Yesterday I climbed Charlotte Dome via either the South Face or Charlotte's Web, leaving my car at Onion Valley at 7am and returning about 8:30pm. Both routes are Grade III, rated 5.7 and 5.8 respectively. It's hard to sort them out because Croft, Secor, and SuperTopo aren't consistent regarding which name goes with which route.
In any case, it was a truly wonderful passage with an incredibly generous array of granite features. Cracks; flakes; knobs from small to doorknob size to enormous; liebacks; large positive edges; hand and fist jamming; solution pockets from the size of eggs to watermelons; and a huge pink dike that leads you through an otherwise difficult area, providing a nearly continuous chain of knobs and other grippy features to follow.
I was intimidated by the steepness at the start of the route, and the huge amount of route finding that looked necessary. But having studied some route photos and descriptions beforehand, it turned out all right even without a topo. In fact, I think on this particular route (or group of variations) a solid mental vision of the big picture might be more useful than trying to match specific features pitch-by-pitch to a specific topo.
It was a beautiful and very long day, and fortunately the clouds gathered south of Bubbs Creek didn't come too near. What a great piece of rock, with truly amazing features. There are points high up on Charlotte Dome where you just think "wow, I would gladly come all the way back here again just to repeat this pitch!"
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