Trip Report
CAPTAIN OBVIOUS 5.9c. A Nice Day Up At Shuteye. A Really Short Trip Report.
Tuesday May 7, 2013 3:21pm
Sometimes you want to climb a route just because it has a cool name. I had seen a picture of and had heard of Captain Obvious a while back on the "Soutern Yosemeite" thread. Captain Obvious sounds like some kinda superhero, and that's how I often feel when I'm tighnin up the harness, rackin' nuts and gettin ready to do battle in the mountains. Its a beautiful line with nice belays put in a few years ago by a couple dudes who have put a tremendous amount of time, energy and effort into making the route a rad day out. Three 200 foot pitches on bullet stone full of chickenheads, a tiny summit, and free hanging rappel in a stellar low alpine setting. What could be better? And that name....Captain Obvious....just makes you feel like a superhero all day long. This guy has the right idea. I think.

What does the real Captain Obvious look like?  Probably not this dude.
What does the real Captain Obvious look like? Probably not this dude.
Credit: micronut

We left Fresno at 7:00am were blowin past Mile High Lookout in no time and were rackin by 9:00.

A lifetime of routes above Mammoth Pool.  Balloon Dome is out there to...
A lifetime of routes above Mammoth Pool. Balloon Dome is out there to the right. The Fuller Butes are on the left. Big. Really Big.
Credit: micronut

We did a little trail maintenance on the way in, just clippin some suckers and prettyin' stuff up a bit. Its a 40 minute or so approach to the base.

Looking North from the approach stram crossing toward The Balls, and M...
Looking North from the approach stram crossing toward The Balls, and Mammoth Mountain and The Minarets.
Credit: micronut

You get to gaze North toward The Balls, The Minaretes and Mammoth, just a stones throw away. I love looking out, from far away, onto routes I've done yonder.

Eventually, formations start to rise out of the forest.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Electric Eagle. Just sounds cool doesn't it.

This is not Electric Eagle.  This is the formation just South of Gray ...
This is not Electric Eagle. This is the formation just South of Gray Eagle. Electric is North.
Credit: micronut
The moon is still up. And so are my spidey senses. There's a big route near and I can feel the ol alpine butterflies in my belly. I get all jittery before a new route. And I've never seen a guidebook, a topo, or an image of the descent. I get that "game on" vibe and it grows into an inner static electricity that crystalizes every movement. The Dogwoods are goin off. "The Obvious" comes into view.

Credit: micronut

Not my photo, but it shows the line.  The Green one is Captain Obvious...
Not my photo, but it shows the line. The Green one is Captain Obvious. Its hard to tell, but it is actually a pillar, kind of.

Thar she blows.
Thar she blows.
Credit: micronut
Nice. Captain O goes right up the gut.

P1. 190 feet. Starts in a nice crack. Goes to facey knob, over a steep bulge, then into a lil straight in crack action, then straight up a nice pimply face to a great two bolt anchor.
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut

P2. Long one. Prolly 180-190 feet. Bust left 20ish feet and up to stegosaurus-knob-o-ramaland. Then tiptoie back right past a crack, and up a runout 30 feet or so to a bolt. Then dance back left 15 feet, reach waaay up to some funky plates and go straight overhead on massive jugs to a little left facing corner.
Credit: micronut
End at two more well placed bolts for a safe comfy belay in the big blue shuteye sky. Pro for the pitch....12 slung knobs, the bolt, one small nut, one small purple camalot. 14 slings would have done the trick though. The pitch was very sporty and alpiney for me, a 5.9 kinda guy.
Credit: micronut

P3. Da Crux. Another 200 foot Pitch. Natural Anchor at the top of this one. Step down and right for 8 feet. Then do an unprotected loooong reach to a chickenhead while toes are smeared in a skinny horizontal. Its all there, but is a bit creepy since you'd fall back and down below the belay. I give it a 5.9c+ rating. They say it's 5.8. But I like to inflate ratings since I'm not really strong. It was super cool and I floated it like a superhero. Ironman would have been impressed and Black Widow (The Scarlet Johansen version)would have had a crush on me if she saw me slay in this move. Its that cool.

P4. A short, slabby walk up the right side of the summit, with 6-700 feet of exposure off your right fingertips. This leads to a nice two bolt summit anchor, which will serve as your rap into the notch behind. Legend has it that the first ascentionists "downmanteled" then jumped the exposed gap with nary more than a hip belay off the summit. Yikers.

Without my partner leading the way up and down left to the start of the raps I would have been helplessly lost in a sea of summit boulders and dropoffs to nowhere, but we safely negotiated a bit of downscrambling and five raps. We collected tat and beefed up the raps as a public service and because its not fun to trust your life to rotten webbing that looks like the tattered remains of mummified egyptian chonies.
Credit: micronut

On the hike back down, I found a sweet little peregrine feather. A great way to end a great day out with a new partner and splitter weather on a big formation. And it now adorns my helmet, Layton Kor style.
Credit: micronut

It shall give me wings. It will grant me superhero powers on climbs to come. They will call me....Captain Obvious.

