Trip Report
Some smoky Tuolumne obscurities
Wednesday September 4, 2013 8:15pm
They said the weather was great, but by Saturday the smoke had blown in thick.

Nonetheless, we got on Black Bart- DAFF dome
Grainy face to start
Credit: Jay Wood
Awkward, burly,, and steep section. Just as well you weren't there to see me hang.
Credit: Jay Wood
Some typical runout knobs, and then the summit views
Credit: Jay Wood
On the way down, took a run up (part of) 'Glee'- at 5.3 appears to be the easiest climb in the book.

Sunday the smoke was better, but rain possible. We tackled 'Sweet Nothings'- Stately Pleasure.
Just one long pitch, but sustained tiny edges all the way.
Credit: Jay Wood
We finished up with a nuts only ascent of South Crack, and searched long and hard for the elusive bolt anchor up high.
Credit: Jay Wood
By the end of the day, it was clear with some great clouds.
Credit: Jay Wood
Monday we set out for the North face of Lamb dome, and 'Goblin Girl' Here we see the intrepid Tony leading the way.
Credit: Jay Wood
The bolts are way less than stellar, but the first three pitches are great.
Credit: Jay Wood
There's a mantel that looked impossible but I somehow managed to get over it.
Credit: Jay Wood
Higher up the situation deteriorated into some hard, awkward, and loose roofiness. Even moving to the easier line I had some ugly flailing. But it's all good, and there were smiles at the top.
Credit: Jay Wood
Well, some were cautious.
Credit: Jay Wood

  Trip Report Views: 3,381
Jay Wood
About the Author
Jay Wood is a trad climber from Fairfax, CA.

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Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA/Joshua Tree
  Sep 4, 2013 - 08:20pm PT
Nice. Always good to see people doing obscurities.

Holy crap, that Saturday smoke. Wasn't it impossible to breathe?

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Sep 4, 2013 - 08:48pm PT
Great obscurities. Thanks for the TR
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Sep 4, 2013 - 09:54pm PT
Nice Jay! Thanks for the photos.
Greg Barnes

  Sep 4, 2013 - 10:45pm PT
Nice! Great way to take advantage of a deserted Tuolumne...(ha you two ever need to worry about lines!).

Yep, there's plenty of old bolts still left - although there wouldn't be if Roger hadn't moved down to the Valley a few years ago. But he's back in Tuolumne, so 200+ old bolts are gone this season! Tony & Clint & a few others get plenty done too (and fix lines for Roger!).

Joe & I did Birthday Party (left of Goblin Girl) and that one has a rusty fixed pin driven up under a headwall at the first belay (or maybe 2nd original belay), backed up with not-so-awesome 1" cams. I "backed up" the belay with an OK micronut...blech. Almost rather hang on those 3 nasty 1/4" bolts...almost.

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Sep 5, 2013 - 11:35am PT
It's funny that you picked a day when the Meadows was almost deserted to go for the obscurities! Looks like a fun time.

Social climber
Santa Cruz
  Sep 5, 2013 - 12:05pm PT
nice job Jay/ was the pro on Black Bart? still haven't done that one...

Social climber
Santa Cruz
  Sep 5, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
putting up a rope for Roger on Lord of the Overfly
putting up a rope for Roger on Lord of the Overfly
Credit: Joe

Sonoma County
  Sep 5, 2013 - 02:16pm PT
awesome Jay. All routes I've never heard of. :)

good to see you and Tony on Lembert a few weekends ago and thx again for helping with rebolting efforts.

Trad climber
  Sep 5, 2013 - 03:34pm PT
It was too smokey to breath. We left down to the east side instead. Sorry we missed seeing you guys. I usually see Tony every year but missed this year.


Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Sep 5, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
I'm impressed that you did anything at all in the smoke, much less worthwhile climbing on some obscurities.

Thanks much for the TR.


Social climber
Truckee, CA
  Sep 5, 2013 - 04:59pm PT
Sully, that's a pika. Just sayin'

...and bumping a nice little TR

the last bivy
  Sep 5, 2013 - 06:13pm PT
Nice TR Jay .. you guys are having good times! Love the lesser knowns!
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Land of God-less fools
Author's Reply  Sep 5, 2013 - 09:16pm PT
I was scouting a potential route left of Left North Book, but then saw that that is Birthday Party. Maybe bring a hammer on that one...

