Hobbit Book 5.7 R
Trip ReportMy 'precious' Hobbit Book TR - (with Hugo's Drive by , aka Euro Trash Linkup) - 1st trip report
How is it that a 5 star SuperTopo Route has NO trip reports?, I now have the honor of writing the first SuperTopo TR (FTR) for Hobbit Book!
After Snake Dike success last May (see:
and a my rough attempt at 5.9 crack climbing on Fishhook Arete on Mt. Russell last September
my climbing buddy Ian Fyfe and I we're looking for our next challenge. Ian had done Royal Arches twice before with lead Josh Helling of Yosemite Mountaineering School but I had not. Ian enjoyed Royal Arches so much he was willing to go again so we started planning for Saturday, June 8. As this is only my 4rd multi-pitch climb, I still insist on a paid guide/lead and to deal with safety/training issues. Josh is one of the best and is highly recommended.
Checking the weather report a few days before the trip showed mid 90 deg. Temps in the valley so we made a last minute change to climb in cooler Tuolumne Meadows instead. Josh recommended Hobbit Book as the summit views are epic and it’s a 5 star climb with good variety. Hobbit Book is a 4 pitch 5.7R route (same as Snake Dike), but to make it more interesting, Josh proposed a linkup to ‘Hugo’s Drive by Shooting’. The 4 pitch ‘Hugo’s’ climb that avoids some of the class 4 slab approach to Hobbit Book. (more climbing too :) ). The route was unofficially named according to Josh due to the seeming frequent/random location of the bolt placements, with many just a few feet apart at the base (P1 and P2) and few at P3 and P4. Total of 9 pitches, 4 with Hugos, 1 traverse pitch, then another 4 pitches with Hobbit Book.
We were lucky to get a Curry Village tent at the last minute to save driving and were greeted by a noisy raven in the morning (a good omen I assumed).
We met Josh at 8am at the 140/120 intersection parking lot after a sleepless night (for me) as the bear patrol in Curry Village were firing off several rounds of gunfire and a flash bang grenade to scare off the bears around 3am. I can only imagine what the tourists thought of these SWAT team like antics. Ian heard none of this as he was medicated and had ear plugs.
Reaching the trailhead around 9, we packed and started the approach. The super-topo approach time is shows as 1 – 2 hours. As we we’re climbing ‘Hugos’ first, we were able to complete the approach in about 45 min, but not until we crossed a snow field at the base (lack of footprints/steps indicated we were likely the first climbers of the season), fashioning ice axes out of tree branches.
We reached the base of Hugo’s by 10:30 or so and started climbing.
And a photo from above the snow field at the base of Hugo’s :
And a short video here;
Hugo’s has 4 pitches. The first few pitches of “Hugo’s” were a little damp with water runoff higher up. Had to maneuver around the wet rock
Josh started leading Hugo’s – with Ian and I simul-climbing below to save time.
At belay station –
Here Ian’s cleaning below me . The 4 pitch’s of Hugo’s range in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.6 in my opinion, a little easier than the sustained 5.7 climbing on Hobbit Book to come.
Ian belaying Josh:
Ian climbing pitch 4 of Hugo’s:
Video of belay station below Pitch 1 of Hobbit Book:
Video of belay station below pitch 2 of Hobbit:
Pitch 3 or Hobbit Book – the money pitch (as it’s called) with nice golden holds, Josh is Leading in this sequence:
And here’s a go pro video of me climbing pitch 3 (so many options on this route), Josh went about 10 feet left – a little steeper in my opinion, while I went straight up, less vertical, but fewer holds.
The last pitch 4 has a right layback, tricky for me since the anchor point was about 6 feet off the belay station footing, required lifting one foot, then the other feet around the gear while in a layback (Ian below, following). Here’s Go Pro video (unedited – sorry) of me on pitch 4:
Video of Josh belaying Ian up final pitch to summit (reaching the summit at 5:40, about 7 hours after we started climbing):
Ian and me on the summit…
Summit Panorama with amazing views of Toulumne Meadows, Fairview Dome, Half Dome, Clouds Rest, Cathedral Peak – WOW
Little Dome Lake near the summit (rarely seen, due to the elevation)
Descending the backside of Mariuolumne Dome (video) – beautiful day…
Even though the rating is the same as Snake Dike (5.7R), Hobbit is much more vertical/sustained and with more variety. Definitely recommend it for the variety as well as the summit views. Descent took a little more than an hour where we bumped into friend Casey Flowe at the parking lot – he had just come off OZ on Drug Dome.
Couldn’t help but catch a photo of climbers on El Cap through my telescope on the way out of Yosemite the next day.
And this video of Merced River with the valley in the background - best watched in HD:
Wish my 26 year old son Matthew could have been here this day – sadly as some of you may know from my other trip reports, he passed away in a plane crash last August, 2013. He was an avid slackliner/boulderer/climber. Someday, I’d like to do a FA and name it in his honor – if you have suggestions, let me know.
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