Condition of the "Royal Arches" : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

I am planning on climbing in Yosemite in the middle of March. Just wondering if anyone knows whether the rock is dry and warm enough to enjoy climbing on. If anyone has beta on the Royal Arches route, I would love to hear from you. Thanks.. from a first time Yosemite climber.

-- Joel Parris (, March 06, 2000


You can certainly climb tons of routes in Yosemite in March, however you may have to stick to low, short climbs on the sunny side. Also, don't be surprised if you get a few days of rain.

Royal Arches in March is possible, but not very likely. Normally in the spring there is a stream of meltwater which flows down the route, that you have to cross after the pendulum. I've done the route when the stream was running (in June after a very wet winter!), but it's definitely more challenging, and in March could well make it impossible.

-- George Bell (, March 06, 2000.

Royal Arches is a good exercise in route finding - particularly for beginner climbers who are forced to stick to moderate lines. The route wanders a lot and has a good deal of 3rd to 4th class mixed in between 5th class sections. Be prepared to follow your nose and allow more than enough time for it if you're not quick over moderate ground.

If you don't like the old bolts that are at the pendulum, it's possible to swing off of bomber anchors just above and to the right (At the beginning of King Cobra I believe).

Do double rope raps to get off and be careful descending, as some of the rap anchors are directly above Devils Bathtub (sending rocks down to people below is easy).

-- Rob Lee (, March 06, 2000.

i've done the arches in july. splendid climb. i would reccomend the north dome gully decent. i heard so much about what a drag it was till i tried it. it takes as long as the rap route (for a beginner) and is asthetically a fantastic hike. the 17th pitch (done if you don't take the rap route) will be a waterfall in March of this year in particular (major snowmelt) so i would caution against climbing the R.A. until early summer. whatever, have fun!

-- The Voice Inside Your Head (, March 15, 2000.

You can do the arches any time of year, depending on snow cover and runoff ferocity. You can do it with pretty good water flow over the route, the rock underwater is still clean and your feet will stick. It's kind of exiting though.

I'd recommend starting the route before dawn to avoid crowds of slow beginners. Bring a light rack, like one of every stopper over from half inch to one inch, one of every cam from half inch to 4 inch. Maybe eight or ten long runners, three feet or so each. Two ropes if you're going to do the rap descent. Bring headlamps for sure and maybe some mylar space blankets and a fire source.

Climb fast.

Do not attempt to walk down the North Dome gully at night if you have never been down it before. You can walk up to the North Dome trail (very faint, look for cut logs) and take a left to Upper Yosemite Falls, but this alternative takes many hours and may see you walking back into camp at dawn. If you still have daylight, go ahead and try the North Dome gully, it's a rite of passage anyway and not hard, just exposed. The view is fantastic as you hike over Washington Column. The preferred descent these days is the double-rope rap route, it starts right before the friction pitch.

There are some fine bivvy sites under overhanging boulders just above and maybe 100m east of the summit.

-- Joseph Astier (, August 23, 2002.

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