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  1. Trip: Hulk/Fairview/Dana - Yggdrassil/Reg Route/Third Pillar Date: 9/19/2015 Trip Report: I was trying to organize a long weekend trip to Index but no one seemed interested and my buddy Brian mentioned he was in Tuolumne and looking for a partner for some mega-classic alpinesque rock routes. He dropped a few route names that I'd been dreaming about for a few years and he had me hooked. I packed the car the day before, woke up at 5am and drove straight to Bridgeport to meet him. We ditched his car, drove to Twin Lakes and started hiking to the Incredible Hulk. Ice fog on the drive down through Oregon. This was a good reminder that the internet, especially a certain mountainproj.com has a lot of BS posted by people who have no idea or else have some severe handicap they fail to mention. The interwebs had informed us that the hike to the Hulk would certainly take around 6 hrs with our overnight packs. In actuality it took 2 hours at a very relaxed pace having never done the approach before. I could have slept til 7am and still done the drive and hike with day light to spare, oh well! The next morning we climbed Yggdrassil, aka the Red Dihedral (10b, 12 supertopo pitches). We linked a couple different pitches with a 60m rope, making it a 10 pitch route. We had two parties from SoCal ahead of us at the start but they graciously acknowledged we were moving faster and let us pass. I out ro-sham-bo'd Brian for the lead on the Red Dihedral pitch and I was a little nervous for it, having never climbed this grade in the Sierra and thinking it would be akin to a splitter Valley test-piece. It was actually quite doable and awesome at the same time. The left face is slabby and I think most people face this way but if you look over your shoulder several cracks in the right face provide opportunities for stem stances. The crux bulge at the top looked puzzling but I was able to stem through it quite easily. Definitely not hard for the grade unless you were somehow pumped out of your mind at the top and got tunnel vision. The rest of the route was stellar quality stair-step terrain on bomb-proof white granite. Some people say Red Dihedral is chossy but if you have climbed any amount of alpine rock in the Cascades you are going to be impressed. The top out involves hopping over the summit ridge and following 3rd class ledges (ice and snow covered when we were on them) to a dirty block- filled chimney and a dirty 5.6 chimney pitch to the "key hole" finish where you squeeze through a small hole to reach the summit. As someone said in the summit register regarding the final pitch, "that was the most work I ever did to go caving". Beside the last two top-out pitches the route was outstanding and I'd say the best alpine rock climb I've done. Positive Vibes, though only a jump up to 11a, looks much more sustained but is apparently also much higher quality. Given what I saw on the Ygg, the Vibes must be one hell of a route. The Hulk! Looking left at Positive Vibes and Venturri Effect (the corner?) Up from the notch belay. Views to the right. Looking back down from the summit ridge. Summit ridge block towers What's better than a two bolt anchor? Two bomb-proof #3s! Brian on the summit. Note the snow still on the north facing aspects behind him. We hiked out that afternoon, the route only took us 6 hrs. People talk mad-sh!t about the descent gully but compared to Oregon Volcano Choss it was quite mellow and short. We drank some beers and swam in Twin Lakes before heading into Bridgeport for dinner and then to free camping at Buckeye hot springs for the night (worth every penny). The next morning we slept in to the leisurely hour of 7:30 ate breakfast, sorted gear and then drove to Tuolumne. Our plan for day 2 was to get a late start on the Regular Route up Fairview Dome (1000ft 5.9), giving slow parties a chance to move out of the way. As it turned out that didn't work so well. We showed up to see two parties moving exceptionally slow on the first two pitches. We thought about bailing to Daff dome but found out that the top party had a guy with a dislocated shoulder. The other party was climbing up to them so they could tie both ropes together allowing the first party to rap off. This process took them a while but finally the injured guy got down and the other party continued. We were concerned that the second party would take a while as they were really slow on the first couple transitions but after the first four pitches they started moving better and a couple pitches later we simuled past them. It seemed like many of the groups we passed on this trip were perfectly competent and able climbers but they all made the mistake of thinking that they were moving fast because they were climbing fast. They were actually fairly slow because they were not good at transitions. By comparison Brian and I had no extraneous gear and took less than 2 minutes at most belays, allowing us to climb these routes quite quickly without ever feeling rushed. If you are taking 10 minutes to swap gear and put your buddy on belay (these guys on Fairview took closer to 20 at the top of pitch 3) you need to reevaluate your systems and also realize that you should let people pass regardless of how fast you move between belays. Overall the reg route was an outstanding route on bomb-proof rock. It was however very slabby on the bottom pitches, making for some insecure feeling smearing for the grade and we found that we used more gear per pitch than expected because of this (we opted for one set of nuts against the guide book and could have definitely used the two sets recommended). Brian waiting on a belay ledge at the top of pitch 2. Views of Daff and other domes from the route Looking down the splitter slabs of the first two pitches That night we slept in the pull-out just outside the park by Tioga Lake. The next morning we got up at 6am to go do the Third Pillar of Dana. There was already one car that had showed up in the night and as we were packing up two more groups showed up. One group, foreseeing the ensuing cluster got back in their car and headed for an alternate route. We got on the trail and caught the guys ahead of us; they had just arrived in the Sierra and were struggling with the altitude a bit. We ditched a pack at the top of the Third Pillar and scrambled down the adjacent buttress following the beta to stay left, this didn't work out as we ended up too far left and had to go down around the toe of the buttress and hike back up to the start of the route. Once on route pitch one was amazing, starting with perfect hands on, again, bomb-proof granite right off the belay stance. The second pitch went much further left than the supertopo made it look like but once in the cracks was straightforward. This pitch had insecure feeling flared fingers, arguably the crux of the whole route. Pitch 3 had multiple options, I got a little confused and stopped early (there was an old rope hanging out left above a ledge and I stopped there instead of continuing up). Brian led another good pitch and I led a short cruxy face pitch protected by RPs to get us to the belay below the final headwall (if I had just got pitch 3 dialed I could have led this last one!). Brian got this pitch, which is one of the best pitches I've ever climbed, "all time" as Brian said: strenuous, steep, splitter, good rests, good gear, long, varied, amazing position, mind blowing top-out (we both heel hooked through a small roof at the top). Then you just have the mellow 90 minute walk back to the car, no raps, no descent, nothing. We drove down to Lee Vining and celebrated with the World Famous Fish Tacos at the gas station where Tioga Rd meets 395 (best food between Bridgeport and Reno?!). me on the flared fingers, by Brian Brian on the final pitch spot Brian on top of the Third Pillar after topping out, Mono and Tioga Rd below Mt. Dana proper with a sweet ice couli in on the left. All in all, we climbed three of the best routes I've ever done in three days. It's a long drive south, but it's sure worth it. Get psyched and go get it before the weather turns! Gear Notes: 60m rope. Doubles of cams with single small cams and a set of nuts got us through just about everything. We did take most of the supertopo-suggested extras on the hulk and did not regret it, could have used another set of nuts on Fairview but got by without, definitely bring the RPs on the Third Pillar. Approach Notes: See above... It's the Sierra, it ain't exactly complicated.
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