South Crack 5.8R
Stately Pleasure Dome
About the Climb
South Crack is one of the most popular climbs in Tuolumne Meadows and offers an exquisite mix of crack and face climbing. The first section ascends a beautiful 5.8 finger and hand crack system that protects extremely well, while the second half consists mostly of easy but runout slabs with limited protection. Almost every single pitch on this route is memorable. While it is possible to escape to the right to easier climbing after the 3rd pitch, the original line is way more consistent and offers much better climbing. However, it is very commiting and involves long runouts on low angle rock.
There is a great 5.9 thin finger crack variation to start the 1st pitch, which is a more direct and very aesthetic (although a little more sustained) way to start the route. The view of Tenaya Lake and the surrounding peaks is simply fabulous, and the position, exposure and rock quality are hard to beat, making this an all time favorite.
That being said, beware of crowds and have an alternative plan. Luckily, it's easy to see from the road if the route is busy, and many other quality climbs exist on Stately Pleasure Dome. And make sure to take a dip in Tenaya Lake at the end of the day too!
Many other quality routes can be found on Stately Pleasure Dome, and it's easy to combine multiple routes to make it a full day. Try the Great White Book (5.6R), West Country (5.7), Hermaphrodite Flake (5.4), or the Boltway (5.9) for a perfect combination.
For other great routes with a mix of slab and cracks at a similar grade, check out the South Face of North Dome (5.8), Great Pumpkin (5.8R), Crying Time Again (5.10a), Blown Away (5.9), and On the Lamb (5.9).