|b. Gelsa to Moe (closure)
This route is a hidden gem comparable to Gelsa or Three Pines. There's a lot of climbing and adventure to be had here!
P1 - Starting up the slab, trend slightly left to reach a short left-facing corner. Follow that up to a ledge with a large pine tree with rappel slings (60').
P2 - First go up and right ~10', then back left about 10 feet (tricky moves, perhaps more like Gunks 5.4) to reach a longer, steeper left-facing corner. Follow that to its top, up the face above and over a bulge to a wide ledge. On its right side is a large pine tree with rappel slings. This is a long pitch, ~120'.
P3 - Take the path of least resistance leftwards to the base of the huge open book, and make a belay.
P4 - Go up the inside of the corner for ~20 ft (some trickiness) to the overhang, move up and right to old pitons, then traverse 30-40 ft horizontally under the roof (exposed but good holds) and up the groove to the top.
Descent: Walk off to the north (right) and look for a trail; use it to follow the clifftop to the north until, just before the road, you can scramble back down to the base and trail.
Walk past the beginning section of the nears and the huge face of Birdland to the chossy section of the Nears. Next, you'll pass a small gully system, at Lonely Challenge, about 200' past Birdland. Another 50' or so takes you to a section of good rock, with the right-leaning crack of Up Yours as an obvious marker. Keep going another 200'.
If you reach the land closure / trespassing signs, you've gone too far. Turn around and go back 70-85 feet.
The base of Yum Yum Yab Yum is notable by a slabbier streak of cleaner rock; a left-facing corner that starts about 20-25 feet up, and the pine tree on the belay ledge about 50 feet up.
Standard Gunks rack.
Looking back along the traverse on P3.
Tricia at the start.
Looking down at the 4th belay on YYYY (doing it in...
Ryan pulling the overhang on the optional 5.7 exit...
Beginning the P3 crux.
Clearing the roof on a variation of P3.
The traverse after the crux (unless you head up ea...
Mike at the belay ledge below P3.
We thought she was on the standard route at the ti...
Dustin pulling up the 5.7 exit. Heads up to the s...
The variation was pretty good, and recommended if ...
Approaching the top of P2
Nov 22, 2006
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
I agree with John, YYYY is a great climb. I rate it significantly above Three Pines and just slightly below Gelsa in quality. Swain has it as a 5.3 but P1 does offer some challenges and probably deserving of a 5.4.
Other than the traversing P2 to the alcove the route is clean. Maybe I will get the brush and pruning shears out on the next trip up it.
From: Decatur, GA
Nov 27, 2006
Nice pictures! I'm sorry I didn't get to do this one when I was up there.
Dick Williams lists four pitches for this route; does your P2 combine his P2 and P3?
May 14, 2007
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Obviously haven't looked at this in awhile. Since John hasn't replied yet I will throw my $.02 in for what it's worth.
I don't have the Williams guide. However I assume it describes a short first pitch, maybe 30 to 35 feet, to a ledge with a small pine tree at the base of the left facing corner. Many people belay here. It would seem John's P1 combines what I surmise is Williams' P1 & P2. You can see this belay pine tree just above Tricia in the photo entitled "Tricia at the Start" from Denis.
My comment above about P1 deserving of a 5.4 is assuming you don't belay at the pine tree ledge but continue up the left facing corner. You probably end up with a pitch of about 150 feet. But I haven't been on it in awhile and my memory isn't always the best.
|By John Peterson|
May 14, 2007
Sorry about not responding. I'm afraid I'm no longer a Gunks local and I can't find my old copy of Williams. I believe the previous poster is correct - my P1 = P1 + P2 in Williams. There are 4 good belay points on the climb - at the first big tree, at a nice ledge with a big tree (rap anchor) after the corner (70' above the previous stance), a nice stance on the GT before the leftward traverse (about 60' higher), and a good stance at the base of the final corner (about 60' more). Doesn't much matter which of these you use - my current theory is to solo to the 1st tree 30' up and then take a really long pitch up to the great ledge at the base of the final corner. Probably need a 60m for this. Climbed YYYY last summer and I continue to be impressed with it.
Oct 20, 2008
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13
A bit of a choss-fest up to the last pitch, and then it's all worth it. Really surprised there is as much loose stuff on P1 and P2.
P1 felt more like 5.4 in some sections and the very start of P3 felt more like 5.5.
|By Jason Schrack|
Oct 20, 2008
The traverse at the end is absolutely awesome! Not hard at all, definitely a Gunks 5.3 or 5.4.
|By Larry S|
Jul 9, 2010
Possibly my favorite climb in the nears. Pitch 2 (or 3 if you're doing 4 pitches) is a joke and might have some loose stuff on it, but P1 and 3 are great. There's an optional 5.7ish exit that pulls up out of the p3 traverse onto some lichen covered rock, then steps right to rejoin the original route. I definitely recommend that finish if you want to kick it up a bit on the last pitch. It'll save you some rope drag too.
