Trip Report
Doggy Dome - Shuteye Ridge, CA - Video Journal
Monday December 17, 2012 1:49am
First ascent of Living Water 5.7, Doggy Dome, on the second trip to th...
First ascent of Living Water 5.7, Doggy Dome, on the second trip to the formation in February of 2012.
Credit: Slater

Trip Report- Doggy Dome - Discovering a new wall in Southern Yosemite in the dead of the winter of 2012

visit this link to see the video diary of the day...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC1sdey8hl0

So after memorizing the directions to Watchtower I show up with my printed version just in case. I left the coast around 4:30am.
Itís 9am. I didnít want to get there that early (freezing!) but I did. It wasnít too cold actually. Sweatshirt weather. I have my gear and my dog and am psyched. I start off down the obvious little dirt road and then after about 5 short minutes it all goes south.

It looks to me like maybe a logging crew went in there. Or maybe a bomb went off? The trail disappears into a confusion of trees, stumps, and debris. Trees are covered with orange marking tape, blue tape, and blue spray paint. It looks like the setting of an Axmen episode. Confused, I head off into what I think is the right direction. I keep going, tying orange surveyorís tape into the tree branches so I can find my way back... bread crumbs through the forest. Patches of ďtrailĒ appear and disappear. At least they look like a trail. But maybe not. After jumping huge logs, crashing through seemingly endless brush, I finally get the feeling that Iím not going the right way. It shouldn't be this hard. But I'm committed. At least the wasps aren't around yet... too cold. Still snow on the ground. It's January for cryin' out loud!

I whip out my little map, use my key chain compass and line up the eastbound sunrise and keep going. Eventually I run out of surveyorís tape. Damn. I donít see anything but an ocean of green, trees as far as I can see, which isnít very far. No clearings, no boulders, no crags, nada. No semblance of a trail whatsoever. The hair on my neck is bristling, the fear that Iím about to get seriously lost in a dense forest is entering into my mind. But the thought of returning to the truck and going back home at 10:15am and not getting to my ďnewĒ crag is overwhelmingÖ sub plans, taking a day off, arranging a babysitter, my wifeís look of disgusted disbelief. I reason Iíd be better off getting lost and suffer a dramatic night in the snow than return home beaten. Plus, maybe I can find a clearing and get my bearings. So I become a cairn making machine. Every 10í I build a tower out of whatever materials I can findÖ sticks, pine cones, and rocks. I stack them on stumps, boulders, across snow fields. I drag my feet and create long lines in the pine duff. I use my machete and chop my way through the brushy undergrowth.

An hour later, over two hours in, Iím fully committed and for sure nowhere near where Iím supposed to be (my goal is to drop in from the top of the formation), but I donít care. At least Iím somewhere and if I keep going Iíll run into something. Right? Probably flawed reasoning, but Iím way beyond reason at this point. My dog keeps wandering back in the direction of the truck. Even she doesnít trust my judgment, and I have to keep calling her back.

The hill begins to rise sharply, strewn with many, many large room-sized boulders beneath the tall pine trees and deep scrub. Iím screwed. Itís a maze, and there is no way Iíll be able to navigate through it, or cut through it all, let alone leave a bread crumb trail of cairns to get myself back to the truck. Itís over. Iíve failed.

But in desperation I move on up another 150' to a snowfield I see in the distance to the right. Maybe I can get one last look before I turn around. Then, through the trees, I see a huge rock face! Something!! other than trees!! It ainít the Watchtower but maybe itíll be something I can stand on and figure out just how lost I am. I double my efforts and machete my way up to the base.

And then it hits meÖ this looks familiar. I pull out my aerial photo I took two years ago and match up the runnels and cracks... Holy crap... Iím at the base of the cliff Iíve been looking for! I was a half-mile off course, at the bottom of the crag and not the top, but I ended up right where I wanted to be. A miracle.

