Another Royal Arches Inquiry : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

Thanks for the responses regading my questions on accessing the high Sierra in May. I forgot to include one questions regarding the Royal Arches route in Yosemite. Which is the current preferred descent: the rappel route, as in the guidebook topo, or the North Dome Gulley? I would be doing the route in mid-May. Thanks.

P. Watts

-- Phil Watts (, March 19, 1998


I've only done this route once, in 1996. We took the rappel route, and it is very well laid out, with good quality bolts. We heard so many horror stories about getting off route (taking the gulley descent route) that we decided against trying it. Many people said it is particularly dangerous when it's late (and getting dark), and when you're tired. We were led to believe that the rappel route is much faster, and safer.

Be forewarned, it still took us three hours to get down by the rappel route (but it might have taken us this long because we were a party of three).

-- Lester (, March 26, 1998.

Definitely go for the rappel route. The North Dome Gully can be very dangerous in other than good conditions and good boulder hopping skills. The time it takes is about the same either way. Have fun and go early.

-- Michael McGuinn (, April 23, 1998.

I did the route last summer ('97) and if you rap off the 14th pitch, all the bolts have been replaced and are total bomber. You also end up just a little ways from the base of the climb. Although, the falls are definitely larger than normal this year, so check it out good before you start up the route.

-- Sean Kirsch (, May 06, 1998.

I really believe your selling yourself short on Royal Arches if you skip the last pitch and the walkoff.

The gully is trivial by mountaineering standards, I wouldn't worry about it. Besides it's a really nice walk along the rim.


-- Steve Purcell (, August 20, 1998.

I have to agree with steve. I had also heard all about how dangerous and wandering the N. Dome gully decent was, lies!! I can understand how it might kill the impatient but the last pitch of the R.A. (missed if you take the rap route) is the icing on the cake!! N.Dome gully requires little skill and is easy to follow. Should take about three hours, take your time, start early.

-- Wayne Burnes (, September 23, 1999.

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