Approach the route via Tioga Road and the stream of Glacier Canyon. Unmaintained trail heads toward the plateau. Once you hike up the Mt.Dana Plateau, head up the dry drainage to the east and aim for the crest. Once you reach the edge of the plateau, the top of the Pillar will be clearly visible and obvious. It almost looks overhanging. To reach the base, downclimb the steep and dangerous ridge (big blocks and boulders can shift) north of the pillar. Don't descend all the way down the ridge, leave it where it's possible to traverse south across a gully and to the base of the Pillar. 2-3 hours from Tioga Lake for average party.
An enormous headwall forms the middle section of the Pillar. Miguel Carmona and I climbed a new, seven pitch route via the thin, knifeblade cracks splitting the center of the headwall. We took extremely long day (20+ hours) on September 4th 1990, to climb this route. Pitch 1: Start up the right slanting ramp just right of the obvious dihedral at the base of the pillar (5.10B/C). Pitches 2&3: Easy 5th class pitches (up to 5.7) lead to a large ledge and belay bolts at the base of the headwall. Pitch 4: A2+ climbing follows the central knifeblade crack (1 bolt, holes) to a 2 bolt belay. Pitch 5: A1 mixed with free climbing (10+) continues up the crack and ends at the shoulder of the Pillar. Pitch 6: Walk the debris covered ledge to the upper wall. Find series of sharp, steep flakes at the right margin of the ledge and climb them (5.9). Higher, climb thin, vertical finger crack up a short pillar (A1, 10+). The pitch ends on a large, flat ledge at the top of this short pillar.Pitch 7: Follow the ledge to the left(awkward move), climb the left side of a short, standing pillar at the left end of the ledge (5.9). From the top of this pillar, climb vertical crack (A1) for some forty feet to a tiny but flat ledge. Move to the right end of this ledge, climb the vertical finger crack in the corner to reach the top of the formation (5.9). Quality Route.
4 Short thin knifeblades, 2 medium thin knifeblades, 2 short thin Lost Arrows, 1 thin, medium-long Lost Arrow, 2 sets of RPs or equiv. 2 each of #0, #1, and #2 TCUs (Metolius), standard rack with SLCDs (Friends to 3 1/2). Time: 8-12 hours of climbing for average party not including approach and return. Further Reading: 1993 AAJ P.151, RJ Secor The High Sierra 2nd Ed. P. 376, SCMA CliffNotes #38.
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