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Reed's Pinnacle


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
The Iota Chimney - A Super Awesome, Must Do 5.4 in Yosemite!
Wednesday February 29, 2012 3:43am
Really? A must do 5.4 in Yosemite? Come on!

Seriously, though, this has got to be one of the most beautiful climbs I have done in Yosemite. It is also one of my favorite chimneys. I had read about it merely as an approach to setting up top roping anchors on Chingando, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the chimney to be clean, bright, fairly tricky, interesting for "only" 5.4 and a fun caving adventure in it's own right.

Self portrait in the Iota Chimney at sunset.
Self portrait in the Iota Chimney at sunset.
Credit: PellucidWombat

The Iota chimney is hidden away in the Iota Flake on the forgotten far left side of Reed's Pinnacle. The Reid guide indicates it merely with an arrow pointing at the Iota Flake and the words "The Iota. 5.4 chimney behind". It isn't even listed as a route in it's own right in the guide. Guarded by a gully of decomposing class 3 rock covered in leaves & moss, the approach really isn't too bad if you don't mind a little jungle exploration.



I had approached it at sunset at the end of one day in January, and then again last weekend to finally play around on Chingando. At Eric Gable's excellent suggestion, on the second visit we didn't just climb to the Chingando anchors, but also took the second pitch to the top of the formation. This second pitch was very different in nature from the first pitch, and although is still only 5.4 or so, is also runout and only appropriate for confident chimney climbers.

First Visit


The Iota Chimney seen from behind the Iota Flake


Reed's Left Side seen from behind the Iota Flake


5.10 OW P2 Crux of Reed's Left Side


Entering the Iota Chimney


Looking Through the Swirl of the Iota Chimney Tunnel-Through


Looking up the Second Pitch. No Pro! How High Does it Go?


Chingando Anchors


Sweet Sunset Chimneying

Second Visit


Back Behind the Iota




Reed's Pinnacle from Behind the Iota


Hidden Entrance to the Iota Chimney. Just Go Past the Large Chockstone.


Getting in is tricky (at least if you're 5'9" and have stubby wombat arms). There is nothing to grab on the pedestal, and you're just high enough to hurt yourself if you slip out. The wide stem option seemed too insecure too since you had to practically leap over, so on my last visit I found out a secure way to enter the chimney. I kept my arms as chickenwings so that my torso wouldn't slip out while doing the crab shuffle. Once you can grab the back edge just do the floppy whale maneuver as you pull up!


Reaching the Exit of P1 at the Piton Atop Chingando.


Looking Down P1 of The Iota Chimney at the Death Slot. Maybe There is Some Climbing Booty in There?


Pitch 2. How High? (40-50 ft) Any Pro? (No)


Heading Up the Second Pitch (by Vitaliy)


Iota Chimney Window


Cool Forms & Textures At the Top of the Iota Chimney


Looking Down. Maybe I Should Place Some Pro Now?


Optional #4 or Smaller Cam Placement. I dragged some pro all the way up here, so I might as well place something! :-P

It turns out the rapp slings were right behind my head here. Doh! Well the chimney was too wide for secure hip-knee-heel camming here and the rock is pretty slick, so I didn't mind placing a piece 1 ft sooner :-0


Vitaliy Following




Hands-Free Rest


Sweet Rappel Back Behind the Iota

The two pitches can be linked but it can be nice to break them up to better see each other. For rack bring 1-2 quickdrawed slings (optional).

  Trip Report Views: 3,750
PellucidWombat
About the Author
PellucidWombat is a mountain climber from Berkeley, CA.

Comments
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nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Feb 29, 2012 - 04:14am PT
Nice pics! The one time I got serious about trying Chingando, I got lost wandering up and left and ended up in sketchy steep mossy wet gulleys. I didn't find Iota or Olga's Trick, but I was happy to come down in one piece.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Feb 29, 2012 - 04:23am PT
Hahaha! I did that too on my first visit but I didn't have the sense to give up. I found the correct ledge to traverse on while on my way back down to the sunbathing platform.

Here is Olga's Trick, by the way. It looks nice!

justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
  Feb 29, 2012 - 08:47am PT
Sweet. Olga's looks pretty fun too.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Feb 29, 2012 - 09:46am PT
Thanks! This looks like something I would like to do.
I love chimneys and 5.4 is just about my speed now.
Brokedownclimber

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
  Feb 29, 2012 - 12:40pm PT
Many Moons ago (1974-1975), I had a similar experience to Nutjob--getting kinda' lost looking for this climb. Never did find it and was thankful to get back down to the road in one piece.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Feb 29, 2012 - 12:48pm PT
Excellent pics.

