OverviewLooking up at Mariuolumne Dome's West Wall from Highway 120 the most obvious line is the striking open book on the left side of wall. That is Hobbit Book.
First ascent credit goes to Charlie Raymond and Gordie Webster, who first climbed it in 1965.
The route earns its "R" rating by virtue of a long (60 foot) runout above a bolt on the third pitch. There are perhaps two moves of 5.7 past the bolt, but the rest is considerably easier. The climbing is on large plates that provide positive hand and footholds until reaching the security of the corner halfway up the pitch.
ApproachParking for Mariuolumne Dome is on the east side of Highway 120 in Tuolumne Meadows. The large dirt parking area is about 2.5 miles east of Tenaya Lake, or 1.5 miles west of Fairview Dome. The approach begins by taking the obvious climbers trail from the parking area. After a few minutes you will emerge from the forest at the talus field below the spectacular Drug Dome. Find the use trail on the left that winds its way through the forest, then skirts the base of the cliffs until disappearing in a talus/boulder field on the north side of the formation. Climb this until it is possible to exit onto obvious slabs on the right. Ascend the slabs heading up and right, and then right along the base of the dome. The slabs narrow to ledges with considerable exposure; some may want to rope up for this part of the approach. After reaching the broad area at the top of Drug Dome, continue on around the base of Mariuolumne Dome, aiming for the upper end of the trees. Continue along exposed fourth class ledges (many will want to rope up here as well) that lead 100 feet around a corner and to a broad third class ledge. The Hobbit Book starts at the right side of this ledge. 1.5-2 hours. < 1 mile, 1,000 feet gain.
Route DescriptionPitch 1: Begin in the corner, or ascend the face to the right. A steep headwall is passed on the right. Twenty feet higher is a small ledge. Belay here.
Pitch 2: Continue up the corner. Pass a short bulge (5.7) to an easy ramp. At the top of the ramp there is a small ledge near a horizontal crack (fixed pin, on the right). Belay here.
Pitch 3: Before starting out, locate the lone bolt out on the face above you. Once you've spotted it, climb up the corner a short distance until it is possible to work your way up and left on plates and edges to the bolt. Above the bolt the line weaves around a bit. Follow the path of least resistance more or less straight up until the line reunites with the corner. It is possible to sling some of the beefier plates, though it's not clear what this accomplishes. Follow the corner past a short 5.7 lieback section to a belay beneath a large overhang. A couple pieces 2-3" are helpful here.
Pitch 4: Either follow the line of the corner/overhangs (5.7) or traverse left, then up (5.6) to where the corner resumes its vertical path. A couple of fun lieback sections await you, then the route abruptly ends on top of the dome. There is a tree anchor about 50 feet back from the edge.
DescentFrom the summit, walk down sandy slabs towards Fairview Dome. When you reach the forest, turn left, and find a narrow class 2/3 chute leading down to the talus/boulder field you climbed on the way in. Follow your steps back to the car. 1-2 hours.
Essential GearA single set of cams to 3", and several nuts in the .2-.75" range. A 50m rope is plenty. In general, the line runs reasonably straight, so perhaps a half dozen slings are all that is needed.
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