|By micah richard|
Oct 4, 2010
This was my very first route that I ever climbed at the Gunks, followed that is. Looking up at those impossible giant roofs from the ground was a wake up call. I said to the veteran Gunks leader (Jonathan) , that's 5.3? How are you going to get over that roof? Then I heard it for the first time, "welcome to the Gunks''. In those days I was T.R.ing 5.9 and not leading at all. This line kept my attention as I remember. 8 years later (last wknd) I got back there to lead it my myself with 76 year old Al and much younger, Mirriam following. Al has been climbing in the Gunks since before aluminum carabiners were all the rage. He had never climbed this route. I have led both High E, and Shockly's, I found this route to be just as memorable. Al, who has climbed the nose of El Cap twice among many other feats of daring, called this a "great route". He has lost some of his leading head since a recent leader fall, so I led all but the third pitch left traverse. Mirriam was also impressed by the exposure of pitch 3.
Anyway I would not combine pitch 1 and 2. The first pitch ends at a wide ledge. Climbing off the ledge with that much rope out would guarantee a bad day if you fell. Also the second pitch is pretty long, quite sustained for the grade. The third pitch, the traverse, traverses way left, so don't even think about combining the last two pitches. The last pitch ,from the belay looks very intimidating and unlikely. Climb the corner to the crappy pin, and traverse right on a wonderful hand rail with easy feet the whole way. The exposure from here is amazing. The handrail eats up pink tri cams nicely, well protected.
From: Jersey City, NJ
Nov 8, 2010
I think the new Williams guide is mistaken on one of the variations for the fourth pitch. It reads 5.0 for "Yabba Dabba Do" (variation 3). Taking a newbie up this, I was considering that option, but it seems to much harder than the 5.3.
Great exposure on the last pitch. We walked off so someone else can confirm this, but I doubt that two 60 meter ropes would hit the ground.
|By Kevin Heckeler|
From: Upstate New York
Aug 6, 2011
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
We used the Fat City rappel a little ways back on the wall (near Gelsa). Didnt see any rap from the top despite rap stations on the climb...
We used double ropes of course, most raps in the Nears require them.
Traverse is very nice, thoughtful moves and of course great exposure. Pitch 2 (or second half of pitch 1 here) was quality as well.
As Mican suggested, ledge fall potential exists linking pitches one and two together. We did this in four today, and we commonly link things whenever possible. It would also be helpful if someone revised the pitch 2 description here to include the diagonal left climbing 25 feet up into the large corner. It's not obvious when you get to the ledge on P2 where to go. Fortunately the dick williams guide mentioned this, but had we only MP's description we'd probably have flubbed this section and climbed lord knows what to the top. :-P
Jun 19, 2012
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
Haven't checked in here in awhile. What a great post by Michah! Gud'on ya Al! Climbing is such a great sport!!!!
|By Pete Wilk|
Jun 24, 2012
I did not see a rap station at the top of this one, though given the two pitches with rap anchors I would have expected it. After hunting around for a while my partner and I went down the Eenie Meenie rap (to climber's left 50ft). I wouldn't recommend this one though as only the top rap anchor is really good. The second one is on slightly small tree, third one is a bunch of slings (quantity is abundant, at least 1-2 high quality ones in there) but the anchor is a pinch between two very large boulders that are disconnected from the face on a small ledge. While very unlikely that these would go anywhere I personally would skip using this rappel in the future for YYYY.
Jul 31, 2012
Great climb. I bet it's actually less far from the main West Trapps parking than more famous 5.3-5.4 routes (Beginners Delight + Minty).
But YYYY is not for (most) beginners because of the long traverse at the top - and with the top belay not positioned well for communication.
A good reason to stop and belay at the first pine tree ledge is so that the leader can demonstrate to followers the somewhat-tricky move sequence just above the ledge. WIth careful placement of protection, I was not feeling in danger of hitting the ledge (or not hard anyway) if I fell (but I'll check more carefully next time).
Seemed to me somewhere in the upper section of P2 (if doing four pitches), there's a bulge where it's likely to hit a ledge if leader were to fall. (This is not just above the first pine tree big ledge, it's higher than that). And one of the moves thru that bulge seemed kind of height-dependent - like for a leader much less than 5 ft 5 inch tall, could be a lot harder than 5.3.
One obviously loose stone somewhere in the middle, otherwise did not seem much looser than lots of other easy climbs in the Gunks -- though some sections are more vegetated than popular 5.3 climbs in the Trapps.
I did not place anything larger than a #1 Camalot (red). I guess there was a place on the first part of the top pitch where I could have placed a #3, but there were other options so I didn't. Lots of small-medium cams useful.
Aug 1, 2012
A climb as good as this deserves a more detailed description, so here's my try:
P1 - Starting up slab, trend slightly left to reach Left-facing corner, follow that to ledge with a large pine tree with rappel slings - about 50-65 feet off the ground.
P2 - First go up 10-15 feet on right side, then Left about 10 feet (tricky moves, perhaps more like Gunks 5.4) to reach left-facing corner, follow that (steep) to its top. Then up face (with a bulge) to a wide ledge - on its right side is a large pine tree with rappel slings.. (long pitch, possibly as much as 125ft; potential leader-fall-and-hit-ledge; the lower section of left-facing corner does not have such good protection options, yet might still be exposed to ledge-fall-hit, so consider checking carefully for protection option just before entering the corner).
