South Face 5.8

  • Currently 5.0/5

Charlotte Dome

High Sierra, California USA

Trip Report
South Face, Charlotte Dome Photo TR.......Showin' Some Love!
Wednesday August 12, 2009 10:29pm
You want love? REALLY want some lovin' in the form of pure granite bliss via The Classic South Face (5.8 )........???


Here's the short story:

Deb heading past Bullfrog Lake after descending from Kersarge Pass

After passing Charlotte Lake, this is the crossing of its outlet to the west

"Dats duh dome.......Dummy! (Deb having a hairdo malfunction....sorry Babe :)

Gorgeous flowers were encountered as we headed up to the "secret" campsite

And, no, we didn't have any issues finding it. Simply start up from the trailhead early, read the Supertopo approach directions (we came in from the east) and prepare to be thrilled by the site itself and the amazing spring!

OK, time to climb. Deb and I simul'd the first 5 pitches before pitching it out. Here's Deb on Pitch #6....The Slot Pitch, considered the crux of the route.

Deb making her way up higher on the Slot Pitch

That cool chick, some know as 'Rockcritter' (aka Mrs. Mooch), taking it in at the top of the Slot Pitch (Kings Canyon in the background)

Me cleaning up the belay before heading up Pitch #7

Deb enjoying the steep yet uber-fun Furrows Pitch (#10)

A view looking east, up the Charlotte Creek drainage, from Pitch 10. Pretty sure that's Mount Rixford in the background.

Deb nearing the top of the Furrows pitch with the sun in her eyes.......poor ting!

Mr. and Mrs. Mooch enjoying the moment near the top of the summit. 'Course, you can see who wears the cam in the family. (bah dum dum!)

Deb poses just below the summit's west side with questionable clouds moving in.

As we headed out the next day, we spotted the moon hangin' over the top of Charlotte. Very cool!

Looking back at Charlotte Dome as we headed out for a drreaded slog to Kersarge Pass.....miles away :P Again, we never found ourselves lost in manzanita. Gotta keep a keen eye out for the good climbers trail

Deb slogging up the west side of Kersarge Pass. "Anyone have a cold Diet Pepsi I can mooch?"

There you have it........lovin' it up on Charlotte Dome!


  Trip Report Views: 3,009
About the Author
mooch is a trad climber from Old Climbers' Home (Adopted).

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  Aug 12, 2009 - 10:36pm PT
Nice TR mooch!
I'm leaving right now to go do that thing!

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Aug 12, 2009 - 10:39pm PT

That looks fun, dude!

Random Nobody
  Aug 12, 2009 - 10:43pm PT
Really cool TR...

I think I saw some questionable bouldering possibilities at that summit.. But fear that I'm not willing to spot.. or fall!!!



East Bay, CA
  Aug 12, 2009 - 10:46pm PT
Great TR & photos Mooch & Mrs. Mooch!!!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Aug 12, 2009 - 10:58pm PT

That hike in looks awsome, and the dome..........FAntasTIC!

Good job to both of you for spending your time together in such a great place.


Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Aug 12, 2009 - 11:04pm PT
Fabuloso TR, Mooches. Good job.
Showin' Charlotte some Love, Fo' sho'.
That is one beautiful place, huh?

A pile of dirt.
  Aug 12, 2009 - 11:22pm PT
Now I know what you've been doing outside shuteye!

Nice TR - Great looking trip!

Thanks you two!


Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
  Aug 12, 2009 - 11:51pm PT
SWEET!!! Can't wait to get out there and do that. Love the pictures.
mark miller

Social climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 12:13am PT
Great Pics, thanks for rekindling the memories, did you folks have any bear encounters? Both times I've been there the bears were the crux....

Social climber
San Luis Obispo, Ca.
  Aug 13, 2009 - 12:24am PT
Thanks to the Mooch clan!
That Charlott is a hotie!
Doug Robinson

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Aug 13, 2009 - 12:24am PT
Your photos are really great. Thanks!

Somehow saw new things, new perspective, in your shots, even after climbing that route many times.

You really captured the feeling of some of the best rock anywhere. Cool!

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Aug 13, 2009 - 12:27am PT
That shot with Kings Canyon in the background (w/ Mrs Mooch) is stupifying, that's a lot of stone out there that is ultra-tasty!!!!!!

Trad climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 12:32am PT
Really great TR, mooch! Thanks for that.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Aug 13, 2009 - 12:40am PT
Sweet. That was the last climb I did last year. Too beautiful for words. Thanks for sharing.


