Trip Report
One day at Arch Rock [ ArchIAD]
Wednesday February 20, 2013 2:31pm
Arch Rock from the entrance
Arch Rock from the entrance
Credit: Alexey
Arch Rock will be off limits for climbers soon again. This place is, without question, my favorite in the Valley. Some routes there I have climbed so many times that I have personalized them. Taking advantage of what was supposed to be a rare, warm days on Arch Rock in the middle of February , we made our plans just few weeks before the expected falcon closure on March 1.

Two weeks ago Steve and I intensively exchanged e-mails contemplating what best we could climb at Arch. The plan was to climb all eight Supertopo Arch routes in a day which we termed ST ArchIAD . It definitely does not embrace all of the Arch Rock in any way, Arch is way bigger, but we liked this arrogant abbreviation.
Supertopo Arch Routes
Supertopo Arch Routes
Credit: Alexey

We replaced Entrance Exam (***see Notes in the end of my report why we dropped Entrance Exam) by Blotto and we ended up with the following 8 routes, 14 pitches and about 1300 feet of stellar climbing from the left of Arch, to right:

1. Anticipation 5.11b 100ft

2. Supplication 5.10c 100ft

3. Blotto 5.10d 120ft

4. EnglishBreakfastP1/P2 5.10c 160ft

5. Midterm 5.10b 130ft

6. Leanie Meanie 5.11b 130ft

7. Gripper P1/P2/P3 5.10b 280ft

8. New Dimensions P1-P4 5.11a 280ft


total 8 routes, 14 pitches 1300ft

The plan was to make those eight routes in 10 pitches instead of 14 - linking Pitches 1/2 of English Breakfast, Pitches 2/3 of Gripper, and Pitches 1/2/3 of NewD, making all those routes one or two pitches climbs.

We calculated that we had to do each of those 10 pitches in an hour or less- and in this case we can do our ArchIAD from 8am -to 6pm with just enough daylight to spare. One hour per pitch including rappel, rope flaking, racking up, eating etc.

The rules of the game were simple: one of us would pick up a route, any route, lead it and the other followed. Than second climber selected any of the remaining routes, lead, it and that sequence of following and swapping leads continued until we were done. We generally agreed on the first warm up climb and the sequence where the hardest routes should be done in the first half of the day. The main concern was the forecasted cold temperature. The day we climbed - Sunday February 10- an early morning temperature was 33F , with the highest at 1pm reaching about 50F. Another concern was the possible crowd (on some winter weekend days at Arch- everything can be taken).

Steve and I met at Arch parking at 7:30. On the way up to the base all this ArchIAD plan felt unreal - when you sitting in the office in front of the screen you are much braver and determined than when you at the freezing base of the climb.

Before the climb
Before the climb
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N1: 8:10am: I started English Breakfast

This one was for my wife, who was first inspired to climb English Breakfast several years ago, when she overheard two strong young climbers moaning that it was "burly" It remains her favorite climb on Arch. This first climb on our ArchIAD endeavor was very cold, especially hands, fortunately on first pitch not much fingers, mostly full body movements. When I inserted my hands in frozen crack,- I wished that Steve would start English Breakfast instead of me ( since he is British Steve). Actually we were so busy this day that I even forget to ask him how the Queen was doing. Anyway, it took me more than half-hour to reach the crux traverse with deep finger section near the end of p2 - and at this exact time the sun finally hit the rock. Lowered from anchors to the ground and Steve fired this climb in 10min.

English Breakfast, credit Dan McDevitt
English Breakfast, credit Dan McDevitt
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N2: 9:15am: Steve started Supplication. Good looking, clean left facing corner , which you can stem, layback or do straight finger stacking/locking/jamming. I did not noticed this , but Steve later told me that it was hardest climb for him this day and he almost fell off trying to do stem, layback, finger stacking, all in the same time.
Full sun, warm already. Steve completed it and I lower him to the base of crux pitch of Anticipation. Quickly followed Supplication , and racked up for the next climb.
I have no Supplication photos at all and be happy if some one posted it here.

Looks like we are on schedule , it is now warmer and there is no crowd. Only Dan McDevitt showed up to cheer us and do some climbing. Dan I am using your photos of Arch from your "Friends& Arch" tread , since we did not make any of ours this day.
Help climbers viciously attacked by Yosemite locals!!
Help climbers viciously attacked by Yosemite locals!!
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N3: 10:05am: I started Anticipation- hardest climb for me from our list. Very sustained, from beginning, then several good rests before a very reachy crux, then this move with left hand thumb up pinky lock (Beta knowledge helps here) and finger crack corner finish to the rings. Steve follows and we are back to the ground.

