Daff Dome - West Crack
September 18th, 2003
We woke up and took a leisurely morning in Camp 4 before making the long
drive up to Tuolome meadows. We intended to climb the Regular Route on
Fairview Dome, but we arrived at the base as the 6th party in line, so
we started to think of other options. We decided to head to Daff Dome
for some classic climbing in the sun (as opposed to Fairview's frigid
The West Crack climbs the line just right of the tree on the right. It
continues on up through the roof.
The West Crack on Daff is a stellar 4 star route with superb climbing.
There is one polished 5.9 move past a bolt at the very bottom, but afterwards
the climb is consistently 5.6-8 cracks.
Eric leading the first pitch... quite the wild and knobby crack!
Photo: Tom Rogers
Dave following the first pitch. Photo: Tom Rogers
Dave leading the roof. Reach deep in and jam perfect hands up to the key
jugs. Very fun!
Photo: Tom Rogers
The second pitch through the roof is supposed to be a short one, belaying
on a small ledge before the 5.7 wide crack. The off-width above is generally
4-6" wide, so we had brought along a bunch of big gear. I left it
all at the belay, as I wouldn't need it on this pitch. A ways up the pitch
I realized, "hey, this crack seems easier than 5.8, and it's getting
way wide!" By then I was already about 40' up the next pitch, so
I ran the two together, protecting it by sticking small gear waaaay down
in the crack when I could. This pitch has some spectacular face climbing
on the plentiful nubbins around the crack.
Tom (Nubbin Boy!) leading the beautiful 5.8 splitter finger crack high
on the dome.
Happy to be on top!
Tom and Eric checking out Fairview Dome. We can see that parties 4 and
5 are not making it off before dark, and will not eat at the Mobile station.
We descended a giant granite halfpipe under a beautiful Tuolome sunset.
The descent can be scary if you downclimb to the South (as
Tom had done once before), or it can be an easy 3rd class scramble off
North to a bolt-piton anchor that leads to the ground in one rappell.
And what trip to Tuolome would be complete without dinner
at the Mobile Station in Lee Vining? Mmmmm... Chicken Jumbalaya. We finished
our dinner with a pull-up contest with the head Chef Mike who had been
working since 5 am (16 hours!). He did way, way more sets than we could
have dreamed to.