Blown Away, 5.9, 4 Pitches

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.88200°N / 119.412°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.9 (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 4
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Blown Away, 5.9
1st Pitch- 50m- 5.9

Daff Dome is perhaps the most crowded climbing destination in Tuolumne Meadows, even more so than Fairview Dome. Primarily due to the popularity of several moderate climbs, West Crack and Crescent Arch. Blown Away is a variation of West Crack sharing its first pitch and most of its second pitch. What makes it unique in comparison to the before mentioned routes is its long (170’) bolted traverse third pitch. Blown Away’s name is a reference to the FAer’s working on this pitch during a windy day. Barnes established the route in 2002.

Although most of the traverse is marked up as 5.9 in the modern guidebook, I found just one move Yosemite grade 5.9. The granite texture on this traverse pitch is more positive than other Yosemite granite slab I have climbed. Not only are there an abundant amount of knobs (called "chicken heads" in the desert), but many of them are broken giving you a solid edge. The bolting at first is quite spacious, but the second half of the traverse is well bolted and climbs more up than left. The fourth pitch is a fun easy pitch at the grade as well, following bolts up into a roof break that can be jammed and stemmed to a fixed belay out left or simul-climbed to the top left shoulder of the dome. Blown Away is a good route to do on a rainy day. There are fixed anchors along the entire route (plus intermediate anchors) that allow an escape with double 60m ropes.

Park as you would for all the Daff Dome routes. Blown Away shares the same start as West Crack. It is best to hit the parking area by at least 8am to avoid waiting for West Crack access. Crescent Arch is the best moderate on Daff and a good pairing for Blown Away.

Route Description

Blown Away, 700’, 5.9

1st Pitch- 50m- 5.9/ This is the shared first pitch of West Crack. This will be one of the softer 5.9’s you will climb in Yosemite or anywhere for that matter. There is a bolt at the base of the pitch protecting a 5.8 move. Then up a 5.7 finger corner with tons of options for your feet placing gear at will. Towards the top of the pitch, veer a bit left to catch a handrail that leads back right to the fixed belay below the roof.

2nd Pitch- 30m- 5.9/ Clip the piton (2013) although there are tons of gear options as well and pull the roof. You can face either direction, facing right gives you hand jams, facing left gives you a jug. After the roof, follow broken cracks as they meander right and into a wide crack. Climb in and around the crack using positive and broken knobs out on the face. There are plenty of medium pro options. When the wide crack starts to narrow, look for the fixed belay station for Blown Away out left. Those climbing West Crack should have stayed in the crack and done a gear belay further up, but most of these west coasters love bolts, so the fixed station for Blown Away could be crowded with West Crack climbers.

3rd Pitch- 50m- 5.9/ This is the crux pitch of Blown Away and what the route is all about. It took until 2002 for the local FAers to figure out a line that reached the roof break above. The first several bolts (2nd clip is actually a fixed station for another route, Wienie Roast) are run out a bit, but with positive face features reaching them. Traverse out left from the belay before climbing up to find a plethora of knobs. There is one place for a supplemental trad piece (small hole) on the entire traverse, but it is at easy ground and thus not much of a consideration. The bolts get closer as the climbing gets more difficult. I really only experienced one move I thought worthy of the grade. During most of the traverse the knobs were broken giving your feet and fingers great edges to work with. After clipping the last bolt before a fixed rap station above, move down and left along a hand rail to a large ledge and belay off of a block.

4 Pitch- 60m+- 5.9/ As with the rest of the route, this pitch is a soft 5.9 by Yosemite standards. Follow the bolts up very well featured face to the short dihedral that breaks through the broad roof above. Stem and jam your way up through the fun break with plenty of pro opportunities. You can belay at a fixed station out left or continue up 4th class knobs to the lower left summit shoulder. This second option will require a bit of simul-climbing.

Climbing Sequence


There are two distinct descents off of Daff Dome. The best by far (if you want to return to the base for your gear or another climb) is to traverse on the back left side of the dome below the summit and locate a few cairns that lead down to a fixed rap requiring one 60m rope to reach the ground.  Then follow Daff around its north face down to the ground via 3rd and/or 4th class slabs.

Essential Gear

The third (crux) pitch takes 10 draws/slings. A standard double rack to C4#2 and one single C4#3 should suffice for the other three pitches. This is a relatively clean route, helmets optional. The route is west facing, dress accordingly. Double 60m ropes allow for escape at any belay. You only need one single 60m rope for the backside rap.



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