Interesting Rock

Granite Arch on Jackass Dome

One of the rewards of hiking off-trail or on obscure trails is the joy of discovering interesting rocks.

On June 1, 2003, Hal Murray and I headed to some obscure places in Southern Yosemte to rock climb. While we were here we stumbled onto several unique rocks.

Our first discovery was a rare arch made of granite.

We had just completed climbing a 5 pitch 5.6 route to the summit of Jackass dome. As I looked around I spotted distant trees through a large hole in the rock. Hal and I knew immediately wat to do, we had to walk across the arch. Walking across was exciting the arch was narrow and there was a multi-hundred foot fall if one stumbled.

granite arch on Jackass Dome
Hal atop Granite Arch on Jackass Dome

Radially Fractured Boulder on Jackass Dome

While hiking down Jackass Dome on the southeast slabs we spotted an amazing boulder with a radial fracture pattern. The boulder had a fine grained orange layer on its face, the layer was fractured by radial cracks wide enough to take a finger or a toe and deep enough to accept two knuckles worth of other words a perfect climbing rock. There was no easy way down, so climbing the bolder would be a free solo up and down. It was high enough that neither of us wanted to fall off. The climbing was exciting and excellent, probably 5.6.

Radial Fractured boulder Jackass Dome CA
Radially fractured boulder on Jackass Dome.

There is only one thing to do with such a rock - climb it!

Hal Murray Climbs a Radially fractured boulder jackass dome CA Hal Murray Climbs a Radially fractured boulder jackass dome CA Hal Murray Climbs a Radially fractured boulder jackass dome CA
Hal Murray boulders up the radially ractured boulder on Jackass Dome, Southern Yosemite California.

On top of the boulder I found two shiny new bolts. So we knew this was not a first ascent. But it was still a fantastic climb.

Paul Doherty downclimbs the radial boulder
Downclimbing in sneakers.

As he climbed down Hal said that he was really glad that we practiced downclimbing routes in the gym.

Shuteye Pass and Eagle Beaks Ridge

On June 2, 2003, we hiked up to Shuteye Pass from the west.

Hal mentioned that he had to go visit a rock for a "grudge match." the last time he had been at the rock he couldn't climb it because his partner would not follow him. He knew that I was a big enough sucker to follow him up almost any route he was wiling to lead. From Shuteye pass we headed south toward the eagle beaks, one of the first peaks we came to had a wonderfully fractured layer on its west face. Hal dropped his pack and roped up to lead the pitch. This was real climbing, find a route not in the guidebook, scout it from the ground and lead it. this was very exciting climbing!

Eagle Beaks Hal Murray Route
Hal Murray leads up a fractured wall on Eagle Beaks Ridge.


I followed Hal up the wonderful edges and had a great time. Then I downclimbed the route leaving in the protection and Hal followed me down. The route seemed to be about 5.6, perhaps easier.

I looked left and saw a wonderful steep crack. there seemed to be just enough patches of granite face protruding to make the steep climb reasonable, and it followed a crack which would take protection. I grabbed the rack and started to lead it.

Eagle Beaks ridge crack route Eagle beaks Paul Doherty on crack route
A wonderful steep wall with chicken heads and a crack too!

It was as wonderful a climb as it appeared at first glance. Steep, with good holds and a crack that took protection. It was probably 5.7 in dificulty, and I give it my highest rating of 5 stars, great climbing on solid , ineresting rock with solid protection. This one climb made all the day's bushwhacking worthwhile.

We continued bushwhacking down the ridge and ran into deep manzanita and boulders, it was tough to make progress. We both ended up scraped and scratched. Eventually we realized that we had run out of time and had to start back toward the car. On the way back we kept our eye out for good climbs.

I found several boulders with wonderful fractured layers on their faces. We dropped our packs and had fun climbing them.

Hal Murray climbs a boulder on Eagle Beaks Ridge
Hal climbs a boulder on Eagle Beaks Ridge.

As we hiked the trail from Shuteye pass down to the west toward our car we spotted a large flat bouder resting on three rock pedestals. It looked like a giant table.

It finished a weekend full of interesting rocks.

Table Rock on rail to shuteye pass
A Table Rock on the trail to Shuteye Pass.



Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty


5 June 2003