Braille Book 5.8

 
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Higher Cathedral


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Brail Book Trip Report, April 14, 2007
Monday April 16, 2007 11:31pm
Braille Book Trip Report, April 14, 2007

The Doc, in his infinite wisdom, has decided that my ageing carcass needs a little tune up, which is going to put me out of climbing for two to six months starting May 7th. This weekend was the last chance for a big climb. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate. As a fallback and in keeping with the creed of WOWCA (Wood Off Width Climbing Association) we decided to do Crack Of Despair. In a fit of optimism we thought we could do it before the rain started at midday. We got to the rim at 6:00 AM where we took this picture at the top of Elephant Rock.
Looking down it was clear that no amount of optimism could get us down to the base, up four scary Pratt pitches, down two rappels and back to the car in less than a long full day. So by 7:00 we were re-racked and heading for Braille Book. I have yet to go straight to a climb up this gully. I always seem to follow the wrong line of cairns, so after getting straight to the start of NEB of HC I had to scramble along the base to where Bob was waiting patiently at the bottom of Braille Book. Here’s a picture of Bob leading the first pitch.
You can see the wild “Braille like” rock. As when climbing NEB, Higher Cathedral Spire is your constant companion.
I somehow missed taking any pictures of my lead of pitch 2. The little roofish crux seems unlikely as you approach but unfolds sweetly as needed. I usually put in a lot of pro but the logic of this climb, this pitch and the others, lead me to run it out much more than normal. Here’s Bob leading up pitch three.
We wanted to move fast because of the weather so we decided that if it made sense he should combine the next two pitches, which Supertopo has as 80 feet each. Maybe I should have read the beta on Supertopo about these pitch lengths! First I yelled out, “30 feet” but Bob couldn’t quite hear me. Then I yelled out “that’s me”. Bob yells down “I’m still climbing”. I go,”You’re at 200 feet”. “I’ll put in a belay” comes down. Actually, it worked out fine. He clipped into the two bolts shown on the Supertopo that you are supposed to skip. In the end this did save us one belay. This one combined pitch is great! You better know how to chimney though because the crux has no holdsand limited pro. Awesome! I took the short second to last pitch. Fun and exposed as you come around the corner. Here’s Bob following the 5.4 ramp.
The snow was softly falling now, big gentle flakes. The last pitch is one of the best there is. Continuous cruising on steep jugs and flakes.
By the time we got to the top it was really snowing.
Just beautiful and quiet. Here’s a picture looking up at the falling snow after we had hiked back to the base of the climb.
The “trail” tallus was a bit slippery on the way back to the car. By 2:00 we had gathered the families and were eating pizza at Curry Village. Another fun day on the rock. This is a great climb! Well worth any number of stars. If you are a fledgling 5.8 leader take the four 4 inch cams Supertopo recommends. We didn’t but we’ve been doing a lot of chimneys lately.

Sunday we hiked up the Falls Trail. There was interesting fog and cloud combinations all day. Here’s a few snap shots of some old climber favorites.
Washington Column

Half Dome

Yosemite Falls and Lost Arrow Spire

See you all around,
Zander

(Edit; Ed, I knew that didn't look right. So much for spell check.)

  Trip Report Views: 862
Zander
About the Author
Zander is a trad climber from Berkeley.

Comments
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Wild Bill

climber
Ca
  Apr 16, 2007 - 11:35pm PT
Thank you Zander for that dose of the Valley. Beautiful.
Levy

Big Wall climber
So Cal
  Apr 16, 2007 - 11:49pm PT
Nice story & pics!!!
murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
  Apr 16, 2007 - 11:52pm PT
thanks for the super tr. can't wait to climb that one.

sorry to hear you'll be on the sidelines for a while; best of luck with that!
john hansen

climber
  Apr 16, 2007 - 11:52pm PT
Great shots. I'm going to be there next week. Can't wait.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Apr 17, 2007 - 12:00am PT
Thanks for the TR Zander, Braille Book is a favorite of mine, for some reason... and that last pitch has you just out-and-out laughing with joy to the top. The best 5.4 pitch in the universe.