Trad climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 01:17am PT
hey, nice one. Beautiful foxtail pines on either side of Kearsarge Pass, I don't know if you guys noticed - like taking all the best features of a Jeffrey and a Red Fir and wrapping them up in one tree. Such a fun few days out, seems a shame that some people turn it into a CTC obsession-fest....

Trad climber
Vista, CA
  Aug 13, 2009 - 01:30am PT
That dome has LONG been on the "list", and Mrs. Mooch makes it look like a lot of fun! Been all over that area backpacking, but never found a climbing partner willing to pack gear in. The time will come! Congratulations on a great climb!

Social climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 01:35am PT
^ This person is a NERD.

dayum son, looks like yall had a blast. some pretty eeky looking puffies to boot! That pass.....arrggg looks steeep.
Nate D

San Francisco
  Aug 13, 2009 - 02:49am PT
That was a superb and inspiring show for this armchair climber!

I can always count on the Moochers to keep it real!
Always driven to taste of the classics as well as the obscurities... all in great style.

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Aug 13, 2009 - 03:08am PT

I always wondered just what the "east approach" looked like.

Thanks for sharing.

see ya at the Stone House.

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
  Aug 13, 2009 - 08:25am PT
Beautiful pictures of a beautiful rock climb.
Thanks for sharing the love.
Scared Silly

Trad climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 08:57am PT
Nice TR. How did ya like the run out pitch?

And ya sure Mrs. Mooch did not have a Pepsi hidden in that huge pack - what ya do make her carry everything?

Trad climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 08:57am PT
mooch - it was great meeting you and the Drill Sargeant at the Dome! That was quite possibly the best climb I've ever done. The rock quality, exposure, positions, etc, were just amazing, and the hike, though long, is just spectacularly beautiful. Damn glad we got to spend time with you and the missus at that idyllic little campsite. Hope to post our pics soon as well. And thanks again for keepin' an eye out for us on our descent foray! ;-)


for whoever asked - no bear activity whatsoever in the 3 days we were there.
the pretender

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, CA
  Aug 13, 2009 - 09:08am PT
Nice TR Dave - made my morning. Thanks!

Trad climber
Tribal Base Camp (Riverkern Annex)
Author's Reply  Aug 13, 2009 - 11:28am PT
No bear encounters or signs of ursa around the campsite. I forgot to mention that we met Les and Scotty on the way out to Charlotte. They were out from the east coast to climb a few beautes in the Sierra, including this one. Great guys! I'll let Les discuss their mini-epic ;)

Mrs. Mooch took on Pitch as a cucumber she was. We both agreed it wasn't runout like Mac put on his topo (5.7R.....40' runout). In fact, she was able to find pro every 25 feet (a few discontinous cracks, a knob tie off and an eyebrow slot). One just needs to keep an eye out for the opportunites. Recommend small cams (smallest Alien, a few #0 Metolius cams and slingin' abilities).


Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
  Aug 13, 2009 - 12:09pm PT
Awesome Pics, Mooch!
I did Charlotte back in 81,
after drooling over the pics in, "50 classic climbs".

The hike in, and out for the climb, was well worth it!


by on this thread and tell you that some of your photos are more than 700 pixel wide, and that you've BLOWN the



Big Wall climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 12:41pm PT
Nice, Dave!!! I would like to get out for this one at some point.

Trad climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 12:58pm PT
Very nice!

Looks beautiful out there, thanks for posting up!

Trad climber
Newark, DE
  Aug 13, 2009 - 01:01pm PT
Really neat pics. Thanks.

Iron Mtn.

Trad climber
Seattle Washington
  Aug 13, 2009 - 02:01pm PT
Nice report and pics, I gotta get there....

Trad climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 02:04pm PT
mooch wrote: "I forgot to mention that we met Les and Scotty on the way out to Charlotte. They were out from the east coast to climb a few beautes in the Sierra, including this one. Great guys! I'll let Les discuss their mini-epic ;)"

