lieback or 5.9 direct crack?
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Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Mar 12, 2003 - 09:25am
 
I guess I was scared b/c I remember my exact gear for the mantle, if anyone wants that much beta. (I reckon if you're reading the Nutcracker beta page you do...) I got a #1 Metolius Curve Nut up high just under the mantle and then a purple camalot in the horizontal crack to the right on top of the mantle. It's only run out at that point if you're belayer gives you slack. Besides, if you've made it that far w/o falling, you aren't going to fall on the bit of face climbing that gets you over to the exit cracks. Have fun.
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spacemonkey

Big Wall climber
sweden
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   Mar 14, 2003 - 08:00am
Someone?
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Aaron

climber
Mar 14, 2003 - 08:30am
 
Spacemonkey,
I have no official time for a record on this route but i could guess that it is probably under 20 minutes. This route is soloed relatively often. Hope this helps ..

Aaron
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Sue

climber
Northern CA
Mar 14, 2003 - 12:25pm
 
John Middendorf did it in 8:47. I'm not sure if this is still the record.
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spacemonkey

Big Wall climber
sweden
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   Mar 15, 2003 - 06:56am
Thanks! Sue, do you know what start he used? The reason I wonder is that I have clocked myself (10.50) and I went up the 5.9 crack, it would be fun to see how fast people can go and what way they took.
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pbnjay

climber
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   Mar 17, 2003 - 02:19pm
the 5.8 mantle jug-haul is totally protectable...you can sew that sucker up bigtime if you wish---aliens with pro at your waist if you're so inclined...this is as safe as it gets, don't let the other beta sike you out if you are a new leader.
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   May 12, 2003 - 02:12am
just climbed this route on 5/11/03 .. started at 12:30 .. climbed behind a nice group of 3 climbers..

did the 5.9 start -- woah! scary .. (i'm still a rookie 5.7, sometimes 5.8 leader -- (led bishops terrace also)) .. but only the 5.9 start was free of lines .. anyways ended up aiding about 1/2 of P1 to get up it (french free baby!).

P3 had a nice river flowing down the entire crack system, and 2 ponds along the way, though except for a short layback section at the top it was not an issue (make sure you have plenty of chalk to dry your hands) ..

.. i also found the roof on P4 to be harder than the mantle -- very glad my partner led that ..

i protected the mantle with 2 nuts .. (small ones) .. got the mantle on my 3rd try .. and then protected right after the mantle with a .3 microcamalot right above the mantle. (step right to friction after than and run it out for a while)

definately memorable --

    ricardo
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   May 19, 2003 - 01:11am
redid this route on 5/18/03 -- its completely dry .. have fun ..

did the 5.6 start with the 5.8 traverse on the 1st pitch -- you can get some pro underneath the flake, but i dont know if it would hold -- i got a #4 BD nut, and put a screamer on it ..

.. come prepared with lots of patience -- we got stuck behind a party that took about 2 hours to do pitch 4 ..

    ricardo
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ThomasKeefer

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 29, 2004 - 04:51pm
 
Thanks for the Beta! Climbed the 5.9 start var yesterday. It is a really great pitch and I did not have any probs finding as much really solid gear as you want to keep it perfectly safe. Earlier posts talked of water all over P3.. that is pretty much gone now except for a 20 ft section and there is only some seeping and you can stem out in that area and avoid it all except for maybe one small spot. Route was packed yesterday but luckily we were early! Thanks again!
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dougs510

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jul 1, 2003 - 09:56am
 
While hanging out in camp 4 at the slacklines, I mentioned I needed a rope gun so I might climb nutcracker during this classic road trip. Immediately, a very nice guy, Jeff from Bishop, volunteered (Thanks Jeff!!) I wanted to do some 5.8 leads so he proposed I lead the 2nd and 4th pitches.

