Crest Jewel 5.10a

  • Currently 5.0/5

North Dome

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
Royal Arches to Crest Jewel - Photo TR
Thursday July 14, 2011 5:51pm
Back in late May, Pete and I had a damn fine time on the Royal Arches to Crest Jewel linkup. A climb many of you have enjoyed as well. The best thing about writing TR's is the chance to revisit the day.

At 6:15am we introduced ourselves in the Awahnhee parking lot. Was he going to kiss me on the cheek? I wasnít sure how they did it in Zurich. Turns out heís an Aussie, just living in Zurich, so I never had to wonder. I was leading up the chimney at 6:30.

In what other activity do you put your life in someoneís hands so quickly? Dentistry. Surgery. Air travel. Some others. I had a brief second to check the vitals in a new partner: good calluses on hands; long limbs; using an ATC Guide and wearing La Sportivas; purple and aquamarine colors on an old school windbreaker; burly looking in the Aussie style.

We simuled RA so I never really got a look at Pete until Crest Jewel. This is the guy:

We made pretty good time on the Arches, simuling until I got clear of the waterfall after the pendulum. Somewhere in there I took a fun handcrack variation that Iíd missed the first time Ė best section of the climb.

The upper traverses that let you reach the rim were wet and a little dodgy.

Pete sussing it out.

The area up top is peaceful.

And the hike over to North Dome is cruiser, with big views of the Valley.

Quick lunch, stash all the gear but the draws and a cam, and we were gone.

Climbing pics taken on route for Crest Jewel donít vary too much. A perfect plane of granite, at a perfect angle, in a setting that is good.


You spend a lot of time thinking about HD while belaying.

Sweet views of Washington Columnís summit.

Bomber anchors throughout.

I got to lead every pitch, and can easily say that for me the linkup of p1 and 2 was the crux Ė not because anything there was harder, itís just a matter of getting dialed in to the style. On my first lead, I was mainly looking at hand height, scratching around for purchase with my fingers. As the day wore on, I pretty much abandoned looking for anything for my hands beyond a palming surface, and focused everything on the feet, looking up occasionally to put the next bolt in the crosshairs, or to gaze around at the amazing setting. I climbed right by two of the four or so jugs on the route because of this. Didnít matter.

The summit is a nice spot to be, with more of those staggering views.

Lots of blocks were an hour from cutting away from west of HDís visor area when these shots were taken.

One of my approach shoes had come unclipped on route and slipped down the face, Iím not sure which of these two solutions was better after 10 pitches of slabbiní.

Remembered to grab the gear stash.

Then the blocks cut loose while I was waiting for Pete on top of the Column. In this other thread I put up a video of what I caught with the camera.

ST now allows embedding, sweet:

Pete had offered to hike up and scour the base of ND, near the Direct start, to see if my shoe would turn up. Friendly man, that Pete. And he found the shoe! He found about five other orphaned shoes, in the same spot where mine was. So if you lost an approach shoe on ND, there's an Aussie in Zurich who can help you out with info.

Coming down the ND gulley we got to watch the SAR chopper buzz the impact zone, and I wondered what routes go up this feature off the shoulder of Half Dome?

Itís just off Peteís left shoulder here:

Credit: le_bruce

  Trip Report Views: 4,188
About the Author
le_bruce is a climber from Oakland: what's not to love?.

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Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:04pm PT
Nice pics! But CJ ain't the same without the 1/4" rusty spinners.
Now you can fly! :-)

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:07pm PT
TFPU. I so want to do this, and you're making it harder for me to concentrate at work. Great route with great scenery. A real trail from RA to CJ! Can't take a bad picture of Half Dome, and you always need another shot!

Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:10pm PT
and you always need another shot!

Guilty as charged - every time I come home from the Valley, about a gig of HD shots on my memory card. Why?!
Mighty Hiker

Outside the Asylum
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:13pm PT
Pete as in ST's Fishy?

Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:19pm PT
That's the guy, MH. Couldn't ask for a better partner.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:40pm PT
Nice Granite!

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:18pm PT
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Land of God-less fools
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:34pm PT

Props on the shoe recovery.

Trad climber
San Francisco
  Jul 15, 2011 - 06:34pm PT
Photos from a recent Royal Arches-South Face linkup here:
scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
  Jul 15, 2011 - 07:39pm PT
Nice. Good shoe recovery.

Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Jul 18, 2011 - 02:29pm PT
Nice pics, jvSF - thanks for those.

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Jul 18, 2011 - 02:40pm PT

Pete and I did Higher Cathedral Spire back in late May. Great partner!

Social climber
Oakland, CA
  Jul 18, 2011 - 03:04pm PT
That was awesome, thanks for posting.

Pretty funny about the 5 shoe stash.

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Mar 12, 2014 - 04:22pm PT
Big Mike

Trad climber
  Mar 12, 2014 - 10:24pm PT
Sick Tr man! Looks super fun!! Very high on my list!
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North Dome - Crest Jewel 5.10a - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Crest Jewel follows a series of unique but hard to see features.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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North Dome - Crest Jewel Direct 5.10d - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
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