Jump to content

[TR] Third Pillar of Dana- Regular Route, III 5.10- 7/20/2005


Recommended Posts

Climb: Third Pillar of Dana-Regular Route, III 5.10-


Date of Climb: 7/20/2005


Trip Report:

So on Tuesday my friend E. and I decided to climb the 3rd Pillar of Dana. E. hadn't climbed it despite living in the area for 15 years, and I had always feared it was just above my leading ability. But I'm trying to push myself this summer to be a stron 5.10a/b leader, so I was gunning for it. It was originally rated 5.9+ in 1976, but the rating has slowly grown to 5.10a or 5.10b, depending which guide book you read.

We left Bishop at 6am for a fairly reasonable start. And it would have been, if we hadn't stopped at the Mobil for breakfast and then ducked into the Meadows to talk to some friends at YMS. But that was smart, because we got beta for a much better approach than what's in the guidebooks, and we were soon at the base of the route.

We finally took off at noon, the only two people on the Dana plateau. The clouds were starting to build, but we rationalized that we could rap the route if necessary - we spotted a lot of rap anchors from earlier parties.

E. started with the first pitch (5.9), which was 5th class for 50' and then low 5th/4th class for another 100'. I got the first 5.10 pitch, the crux was this flared corner. That gave E. the third pitch (5.8), so as consolation he also got the 4th and crux pitch (5.10b). We didn't find it as hard as it had been hyped up to us. The 5.10a finger crack went quickly, and the 5.10b face moves were not difficult. E. thought the finger crack was harder than the face climbing, but he climbs 10c/d off the sofa. The fixed pin at the crux looks fine, its the rock around it I wonder about, but the moves weren't so bad as to justify plugging in a lot of gear around it.

I got the final 5th pitch, which looked really intimidating. Chris McNamara's topo didn't help, calling for a 5.10b finger crack leading to a 5.10a lieback. But E. really encouraged me to go for it, and refused to let me back down. Bless him for that encouragement, because I found the finger crack incredible. It was perfect for my reach and thick fingers, giving me secure jams even if it was just the first knuckle of three fingers. The 5.10a lieback proved actually to be harder for me, very sequence-y, and I messed up the feet first try and backed off. Tried one more time and backed off. Tried a third time and fell onto my gear - whoah! That when E. gave me a shout to look around. A huge thunder cell was hanging over Mono Lake, and the anvil of another could be seen behind Dana, slowly moving towards us. In the interest of expediency, we decided that E. should finish the pitch, so I lowered down, we switched ends, and E. moved up. With his shorter reach he found the 10b finger crack a bit harder than me, but he ran through the lieback like a good rope gun should, and made quick work of the remaining 5.9 terrain.

We topped out to a wind and the sight of Mt. Dana hallowed by a huge Thunderstorm cell behind it. Except for a few drops, the storm never reached us.

This climb is classic. I liked it so much that I'm willing to go back again this weekend with a few friends, and hopefully I'll get to lead the fourth pitch or redeem myself on the 5th. It also opened a huge door for my self-confidence.

The Sierra's are rocking - come on down!!


Gear Notes:

Bring doubles of finger-size stuff.

All the pitches are 150-160' long, so lots of slings.


Approach Notes:

An alternate approach that takes you up out of the flys sooner is to park at the south end of Tioga Lake near Tioga Pass Resort. Hike up the hillside to gain the ridge seperating Ellery Lake from Tioga Lake, then follow the ridge to Dana Plateau.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • Replies 3
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Nice TR, I did this route a few years ago and although fun I was disappointed in the route. Croft calls it the best .10a in the sierras but I thought it was just alot of 20ft sections separated by ledges and stances. Still the position is cool and that last pitch rocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its defenitely the best 10- pitch I've experienced in the High Sierras. I wasn't able to climb it again last week as I had hoped, but I'm looking forward to climbing it with my girlfriend when she comes down to retrieve me in September.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...