The bolts on Black Bart are new (thanks, guys!), there is one old pin, but it can be backed up with gear. Bootied a cam that had been there some years.

I think the goblin routes would benefit from a rap anchor at the top of pitch 3, and also Right North Book will only take micro nuts for an anchor at the top of pitch 3.

Thanks for the nice words!


Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 5, 2013 - 09:30pm PT
Fun read and great TR. thanks for the great photos. With the smoke it looks all Mrdor out there. Thumbs up for getting off the beaten path.

Greg Barnes

  Sep 5, 2013 - 09:42pm PT
Birthday party either needs a hammer plus some larger pitons, or maybe small tricams, or (in my best guess) a bolt right where the current piton is. No alternate belay spots either, runout below and above. The 5.7 slab up top is no joke, steep clean slab off a ledge/ramp, 40+ feet, no pro. Luckily not much lichen (compared to most rock up there that is).

Gym climber
  Sep 5, 2013 - 11:31pm PT
searched long and hard for the elusive bolt anchor up high

D'ya find it?

Trad climber
  Sep 6, 2013 - 12:52pm PT
Clint sent me the list of climbs needing replacement so I know if we get on something to bring ropes for replacement. I didn't have it when we climbed these or I would have brought and set a rope for replacement because some of these are hard for Roger and Clint to get to. Another one Jay and I did was "Booty and the Beach" on Lembert that needs replacing but will be hard to do because the route traverses so much. Maybe Jay can post some photo's of that as well. Scary belay off huge loose blocks at end of first pitch. Jay and I talked about rap anchors for Green Goblin wall but I would ask FA if OK cause the route goes to top and there is good gear anchors. But on Booty and the Beach, there really should be some belay anchors installed at top of pitch one. The reason I bring it up here is that it's a good place to ask FA parties about routes.

Edit: We did find the two new bolts on South Crack. Jay and I have climbed that many times and never found them so we were determined. Wandered around and there they were.....

  Sep 7, 2013 - 03:25am PT
Awesome stuff! Really good TR first day i ever climbed in tuolumne we did south crack & tried to simul climb it in 1 pitch on a 30m rope, it was an incredible climb but we had a bit of a moment lost on the slabs when there were no bolts between us cuz I could seem to find any more on the 30m, eventually we figured it out & didnt die but it was memorable, thanks for the reminder. Seems you could climb almost anywhere up there.

Some really great shots too. Thanks.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Sep 7, 2013 - 05:22am PT
Awsome, awkward and run-on sentences...

Nice TR critique technique, Fyan.

Fits the mold of the TR...which was STELLA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, Stanley, not right now...

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Sep 7, 2013 - 08:57am PT
Hmmm Black Bart.....

  Sep 7, 2013 - 10:23am PT
Here's a bit of history on Black Bart and the first ascent that Roger Breedlove wrote about on the "museum climbs" thread from 2007.

"Hey, Bob J., up-thread, you talked about 'Black Bart' on DAFF and the difference in bolt protection on the first pitch and the upper, crux pitch, and your conversation with Ron about adding a bolt on the first pitch to avoid a grounder—if I read you comments correctly.

The route was started by TM and me. I led the first pitch and placed the bolt that you mentioned. My lead was to come in from the right, starting near the rope-up spot for the "Crescent Arch", and then move horizontally to the base of the thin crack that completes the first pitch. There were a lot of loose micro flakes on that traverse and I was skating around and pulling off stuff to find secure holds. I started getting nervous about peeling, and asked TM what he thought about me dinking in a bolt. He begged off an opinion and said I should do what ever I thought was right. We didn’t place bolts willy-nilly, but I put one in, moved over to the crack and finished the pitch.

TM and I were guides at the climbing school and whatever reason we bailed on at the top of the first pitch. When we returned with Ron as our rope gun—I think it was the next year , TM led the first pitch and I followed. As TM was belaying up Ron, I un-roped and took a peek at the next pitch around the corner. When I came back, I didn't tie back in, but stood on one foot on a giant knob chatting with TM.

