The Enigma 5.10a

  • Currently 3.0/5

The Cookie Cliff

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
Enigma and Cookie Center TRs 10/18/08
Sunday October 19, 2008 1:48pm
Gary Carpenter and I went up on Friday night and slept at Hardin Flat by the side of the road on the pine needles. It was a beautiful night with stars and coyotes.
In the morning we ambled down to the Cookie with the intention of climbing Enigma 10a and Cookie Center, 5.9 or 10a.

Here's an overview of the routes.

By about 8:00 we were starting up Enigma 10a. The first pitch starts with a cool chimney/crack combo to a short 5.8 squeeze and a newish two bolt anchor.

Here's Gary leading the chimney/crack.

Here's looking up from the top of the crack toward the anchor.
You can just see the squeeze and also Enema, which is the overhanging crack above.
Supertopo re-rated the squeeze to 5.9, I think just because of the grovel factor.

Pitch two is an unprotected forty foot slab, which caught my attention but proved mellow.

Here's Gary Following

Here's the old three bolt rap station at the top of the pitch.
There are plenty of good placements for building an anchor.

P3 starts with a thinnish move into a flare, a 5.7/8 chimney in the middle and a grovel move to the anchor tree.

Here's Gary up in the flare somewhere.

Here's looking down the 5.7/8 chimney.

The next pitch is a 5.4 chimney which in some sections is no easier than the 5.7/8 chimney below. You end on a broad sloping ledge under the two possible finishes.

Heres' a picture of the standard finish.
The crux is supposed to be a 10a lieback on the flakes near the top but the climbing below is similar in difficulty if different in detail. There is a very thin move off the deck that I was able to protect with a #4 stopper after some dirt removal. After that the pro is good. There are some cool hand jambs and stems in the middle. The rests are pretty good. If you can manage to avoid zee clipping the final lieback is pretty reasonable. Still I made it.

We stayed roped up for the walk off because we had heard it was exposed and people had died on it. There is some exposure but mostly you are in the brush and trees. Next time we would probably unrope and just be careful.
This is a great climb, fun and varied.

Next we went down to Cookie Center. I took the first pitch which is fun 5.9. Gary took the OW P2. He cruised up to the roof where he attempted the tunnel through. He decided it was too small so he did the 10a OW rooflette. We had brought the #4 bigbro just for this move. He did a great job of it.
I had followed this roof clean before but couldn't get it this time. You better have a little gas in the tank when you go to do this. Or be bad to the bone on OW like Gary.

We took doubles to #3 camelot and one #4 on Enigma. We didn't use the #4.
For Cookie Center you need singles to #3 with one extra #1 and #2 and two #6, a 9 valley giant or #3 bigbro, and a #4 bigbro. Another #4 bigbro wouldn't hurt if your OW technique is like mine.

I'm hoping Gary has a few more good pics to add.
See you on the rock.

  Trip Report Views: 2,574
About the Author
Zander is a trad climber from Berkeley.


Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Oct 19, 2008 - 01:57pm PT
Nice, looks like a good time.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Oct 19, 2008 - 02:13pm PT
good show guys!
thanks for the TR
Gary Carpenter

SF Bay Area
  Oct 19, 2008 - 05:02pm PT
I enjoyed climbing "Zander Style" at the Cookie. We had some good Beta on the Enigma from Melissa that encouraged us to climb this classic. Really fun route with well protected crux moves.

Here are my photos from yesterday.

Zander following up P1 (Enigma)

Z starting up the 5.8/9 short squeeze

Working the 5.4 chimney

Z taking a short rest on a big knob before pulling the crux move at the top out.

Climbing "Zander Style" includes hauling a small backpack up the chimneys so he could enjoy a picnic lunch at the top (deli sandwiches, Starbucks and more).

Z on P1 (5.9) of Cookie Center


Author's Reply  Oct 19, 2008 - 06:34pm PT
Post up the picture of you on the crux of Cookie P2. You cranked that thing!
It was a good day.

Trad climber
  Oct 19, 2008 - 08:10pm PT
Great time you guys! Looked fun. Cuddling up with the coyotes at night were ya?

Only one thing wrong with the Cookie Cliff...It is not in my backyard!!!!

Was just on Meat Grinder & Outer limits on 10/16. Sorry no pixs available, but some guy from one of the British climbing mags was shooting pictures. Sender? or was it some mag that starts with a G?

Also top-roped Red Zinger...Saw Peter Croft solo up this 7-8 years ago like it was nothing...Hell, it was a struggle on toprope for me.

Thanks for the trip report.
Gary Carpenter

SF Bay Area
  Oct 19, 2008 - 09:21pm PT
Bad camera angle. Can't see the OW crack. Just some old geezer looking like he's about to expire!!

BTW, It looks like someone has a fixed rope on Twilight
Zone. Jaybro...Scuffy???

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Oct 19, 2008 - 09:29pm PT
Zander, you guys should prolly link this thread in the climbing beta section.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Oct 19, 2008 - 10:23pm PT
hey dudes, could I tag along too?

