South Face 5.7

  • Currently 4.0/5

North Dome

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
North Dome: South Face Trip
Monday September 17, 2012 12:06pm
Did the Royal Arches to North Dome link up on the 1st of September. Royal Arches went fast, 3.5 hours, some simul-climbing, lots of linking. The hike to the Dome definitely took longer than we thought that it would, but the climb up the South Face was awesome and well worth the adventure. It's a huge step up from Nutcracker or other 5.8 climbs in the valley. I've been up the East Buttress on Cathedral 5.9AO and El Cap 5.10b and they were both on par with the South Face in my humble opinion. I've attached my feedback map as a photo. We actually were planning on doing the Crest Jewel and didn't copy the route description for the South Face, so we tore the page out of the book and when were in the dish where we had to choose which route, we ended up doing the South Face, instead. I'd still like to go back and do the Jewel. Maybe next season. Oh... and the hike out to Porcupine Flat: pretty mellow, and well worth the shuttle. Awesome overall day.
Our feedback on the route.  More detail would be helpful and we never ...
Our feedback on the route. More detail would be helpful and we never found the sustained 5.8, but maybe we were just delirious from all the climbing.
Credit: Gantt

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About the Author


Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Sep 17, 2012 - 01:25pm PT
Thanks for the info. Once I get back to climbing shape (I'm still on the injured reserve list), I'm anxious to do the link-up.


Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Sep 17, 2012 - 02:35pm PT


Trad climber
San Francisco
  Sep 17, 2012 - 02:47pm PT
Here are some pictures from our link-up from
July 2011
Peter Haan

Trad climber
  Sep 17, 2012 - 04:43pm PT
Thanks Gantt. Glad your party had a good time. I love South Face of North Dome. It is for sure an excellent route with so many fun aspects to it, especially the section where one improbably mounts the giant arch and then figuring out what is required, proudly launches over the rim of it while still hanging on to the strange detached white flake to very good holds unseen over that rim. And then right there, you are suddenly out on the Dome's beautiful slabby face following much subtler features to the summit on beautiful featured stone.

I would point out and beg to differ: this route has been considered to be 5.7 for many decades. I have done it seven times, four of those times unroped. It is a classic 5.7 not a sandbagged 5.8 or 5.9 waiting to cause trouble. I can't recall any accidents or major epics on the route either in five decades. Certainly for a 5.7 it is really stunning at times though but there are always holds, locks, rests, no large powerful moves ever required, and terrific views the whole time.
curt wohlgemuth

Social climber
Bay Area, California
  Sep 17, 2012 - 04:46pm PT
I did this link-up in my first season of climbing, many years ago. Without much experience in laybacking, and with a pair of old Chouinard Shoenards on my feet, the slick 5.7 laybacks completely trashed me.

It was a great route and a great day, but boy were we tired after walking down the Falls trail in the dark!

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Sep 19, 2012 - 01:02pm PT
Yea, its 5.7 for a 5.11 leader. I think for the average weekend warrior its probably harder. It would be a good idea to feel strong leading and placing gear at a 5.9 level to go and lead this really great climb. Its one of the best long climbs I've done and definaltly worth the effort of getting out there and expanding your Trad experience.
On-Site Flasher 69

Sport climber
  Sep 19, 2012 - 03:23pm PT
"5.7 for a 5.11 leader "

This doesn't make any logical sense. Please explain.

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Sep 19, 2012 - 03:44pm PT
If you feel good leading 5.11 then everything below that grade is going to feel easier, and, you have had the experience to know about route finding and gear placing. This climb has all schools of the different climbing techniques, face, off width, crack, lieback with glacier polish for the feet and some routefinding.

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Sep 19, 2012 - 08:38pm PT
Do most hitch hike back to the valley from Porcupine Flat or shuttle the partners car up there beforehand?
North Dome - South Face 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The South Face stays in the corner
Photo: Chris McNamara
Other Routes on North Dome
North Dome - Crest Jewel 5.10a - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Crest Jewel, 5.10a
North Dome
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Crest Jewel follows a series of unique but hard to see features.
North Dome - Crest Jewel Direct 5.10d - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Crest Jewel Direct, 5.10d
North Dome
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