We did the 5.9 finger start to the right of the original which is VERY NICE. I led the 2nd which Jeff assured me was 5.6 and no worries. However, I found a slot at the top of the pitch which was 5.7 and my first encounter with wide leading. I groveled and grunted through it. When Jeff arrived at the belay he informed me that a bear was swatting at my camelback which I left hanging in a tree. I'd forgot my cliff bar in there and the bear surgically removed it. There is a warning at camp 4 concerning these thieving bears and if your there climbing, you shouldn't forget any food in your pack or car.

Pitch 3 is so fun.... sustained 5.7 hands

Pitch 4 is even funner with an overhanging hands (my lead, thank you very much)

Pitch 5 is the mantel and just as fun again.

This route is classic.
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YosemiteCamp4

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jul 8, 2003 - 10:33am
 
I did this route on June 19. I thought the 4th pitch was by far the crux pitch - it is long and fairly sustained and the small roof requires good jamming technique.

The mantle on the last pitch wasn't bad at all. The hold is very big and very positive and the pro isn't too bad.

Overall this is a great route but I think Committment and Salaginella are better climbs at the 5.8 grade. (Committment is a 5.9 but only has one short and well protected 5.9 move)
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ct

climber
CO
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   Mar 15, 2004 - 08:46pm
Climbed this 3/13/04. Did 5.9 start var. Excellent weather, low 70s, no clouds. However, the 3rd pitch was soaking wet from 1/3 of the way to the belay. The best description comes from C. Mac almost exactly two years ago. It commands your full attention, bring lots of chalk. Almost all the rest of the route was dry though, and crowded even this early in the year.
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DavisGunkie

Trad climber
CO
Sep 18, 2003 - 03:38pm
 
question on the second pitch.

I plan on doing the 5.8 variation, and looking at the supertopo, it seems that i will have two choices for the second pitch. would i be better off traversing to the end of the 5.9 variation or staying high on what the topo says is like 5.4?


or does it just depend on whether or not i am trying to pass people?
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Christa Whiteman

Trad climber
MD
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   Sep 19, 2003 - 03:37pm
This was a nice climb, but I thought some of the other routes of equal rating were better.(ie, Bishop's Terrace. Harry Daley) Less crowded also. It was kind of hard to really enjoy the climb when you had to climb as fast as possible to stay out of people's way...
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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
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   Sep 22, 2003 - 08:51am
DavisGunkie,

if you climb the 5.8 way on the first pitch, you should climb he 5.4 on the second pitch. you would have to go out of your way to do the other variation for the second pitch.
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Strider

Big Wall climber
Mill Valley, CA
Sep 22, 2003 - 04:12pm
 
Did this climb for the first time in July at about 2 am with a full moon. Let me tell you, this was probably the best climb I have done yet at Yosemite. The moon was bright enough to see without a headlamp until the moon moved behind the Middle Catherdral. As Chris said, if you climb the 5.8 lb variation then you should do the 5.4 ramp, but beware of the 5.4 ramp if you are doing the route at night. As I climbed the ramp I got suckered into a crack that splits off from the ramp. After about 30 feet my partner realized that I was off route do I had to down climb and get back onto the ramp. Also, since it was so dark I could only find one cam placement on the 5.4 ramp and no nut placements so it was pretty run out, even though it was 5.4. After talking to some other climbers I was told that you can get plenty of nut placements, I just couldn't see them. Also, I found the 5.8 bulge to be harder than the 5.8 mantle. When I got to the bulge all I could do was jam my whole arm into the crack that goes up the middle of it. Then I smeared my feet and hauled my fat but up and over. When I got to the 5.8 mantle I was able to find a bomber hand-hold up and to the right when I got on my tip-toes (I am 6' tall) and pulled myself up and over easily. And finally, at the end of the 4th pitch my topo says that there are two bolts at the belay but they were nowhere to be found, at least in the dark. Great route, recommened to everyone, and it's even better in the dark! =)

-n
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August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Sep 23, 2003 - 03:39pm
 