Looks like some fun!
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Feb 29, 2012 - 12:50pm PT
Dood, you must have awesome callouses on yer knees! Or were you a bat
in yer last life?















JUST KIDDING! :-) Nice TR!





Sheesh, the things people will do for fun.........
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Feb 29, 2012 - 01:58pm PT
knee pads prevent callouses, Mr. Reilly. : )

Was a fun day for sure.
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
  Feb 29, 2012 - 02:46pm PT
cool TR , you should do 'Inner Reaches' at five and dime ...
OlympicMtnBoy

climber
Seattle
  Feb 29, 2012 - 02:58pm PT
Nice, I'm going to have to add that to the tick list up there.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Feb 29, 2012 - 03:03pm PT
I haven't been that way in over forty years, but I agree that the chimney, in particular, is clean and a great place for a beginner to learn chimney techniques. Its angle is such that it's much easier to proceed than, say Church Bowl Chimney. The last few moves to the top of the slab are easy but enjoyable in their own right.

I agree that the crux is the mantling out of the corridor -- at least for someone my height (about 5' 5" then -- maybe a bit shorter now). And I don't remember placing any pro whatsoever on the climb. We downclimbed the route.

Great fun, and good scenery on perfect rock.

Thanks for the TR.

John
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Feb 29, 2012 - 03:12pm PT
Invalid ascent - unless you took Vitaliy's cheburashka.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Feb 29, 2012 - 03:47pm PT
cool TR , you should do 'Inner Reaches' at five and dime ...

Really cool route. A teeny bit dirty but would clean out quickly with more traffic. Once the road reopens I plan to go back and try the right start variation. Eric Gable said he thought it was 5.10a? Looked like an interesting OW to squeeze.

Invalid ascent - unless you took Vitaliy's cheburashka.

Cheburashka was probably socializing with the Wyde crew at the Chingando sunbathing platform :-)



I bet this route would be a cool one to do without a headlamp during a full moon. Hmmmm . . .
em kn0t

Trad climber
isle of wyde
  Feb 29, 2012 - 05:11pm PT
great photos, makes me wanna be there.

yearning for wyde.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Feb 29, 2012 - 06:04pm PT
Love to see any TR of something unpopular or unknown.

Olga's looks really good.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Feb 29, 2012 - 06:25pm PT
looks good, thx for the detail psyche!
Fritz

Trad climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Feb 29, 2012 - 06:35pm PT
loved the short video.

Your reports are alway welcome fun!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 1, 2012 - 09:44pm PT
Thanks Wombad, The links for the last few pics are broken?
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Mar 1, 2012 - 10:11pm PT
Thanks for the notice. Sometimes Picasa needs some correcting.
bit'er ol' guy

climber
the past
  Mar 1, 2012 - 10:16pm PT
SANDBAG OR STOUT OR SOLID FOR THE GRADE>
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Mar 1, 2012 - 11:32pm PT
I'd say solid for the grade, just make sure you're solid at the technique or not afraid of falling, as the upper chimney is just wide enough that you could potentially get hurt if you fell (the rock is slick & there are no positive features, but leans back at about 45 degrees).
Byran

climber
San Jose, CA
  Mar 1, 2012 - 10:42pm PT
I did Olga's Trick a couple months ago. It's a little dirty but worth it. The top half of the climb is splitter, the pro is bomber, and it's steeper than it looks from below. The rap tree died and fell over but someone improvised a new anchor by cutting off part of their rope and extending a tree from way back yonder.
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Mar 2, 2012 - 04:25am PT
You know on second thought I think I might have climbed the Iota with Barb Eastman and Molly Higgins on their first climb in the Valley in 1973. I know it was a fun chimney over by the tunnel but I can't remember the name of what we did. It was the first time I ever led anything and I recall their was no protection but I felt secure.

If it wasn't the Iota, what other chimneys are there that we could have climbed?
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Mar 1, 2012 - 11:34pm PT
Jan - It likely was this one, then, if it was at the Reed Pinnacle area. The other chimneys are towards the center of the formation, midway between the two tunnels, and on my misguided first attempt to find the Iota chimney I didn't see any other climbable rock in the area. There are some chimneys in the rock formation just downslope of the northern tunnel, but that is a different area (routes are in the Roper guide?).

