Cooke Book

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 37.88030°N / 119.4124°W
Additional Information Route Type: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.10a (YDS)
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 5
Additional Information Grade: II
Sign the Climber's Log


Bob Kamps & Tom Higgins put up this gem of a climb in June of '67. Numerous sections of sustained 5.9, a well-protected short .10a crux (following an excellent no-hands rest), off-widths, finger lie-backing, and delicate face moves are the name of the game here. Chilly (for cragging standards) shaded (the route only gets sun late afternoon) climbing also defines the Cooke Book experience. Protection, counter to many other Tuolumne classics, is great. In my opinion, Cooke Book is almost as classic as Crescent Arch, & WAY better than its neighbor West Crack. Do it!

Getting There

Park at the dirt parking lot N of the road right before (i.e. W of) the creek, just NW of Fairview Dome. Take a climbers' trail down from the road towards DAFF, cross the stream, skirt the slabs on the S side of the dome to the base of the dome. A short scramble takes one to the R side of a prominent ledge (maybe 50' or so to the L of the start of Crescent Arch) that is used to access a number of climbs (along with Cooke Book, access to Witch of the West, West Crack & Bombs Over Tokyo (among others) is gained here as well). Go L, past West Crack (look for the hanger about 10 or 15' above the ground), to some trees & the start of Cooke Book (& Bombs Over Tokyo), at a prominent L-facing dihedral that turns into a roof maybe 30' up. See the main DAFF page for more details.

Route Description

P1 (5.9): While there are different ways to start the climb, most will prefer the far right variation (there are alternately 2 other ways to start- the middle (or the 1st L of the standard start) variation is 5.9 R/X & goes up a shallow dihedral/groove past a bolt, while the far L variant is 5.8R face- this according to Supertopo). The standard first pitch shares the same start as Bombs Over Tokyo. Take the first obvious, L-facing dihedral to the L of West Crack. Instead of going up & over the roof where the dihedral juts left (this goes to the L-leaning splitter .10c finger crack- P1 of Bombs Over Tokyo), traverse L under the roof. Place a few pieces here as directionals for the follower, but use longer runners to minimize rope drag. Go under the jutting roof (once past here, it is beneficial to toss the rope over the roof/block to lower rope drag), & follow the dihedral up to the obvious belay/rappel ledge (140'), complete with tat & rappel rings. The open book leading here, a slick, strenuous, grueling, & undignified (yet well-protected) 5.9 off-width, can be a rude awakening to leaders looking for a mellow approach pitch. Don't even think about climbing with a pack up P1- just leave it at the base, & bring some water & a little food to get you up (& back down).

P2 (5.7): While it is possible to traverse directly over from the P1 belay (thus continuing the route more directly), this reportedly has a .10c step-down that could be undesirable for the follower (should they slip). As a result, most parties will want to rappel from the P1 belay (~40') to a location in the dihedral directly below that allows for a (trad) anchor to be set up. From this new belay location, start climbing the flakes/ledges to the L of the dihedral. At the top of these, follow a L-facing dihedral (5.7) until you see an enormous ledge to the L. A few delicate face moves take you to this most awesome of belay ledges. You could almost fit the Tuolumne Meadows store onto this ledge.

P3 (5.9): At this point, the route is totally obvious. From the ledge, take the L-facing dihedral straight up. You are now officially in the thick of it! Delicate face moves, jams, & liebacking take you to the next belay. Some rocks sort of jutting out of the dihedral will let you know it's time to set up the belay. While it's more comfortable above them, there's only room for one person comfortably. Also, if the leader peels at the crux (5 to 10' above the rocks), they're coming right onto the belayer if he/she is above them. So make your own decision.

P4 (5.10a): This is what you've been waiting for! From the jutting-out rocks, continue upwards. Where the open book bulges out a little is the crux. Use delicate face moves, liebacking, & possibly scumming your shoulder against the wall to advance. Good pro here (small/medium cams work great). Continue past this section. After this section, it's fun & fairly sustained 5.9 jamming/liebacking to the next belay on a stonker ledge.

P5 (5.easy): Go up & around the corner. An easy (as in easy 5th), blocky section gets you to the top of the dome. If weather permits, soak up the sublime views- Fairview Dome is immediately across with Cathedral Peak slightly behind, Tuolumne Meadows is right over yonder, & Mt. Dana looms ominously in the distance. White granite domes are sprinkled liberally throughout the dense green forest.

Essential Gear

2 sets of nuts, 2 sets of cams small to 1.5", 1 set of cams 1.5" - 2.5", 1 set o' cams 2.5" to 4" for the standard start (optional). Also if doing the standard start, bring some longer slings (doubles) for the initial traverse under the roof. A single 50m rope works fine for this route.


Walk towards Tuolumne Meadows (east?). Some slightly steep downclimbing will take you to a tree next to a bolted rap' anchor. A single rope rap' will get you to another anchor down the face, & another single rope rap' will get you to the ground. One 50m rope works fine. I've read it's possible to downclimb 4th class slabs on the S side of the dome until it mellows out, but I've no experience with this option.

More beta

* Rock Climbing Tuolumne Meadows (Don Reid & Chris Falkenstein, A Falcon Guide, The Globe Pequot Press)

* Tuolumne Free Climbs (Barnes, McNamara, Roper, Snyder; Supertopo; ISBN 0-9672391-5-X)



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