I hustle up the slabs. It is 11:45am. I size up the 200'cliff and drop my 30 lb pack and get busy. By the end of the day I have 5 new FAs and new objectives for the summer of 2012Ö Then I follow my loyal dog Sydney back to the car and decide to name the dome for her.

Doggy Dome

The End

  Trip Report Views: 1,685
Slater
About the Author
Slater is a trad climber from Central Coast and co-author of "California Road Trip - Climber's Guide to Northern California" and "California Central Coast Climbs: San Luis Obispo".

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Dec 17, 2012 - 02:57am PT
Looks like a great day, can't beat exploring! Next time you're in a pinch for a partner around here let me know! I probably won't kill you

-Daniel
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Dec 17, 2012 - 11:08am PT
Salter freakin' rad TR man!!!

what device you use to self-belay?

-Geyer
Jeremy Ross

Gym climber
  Dec 17, 2012 - 11:17am PT
Nice Slater. Can't wait to get back up there and snake all your projects ;) RBBC style...

I almost called you to see if you could come over and do tollhouse Saturday but glad i didnt, cracks were wet and cold fog. Only stayed a few hours

-JR
T Hocking

Trad climber
Redding, Ca
  Dec 17, 2012 - 11:27am PT
Sweet TR Slater!
Now that boys and girls is how to get some!
TFPU
Tad
this just in

climber
north fork
  Dec 17, 2012 - 12:35pm PT
Credit: this just in
Good sh#t Slater! Cool little area indeed, thanks for the routes.
RBBC.
Phantom X

Trad climber
Honeycomb Hideout
  Dec 17, 2012 - 04:00pm PT
Great day adventure in one of the last pristine enviroments in the state. The best thing about Shuteye, thanks to the lack of guidebooks and bolts is the wonder of discovery. I live in the area, my son is a fifth generation local and so I've heard this from climber's from all continents. Not to be hurtful, but I myself jubilantly discovered your Doggie Dome and did the FA of your route Doggie Style, this was around 1990. A few years later I met another climber who laughingly congratulated me and imformed me that I was a good 10 years late as he had beat me to it. He too had ran into another climber who had informed him that he was a good ten years late! We don't let this bother us, neigh we embrace it and jokingly consider it the Jewel of Bragdom. Now twenty years later I think your's is about the eighth first ascent I've heard of going back to the mid-sixties! Welcome to the club! Twenty plus years with a handful of new routes each summer, my wife and I have a few such new old FA's in the Little Shuteye area. Around here the saying is "who doesn't?". Pretty nice of us locals as well as soooo many others to not of gridbolted and promoted for self gain, thus and ergo, leaving you to have this obviously vibrant invigorating wilderness experence. I shy up when I'm thanked for this, however it's what your supposed to do. Leave no trace. Thank you for retrieving your surveyors tape and sharing what beauty is to be found and lost here in our back yard.
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
  Dec 17, 2012 - 04:52pm PT
Phantom indeed. Where else have you roamed, dare I ask, in the beloved Hinterlands? As one who has long been intrigued by the climbing history of this region, along with the daunting task, or impossibility perhaps, of making sense of most of it, it would be rather interesting to make your acquaintance (if we haven't crossed paths before). Many of us have been fairly hesitant to attach an FA credit to obvious trad lines, no matter how remote, in the region. Though some specifics have been lost to memory, most notably in the case of Royal Robbins, undoubtedly many adventurous souls have passed thru the area with a strict LNT ethic.

Doggy Dome has long stood in plain site for all to see, and rumors were it had been visited. Thanks for sharing.
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
  Dec 17, 2012 - 05:01pm PT
Nate, it's (zee dome) been traveled before - I just didn't tell anyone ;)
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
  Dec 17, 2012 - 05:04pm PT
And what was it's name before Zee?
And before that?

kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
  Dec 17, 2012 - 05:24pm PT
Nate, I never named it - just rolling with the hinterlands theme just now. I was simply pointing out that the dome had been traveled not implying one way or the other about the runnels. Think we might have done a route or two, maybe tr'd, don't really remember other than thinking I should go back some time...Never drew a topo or anything.