Mid sentence the whole knob broke off, and I was in the air. I lunged for TM's tie in rope and just managed to get my fingers from one hand on the loop of rope. Just as I reached full extension and had started pulling TM out of his position, he braced himself, and, using his Black Belt speed, slapped his hand on top of my wrist like some sort of sprung trap and caught me, fully extended, legs a-dangling. A one-handed catch.

I was pretty shaken up at my willful disregard for the nature of the mountains to kill off interlopers. So, when Ron got up to the belay, we rapped off. I started back to college that fall, and Ron and TM returned later and finished the route.

I am not sure that I have a valid opinion about the bolt I placed on the first pitch since I didn't finish the route. It might be that folks now reach that crack from a different angle and a ground fall is more likely. I would consult Ron and TM.

I did however have an opportunity this past year to consider the issue of adding a bolt to a not crux pitch on another route in the Meadows (see Ed's thread on 'Peter Peter'). Part of what happens naturally on first ascents is that you don't know what you are getting into or what level of commitment and climbing standard has to be sustained. It is really easy to under-protect the easier parts of a climb as compared to the crux, with the perverse effect that easier pitches are dangerous and the crux pitch is sewed up. I was mostly lazy and for all the times that I told myself that I would go back and fix up a route--add a more logical start or finish, or rearrange the bolt protection or belays, I only recall doing it once, in the Valley. All the other times, I just let it slide. On some ascents, when we were putting more forethought into it, we took the time to fix the issues on the first ascent.


Interesting stuff. I'll bump the museum thread.

Bob Jensen
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 7, 2013 - 12:09pm PT
Nice loved the marmot!!!

Trad climber
  Sep 7, 2013 - 12:38pm PT
Great find Bob. And that's why (I think I have enough of these slabs climbs under my belt on lead and on FA to comment with some humble input) that to onsite some of them without a bolt kit is just as hard as the FA. True, you don't have to drill, but you don't have a drill so the mental task before you is stiff. True, you think bolts are there because of the topo but topo's aren't always accurate (there's a pin at the top of the crack not shown on the topo for Black Bart at the spot marked 10a for instance) and can "lead you on" into danger. Jay climbed great on that pitch not knowing where the start was and not seeing bolts until he was there. You also want a strong partner because of the nature of some of the traverses on the slabs. Just as hard sometimes to un-clip and go looking at a bad fall. I'm not one to advocate adding to someone's vision and experience and it's why I love these climbs from that era but also respect the wishes of the FA. They are a reflection of the times and people who shaped them. And it's why I'm doing my small part to preserve them.

Edit: Bob. Just read your comments on the museum thread. All good. I climb over the old bolts onsite before replacement so I don't "review" the climb because it is all about trying to get the experience and the "feel" of the first ascent, and as I say above, I think it's sometimes scarier. As to climbers of today (Largo posted this thought wondering whether or not climbers will come back to them if re-bolted)coming back to them after re-bolting it depends. Climbers followed us up Curve Like Her as we were rebolting! They'd always wanted to do it but not on bad bolt's. Conversely, I can't think of a scarier undertaking then onsiting Burning Down the House, not knowing where that lone bolt is at the crux.

Trad climber
  Sep 23, 2013 - 04:24pm PT
Great stuff man- met Tony and Jay a few years ago and enjoyed chatting with both. Man, the smoke!

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Sep 23, 2013 - 05:08pm PT
Always good to see people doing obscurities.

May I add an Amen, Beth? Thanks much for a TR showing what is, for me, new territory. I greatly enjoyed it, and admired your determination amidst the smoke.


Trad climber
Hustle City
  Sep 23, 2013 - 07:56pm PT

Santa Barbara, CA
  Sep 23, 2013 - 09:30pm PT
Haha - we were down at the beach wondering who those two guys were that seemed lost on South Crack - just wandering around, then "Hey I think the second is starting to simul now" and this was on the first slab pitch. Found out that night around the campfire it was Jay and Tony :D

Yeah that smoke crept in Fri afternoon and stayed through Sat - but wasn't all that bad. Looked like fog!

It did keep the crowds at bay and the following weekend I got to finally get on Fairview and lead my sis up the Regular Route - arrived at 9:30 with no lines, 3 other parties all day.
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