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
  Oct 19, 2008 - 11:15pm PT
It's nice to see you guy getting your dividends on all of your mid-week practice sessions.

Random Nobody
  Oct 19, 2008 - 11:21pm PT
Nice Job, guys.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Oct 20, 2008 - 10:50am PT
Now that's real Yosemite climbing. My helmet's off to anyone who can climb those offwidths and chimneys by legit means. Thanks for the stories and photos.

Trad climber
Tunneling out of prison
  Oct 20, 2008 - 11:07am PT
Now Zander, did you actually Z-clip? Inquiring Minds want to know!

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Oct 20, 2008 - 11:23am PT
Looks like a lot of fun was had. Cool photos!

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Oct 20, 2008 - 01:22pm PT
Cool trip!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Oct 20, 2008 - 04:25pm PT
Well done! Before the Coulterville Road rockslide, I always enjoyed the Enigma because it had no approach. It shows how lazy I've become that I haven't done the route since. Thanks for the report.


jamais, jamais pays
  Oct 20, 2008 - 07:57pm PT
Sorry I missed it!

Author's Reply  Oct 20, 2008 - 08:09pm PT
Yeah, spyork, I zee clipped.
What a Noob! I was up there looking at the supposed crux and decided to put in second piece in case I whipped. I didn't pay attention and clipped wrong. I liebacked up with enough slack to get to the next foothold before the rope came tight. I thought I must really be looking sketchy because Gary's keeping me on a short rein. Then he calls up somethings wrong with the rope. I could have lowered and cleaned it up but I really wanted to climb it in as "good" style as possible. So I just pulled up a enough slack to get me through the hard part and kept going. After I got to the anchor I lowered and fixed for Gary's follow. My humility is intact.

  Oct 20, 2008 - 08:16pm PT
Nice shots !
Mighty Hiker

Outside the Asylum
  Oct 20, 2008 - 08:25pm PT
If your name began with a Zed (as in Zander), you too might Zed-clip.

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Oct 20, 2008 - 11:25pm PT
Good showing, thanks for the gear beta

Social climber
  Oct 21, 2008 - 12:24am PT
Saw you guys climbing the chimney from the white talus. Looked cool from afar!

San Jose, CA
  Oct 27, 2008 - 06:06pm PT
Zander and Gary, thanks for TR- it bring me back to Enigma last weekend. When I climbed it before we rappelled down from the tree p3. This time we top out and last pitch was very good- way to do it. I am curious how you rappel? We did not find Nabisco wall upper bolts and rappelled from Meat Grinder. Actually I realized that this is Meat Grinder after first rappel

Author's Reply  Oct 27, 2008 - 07:40pm PT
Hi Alexey,
We didn't rappel at all. We just walked off the left side. It didn't take very long.
Take care,

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
  Oct 27, 2008 - 11:58pm PT
Climbing thread bump

Trad climber
Sac, CA
  Oct 28, 2008 - 03:57pm PT
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Nov 11, 2008 - 10:49pm PT
Great trip report. I just added this route here

Trad climber
  Feb 25, 2009 - 03:47am PT
Zander, have you ever done the Cleft at the Cookie?
That should be right your ally.

Author's Reply  Feb 25, 2009 - 10:53am PT
Looking from the road there are three classic lines, or weaknesses, at the Cookie. Enigma, The Cleft and Vendetta. You can see them clearly in the photo above. And they are moderate. Not sure which is next, Vendetta or The Cleft but both must be done. Yah hoo!

Trad climber
  Apr 19, 2012 - 09:35am PT
Yeah, Zander, the Enigma looks good. Of the 3 clasic natural lines you mentioned I have only done the Vendetta. Have to do the other two.
As for Cookie Center, that's a great line too. Skinny folks can tunnel through and avoid that burly move out of the pod. Actually that move was too much for me so I "failed in style" by down climbing the really excellant off-width crack. My buddy was able to slither through behind it like a snake and save the day. A great pitch combined with the hands above to the top.


Trad climber
Douglas, WY
  Apr 19, 2012 - 10:12am PT
This has to be one of my all-time favorite TRs!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Apr 19, 2012 - 10:46am PT
Great TR!

Gotta touch them all! Did these ones back in the late 70's when the wyde was still mysterious.

I wonder why the Enigma got its name?

Those less climbed routes are really fun if you are in the mood to bump and grind a little.

Thanks for the share!

Mountain climber
Draperderr, by Bangerter, Utah
  Apr 19, 2012 - 07:35pm PT
I was thinking of exploring this route this Saturday. Now I'm sold!

BTW, a lame question, but in the Reid topo it looks like you could TR the Enema on your way up the Enigma. Is this so? Would be a fun little detour on the way up if you can't lead 5.11s but want to give it a try.

Trad climber
  Apr 22, 2012 - 07:26pm PT
I'm so climbing this route soon!
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Jan 15, 2013 - 06:56am PT
The Enigma--righteous, lefteous, awesome, very short approach, REAL 5.8. FUN! Did I mention the view?
The Cookie Cliff - The Enigma 5.10a - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Zander
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