Anticipation,   Dan McDevitt photo
Anticipation, Dan McDevitt photo
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N4: 11:10am: Steve's next choice was to lead Leanie Meanie. Best climb from our list. Right facing, mostly overhanging corner ever widening from fingers to off-fingers to hands and then to wide fists in the end. Indian Creek type of climb, but on stellar granite. Steve confidently climbed this hard and beautiful one. I followed.
Dan McDevitt climbing LeanieMeanie on other good day
Dan McDevitt climbing LeanieMeanie on other good day
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N5: 12:25pm : I started New Dimensions. Linked first 3 pitches in one. Cold at belay. This route goes all the way from bottom to top, left side in for me, but with a big variety of climbing moves. The route demands that you use all the footwork tricks you have.
Pitch 2  on New Dimensions , Dan McDevitt photo
Pitch 2 on New Dimensions , Dan McDevitt photo
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N6: 1:40pm: NewD continuation- Steve started crux pitch 4 of New Dimensions and made it looks very easy. He was very relaxed, and climbing very well. Definitely getting long rest (leave of absence sabbatical) from working for our Fruit Company can dramatically improve your climbing and Steve proved it. When I reached the top of NewD - I felt that I am nor fresh anymore, yes, we are 800 feet up already and only 30 min behind schedule .

Last pitch of New D , David Wilson photo
Last pitch of New D , David Wilson photo
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N7: 2:45pm: I started Midterm. Most aesthetic line at Arch, striking route visible from parking lot, but not my favorite climb anymore. Very strenuous start with fingertip corner crack and then cruiser to the top.

Midterm, Dan McDevitt photo
Midterm, Dan McDevitt photo
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N8: 3:50pm: Steve started Gripper. Gripper would be best warm up, but we left it to the end because it is gentle and reliable enough to be the best cool-down.

Gripper P1, Clint Cummins photo
Gripper P1, Clint Cummins photo
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N9 4:40pm: I reach Steve at the top of first pitch and started linking p2/3. Gripper has never let me down (yet). We were considering climbing it even at dark, but finished before sunset.

Gripper P2/3 , Dan McDevitt photo
Gripper P2/3 , Dan McDevitt photo
Credit: Alexey

Pitch N10 5:50pm: We reached the base of Blotto after sunset. We used someone else's rope to TR this, which made our finish easy .

Parking lot 6:45pm: We are done! I cannot believe it!! No falls, no hangs, long multi star route of winter climbing .

after climbing
after climbing
Credit: Alexey

gear used: double from black Aliens to #4 Camalot with some triple from fingers to tight hands, 80 meter rope and my personal gear -1 litter of Red Bull. Steve specify that he did not use any doping product except of morning coffee.

***Notes:Entrance Exam left out for Graduation day.

Which start also at Arch and goes in sequence of Entrance Exam, Quickie Quizzes, Extra Credit, Midterm,(+GRE is optional) - move to This&That cliff for Cramming[ also optional if you not crammed yet] - and finish at Final Exam [HD]

If you did not make it - go climb next day DropOut at LeaningTower

Not my idea, but Salamanizer and Karodrinker were planning to do it, and I never heard whether they made it or not.

  Trip Report Views: 3,041
About the Author
Alexey is a trad climber from San Jose, CA.

Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Stephen McCabe

Trad climber
near Santa Cruz, CA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 02:43pm PT
Great trip report!

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 02:45pm PT
Holy crap that is an amazing day! I climbed at Arch only once so far, soon after I first tried crack climbing. I got destroyed by Midterm. Years later now, and many pitches of crack both in the gym and out and I think I might be able to take my graduation day exam!

Thanks for the writeup!
scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
  Feb 20, 2013 - 02:52pm PT
What an awesome day!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 02:58pm PT
Impressive and inspired! Thanks for an excellent trip report.


Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Feb 20, 2013 - 03:41pm PT
"Calling Mr. Tivated....paging Mr. Mo Tivated, please pick up a white courtesy phone!"

Great job guys!
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Feb 20, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
outstanding report and day! Thanks really enjoyed reading this.