Hopefully you will be fast to recover and rehab after your surgery!

We'll keep TR'ing and emailing you in the meantime.
unnamable

climber
  Apr 17, 2007 - 12:15am PT
Those are beautiful pictures and great commentary.

Thanks, and I hope the best for you on the 7th.
Chris Oakes

climber
Hayward
  Apr 17, 2007 - 12:22am PT
We'll miss you Zander heal fast.

On the same day we were getting hailed on at Atlantis Wall. Great time.
Mimi

climber
  Apr 17, 2007 - 01:36am PT
Thanks Zander. Cool shots!
spyork

Trad climber
Tunneling out of prison
  Apr 17, 2007 - 01:46am PT
Cool one Zander, I'll be sending you pics whilst your on the mend.

Steve
dmalloy

Trad climber
eastside
  Apr 17, 2007 - 02:04am PT
Zander, I am going to miss your trip reports. Remember that if you are strong before any sort of procedure, it will allow you to recover much more quickly. Thanks for getting all this up - Braille Book might have advanced to the top of a very long list of Valley climbs I still need to do.
LuckyPink

climber
the last bivy
  Apr 17, 2007 - 02:32am PT
nice, Z. I was just saying tonight that I want to go do Braile Book and here it is ! Be Well . LP
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Apr 17, 2007 - 09:19am PT
Nice!!!
Mike.

climber
  Apr 17, 2007 - 10:30am PT
Fabulous rundown of a classic, Zander. Gotta love those shakey forecasts for clearing out the masses = ) Thanks for postin' up.
Raydog

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
  Apr 17, 2007 - 11:38am PT
Fun!
thanks.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Apr 17, 2007 - 11:44am PT
Nice. I've never done Braille Book, but I'm gonna try and get on it now. Looks like you had a good time.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Apr 18, 2007 - 01:59pm PT
Nice TR Zander

Can't imagine going to Braille Book, of all routes, on a shakey weather day, but then I know you are a GFP. (Glutton for Punishment)

Peace

Karl
pud

climber
Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
  Apr 18, 2007 - 02:15pm PT
Great TR Zander.
I have been in a funk the last couple of days due to current world events and it is very healing to see these pictures and read your report.
Thanks man.
I hope your recovery is swift.
Tarbuster

climber
right here, right now
  Apr 18, 2007 - 06:41pm PT
Go Zander!
rhyang

climber
SJC
  Apr 18, 2007 - 09:26pm PT
Beautiful !
Zander

climber
Author's Reply  Apr 18, 2007 - 09:44pm PT
Hi All,
I'm glad you like the TR.

Karl, not GFP but GFA, Glutton for Adventure!

Zander
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Apr 19, 2007 - 02:57am PT
Yeah right Zander.

There's fun and there's adventure.

No pain or prospect of pain, no adventure.

peace, fun, and adventure

Karl

mcreel

climber
Barcelona
  Apr 19, 2007 - 05:46am PT
Thanks! The old neurons appreciated the reminder. I haven't been to the Valley for 14 years! - whine whine whine.
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
  Apr 19, 2007 - 06:45am PT
First a wave of joy washed over me as I saw those pix and read the TR, but then a wave of envy followed as I realised I wasn’t there in the Valley climbing, then a wave of jealousy that Zander was there and I wasn’t, but then a final wave of expectation as I realised I will be there by this fall.


The Braille Book – one of my favourite.
J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
  Apr 19, 2007 - 08:24am PT
Great post Zander! I bet that was magic topping out in a snowy silence--probably kept you charging on the route as well.