P3 - While climbing, as you look up you see a roof above which seems would be impossible to make a traverse close underneath. That is not the roof of the top pitch of YYYY, which is out of sight above that roof. The point of P3 is to get around the lower roof, well below it. The point of P4 is to climb up past the lower roof, then traverse between the lower and upper roofs.)
P4 - up the wide corner like 20 ft (some trickiness), then traverse 30-40 ft horizontal under roof (exposed but good holds), then less-steep up to the top.
. (Old piton at top of corner. Perhaps could bypass that to reach the roof traverse quicker with less rope drag. But placing a small cam (with long slings) next to the piton might help protect followers on upper section of wide corner; Once above the roof, the anchors and belay stances get nicer the higher you go, but then communication with followers gets more difficult).
Descent: The rappel slings on trees on P1 + P2 might make you think there should be a rappel station at the top of the climb, but there is not. Instead walk off to the north (right) and soon meet a trail.
|By Brian McLaughlin|
Sep 3, 2012
Great description kenr! I lead it yesterday and it was just as you desribe. About he start of P2 you suggest ledge-fall potential, which is real. I solved it this way: There's a good crack just before the tricky leftward moves (use a long sling), and there's a small crack at the very base of the corner system (though there is a better nut placement a little higher, and back-cleaning any gear in the small crack will reduce drag).
As you say, there are no rap slings above the ones on the pine trees along the route, but if you go south along the top you can find a large pine with rap slings above Eenie Meenie. The rappel is hugely exposed and free hanging (about as exciting as the Le Teton rap), but two ropes will take you down in 2 rappels.
|By Kiri Namtvedt|
Sep 24, 2012
Extremely fun and adventurous climb! Varied climbing, with the slab, face and traversing under a roof. The top, after the traverse under a roof is unnerving because of the potentially slippery grass on low angle slab.
NOTE! It's very hard to find the rap anchors above Eenie Meenie! Possibly because of tree fall, but they were scary to get to and we opted to walk down to the Fat City rap; much easier to find and to access.
Sep 24, 2012
I'd imagine any rappel setup above Eenie Meenie would be removed since that climb is part of the closed portion of the Nears.
Jul 27, 2013
Did it again today with Sharon. Had more climbing moves than I remembered.
I did not notice any ledge-fall-hit potential in the 20 ft above the first big pine tree with rappel slings. I was able to get threaded placement low on the right side, then another high on the right side before making the traverse to the left. Then another high placement of cam (with a second cam as backup) about two-thirds of the way across the traverse. Then I was able to reach around to the left-facing corner. But Sharon with less reach found it easier to step down some first.
Low on the left-facing corner just above the traverse was easier to protect with stoppers and small cams than I had remembered. Higher up in the pitch, I was glad to have some very small cams. But I didn't see any way to prevent ledge-fall-hit on the moves over the higher bulge.
... (The bulge seemed like it's about 5.3 if you find exactly the correct hand and foot-holds. But how many 5.3 climbers are going to succeed in finding all the best holds on the first try? So realistically I'd say it's 5.4)
Top / final pitch: Both the wide corner and the traverse protected well with medium and small cams. But the climbing does not end with the traverse. The slabby section above the traverse has some thoughtful moves (without very positive handholds, and with rope-drag). I found it protected well with very small cams.
After I got high enough above the traverse to make an anchor on a good tree, I noticed I would have lots of rope drag in belaying Sharon. So I lowered myself back down close to the right end of the traverse, and made sure I had good directional protection for pulling the rope away from right end of the traverse. Then I belayed Sharon from a semi-hanging / sitting stance. Result: Good communication and less rope drag helped a lot when she had trouble with a move in transition from the corner into the traverse.
Descent: We changed out of our rock shoes, soon found the Blue-paint-marked trail for a pleasant + scenic hike back to the West Trapps parking.
From: Wayne, PA
Aug 11, 2013
I hadn't done YYYY in years. I was a new leader when I did it the first time. I remember being terrified at the small traverse into the corner on P2 (if you are doing it in 4 pitches).
So nice to do again so many years later and be so joyful.
I think it's easy to link P1/P2. P4 is the money pitch and it's great. It's not over when you are done the traverse; you still have to head up a garden filled gully with less than optimal holds. There is just enough gear to stay protected as you try not to slide off the long grass.
The 5.7 variation is really fun, although it deposits you onto a licheny face. Take your time through the lichen up into the woods.
Dec 31, 2013
NB - I did a bunch of editing today, incorporating suggestions and descriptions from above along with my own experience. I also omitted directions to rappel for reasons.
Hopefully next summer I'll add a picture of the route base.
When I first climbed this route aeons ago, we exited left (!) out of the dihedral at the top - it was probably just as good as going right, an exciting 5.fun traverse. With, of course, darkness falling on a party of four.