Regular Route on Sunnyside Beach  is known as the best introduction of Yosemite Multi-pitch in the Yosemite. However, it’s description was a bit deceiving (at least we though so). The route is described as a three pitch 5.4 route with mostly 3 & 4 class scrambling and some exposed  5.0-5.4 moves. Gear was supposed to be up to 2″. Sounded easy enough, but Yosemite is a trickster!

Finding the base ofnthe route was pretty simple. We walked along the Lower Falls Trail for about .5 miles until the trail curved left and a rock wall joined the right side of the track. We then turned off the trail and followed the rock wall left and up until we came to a very obvious gully. We climbed up the class 3 gully to the start of the route on w huge platform by a tree.

Damien took the lead on the first pitch which was supposed to be class 4 with some chimney moves. Damien did not think this was class 4 and after following I would have to agree. There was a far amount of smearing and awkward exposed moves in which I would call the 5.5 range. Also, in my case, I am convinced the route was rated by a tall person… reach was abig issue for me and many moves required me to have my knee practically up my nose. The pitch protected well.

It is important to not that the top of the first pitch is at the first big tree on a smallish ledge and not the second big tree on the bigger Ledge above. We had to back-track a bit. I led the next pitch. The route goes around the corner right and into an open bookish slab with a tree in the center of it. I opted to belay at this tree even though it was only half the pitch due to rope drag fear in the turn around the corn below. I continued the lead again once Damien was up. A few feet after the tree there was a few tricky moves in some steep cracks. I thought this was the “tricky boulder problem” in the topo. It was tricky but protected will with a red tricam and a nut. Above i found myself on a ledge. The belay was just on top of the vertical short wall to my right by a tree. This ended up being the tricky boulder problem… There is diagonal finger/hang crack and a massive good jug above. If i could get one foot to hold to the wall i could throw for the jug, but foot couldn’t get purchase on the polished wall. I knew, sadly, that Damien could just reach up at grab the jug. I peaked around the corner at the very exposed wall leading up to the tree. This was unprotected but had some good foothold and okayish hands. After a few more tries on the boulder i opted to climb the exposed variation. Damien just reached up and pulled himself up on the jug as I expected.

The third pitch beta warned of being wary of getting lost. There was a flaring crack just a few feet up in front of us. This was the 5,5 variation and the 5.4 jugs were supposed to be around the small corner right of that. Damien was up to lead, but when he looked over the corner for the 5.4 jugs he claimed that there was so safe way to get over the exposed unprotected corner and the jugs were not so juggy looking. After some evaluation he doubled back and headed up the flaring crack. From below it was very clear to be that this was not a Washington 5.5, but more like a 5.7-5.8 crack with awkward moves, standing on particles of granite and scary exposure. Damien made it half way up to the wide part of the crack. He was out of big gear. He already already used the one “just in case” 3′ cam. Mentally he was drained too. He put in a second piece and I lowered him. My turn…

I took out some of the bigger pieces from below the toprope as I climbed and when I entered the crack I saw why Damien was so tried mentally. Yikes this was gnarly! I moved above his final pieces and was on lead. The moves were certainly awkward. I focused on making the 1-3 moves on no footholds to the tiny more solid ledges as I jammed. I had to moved from the top of the crack onto a wider ledge to the left. This proved to be very intimidating and the hardest move for me. I had to get off this comfy my left foot was on, foot switch with my right foot on a jug in the crack and put my right foot on the exposed park of the wall (friction). Then I had to take my left foot off the jug and mantel onto this ledge on top of the crack. It took forever for me to go for the move… but I did eventually. From there the climbing eased a bit and I focused on getting from one tree to the next and following the path of least resistance. The ran the rope out to the last two feet before belaying from a tree. I was above what was supposed to me the top of the route as we were supposed to walk on “easy” slabs to the descent trail, but it was exposed and had some techy moves so we actually ended up roping up for a fourth pitch.

The view from the top of the route of the Valley is amazing with Half Dome being the star of the scenery. We unroped and decided to take the trail left to get a look at the famous lower falls pools. This easy to follow climbers trail led us to the top of the falls, but there were no falls. It was a wonderful cool place to take a break though. Then be backtracked and followed the trail along the edge of the cliff (DO NOT FALL HERE) for about 3/4 of a mile. Here the track drops into a gully that seems sketch for the first few yards, but the crummy terrain changes once you get in the trees. Then its a easy scramble down. We followed the wide footpath left back to the Lower Falls Parking lot for .8 miles. We were tired. We were hungry. We were Yosemite climbers.

 

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