The bolts on the top of the fourth pitch have been chopped. In the daylight, you can tell where they used to be.
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Karl Lew

Trad climber
ca
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   Oct 7, 2003 - 06:47pm
The 5.8 layback was a bit of an EYE-OPENER for this creaky couch potato. Full-on huff 'n puff with uncertain outcome. Fortunately, turning the 5.8 LB was OK because of positive holds. Other cruxes (5.8 mantle & 5.8 roof) were fine. Unintentionally detoured around 5.8 bulge via 5.7 traverse to 5.6 hands diagonal crack variation (fun!). One happy climb.
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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
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   Oct 7, 2003 - 07:10pm
The secret to the 5.8 lieback pitch on Nutcracker is, when the going get's super thin, to step out to the left on face holds, make a move or two up, and then climb back over and grab the top of the corner.

Peace

Karl
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johnhl94563

Trad climber
Orinda
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   Apr 6, 2004 - 06:26pm
My partner and I did this route on Friday, 4/2/04. We arrived in the valley and went directly to the climb (9:30am or so) and were the only people on the rock! We did the left start (I believe this is the regular route) and found the moves from the left crack to the right lieback to be a good wakeup for the climb. I belayed just above this near the bottom of "the ramp" (60m rope). A quick run up the ramp lead to a great belay ledge, so we setup another belay there. Our third pitch led up the cracks. There was water running (slightly) down the center of the cracks, but only your fingers got wet. I found the footholds on the outside to be dry.

We belayed again right below a small roof. The party prior to us must have had a bad time since there were nuts, slings, AND caribiners left behind on the corner of the roof. I found the traverse left above the roof to be mental, but not too tough. This led up to the small overhang (the bulge?).

Another wakeup call (need to practice with flaring off widths!), but quickly passed to another belay right below "the mantle". Lucky for me, a young climber free-soloing the route passed us there and I was able to watch him on "the mantle". I noticed another party at the top of pitch 1 while I was getting ready to start up the final pitch (the only other group on the route). Once passed the mantle it was on to the summit.

I thought this was an excellent 5.8 climb. Lots of different types of climbing, plus some interesting route finding (I looked over my topo before climbing, but don't like climbing with a map, so left it at the bottom).

I found it amazing to find numerous pin scars over the entire route. Somehow I had imagined that other parties would have climbed it in the same style as Royal Robbins and his wife had. There were also a few fixed cams along the way. 2 were on the 5.8 lieback start (one near the final move).
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the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
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   Apr 6, 2004 - 08:44pm
There is another 5.9 face variation for the 1st pitch to the right of the 5.9 crack. It's kinda runout but fun.

Start under a small shrub 10' up. About 50 feet to the right of the 5.9 crack.
There's a bolt above that, maybe 20' up.
Then there's a very small roof you head to the right of.
Keep heading right and then there's another bolt. You are about 5 feet from the arete at your right at this point.
Then there's another bolt or two pretty straight up. Then a fixed pin above another slightly larger shrub. Head back left over the top of the shrubery to the second tree above the 5.9 crack start.

There is another face pitch above that but we didn't try it.
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Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Apr 7, 2004 - 09:32am
 
The fixed cams were not there a few months ago. Booty run?
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Apr 7, 2004 - 10:07am
I think he's talking about the cam's that have been there for ages ..

there are 3 fixed cams on pitch 1 ..
and a fixed tri-cam (pink) on the alternate 4th pitch ..