So much rock but so little soft tissue...

Nate D

climber
San Francisco
  Dec 17, 2012 - 06:48pm PT
Think we might have done a route or two, maybe tr'd, don't really remember


Ha, heard that before by a handful of climbers. Lost and found, and lost again indeed! :)
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Dec 17, 2012 - 08:40pm PT
Neat location. Sounds like a superb day out.

One way of recording the history without denying the hidden past, is to use FRA for First Recorded Ascent.

I usually also use FTR for first top rope.

Those runnels look sweet.
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
  Dec 17, 2012 - 09:15pm PT
PFA has been used, for Possible First Ascent (sorta until further word).

I like FRA too, but sometimes it's hard to determine if it was recorded/reported before - like where and to whom. There are cases where routes were reported to Mark Spencer for instance, but he didn't know where the routes were, so didn't include them in his 1988 guide. Or they were shared, but he was told to exclude them from the guide. Other's had made topos, and then they were "lost" over the years.

Maybe it's best to just throw in the towel on getting the record straight and just let stuff fade back into obscurity... as others have done inadvertently or intentionally. That's the honest blurry history of the region.
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Dec 17, 2012 - 09:53pm PT
How good does that rock look! Awesome.
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Author's Reply  Dec 18, 2012 - 02:14am PT
Cool Phantom. Doesn't rob me of a thing, that's awesome.
The other 8 face routes are way better ;) and the adventure factor was A+.
Hard to believe people would only climb that route and skip the other gems. The area is pretty much a face climbing crag though, so if they were unwilling to place a bolt it would be a short trip.
I'd love to hear your account.
Because there are a few more secrets out there that someone would notice if they'd been there...Wanna talk more?

This Just In... that was my best Mike A impersonation :)
Thanks for the beer and taking the hornet hits JRs!



Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Dec 18, 2012 - 02:36am PT
hornets!?

gah, hate those.
Phantom X

Trad climber
Honeycomb Hideout
  Dec 18, 2012 - 03:16pm PT
Secret Crag?
Secret Crag?
Credit: Phantom X
Slater, you don't sound like you've been robbed, like myself you sound like a benefactor. Also like me, a bit of a sceptic.


This twenty+ year old photo is the formation that is seen at 3:05 on your video on the horizon. The small dome is about a mile south. I've been there twice, the first time after hiking up Little Shuteye Peak from Chilkoot Lake and following the ridge down to the area in the photo, then across to the dome. The second time to climb, again approaching from the lake and gaining the ridge and staying in the open dry areas. This was in July, what I remember most was being borderline on hydration on the return. And feeling silly about our lenghty approach after hearing a motorcycle closely below us. There is a road leading to Gaggs Camp a quarter of a mile below the cliff. My wife and I took the obvious line which you call Doggie Style. There is a very steep slab to the right which you may be refering to as other secret stuff and I believe some headwalls? It's been quite a while. There are old mining prospects nearby I remember seeing.


As Nate D said this cliff is easily visible from the road. Slater, you do sound a little sceptical. Many people have been running around Shuteye for years and yaers. From my neighborhood alone you'll find in the Little Shuteye Peak register, B.Bakawa, F Bakawa, T.Gee, R. Pludo, T.Adams, R.Adams, K.Adams. Everybody at Everest Basecamp is talking!


tiki-jer

Trad climber
fresno/clovis
  Dec 18, 2012 - 03:25pm PT
Fred Beckey has climbed all formations out there anyways....meh!
Nate D

climber
San Francisco
  Dec 18, 2012 - 04:00pm PT
Cool pic of what has been recently called The Watchtower, Phantom. Did you climb on it as well?

Keep digging thru those pics and scan a few more for us!

