The Speed of Life
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This is an obscure but ultra-classic two-pitch climb on the outskirts of Tuolumne Meadows. It sits by itself (actually there are two or three other climbs of lesser quality) far above Ellery Lake which in turn is just a few miles outside of the park along Hwy 120. Park, cross the dam, and hike up the steep, loose slope to the lowest tongue of rock that is usually guarded by a steep patch of ice/snow. Why did you endure this grueling 45 minute slog for just two pitches?
P1: Ascend a beautiful pitch of crisp, white Sierra granite. The crux is bouldery but well protected with a small cam and some wires. Up higher its nice to have a very large cam to protect some wide cracks, but this section is quite easy. A final, wild move around the corner to the right leads up to a bolted belay. 5.10+.
P2: Climb the long, leaning, overhanging splitter via jams and liebacks. Sandbag 5.11b; outstanding!
Two double-rope rappels from nice ASCA hardware gets you back down. Now, hopefully, the question's been answered.
Single set from 0.2 to #4 Camalots, 3 each 0.75's & #3's, wires, a few draws/slings. A #4.5 Camalot (#5 C4) not mandatory but highly recommended. Two ropes. The route is north-facing and can be chilly in the wind.
BETA PHOTO: The route goes up the obvious thin crack and then ...
P1, Speed of Life. Great fractured alpine granite.
|Comments on The Speed of Life
|By Michael Sokoloff|
From: Spokane, WA
Jul 11, 2007
In my top 5 climbs of all time. Amazing crack climbing on immaculate high sierra granite in as scenic a spot as one can imagine. It takes a 45-minute slog to get to the base, but it is well worth the time and energy expended. Other than the altitude factor, I disagree with the assessment that the second pitch is a sandbag at 11b. It did not seem any harder or easier than 11b to me.
|By john strand|
From: southern colo
Jun 12, 2008
WAY GOOD this climb would be worth an even longer slog. Try to wait though, it can get pretty cold up there.
A total classic anywhere !!!
Mar 31, 2009
rating: 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c
sooo classic. I agree that the 11b is normal for the grade.
The second pitch is one of the best pitches I've ever done.
May 19, 2009
First pitch is pretty damn good in its own right. second is off the charts. So-called 5.11 move at the start is more like 5.10, the 5.11 comes toward the end- fighting the pump.
From: Oakland, Ca
Jul 21, 2010
WOW- maybe the best climb at the grade in the meadows? Blues Riff competes to be sure, but......
No problem rapping with a single 70
|By Mark Melvin|
Jul 24, 2013
Nice route, sure. Comparable to the best in Yosemite, like Astroman, or Blues Riff, not quite. Not a sandbag at all with surprising hand jam rests on crux pitch. Can't see doing this with one set of cams though. I'd bring just a few stoppers, handful of micros (very small), then 2 each to #3, one #4, and triple up on .5, .75, and 1. Also, nice hike workout, beautiful place, no one there.
|By Ben J.|
Aug 17, 2013
The first pitch was really fun, the second pitch was unforgettable and amazing. I thought when I got to the base that there was no chance that hiking up there with a mild hangover was going to be worth it. After climbing it, I think I would do at least 2x the approach to get to something of similar quality. Second pitch doesn't have any single move that is that hard, but it is unnaturally sustained.
We went left early on the approach and dealt with a lot of loose sand. Much of this is unavoidable, but it might be worth a try to stay on the volcanic scree/talus on the right until you are forced to head left.