.. i did this route at the begginning of march (or end of februrary -- can't remember) and the usual suspects were fixed in the usual places.

    ricardo
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Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Apr 8, 2004 - 01:27pm
 
We did the 5.9 start, that would explain why I did not see the cam on pitch one. My bad.
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kurtclement

climber
Sep 4, 2004 - 06:59pm
 
I just climbed this route about five hours from writing this beta. Me and my climbing partner found a really easy pitch off to the right of the 5-9 crack. It is probably a 5-5 and a really good way to get around a three some that is taking their time on the fist two pitches. when you top out it is at the large ledge at the bottom of pitch three. if u climb the normal route just look off the edge of the ledge at the top of pitch two and you can see a face and a crack system that runs all the way down to solid earth. it is so much faster than the normal route. I have never done the 5-9 crack but it is just another way to get around a slower group. We found it becasue we had to bail from that ledge because of a group that was taking there time above us. to get to a good baelay station you can just free about 50 feet of 5-1 or maybe a 5-2 rock then you can do the pitch with one staion ohter wise you might just run out of rope before the top. you know that you made it to the top because there is some webbing with a baelay ring were some one also had the same fate as we did.
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Erich Krueck

Trad climber
Huntington Beach, CA
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   Apr 3, 2005 - 04:43pm
Climbed it last week, third pitch is very wet but not to difficult. The rest of the route is dry. Keep in mind the park is placing new water pipes in the ground and have closed down the road starting at camp 4 and going tell el cap meadows. So to access the Manure Pile Buttress you will need to park in Camp 4 and hike the 1.6 miles down the road. Im not sure when they expect to be done but it looks like they have a ways to go.
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wes

Trad climber
Arizona
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   Apr 7, 2005 - 10:19am
Loved it..climbed it last july as my 2nd valley route!!( we did just did after six bout 10 min before this one which was my first) whoo hoo! great times. Can't wait to hit the valley up for 9 days in late may of 05!
My buddy and I did the 5.9 start variation great climbing with good pro. The wide second pitch was very easy and we linked that with the third pitch and belayed about 20' below the traverse @ an old sling and we plugged some nuts/ cams. Our third pich was nice with the cool travese and the fun buldge ( # 2 cam is perfect) madatory fist jam and high step. We then belayed just below the infamous "crux." yeah you could get hurt if you fell here. looks like an ankle buster/ roll fall not a good one. But if you can do a solid pull up into a mantle with some smearage this will be no prob for you...great move! and a very fun climb.
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Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
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   Aug 25, 2005 - 08:16pm
Since yet another person just broke their ankle on Nutcracker's final mantle, I thought I'd post the complete beta. Don't look if you want more challenge.

So, in the interests of safe climbing for those who might otherwise break their ankle on Nutcracker in the future, here's all the beta.

1. If you know you're not really up to it, it's possible to walk across vague ledges horizontally left from the last belay, until you can use a chockstone to step around the dihedral and climb 5.6 to the top. I've avoided telling folks this in the past since I didn't want them to be too tempted to wimp.

2. Aliens work well in the pin scars (sad for Nutcraker!) The real crux on the mantle pitch is getting in position on some rounded holds to grab the bomber mantle jugs. Place one alien down low so you can leave the biggest pin scar open for the first move which is easiest done by lybacking the big pin scar while you backstep your right leg onto the rounded mini-ledge just above knee level.

3. When you are standing on that ledge, place a yellow alien in that biggest pin scar. It won't save you if you climb too high, but you can grab it if you chicken out on the moves, or fall while backing down if you have an alert belayer. From that "ledge" grab the jugs straight above you while scoping the position of a couple of small pointy nubbins between belly and chest level. They are on the right and left faces. Your feet will use them to augment your arms when you're mantling.

4. Pull up on the jugs and set your feet on the nubbins. Some folks like to move their left hand up and left to a good hold next to the crack above the "shelf" of the mantle. That makes it even easier to throw your right foot on the jugs on top of the mantle.

5. Prearrange a signal for your belayer such that, if you're getting screwed up on the final mantle move, the belayer can expect you to back down to the yellow alien and cry for mama. The only way you need to fall and break your ankle is if you are really out of control.

