Crest Jewel 5.10a

 
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North Dome


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Crest Jewel, 10a, 10 miles, 10 pitches, 10 hours
Tuesday June 25, 2013 11:53am
So after a physically brutal NIAD run the prior weekend....

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/NIAD-AndAHalf/t11993n.html

I was looking for a fun big'ish climb to do on a cliff with almost the polar opposite angle of El Cap... A couple months ago I also set out to do South Face and Crest Jewel in a day, and failed in that we only completed South Face that day.. :-(

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/South-Face-on-North-Dome/t11965n.html

So Friday morning we did not really have a plan on what to climb, and we had bivy'd at Harding Flat Thursday night.. I was heading to Tuolumne to find something to climb, with my buddy Anthony following in his car behind me... When I saw the Porcupine trailhead pullout I slammed on the brakes and pulled in there... Anthony followed suite and pulled in behind me...

He got out of the car puzzled as to the nature of our hasty stop... And I was like "hey lets to climb Crest Jewel today???" He thought for a second.. and was like... WTF... sure lets do it...

So we sorted out some draws and a .6" cam and started slogging down the 5 mile approach to North Dome...

FINALLY this time I managed to nail the approach and experience the least amount of bushwhacking and suffering possible to get to the start of the North Dome climbs... It was very warm though... so we were approaching without shirts on... BIG mistake... while we minimized the bushwhacking, we didnt account for the insane amount of mosquitos we would encounter... and were itching to no end by the time we made the start of the climbs...

Starting the climb I linked P1-2 with our 60m rope.. barely.. not sure if my rope shrunk or the topo distances were a little off, but it was very close on a 60 linking 1-2.

me leading the p1-2 linkup
me leading the p1-2 linkup
Credit: anthony

The first 10a crux pitch now under the belt... it didnt feel too hard.... but there were certainly a couple moves where you needed to pay attention to avoid donating some skin to North Dome..

Anthony following the p1-2 linked pitches
Anthony following the p1-2 linked pitches
Credit: climber007

The next several pitches were a blur of varying degrees of runnout'edness on moderate to easy climbing...

The only distinct memory I have from this section of the climb, is that for me... bringing the .6" cam was a total waste of effort... when I encountered the mini roof thing you need to surmount, where the cam could be used... In order to get yourself where its possible to plug in the cam, you must take a significantly harder slab climbing path and move over the mini roof... So I just kinda laughed, continued running it out, and opted to stay on the left side of the mini roof thing where the slab climbing and move to get up and over were much easier..

Anthony and I were in a good rhythm of climbing... he had opted to just follow the whole climb.. which was completely ok with me... so I just sprinted up the never ending slab, and he charged along behind me...

Anthony following a random pitch somewhere in the middle of CJ
Anthony following a random pitch somewhere in the middle of CJ
Credit: climber007

In what seemed like no time at all, I was now in the middle of P6 laughing my ass off looking at this really improbable roof that needs to be mounted.. In the topo I think its shown in a section of 5.9 slab climbing... wow did this thing look ridiculous and improbable to be found in the middle of a slab route.... VERY COOL.... and you can tell the FA team was really having fun.. because this feature could have been easily avoided with easier slab climbing... but they made sure to incorporate it.... THANKS GUYS!!! AWESOME!!

me chewing down a bar after the awesome slab roof pitch
me chewing down a bar after the awesome slab roof pitch
Credit: anthony

Before I committed to a path up the thing, I studied a bit, and determined that once again sticking to the left side would be best.. I think the topo shows to go directly towards the bolt on top of the roof which is more in the center... but the climbing looked harder there... and while your not super runout here, your last bolt is still a solid 5 feet below your feet.. so if you blow it pulling/smedging the roof.. you will tumble a bit and loose some skin... so I gingerly made my way up to the left side of the roof where I had spotted a lone large knob which could be cranked on like a 5.11 crimper... cranked on it.. and was instantly mounted on the roof with no trouble at all... I did have to do a couple delicate slab traverse steps to get back over to the bolt... because now you are nicely run out standing on top of this thing.. but those traverse moves were no harder than 5.8/9.. and I clipped the bolt... laughed and giggled again at how much fun I was having... and continued on about the business of slab hiking...

P7 BETA ALERT...

Next we are at P7 and the topo shows a 30' runout coming off the belay to the first bolt.. I stood at the belay for a solid couple minutes staring up into the vast slab trying to locate a general heading for the first bolt... and finally I see it up and slightly left.. so I take off up that direction... the climbing feels a bit stiff given the runnout... feels more like 5.9 or 10a climbing... and after about 30', I reach the bolt.... FAIL!!! DAMN!!! its a super old crusty 1/4"... I look directly right from where I am standing, and about 30' over to the right is a beautiful ASCA bolt... but unfortunately there is no reasonable way to just traverse... So I had to down climb the 30' all the way back to the belay (exiting!!!) and start again... this time trending up and to the right.... so when you find yourself at this belay... make sure you trend up and right!

Next we hit the final 5.10 pitch... for me I thought this didn't really feel like 5.10 slab... seemed pretty easy.. at minimum it was definitely easier than the first 5.10 pitch on P2... Anthony disagreed with me, and thought this was definitely the hardest pitch on the climb... so my guess is that if you nail it just right on the available features it goes at a bit easier than 5.10, but much harder if you don't guess the perfect sequence of stuff to step on...