haha! not much to report except that, unlike the mooch team, we didn't simul-climb the first 4 pitches, so we took considerably longer. On the descent, we got suckered to the right (I'd neglected to make a photocopy of the descent route from the Supertopo book, which CLEARLY outlines the descent route) by footprints and other signs of travel, and eventually came upon a rap sling. So rap we did. And then another rap sling. And then a another rap with a fixed rope, with many knots - isolating cut or frayed sections of rope - to pass, and ending with a rap biner on a bight at the end of the 400' or so of rope! One rap from that on our rope brought us to an island of nothing, which just wasn't anything I wanted to downclimb in the dark (my headlamp had gone dead!). So we built a rap anchor (1 nut w/biner, 1 red tricam girth-hitched to our leaver sling, and a quicklink), and made one more rap to safer downclimbing. Mooch and the Missus were very kind to have hiked up the descent trail a ways from our camp, to provide a directional beacon for us to follow! We were never in peril, and in fact, took the time to take in the incredible surroundings despite our inconvenient predicament -- Venus was rising the south, the full moon to the east, many, many stars were visible, and Charlito Dome was perfectly outlined against the ink-blue/black sky -- but their kindness was very much appreciated. We stumbled back to camp with them just after 10pm, to a nice blazing campfire. Thanks again, Dave & Deb, for the kindness! You guys rock.

right here, right now
  Aug 13, 2009 - 03:47pm PT
One sharp TR !!!

Trad climber
East Side, California
  Aug 13, 2009 - 05:55pm PT
Nice job Dave and Deb, that route is on my list, just moved it up a few notches.
Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Aug 13, 2009 - 06:18pm PT
Really good TR Mooch! Loved the big quality pics!

Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
  Aug 13, 2009 - 08:50pm PT
Mooch - Great pics! Somehow we lost the trail and did the manzanita bashing and our legs show it. hahhaha!

Les - We were out there on Saturday. We didn't use the high rap slings but when we ran across your anchor we ended up using it. Thanks! It was pretty much near dark at that point and it helped get us down quicker. I thought the South Face was a fantastic route and can see why it's a classic. The approach was a bit long for me, off the couch, but the climb made it totally worth it.

Good times!

  Aug 13, 2009 - 08:54pm PT
Beautiful !!

Big Wall climber
Sedro Woolley, WA
  Aug 13, 2009 - 10:39pm PT
Great TR, Looks fun!!!! Especially the wild waves in the granite at the bottom, while looking down, crazy Man....


Trad climber
  Aug 13, 2009 - 11:00pm PT
sbwyliedog - glad to be of service! just as we were damn glad to have come across that fixed rope!

Trad climber
Tribal Base Camp (Riverkern Annex)
Author's Reply  Aug 14, 2009 - 09:30am PT

Think we saw you coming up there as we were headed out on Saturday. Glad you made it out there.


Nah, you guys would've done the same for sure! Don't forget our offer to you guys to allow us to play tour guide for a Shuteye outting next time you guys come out west.

  Aug 14, 2009 - 09:35am PT

Love Charlotte Dome!

Gym climber
  Aug 14, 2009 - 09:49am PT

Props to the Missus and the Mister.

Trad climber
SeKi, California
  Aug 14, 2009 - 10:44am PT
Very Cool Dave! Nice photos and wow, gotta go check out that fifty classic one of these days...........

Trad climber
  Aug 15, 2009 - 01:36am PT
Nice TR Davey....Howdy Sis , how are you??
Brother, can't wait to see ya man!

Trad climber
Southern California
  Aug 15, 2009 - 01:53am PT

Trad climber
Tribal Base Camp (Riverkern Annex)
Author's Reply  Aug 15, 2009 - 01:56am PT

Miss you lots bro! Yep, can't wait to see you! We'll be taking advantage of the long Labor Day weekend for sure. Exile and Dark Helmet need some attention, eh? ;)

I'll be sure to mention you said hello to the Misses. Love ya bro!

Trad climber
  Sep 30, 2009 - 12:41pm PT
Nice Tr. Deb sure wears a stout cam!

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
  Sep 30, 2009 - 01:36pm PT
Great photos Mooch. Beautiful climb in a beautiful area. Thanks


  Sep 30, 2009 - 04:30pm PT
Oh yes! This was my first High Sierra climb 22 years ago. Nice report. Brought back sweet memories. I remember enjoying the friction slab descent...

  Sep 30, 2009 - 05:16pm PT
Thank you for such a great trip report, you guys just maid my day!

Trad climber
  Sep 30, 2009 - 05:40pm PT
The flowers are Leopard/Tiger Lillys. Some of the most concentrated concentrations of those flowers are found along Bubbs/Charlotte creek drainage. Beautiful aren't they!

Good trip. I did it the day after Galen died (5.10c variation). We went light: two power bars and one bowl of oatmeal for the hike in, climb, and trip out. Can you say hunger pains.

Enjoyed the post...Thanks
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Charlotte Dome - South Face 5.8 - High Sierra, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The route as seen from the approach.
Photo: Karl Lew