6. A small alien will fit in the crack on top in the mantle dihedral but above the shelf. It's good as a directional for the second after you've cranked the crux. If you really didn't want to die on Nutcracker you might be able to aid off the Yellow Alien, place a green or blue alien above the crux, clip, and back down and do the whole sequence with over the head pro. (I guessing here)

Too much info I know, but if Nutcracker is a stretch for you, it's better not to mess up your season with an injury

Peace

karl
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caughtinside

Social climber
Oakland, CA
Aug 26, 2005 - 12:33pm
 
Nice beta, Karl.

I have a question about the final belay. I did the route sans topo, and set up our last belay standing on a 5" horizontal rail, with 2 chopped bolts around chest level or so. The only gear was a vertical, heavily flared crack. Was this the proper belay? Because I remember it sucking!

Also, Karl's beta on the mantel is right on. I remember placing the yellow alien in the scar, and the blue alien at my feet after I rocked up onto the mantel. Of course, I thought the mantel was a breeze, and only the 4th hardest move on the climb! I was more challenged by the two bulges, and a friction move. Those all protected well, though.
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Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
Aug 26, 2005 - 09:43pm
 
you can aslo belay about 10 feet above closer to the start of the mantel, but I don't think the pro is a whole lot better.

I'm also not a fan of one-crack belays (which is probably why someone placed those bolts) but it takes some good cams and if set properly, is bomber.
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ricardo

Gym climber
San Francisco, CA
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   Aug 28, 2005 - 10:48pm
i was waiting for the start of the saturday night slideshow at the lodge, (Royal Robbins show), and link started to talk to robin about nutcracker... he covered the questions being asked..

RE: The last belay .. royal said that the correct belay is the one lambone is talking about -- (i thought it was a good belay)

RE: protecting the mantle move.

royal thought that this was the best part of the climb, because it forced the leader to make a choice. either risk the fall (which is not a fatal fall), or retreat (which he thought is wholly possible from that location).

.. also he pointed out that the fact that you can bypass the move by climbing to the left (which is what they did on the first ascent) makes the concern about the move moot. -- the direct finish with the mantle move was not done until the 2nd time that royal went up the climb.

.. he thought that it was these sort of choices that make climbing great. (He was happy to learn that there are no bolts in nutcracker currently)

.. the show was pretty awesome too .. the finishing slides of the show was pitcures of several of royal's friends climbing nutcracker .. btw .. for those interested in doing an ascent in the style of the 1st ascent, the biggest chock that they carried covered a range of about 1.5"
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fear

Ice climber
hartford, ct
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   Sep 19, 2005 - 02:49pm
Don't psych yourself out of the last pitch. The "mantle" is on HUGE buckets and really isn't even a full mantle since there are other small holds up and left. If you're a 5.8 leader who could lead the previous pitches you won't have a problem. Just get that right foot up.

A bomber yellow and green alien protect the corner and with a belay directly under the roof, even with rope stretch an attentive belayer should keep you off the deck. Worst case, just hang down on the HUGE buckets, yell take, and keep yer knees bent...

I found the little 5.6 holdless/proless traverse right after the mantle more heady and that wasn't much either......

Great climb with some definite runout sections. Be solid on 8. Really odd(but bomber with a tug) sideways BD nut placements in those flares. The 5.5 "X" finish isn't X either... There's a small nut placement right and a perfect pink tricam placement a little higher left. PG at worst...

-Fear
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the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
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   Nov 12, 2007 - 09:52am
The 5.9 direct start is sustained, polished, and fun! The pro is good, but you place from delicate stances. Have your small cams ready to plug and go. I found it one of the hardest 5.9 pitches I've done in the Valley.

The moves on the 3rd to 5th pitch aren't hard if you do them the easy way, but it's easy to try them the wrong way and make them harder than they need to be. If something seems hard, back down, rest, then try a new tactic.

On the 4th pitch the "5.8 friction left over bulge" traverse to the left is typical low pro Yosemite traverse, pay attention. The "5.8 roof" is really more of a bulge. A #1 camalot vertical crack goes through it's center so protection is bomber and over your head if wanted. Go up the right side of it.