Ever climb/TR stuff around Chilkoot?

Your wife's paintings are nice, BTW.


And indeed, Tiki! Fred makes skeptics of us all!
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Author's Reply  Dec 18, 2012 - 07:06pm PT
Cool!
Phanton, keep going, more pics and more stories!

No, face was obvious, not secret.
I just don't consider the OW the best line, but maybe the worst line there (although yes, most obvious), so I was wondering what else you saw or climbed.

Yes, many re-climbed routes due to the hush hush nature and lack of guidebook. I've heard of many episodes already, so not surprised at all.

Mining prospects, I knew it, I ran across a cut in the hillside, with tailings (or what I thought might be) and tons of logging out there.
Not really pristine (at least along the approach). My tape was the least intrusive thing out there. Spray paint galore all over trees (maybe to be logged?) and motor-cycles nearby. I think the approach I found cuts about 15 minutes of hard up-hill hiking out of the equation, if approached from below, but very x-country.

Thanks for posting! If you can manage to get the first first ascent ;) info it'd be great!!

Do you really think it was climbed in the mid-60s before Robbins et. all?
tiki-jer

Trad climber
fresno/clovis
  Dec 18, 2012 - 07:18pm PT
Yup! Miwoks and the Pine Sap Tap for added friction.
Ol' Skool

Trad climber
Oakhurst, CA
  Dec 18, 2012 - 08:11pm PT
Thanks for the report, Tom- but I'll always admire your willingness to commute over your willingness to bushwhack!
You da' man.
Bruce
Phantom X

Trad climber
Honeycomb Hideout
  Dec 19, 2012 - 01:29am PT
Slater, How about pristine/toxic? It borders here and quickly becomes pristine. Sorry but I can't even remember any off width. Some sloping mantles? I sorta remember belaying on a sloping ledge. I was working graveyard (Phantom X) in Madera , hiked out on my day off with my wife, 10 year old son, two dogs and a rack of stoppers and hex's. Mostly I remember that it was sweat drippin hot, the belay ledge was a hot plate. It caught us unprepared. There is a stretch of no shade to return to the ridge where my son finished the last of the water and I worried as we all were getting loopy. Now that I think about it, it wasn't really a hap hap happy day. I hope your happy now!

Nate D - Didn't climb the Watchtower. We were just out hiking to the peak and got a little curious. It looked beyond my ability. I don't own a bolt kit and at the time this appeared to be a job for men with lycra.
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Author's Reply  Dec 19, 2012 - 10:04pm PT
YES... you brought your dogs!
Glad to hear that in the history of visitation...
And the Doggy name lives on!!!

I'm telling you, that dome is a dog magnet.
There is a perfect cave for them dogs to chill out in, when it gets hot.

Or good for JRs and crew ! ;)
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
Author's Reply  Dec 19, 2012 - 10:10pm PT
This Justin 's mutt...

You only brought me ONE!?
You only brought me ONE!?
Credit: Slater

4 dogs in the dog house.
4 dogs in the dog house.
Credit: Slater
this just in

climber
north fork
  Dec 20, 2012 - 12:38pm PT
Haha, dude that is my dog.
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Dec 20, 2012 - 01:13pm PT
Nice TR. I liked climbing in Southern Yosemite. I like the plastic shaped rock and faces that looked like vertical mud that were very cool and solid granite. Cool.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Dec 21, 2012 - 11:06pm PT
RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRUUUUUUUUUUFFFFFFFFFFFFF!
Thanks!
drljefe

climber
El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Dec 21, 2012 - 11:25pm PT
Cool Slater.
Dig the old school park pass.
The rock looks really nice.
Our spot is called the Dog Park, so I'm down.
Question- wouldn't your dog find the right way if you were off route on the hike out?

You guys are lucky out there. I'd sure like to visit.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Dec 22, 2012 - 09:19am PT
Bump!
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