Released into general population, Idaho
  Feb 20, 2013 - 04:02pm PT
What's not to love about Arch Rock?

Oakland, CA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 04:12pm PT
What a cool idea - the next level (or two levels) above Ed H's FOBIAD. I look forward to the day that everything on Midterm after the fingers feels "cruiser." Sad to be reminded that Arch will be on lockdown soon.

I think I've got a pic of Supplication somewhere, have to dig for it.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 04:14pm PT
Way Cool! Thanks for sharing.
Bruce Morris

Trad climber
Soulsbyville, California
  Feb 20, 2013 - 05:27pm PT
I remember doing Gripper and Midterm one day at Arch and then going down to Steamboat to go skinny dipping. The best part were two beers that afternoon at the old Degnan's. Enough for me, but it was in August and about a 100 degrees in the shade. Winter sounds much more fun and efficient.

Great job!
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 05:51pm PT
Most excellent - I'm even in the New D picture! I love getting the full value day in at Arch. Great job guys.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Feb 20, 2013 - 06:52pm PT
wow, that's awesome!

makes me a bit sad I'm not in the Valley more with so many routes I haven't done before.

  Feb 20, 2013 - 06:56pm PT
That's a lot of crankin for one day for sure.

Years ago Rudy McMoody did that kind of affair at the cookie cliff.

They did almost every route at the cookie except a couple of the short obscure ones no one ever does anyways.

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 06:57pm PT
Good stuff, I better get up there before the closure!

Were there any fixed lines hanging around?

Trad climber
Atlanta, GA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 07:37pm PT
Nice Work! That's a proud day.

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Feb 20, 2013 - 08:00pm PT
Thanks Alexey! What a great (and burly) day.

That New D super-pitch must've worked you something good! It's probably possible to go to the top with the 80m but I wouldn't want to be in charge of that.

San Jose, CA
Author's Reply  Feb 20, 2013 - 08:51pm PT
Rob, it is possible to run NewD as one pitch with 80 m. I done Gripper as one pitch and ~10 feet left. Gripper is about same length as NewD - 270/280 feet.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Feb 20, 2013 - 08:43pm PT
Wow....nice job guys! Arch Rock is also my favorite crag in the Valley, especially on cold days. Back in the early 70's we feasted on those cracks when they were still in their virgin state.....yum, yum!
McHale's Navy

Trad climber
From Panorama City, CA
  Feb 21, 2013 - 02:16am PT
Nice pics. I took at least one of those exams for sure back in the early 70s. Midterm sounds and looks the most familiar. Got a B maybe. After that I dropped out. That is some seriously solid and clean rock in there.

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 09:04pm PT
What a cool idea, and an inspiring trip report! Thanks!
David Wilson

  Feb 20, 2013 - 10:02pm PT
Awesome Alexey and Steve ! What a great day in the lower canyon. Thanks for posting

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Feb 20, 2013 - 10:46pm PT
Nice stuff! Cool plan, well executed!
Хорошо сделали люди!

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Feb 20, 2013 - 11:08pm PT
PROUD!!!! Thanks for sharing

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 20, 2013 - 11:55pm PT
Just: thanks for an good post.

(ok I can't resist: You should have done Entrance Exam! But don't ask the last time I really climbed a real climb.)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Feb 21, 2013 - 01:25am PT
great trip reports,
good to see you have your stoke back!

East Bay, CA
  Feb 21, 2013 - 03:02am PT
So inspirational! Many cheers!

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Feb 21, 2013 - 08:11am PT
Great stuff. What a good time!

Trad climber
Washington DC
  Feb 21, 2013 - 05:54pm PT
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Feb 21, 2013 - 07:46pm PT
Stellar, thanks!!!!!!!!

Oakland, CA
  Aug 20, 2015 - 11:13am PT
Bump for one of top 3 favorite TRs on this site.

Where would we be without Arch...

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Aug 20, 2015 - 01:25pm PT
Woah, I missed this first time around. That is a big day of studliness. Lots of serious stuff is within your reach if you can pull this off.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Jan 19, 2018 - 10:42am PT
Just saw this gem for the first time. Awesome day!
Dan McDevitt

Social climber
tioga cliff or fifi buttress
  Jan 25, 2018 - 02:41pm PT
yeah buddy!!!
Alexey cruising on p.3 of New Demensions
Alexey cruising on p.3 of New Demensions
Credit: Dan McDevitt
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report