Regular Route 5.10b

  • Currently 5.0/5

Third Pillar of Dana

Tuolumne Meadows, California USA

Trip Report
Third Pillar of Dana 10-3-12
Saturday October 6, 2012 10:53pm
Just when I thought the Tuolumne season was over...I was wrong!

With our limited time schedules, we had 3 plans: first 4 pitches of the Nose to get in some aid practice, Lost Arrow Spire, or Third Pillar of Dana as long as the high pressure system stayed in place. The Valley temps were predicted to be in the high 80s maybe low 90s. Luckily we decided to get up early and go for Third Pillar.

I had been wanting to do this route for about 4 years. Ryan as well. I have always been intimidated by the route because of the nature of HAVING to climb out and into a more exposed location. I once hiked the Dana plateau alone and got caught in a lightning storm. It was really scary.

I worked until 2am and then went to sleep. Three hours later Ryan pulled up in the Audi with a crazy protein concoction that definitely woke me up for the day! He turned on the electro tunes and we started the 2 hour drive.

We hit the trail and made the top in about 1.5 hours. The hike in is beautiful and and we saw some cool wildlife. We really wanted to see some bighorn, and we actually did see some likely bighorn scat.
Credit: enjoimx
Credit: enjoimx

The third class descent is quite sketchy by Yosemite Valley standards. Big car size blocks threaten to topple everywhere, and those blocks are holding the whole rubble pile up, so if one goes, domino effect. We wore helmets for the descent! You can see our slightly skeptical looks after finishing the descent!
3rd class?
3rd class?
Credit: enjoimx
Credit: enjoimx
Credit: enjoimx

We were shivering at the top in the shade, but once we hit the base it was 70 degrees, tshirt climbing!
Ryan racking up for pitch 1
Ryan racking up for pitch 1
Credit: enjoimx

The first few pitches involved some routefinding. There appears to be a myriad of great cracks, some more secure than others. I got off route for about 30 feet and had to downclimb but no big deal. Lots of beautiful white granite up there. Action shots:
Ryan, mid 4th pitch
Ryan, mid 4th pitch
Credit: enjoimx
Me, 10b fingers last pitch
Me, 10b fingers last pitch
Credit: enjoimx
Credit: enjoimx

The last pitch is what rock climbing is all about.

Credit: enjoimx
Credit: enjoimx
Windy on top
Windy on top
Credit: enjoimx

I was damn tired afterwards. The sun and elevation really add up.

Ive been climbing for 8 years and this is one of my new favorites. Thanks Ryan for the fun mission!

Credit: enjoimx

  Trip Report Views: 3,830
About the Author
enjoimx is a trad climber from CA


Trad climber
  Oct 6, 2012 - 11:49pm PT
Yeah Buddy! Nice TR. Super glad we got to get out there together.

Boulder climber
  Oct 7, 2012 - 01:32am PT
I have always been intimidated by the route because of the nature of HAVING to climb out and into a more exposed location. I once hiked the Dana plateau alone and got caught in a lightning storm. It was really scary.

You probably remember somebody posting (here) thier ascent amid lightning and hail a couple years back. Also seems quite a balsy free solo with the high crux etc.

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Oct 7, 2012 - 09:46am PT
a nice looking climb;
the sierras are treasure!


Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Oct 7, 2012 - 10:30am PT
re: "first 4 pitches of the Nose to get in some aid practice"

A word to the big-wall wannabes of the world: The beginning of a really popular route in the fall is not a place to "practice" anything but pissing people off! There are scads of out-of-the-way places to get your scene dialed besides ones on which you will be in the way of people with a finite supply of food and water.

And you got to climb some classic alpine splitters instead...way more fun. I love the yellow leaves...could just about feel the crisp fall air from my couch. Thanks!

can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
  Oct 7, 2012 - 10:29am PT
nice TR. Of the 5 times I've done the route, I don't think I did the first pitch the same way more then once.

Maybe I've been out of the game too long but the last pitch was always 5.9 bitd. Yeah, guess I've been out of it for too long:)

Gym climber
squamish, b.c.
  Oct 7, 2012 - 01:10pm PT
Thanks for the tease. That rock looks amazing.
Big Mike

Trad climber
  Oct 7, 2012 - 02:23pm PT
Thanks for the TR, we are going to be in the region next week so I'll see if I can drag my partner up there!
Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Redwood City
  Oct 7, 2012 - 02:37pm PT
Way to go Rob ! Excellent photos ... Looking forward to climbing something soon ... Vincent

Oakland, CA
  Oct 24, 2012 - 12:04am PT
Very nice, missed it the first time through. That sheet of white rock is a killer place to be.

Where do you live that 2 hrs gets you from your door to the TH? Lucky dog.

Trad climber
Prescott, AZ ~
  Oct 24, 2012 - 11:17am PT
If I never climb again, this is the ONE climb I must do, however, the descent getting to the base is what intimidates me.
Nice pictures guys and happy you were able to get out and experience this climb. Oh and btw, thanks for posting!

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Oct 24, 2012 - 12:20pm PT
Sweet, thanks for sharing
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
  Oct 24, 2012 - 12:49pm PT
Cool shots.

Photo 8:
"10b fingers last pitch"

C'mon. 5.9. I suppose if you contrived to stay in the crack above your head. Then again, if you matched feet in your photo, reached around to the left you could've grabbed the flake system for 5.9.

But fun anyhow, tfpu. More eastside TRs!

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Nov 5, 2012 - 08:11pm PT
TPOD love
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Nov 13, 2012 - 09:38am PT
A friend told me of her tumble in the blocks, snapping the tib/fib and having to get the SAR troops out. That was early summer, she's been on a cane.

It's worth being super-careful because the area below the pillar is not in YNP, it's in a National Forest and the rescue is up to the County of Mono, they're in Bishop, so it's not like the Valley SAR's got you covered unless you are on the plateau, I guess.

Somewern else can elaborate on that.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Nov 13, 2012 - 11:59am PT
Nice! Gotta get up there again.

That last pitch--yow. I'd say a couple of easy ten moves to start, more like thin flake/lie back moves, but after that? Sooooo solid. Sinker jams, killer rests, whopper exposure. I'm gettin' all hot and bothered just thinkin' about it.

Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Nov 13, 2012 - 01:43pm PT
Frigging awesome, Thanks!!!!

Social climber
Southern Arizona
  Nov 13, 2012 - 07:33pm PT
TFPU. Nice report. Envious.

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Nov 13, 2012 - 07:42pm PT
Nice! It's still on my list, and probably will be for quite a while.
Third Pillar of Dana - Regular Route 5.10b - Tuolumne Meadows, California USA. Click to Enlarge
One of the more spectacular lines in Tuolumne.
Photo: Marshall Minobe