Byran - BryanG from MountainProject, right? I've enjoyed your route submissions & beta for the wyde & obscure. I'm actually going to post a report soon of a climb I also did last weekend up Pat Pinnacle via Desperate Straights. Your info was very helpful for both of those routes. I think I ran into you at the Camp 4 Wall area this past December too. I was the guy asking you about the Buttocks route while you were on your way over to the Secret Storm/Chopper area.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Mar 5, 2012 - 10:25am PT
The Iota is a great moonlight climb as you can watch your moonshadow chimneying along if you catch it right.

Jan- You did the Iota for sure. If you didn't remember a struggle that is...
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Mar 5, 2012 - 10:50am PT
No struggle, just fun.
So Iota it was.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
  Mar 5, 2012 - 03:51pm PT
No struggle, just fun.
Sure, for the follower.
I led it BITD and as I recall, it was scary as sh(T!
Only had hexes/stoppers for pro.
I suppose I should go back and lead it again as a sanity (insanity?) check.
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Mar 5, 2012 - 06:46pm PT
Only had hexes/stoppers for pro.

Same difference for modern pro. There is none available/worth placing before the first piton (a rope would protect you from sliding too far into the bottomless slot, though, but it would be hard to fall there). You could clip a sling to the piton atop Chingando, but it would do nothing to keep you from sliding into the wall at the bottom if you fell in the upper part, which only has pro at rapp anchor at the very top. So this is a climb where technique is truly your best piece of pro! Fortunately the chimneying is pretty easy & secure as long as you stay relaxed and move carefully. Sort of like the runouts on the upper pitches of Snake Dike :-)
pk_davidson

Trad climber
Albuquerque, NM
  Mar 5, 2012 - 08:10pm PT
Hmmm, I'm always dubious over 5.4 chimneys, they tend to be like 8+ or 9+, often time sandbags. You grunt and thrash 100 feet above your pro...

Nice TR though....
Zander

climber
  Mar 5, 2012 - 08:19pm PT
Whoo Hoo!
Chimney Bump!
Z
Jan

Mountain climber
Colorado, Nepal & Okinawa
  Mar 5, 2012 - 11:08pm PT
I guess ignorance is bliss. I was so happy to have a brand new set of hexas
and stoppers and to be done with hammering on pitons, I never worried about
their protective value. I was just delighted that they were easy to put in and get
out. And of course I love chimneys.
The Real Mad Dog

Gym climber
Napa, CA
  Mar 6, 2012 - 10:58pm PT
Great pictures. What a lot of gear! Guess the guide book is of no help. Back in 1965, climbers generally free-soloed it. If you like chimneys, it's kind of hard to mess up. Now the original chimney route for Bishop's Terrace is another story. Used to be unprotedted 5.6 back then. Over time it got very slippery (shoe rubber?) and became much harder. This also is a problem with the standard route up Devils Tower, Wyoming. One short stretch of the crux pitch is like Teflon.

Mad Dog

PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
Author's Reply  Mar 7, 2012 - 02:33pm PT
Back in 1965, climbers generally free-soloed it. If you like chimneys, it's kind of hard to mess up.


Yeah, the rope really only helps from falling into the death slot, which would be hard to do, or would be helpful for rappelling off the top. However, there is a fixed line with knots for climbing that could be used to downclimb off the top if you wanted to solo w/o bringing a rope. Definitely a secure enough chimney so long as you're familiar with the technique.

Now the original chimney route for Bishop's Terrace is another story. Used to be unprotedted 5.6 back then. Over time it got very slippery (shoe rubber?) and became much harder.


You can protect it now, but the pro placements don't seem like they'd keep you from hitting the ledges in there. Still best not to fall on that one!

This also is a problem with the standard route up Devils Tower, Wyoming. One short stretch of the crux pitch is like Teflon.


The Durrance Route? I don't remember anything that seemed to stand out as slicker than anything else, except the mud & bird sh*t on the direct finish variation. Although all of the rock on that tower seemed slick to me, so I erred on shoving myself deeper in those flaring cracks rather than stemming on the face :-)
Gal

Trad climber
going big air to fakie
  Mar 7, 2012 - 03:14pm PT
this sounds fun thanks for a good idea.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Mar 8, 2012 - 12:09am PT
Bumper!
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Photo: Ed Hartouni
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