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 North face).

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. Wow.

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.

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