Credit: micronut

  Trip Report Views: 2,752
About the Author
micronut is a trad climber from fresno, ca.

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Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  May 7, 2013 - 03:29pm PT
Bump for mummified egyptian chonies. I've gotta check this place out some time.

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  May 7, 2013 - 03:30pm PT
Hell yeah bro!

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  May 7, 2013 - 03:44pm PT
Still jealous, looks like good old pure fun! Just what climbing should be.

Oh, and change "angry peregrine" to "happy non-protected common bird species" incase any cliff closers sniff this out

Trad climber
Southern New Hampshire
  May 7, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
Looks like great fun.
The name of the route is Wing Feather, 5.8.
Which is an appropriate name given your find on the hike out.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  May 7, 2013 - 03:55pm PT
Looks fun. I'll have to go do that wearing my "Captain Obvious" t-shirt (really, courtesy of my wife).

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  May 7, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
As always, Scott, your trip reports never disappoint. Thanks much.


Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  May 7, 2013 - 04:51pm PT
awesome fun good times!

"Just a quick note that Captian Obvious had an unrecorded ascent in 1993 by Brant Didden and Pete Cassam. No bolts placed and a slung horn to rap off the pinnacle at the top. They called it "The Wing Feather", 5.8, but suspected that as the line is so obvious, that it might have even been climbed prior to their ascent.

They climbed a handful of other natural lines on the dome up to 5.11. Details uncertain, except for "Book of Spring Pages", which ascends the great right facing corner on the right side of the buttress of "The Wing Feather". FA Pete Cassam & ?"

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  May 7, 2013 - 05:06pm PT
Very Cool Micro!

Good on you to get out, though you always do!

Captain wingfeather is probably one of the best/most known examples of "new first ascent" in soyo.

Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  May 7, 2013 - 05:09pm PT
Rock looks cool. Nice to see you out there having fun brah!

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  May 7, 2013 - 05:24pm PT
Beckey or Robbins probably climbed it before those guys. And Norman Clyde before them. Who cares! Such a fun line! I'll probably just tell my friends I was first.

We'll call it....
Captain Wing Feather's Obvious Feather Wing Captain. 5.9b-

How's that sound? All in favor?

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  May 7, 2013 - 05:48pm PT
Dude- you gotta show me around there sometime

thanks for the post

  May 7, 2013 - 06:03pm PT
Great TR, thanks again micro

Oakland, CA
  May 7, 2013 - 06:40pm PT
Oh yeah! Nice as always, Micro.

June approaches... good to keep the momentum going!
Greg Barnes

  May 7, 2013 - 07:21pm PT
For the crux, supposedly the leader can toss the rope over a horn to toprope/protect the moves. I didn't think of that on lead.

Here's Brutus coming up Wing Feather aka Captain Obvious:

Brutus on Wing Feather aka Captain Obvious. 2005
Brutus on Wing Feather aka Captain Obvious. 2005
Credit: Greg Barnes

Trad climber
Montuckyian Via Canada Eh!
  May 7, 2013 - 07:34pm PT
Luv dem chickenheads...Looks like a sweet climb....Thanx.....


Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
Author's Reply  May 7, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
Greg that's such a cool idea. You could totally do that! Sneaky. And now that I think of it, you could probably lassoo/sling that knob way up and right, then clip it if you were feelin scared or cruxy.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  May 7, 2013 - 08:30pm PT
A very cool climb, obviously. I'm a strictly casual observer, but if "You say it's 5.9," it's probably that and it don't matter.

You had a terrific lead you'll likely never forget.

And are you two still thinking about Entrance Exam?
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 7, 2013 - 11:01pm PT
Nice Scott, next time can you climb in the super hero out fit, pretty please???????

East Bay, CA
  May 8, 2013 - 12:02am PT
Always an enjoyable TR by Micronut! Whatever the name that will remain, though Wing Feather was first and I think best, it's definitely a fun route, but I remember using small cams and being advised to knob sling to keep the run out at bay.

Trad climber
Hustle City
  May 8, 2013 - 12:51am PT
Another good one. Thanks!

Trad climber
  May 8, 2013 - 02:03am PT
Nice Scott. You had a good guide. I almost tried to meet you guys up there but the family had me grounded. Next time. That is one I have been wanting to do.

Mountain climber
  May 9, 2013 - 12:02pm PT


Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  May 15, 2013 - 10:53am PT
Good to see the Wing Feather is getting some traffic. It's a fine route with lots of variety, good natural protection and a nice little summit to top it off. Shuteye Ridge is a special place where the spirit of adventure lives! I hope to return some day. ~Pete

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jun 5, 2013 - 12:02pm PT

Trad climber
  Jun 5, 2013 - 02:10pm PT

Trad climber
  Jun 5, 2013 - 04:13pm PT
thats' a fun climb. Gotta get back!

  Jul 16, 2013 - 07:32pm PT

  Nov 11, 2013 - 07:59pm PT

(As a reminder = BBST = donini for Bump for a Better SuperTopo)
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