Karls beta for the mantle is great. To summarize: climb up onto the sloping ledge halfway up the mantle face, then reach down and plug a yellow TCU or yellow Alien (or nut) in the crack in the corner to the left of your knees (if you place there earlier you'll block a good hand hold). Then grab the big jug on top, look for the good nubbin for your left foot high up on the left of the corner. Get your right foot up, then get that nubbin for your left and it's not even a full mantle.

Nutcracker is probably best for a solid 5.8 leader.
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Sketchy John

Trad climber
Bay Shore, NY
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   Feb 5, 2008 - 09:00am
The 5.8 first pitch (climbing the arching left leaning crack) is THE most fantastic pitch on the route and much more memorable than the 5.9 polished pin scarred crack (boring) around the corner to the right. If the belayer starts atop the pile P1 can be linked with the ramp making the first pitch even more fantastic. Am I the only one who got his helmet/head wedged in the crack making the turn left above the tree. Look for booty in the crack before the secure fingers start as this move is intimidating and reason to bail for some.
The rest is a cruise and can be linked with a 70 meter rope. Beware, there is no bailout bolts on this line forcing you to leave gear or downclimb/backclean if the weather turns.
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Gorgeous George

Trad climber
Los Angeles, California
Feb 6, 2008 - 05:19pm
 
Note the popularity of this route is made evident by the long string of posts, since 2001. I was looking at it thinking of going back for a repeat this spring, and surprised to see a post from a couple of days ago. How was the weather? I went up in February 2 years ago and couldn't find anyone to climb with. Anyway, I love that first pitch and will sometimes go do it as soon as I hit the valley floor just to warm up for all the delicate climbing on polished rock to be found there. Another similar pitch is the first on Pillar of Frenzy. It's all there but polished as hell and makes you think about every move.
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Brendan

Trad climber
Yosemite, CA
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   Jun 2, 2008 - 08:50am
Great route, lots of fun moves and some decent exposure. Be aware that every anchor is a trad anchor, there are no bolts on this route. If you have the Don Reid book, this includes the belay after pitch 4 near the base of the mantle. There were old 1/4" that got chopped a long time ago.

Rack: micronuts - large nuts
Several TCUs and gear through 3" pieces.

Belay 1: .5"-.75" pieces, med nuts
Belay 2: .5"-.75" pieces, med nuts
Belay 3: .75"-1" pieces, slung rock
Belay 4: NO BOLTS. Shallow placements, .2"- 1", small to med nuts. (On pitch 4: about 10-15 feet above the mantel, look for a small pocket to the left for pro to avoid run out/ankle breaking.)
Belay 5: Sling large rock with cordalette, place 3" piece in crack to back it up

Descent: Hike west and slightly uphill at first. Keep heading west, and down through a few slightly sketchy moves traversing on 4th class stuff. Follow trail, try not to get to far right to base.
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Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
Jun 2, 2008 - 07:12pm
 
Maybe you should just hold their hand when they climb Brendan
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Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jun 3, 2008 - 11:42am
 
Seriously.
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harmonydoc

Trad climber
Rohnert Park, CA
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   Oct 20, 2008 - 01:41pm
Followed this last weekend. 5.8 lieback start got me gasping for breath (guess I'm slacking on the cardio) but rest of the route seemed pretty mellow.
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Simmeron

Trad climber
Reno, NV
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   Mar 18, 2010 - 04:39pm
We did this route this past Tuesday and the standard first pitch was wet and the third pitch was a mungy waterfall with some puddles on the ledges. We even saw a little frog hopping out of one water filled crack and into the next. The first lieback section on the third pitch turned out to be the crux for us since the cracks were pumping water. However, the only other people on the rock were on "After Six," so no complaints here.

The money pitch seems to be pitch four. For the roof, if you can hand/foot jam, then it should be no problem. Both hands in crack, left foot jam, stand up, then step out right onto the face. On this pitch, the rock seemed to take on a reddish hue, reminding us more of Colorado granite than Yosemite.

