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Best long moderate routes in Yosemite
By Clint Cummins
WHAT'S THE BEST LONG FREE ROUTE IN YOSEMITE?
- E. Buttress of El Cap - Grade IV, 10b Watch out for the waterfall!
- N.E. Buttress of Higher Cathedral Rock - IV, 5.9 Hard for 5.9
- The DNB - V, 10b Not a romp in the playground!
- Steck/Salathe V, 5.9 Only best if you like 300 yards of crawling across an asphalt
parking lot on your elbows and knees!
- E. Buttress of Middle Cathedral Rock - IV, 10c Easy for 5.10, just aid the bolt
ladder, one more 5.9 move and the rest is 5.8 or easier. This route is a highway
and a bowling alley at the same time!
- Here's a good one: The Royal Arches and Crest Jewel combined (solo Royal arches
except for traverse, the hike up to North Dome and do Crest Jewel. A rack of
draws should suffice). V, 10c(?) About 25 pitches if all roped.
WHAT'S THE BEST 5.7 LONG FREE ROUTE IN YOSEMITE?
- Snake Dike. Easy to answer this one, even though I've never done it.
This answer is also found in the guidebook recommended list.
- Runner-up: Overhang Bypass (also from book).
- Meadows: Great White Book (5.6), Hobbit Book (actually 5.8, IMO)
WHAT'S THE BEST 5.8 LONG FREE ROUTE IN YOSEMITE?
- Nutcracker (if it's long enough for you; well maybe if you add the
inevitable backup below the last pitch...)
- Runner-up: Braille Book
- Adventure route: Via Aqua (definitely harder than 5.7)
- Meadows: South Crack, West Crack (one move of 5.9)
WHAT'S THE BEST 5.10 LONG FREE ROUTE IN YOSEMITE?
Depends highly on your preference for crack vs. face, short crux vs.
many 5.10 pitches, etc. If possible do all of the routes below,
"so you can make an informed decision":
My (highly biased) favorite: Ho Chi Minh Trail. 20 pitches, 8 of which
have some 5.10. An improved version of the DNB (stealing its best pitches),
Killer 5.10 route if you don't mind aiding 15':
- East Buttress of El Cap (when dry) short crux, but much 5.9 keeps it
- Northeast Buttress of Higher Cathedral -- ditto (note: correct rating
of pitch 8 and route is 5.10 -- there is no 5.8 way on it).
- North Buttress of Middle Cathedral -- ditto, although crux pitch is
much more sustained.
- Steck-Salathe' (w/ corrected rating for Wilson Overhang) -- ditto.
- Royal Arches + Crest Jewel
Not as good for 5.10 climbers:
- East Buttress of Middle (I prefer to do it as 5.9 A0)
Nice routes, but too short (i.e. not all day affairs):
- Hot Line (can skip last 2 pitches)
- Serenity Crack + Sons of Yesterday
- Rixon's West Face
- Lucky Streaks -- ditto comment applies
- Sorcerer's Apprentice -- there is a 5.10 way of doing this
- Oz / Gram
- Fairest of All - ditto comment applies, also committing
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