Snake Dike 5.7 R

 
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Half Dome


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Snake Dike
Tuesday October 27, 2009 3:35am
Overview: The Rothinator and I set our sites on "the best moderate on the planet." After a day getting used to Yosemite Valley slab and crack, we spent a big day getting to the top of one of the most recognizable pieces of granite in the world.

Itinerary:
Sat: Get a site somewhere in Yosemite Valley so we didn't have to hike and camp. Climb Commitment and Church Bowl Lieback. Catch evening alpenglow on Half Dome to quell any doubts of a summit attempt.
Sun: Wake up early, hike a lot, climb Snake Dike, descend, take pictures and drink tasty beer

Conditions:
 Chilly breeze blowing down from Little Yosemite over Nevada and Vernal Falls made for perfect temps to scale the 2500' approach between 0500 and 0830 PDT.
 As soon as the sun came up on the southeast side of half dome, it was shorts and tee-shirts...oh California, your weather is inimitable.
 After first pitch shade, cloudless skies with a slight breeze kept temps ideal. Sunscreen? Yes, please.
 Many Bolts on pitches two and three appear as originally placed by the first ascent party, and inspire no confidence of withstanding a leader fall. No problem, the granite is uber sticky.
 After pitch 2, it's pure dike glory for a solid four 60m rope lengths. Forget the runout, the holds are so bomber and the views so unworldly, you don't even notice.

Recommendations:
 Combine pitches two and three with a 70m rope/strategic runner placement for more immediate dike access
 If rain is in the forecast, bring a second rope to bail, as topping out requires endless 3rd class friction where the only thing stopping you from tumbling down the route you just climbed is the coefficient of static friction between your shoe and half dome's granite.

Personal Notes:
 Being surrounded by the immense, shear granite escarpments and cascading water falls in Yosemite Valley is an ethereal experience. So much so that it seems every time you go back, it's like seeing it again for the first time. Nature, history and geology join forces, creating an aura that is at times indescribable, some objects that are tangible, some that are not, and all of it undeniably unforgettable.
 There is a sweeping left hand turn at the valley entrance when you emerge from the canopy of deciduous and coniferous trees to be struck with monstrous view of El Cap that may very well be the best left-hand turn in the United States of America. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
 Undoubtedly there will be many people at the park...expect it, given it's stature as a climbing mecca, and America's most beloved National Park.
 Peanut butter Co.'s Dark Chocolate Dreams is a gustatory manifestation of heaven
 Quote of the day, observed of a foreign visitor on the decent while watching in awe as thousands of gallons of water gushed over Vernal Falls: "This is what I love about America, everything here is so f*ing big."
 You will rub elbows with some of the best climbers in the world here at some point...either at one of the crags, walls, the market or camp 4...and you probably won't notice.
 Surrounded by the Valley's climbing history, and its sustained magnetic attraction and challenge is like eating humble pie with a polished crust made of excitement, energy and anticipation.
 Though it was a climbing route, I still don't feel justified in saying "I climbed Half Dome." Climb, to me, is the verb reserved for those few who can scale one of the routes on the venerable Northwest Face
 That dike was amazing.
 Why isn't there a more strict no car/bus policy in the Valley like Zion?

Dikes galore: A glimpse from afar of what we'd experience all day.
Dikes galore: A glimpse from afar of what we'd experience all day.
Credit: aleday

"It just might go." The route from just below the first pitch start. T...
"It just might go." The route from just below the first pitch start. The chosen dike for climbing is in full view
Credit: aleday

Getting used to slab: Pitch 1 done in style by the Rothinator
Getting used to slab: Pitch 1 done in style by the Rothinator
Credit: aleday

"Great Oden's Raven this dike climbing is spectacular"...but all good ...
"Great Oden's Raven this dike climbing is spectacular"...but all good things must come to an end, here at the top of pitch 6.
Credit: aleday

Pitch 8: rounding the top, and hitting the end of roped climbing
Pitch 8: rounding the top, and hitting the end of roped climbing
Credit: aleday

"Put the gear away and let's finish this pig."
"Put the gear away and let's finish this pig."
Credit: aleday

"Endless third class"
"Endless third class"
Credit: aleday

The Valley from the Diving Board: words don't do it justice
The Valley from the Diving Board: words don't do it justice
Credit: aleday

"what do you mean those cables don't fit in the reverso? We should be ...
"what do you mean those cables don't fit in the reverso? We should be able to rap this beast"
Credit: aleday

Her Majesty Half Dome's Profile from the north. Note the clean streak ...
Her Majesty Half Dome's Profile from the north. Note the clean streak where the cables scale the face.
Credit: aleday

Attempting to do justice to Vernal Falls...and failing
Attempting to do justice to Vernal Falls...and failing
Credit: aleday






  Trip Report Views: 4,588
aleday
About the Author
aleday is a trad climber from NV.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Karen

Trad climber
So Cal urban sprawl Hell
  Oct 27, 2009 - 03:22am PT
Cool guys! looks like you two had awesome weather with few people to deal with, were you guys it? btw...how did you get down the cables?


Thanks for the TR
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Oct 29, 2009 - 09:38am PT

Thanks for a good trip report and even better photos.
Scott Anderson

Trad climber
CA
  Aug 4, 2010 - 01:03pm PT
Great photos. Good descriptive report. I believe the bolts on the route are safe to use and appear much newer than original ascent. Cables are an easy descent. we flew down them.
Keep Climbing.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 4, 2010 - 01:08pm PT
Sweet!
Thorgon

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
  Aug 4, 2010 - 01:25pm PT
Stellar photos!


Thor
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Aug 4, 2010 - 02:09pm PT
Good stuff.

BTW that's the Visor, not the Diving Board.
cowpoke

climber
  Aug 4, 2010 - 02:16pm PT
well done!

great pictures and I love this line: Surrounded by the Valley's climbing history, and its sustained magnetic attraction and challenge is like eating humble pie with a polished crust made of excitement, energy and anticipation.
rhyang

climber
SJC
  Aug 4, 2010 - 04:25pm PT
Fun route and great trip report !
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Aug 4, 2010 - 04:31pm PT
Beautiful shots! Thanks for the TR.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 15, 2010 - 05:09pm PT
Thanks for sharing a moderate route, for weaklings like me...:)
Zander

climber
  Aug 15, 2010 - 05:39pm PT
Oh yeah! That is a good time.
Z
Paulina

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Aug 15, 2010 - 05:46pm PT
Thanks for sharing! Looks and sounds like super-fun.
murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
  Aug 15, 2010 - 06:14pm PT
(Note that this is a TR from last fall!)
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Aug 20, 2010 - 08:13pm PT
Nice, thanks for posting.
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Aug 20, 2010 - 11:19pm PT

W
O
W
!
!
!
!
Thanks for sharing, A!!!!!!
Great photos!!!!
Slater

Trad climber
Central Coast
  Aug 24, 2010 - 03:02pm PT
did the NW but have not done this yet for fear of the top endless hiking but shoot-just gotta do it for the exercise. Looks fun and pretty views!
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Snake Dike follows an amazing feature to one of the most incredible summits in Yosemite.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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