On the last pitch, there is a huge jug right before the mantel, but the problem for me (I'm 6'0") was getting my feet up onto the ledge once the jug was at my waist. I felt a bit like a contortionist, but a little heave-ho and I was up. As others have said, it seemed a little run-out to the horizontal crack, but the climbing was easy enough.

One last thing. I ran into a piton on pitch four and thought, "Strange, isn't this supposed to be the Nutcracker?" Later, my buddy said it must have been the ghost of Warren Harding.
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DesertRatExpeditions

Trad climber
Flagstaff, Arizona
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   Jun 26, 2010 - 12:18am
Outstanding Climb. Been wanting to do it for a while and finally ticked it off on June 14th. Did the 5.9 variation, which is easy if you keep the crack to your right as you move through the 5.9 section (i.e. keep your feet on the crack and walk up to the right). Pro was bomber on the route from bottom to top and the climbing was sustained all the way as well. Hardest part about the mantle is that it's on the last pitch, so you're tired, at least if you've been stuck waiting behind other groups for hours like we were.
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the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
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   Nov 15, 2010 - 01:05pm
Royal- (from Ed's post)
we scrambled up 20 feet to a tree and climbed a 50-foot jam-crack-squeezechimney to a good stance. Then easy face-climbing and a nut in a corner, a traverse out right and a runner on a flake and I was nose to nose with the hard part. So I fitted a so-so nut and draped a so-so runner on a so-so crystal (be brave, I thought, that’s a good runner on the flake below) and moved up. Then it was fingertips and toes across to the dihedral on the right, and easily up this corner to a good ledge,

Interesting, I always thought the middle 5.8 arching lieback start was the original start. It's much better quality than the left start and traverse.
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jvSF

Trad climber
San Francisco
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   May 16, 2011 - 05:08pm
We climbed Nutcracker on Saturday May 14. The cracks and lieback on pitch 3 were pretty wet and a little exciting! There was a note at the base that someone had left a quickdraw on the fixed cam through the 5.8 bulge on P4. No sign of the quickdraw or cam though... The rain started in the middle of the night on saturday and we awoke on sunday to 1-2" of snow in the valley.
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Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 16, 2011 - 05:13pm
 
"Follow the white streak".

Shortest route description in Yosemite.
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Ian Moore

Trad climber
SF
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   May 30, 2011 - 03:18pm
I climbed this route on saturday. I thought the 5.9 start variation was a bit harder than other 5.9's I've done in the valley.


Anyone who found a new .5 camalot (purple) with matching biner, can you please let me know. I dropped it when it when it was raining. Thanks.

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Sonic

Trad climber
Boulder, Co
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   May 30, 2011 - 04:29pm
Ian,

My buddies were the guys climbing under you on Saturday and they didn't see or find anything. Goodluck

-Wade
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mrbaksh

Trad climber
Fresno, CA
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   May 17, 2011 - 07:46pm
doughnutnational: Really??

Tell you what, lets rope up and go get it.
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doughnutnational

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
May 17, 2011 - 07:38am
 
If anyone ever happens to find shiny new gear on this route it's probably mine, just pm me and I'll arrange to get it back.
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D Fred

Trad climber
san francisco, ca
Nov 12, 2012 - 05:59pm
 
just wondering if anyone has climbed nutcracker recently... is it soaking since the recent precipitation, or has it dried out?

thanks,
cheers!
 doug
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Manure Pile Buttress - Nutcracker 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Nutcracker offers six pitches of clean and aesthetic jams.
Photo: Todd Snyder
Submit Beta on this Route
 
*What is "Route Beta"?
It's climber slang for information or tips on a route as in, "what's the beta on that route?" As a service to fellow climbers we ask SuperTopo guidebook users to post tips and updates to this website if they have relevant information to share after a climb.