You post reminded me of a Braille Book story from 12 years back. A buddy and I went up to do the book and there were parties stretched out all of the route and a big line at the base. So we headed over to the NEB and started up. Maybe around pitch 5 we hear this chilling scream echo through the amphitheater, FAAAAAALLLLLING! Gee, that sounded bad, I thought. The next day I'm driving to Curry and spot an old friend I hadn't seen in a while limping along the roadside. "Chris, what's up! What's wrong with your leg?"

"I took a 40 footer on Braille Book yesterday!"
Chris Oakes

climber
Hayward
  May 28, 2007 - 08:57pm PT
Zander I climbed Braille Book yesterday. What a great route for a lot of reasons! I led 5 of the pitches, total gas, great views, good weather, great day.

By the way I tried out some Czeck gear that my partner had. The small cams were fine but the big ones traveled and twisted and wanted to work out. Maybe somebody in Czeckeslovokia makes good gear so I don't want to diss all Czeck gear, but this couldn't be trusted. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.



Zander

climber
Author's Reply  May 28, 2007 - 10:02pm PT
Allright Chiris,
Good job! I think everyone loves this route.
I might see you at the gym this week. I'm pushing my recovery faster than the Docs have layed out. Without harm so far. I'll need to climb with only one leg, which is probably not that far from my usual performance.
Zander
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
  Mar 25, 2009 - 12:32pm PT
braille bump
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
  Mar 25, 2009 - 12:59pm PT
Did BB for the first time last summer. It was hot as he11, but we were o.k. in the shade.

Me at the crux, I think. Dunno why the pics have a 2/07 date. The heat must have melted some of the internal components.



Doug about to get on the steep knobs/flakes- so fun.



View from the top:


ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
  Mar 25, 2009 - 01:11pm PT
Whoa, sorry about the gigantor pictures.
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
  Mar 25, 2009 - 01:56pm PT
Man, your colors are way off. If I were you, I would get an eye exam before getting back on that route.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Mar 25, 2009 - 01:59pm PT
Another TR missed when it was originally posted. Thanks for reviving it. Excellent stuff!
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
SLO, Ca
  Mar 25, 2009 - 02:09pm PT
It wasn't my eyes, it was so hot the color of the atmospere changed and the rock was turning back into its molten form. I think the stratosphere was actually on fire.
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
  Mar 25, 2009 - 02:12pm PT
I believe that the W. Face of Mt. Watkins is lurking past North Dome. Are there routes on that? From that last photo, it looks like there could be some nice free routes there.
pud

climber
Sportbikeville & Yucca brevifolia
  Mar 25, 2009 - 02:20pm PT
Awesome TR
Thanks !
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
  Mar 25, 2009 - 02:42pm PT
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath:

I'm a little worried about you. You do see that all of the lines in this image are straight, don't you?




(explanation here)
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Mar 25, 2009 - 03:48pm PT
added a link to this thread here
http://www.supertopo.com/rockclimbing/route.html?r=yohcbrai
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Mar 25, 2009 - 04:06pm PT
Nice TR.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Nov 12, 2013 - 01:10am PT
I think this TR was my inspiration for heading up to Braille Book for the first time. That was Dec 2007, my first trip with le_bruce. We made it to the base of Braille Book, after a few hours of snow/ice approach, and promptly bailed 10 feet into my first lead. Finished the day on Nutcracker in the winter sunshine.

A few years later, I went up with my lady and spent the night at the base. Woke up to the first rain/snow storm of the season. Bailed again!

Just last year or so le_bruce and I finally got back to do this fun climb, in more favorable conditions linked up with Higher Cathedral Spire.

It's a good one, thanks for the report Zander.

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Higher Cathedral - Braille Book 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Chris McNamara
Other Routes on Higher Cathedral
Higher Cathedral Spire - Regular Route 5.9 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Regular Route, 5.9
Higher Cathedral Spire
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The route winds up the left skyline to the summit. The traditional start is lower on the left.
Higher Cathedral - Northeast Buttress 5.9 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Northeast Buttress, 5.9
Higher Cathedral
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Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral is one of the best Grade IV climbs in the Valley.