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South Pillar 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b

   
Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 600'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Blaine Neeley, Randy Miller (July 1985)
Page Views: 1,454
Submitted By: Bryan G on Nov 1, 2011

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BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the first two pitches from base of t...

Description 

The South Pillar is the obvious buttress which divides the South Face and the West Face. It offers one of longest climbs on the formation. With lots of easy terrain and good belay ledges, it makes for a fun romp. My brief description only details the path that we took, but many variations exist. Really this climb is best as a "choose your own path" sort of adventure.

P1. Near the toe of the pillar are a couple bolts on steep knobby terrain. We began here. I did a 5.10 boulder problem to get up to the first bolt, but my partner said she traversed in from the right and found that to be much easier. Either way though, the first 10 feet could very well be the crux of the climb. Anyway, climb up past a couple more bolts onto the ridge. Lots of easy scrambling on ledgy terrain leads up the ridge. Take your pick of comfy belay ledges before you hit the end of the rope.

P2. Another pitch of similar terrain will lead to the top of the pillar. Belay among the boulders. You might want to move the belay towards the main wall after you bring your second up.

P3. Start by downclimbing into the notch between the pillar and the rest of the main wall. Then climb up a crack to the right of a 'bulbous' looking feature on the wall. Follow this up and belay on the slab below the overhang near the end.

P4. I traversed to the left of the overhang and finished up a left facing corner, but this required some runout 5.7 moves beneath the roof. Alternatively, climb to the right of the overhang and finish on the steep juggy knobs. Either way you will arrive at a 2 bolt anchor atop the buttress.

The top of the climb is detached from the main dome. Downclimb a short section of easy crack (there's an old buttonhead here) and then scramble over to the top of the dome.

Protection 

Most of your pro will either be slung chicken-heads or cracks from 2-4".


Photos of South Pillar Slideshow Add Photo
Looking up at the second pitch from the first pitch belay.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the second pitch from the first pitc...
Close-up of the third pitch. After traversing left under and around the first leaning pillar-like feature, you can pretty much wander wherever you want and the climbing stays easy and fun.
Close-up of the third pitch. After traversing left...
A close-up of the minefield of chickenheads on the second pitch.
A close-up of the minefield of chickenheads on the...
The third and fourth pitch with the line we took sketched in.
BETA PHOTO: The third and fourth pitch with the line we took s...
The upper pillar as seen from the top of the first pillar (at the end of the second pitch).
The upper pillar as seen from the top of the first...
Starting up the third pitch. Huge chickenheads are abundant.
Starting up the third pitch. Huge chickenheads are...

Comments on South Pillar Add Comment
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By Bryan G
From: San Jose
Nov 1, 2011

A Supertopo Trip Report with lots of photos of the South Pillar.

supertopo.com/climbers-forum/8...

I think this TR might have also been the first time I heard about Fresno Dome.
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Nov 30, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Bryan's description is good and more or less describes the way we climbed the route. I would agree that starting directly below the first bolt on the first pitch is probably 9+/10a, while it is probably around 5.7/5.8 if you start up and to the right of the bolt line and traverse in on the good holds.

Also, I did not stop at the top of the first pillar at the end of the second pitch as Bryan suggests. Instead, I put in a piece of gear at the top of the pillar with a 4 foot sling attached and then downclimbed into the notch (I placed a couple of pieces of gear as I downclimbed to protect my second). Surprisingly, there was very little rope drag and it saved us from having to move the belay from the top of the pillar to the notch where the third pitch starts.
By Dave Daly
From: Del Mar, CA
Jan 9, 2013
rating: 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c

When Blaine and Randy FA'd the route, it was a direct start below the bolt. Moves to the bolt are 5.9 and most locals will agree. 5.7? Sure, even 5.6....in the remaining pitches. Lets be a little realistic here. Pull it down for sandbagging. Good idea....
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Jul 16, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

I'm confused Dave, are you saying that people posting here are grading things softly, while simultaneously saying that they are sandbaggers?

Dave Daly wrote:
Moves to the bolt are 5.9 and most locals will agree.


So we are soft, okay.

Dave Daly wrote:
5.7? Sure, even 5.6....in the remaining pitches. Lets be a little realistic here. Pull it down for sandbagging. Good idea....


But now we are being chastised for being sandbaggers? Huh, I see.

You graded the climb 5.8, but state above that it is 5.9. And then you get after people for being "wrong" about the grade. Confusing stuff.
By Robert Hall
Aug 27, 2013

We found the So Pillar a bit difficult to find (we didn't have the "start" photo, just a line-topo drawing) ....basically we didn't go far enough. We first started up a Pillar which turned out to be the pillar between the East face and the So. face (4 bolts easily visible from the ground, 5.9 - 5.10 moves between bolts 1 and 3) but when I saw the 5th bolt, and consistently hit harder-than-5.7 moves, we backed off and a helpful climber pointed us to Whiskey Bill.
Looks like South Pillar is between the So. Face and the West face, and is beyond Whiskey Bill, after the trail gets "rough".