Anthony following the final pitch
Anthony following the final pitch
Credit: climber007

We could have easily linked the final two pitches... but chose to pitch them out since the wind was howling at a sustained 35+ MPH and we preferred to be able to see and hear each other...

holding on for dear life in the wind during the topout....   ;-)
holding on for dear life in the wind during the topout.... ;-)
Credit: anthony

Without even thinking about it, or intensionally trying.. we had completed all 10 pitches in just over 3h 30m... Wow... I guess I was still stuck in NIAD go mode.... ;-)

We hiked back up and over the summit, back to the saddle where we had our packs stashed.... YEAAA.. we managed not to get squirrel jacked!! here we chowed down on lunch... stuffed our crap back into our packs and started back on the 5 mile slog to the car....

As we neared the car... I started doing the math in my head... and realized we had done 10 miles of approach and decent, 10 pitches of climbing, 5.10a climb rating, in 10 hours....

AWESOME day of adventuring!!!

Final thoughts on the climb... I absolutely loved it... it deserves all 5 stars and them some...... I thought that as far as 5.10a slab climbing goes, it was very tame and reasonable... basically just good fun.. With that said, this climb is NOT for those leaders whose lead head is not screwed on tight... there are many a place on this climb where you are very runnout.. while the climbing is certainly moderate in those sections, you will definitely not be happy if you sketch out and blow it in any of the more runnout sections... in all honesty... a rating of "5.10a R" would be completely appropriate for this climb....

  Trip Report Views: 1,248
climber007
About the Author
climber007 is a trad climber from San Jose, CA.

Comments
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WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
  Jun 25, 2013 - 12:38pm PT
Them's the goods!
Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Jun 25, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
Nice. Glad you shared the off-route part - I do resemble that often and find downclimbing very exciting.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jun 25, 2013 - 01:50pm PT
Very nice TR. I've never done the climb, so I've been working on strengthening my calves to complete the proper "equipment list." Your TR inspires me to redouble my efforts.

Thanks much.

John
Stevee B

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 25, 2013 - 02:18pm PT
Great write up and photos, thanks for the beta hints on P7!
climber007

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 25, 2013 - 08:36pm PT
One other important bit of beta I forgot to me to mention... I am 2 for 2 at freezing on North Dome on hot days.. No matter how hot the approach or first pitch feels... By p3 of either CJ or SF... If the winds kick up you can get very cold even on a hot day... Be warned.. :-)

Also added some other pics from Anthony's phone... ;-)
Rockin' Gal

Trad climber
Boulder
  Jun 25, 2013 - 11:13pm PT
TFPU. I'd recommend simulclimbing up the Royal Arches approach which is easier than that #@$% hike to the base of the SF/CJ.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 29, 2013 - 08:37pm PT
SWEET!
pell

Trad climber
Sunnyvale
  Jun 29, 2013 - 09:28pm PT
TFPU.

Yep, I also did the same mistake on P7 (already posted some beta @ http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/route_beta.php?r=yondcres ) This is one of the most memorable moments of the season up to date.
ClimbingOn

Trad climber
NY
  Jun 29, 2013 - 11:03pm PT
That P7 sucker bolt got me as well. It was my second time on the route (the first time I followed P7) and I still fell for it. Fired right up to it and realized my mistake. Due to (stupid) pride I traversed right rather than downclimbing. That was definitely the crux of the route and a fall would have been very bad indeed. I wonder how many unsuspecting parties have made the same mistake on P7?
climber007

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 29, 2013 - 11:10pm PT
Wow man!! Bold traverse from there! Definately 5.10 climbing to go straight across.. Looking at a gnarly 60' tumbler if you blow it!! Proud!
R.B.

Big Wall climber
47N 122W
  Jun 29, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
Nice send, I did find that doing it in my 3-Stripe Feerays in 1984, that it was all "up." 1/4" or not, didn't matter, runner out!

When did this route get upgraded from 5.9????
climber007

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 29, 2013 - 11:24pm PT
You got pics from the colorful 84 run?

Dunno on the rating change...And I would agree that 5.9 is more like it...
R.B.

Big Wall climber
47N 122W
  Jun 29, 2013 - 11:54pm PT
Sorry, didn't mean to come across as demeaning your experience; THIS IS A GREAT ROUTE!

I remember getting lost on Pitch One; I clipped bolt, traversed right, and ran it out way right to another; Then called out to my partner ... hey, it's 40+ feet to the next bolt!

Then the epithany came that I went too far to the right, and those were "rap" bolts/slings that I had climbed up to and realized that "Oops" Now I get to down climb this mess!

Scared, climbed down and halfway back and found where I totally missed the straight up path of bolts.

Got back on the path and from there we had fun running it all the way to the summit. We did Royal Arches and Crest Jewel in one day. Fun descending the Wash. Column east gulley in darkness, but what the heck had it dialed by now (then.)

My partner had the camera, so I don't have any photos; but what I remember is the absolutely BEAUTIFUL ORANGE smeary 5.9 feeray granite!
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North Dome - Crest Jewel 5.10a - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Crest Jewel follows a series of unique but hard to see features.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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