Freak Show

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 36.80800°N / 118.595°W
Additional Information Route Type: Big Wall
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: A few days
Additional Information Difficulty: V, 5.8, C2F
Additional Information Number of Pitches: 8
Additional Information Grade: V
Sign the Climber's Log


From the day use parking lot directly below North Dome, hike up talus and forested slopes to the Dome, staying to the left of the initial talus fields and then heading up and right across the talus fields, following ducks. Allow about 30 - 45 minutes.

Route Description

Note - ratings / info updated 6 - 11 - 12. This route has now had 3 complete ascents as of May 28th 2012:

All belays up to belay 5 now have new 3/8" Fixe stainless steel belay bolts and / or 3/8" 5 piece belay bolts and fixed pins. All lead bolts have been replaced with new Fixe 3/8" stainless steel bolts except for 3 remaining 1/4" rivets in decent shape ( for posterity, and excitement !! ). Pitch 6's original 1/4" bolts remain with the old bathook holes filled with new 3/8" Fixe bolts. Belays 6 and beyond are sufficient with gear or trees for anchors.

Pitch 1 and 2 - follow the first 2 pitches of Dolphin Dreams ( 5.8 and 5.8 ). An alternate first pitch - climb just right of the Roman Arch past a small corner ( 5.8 ), then join Dolphin Dreams 5.8 face traverse left to a belay bolt.

Pitch 3 - at the base of a steep corner ( the start of pitch 3 on Dolphin Dreams ), climb up a C1 corner past 2 fixed pins to a ledge / corner system that leads right and up a ramp to a roof which is aided left ( Offset Aliens ) to a belay ledge ( 140', 5.7, C2+ ).

Pitch 4 - Aid a corner and / or crack on the face on the right ( C1 )to a corner which is followed to a stance with bolts - 140', C2+ or C2- and 5.8 R. A good portaledge bivy ( " The Marriot Sky Lounge " ).

Note - two 200' ropes tied together takes one directly to the top of pitch 1 from belay stance 4, if needed. You will need 3 ropes to reach the ground.

Pitch 5 - 5.7 climbing leads right to Aliens, bolts, bat hooking and fixed copperheads. C1 camming leads to C2+ aid, lasso a flake and climb an overhanging corner ( C1 - 2 ) to a belay with 3 bolts ( great portaledge bivy spot - " The Hilton Penthouse ").

Pitch 6 - a hook move and rivet leads left to a horn, Aliens, bolts and a bathook move, joining the route Dolphin Dreams. Follow that route for 2 more pitches ( C2 and occasional free for the rest of pitch 6 and 5.8 munge and face on pitch 7 )to the Borneo Traverse and the top.

Essential Gear

Note - gear updated 6 - 11 - 12:

Optional Pitons & copperheads - in case fixed pins are missing -

1 rurp (optional - currently fixed ), 2 lost arrows ( long thin - thick ), 1/2" & 5/8" angles - 1 each, 3/4" and 1" angles - 1 each, tie off loops, 4 copperheads.

1 1/2 sets nuts ( offsets useful ).
2 sets WC Friends from # 1 - #5 ( one extra # 2 1/2, 3 and 3 1/2 useful ), one # 6 Friend ( or BD cams # 1 -4, 2 each, extra # 2 & 3, 1 # 5 plus one #6 WC Friend ).
Small - medium Aliens ( 1 set Hybrids, a few regular from black to yellow ) a few TCU's, 1 each BD Talon and a Leeper ballpoint hook. Portaledges recommended. 165' ropes.

PLEASE LEAVE ALL FIXED PINS !! Test them first and re - drive as needed.

Miscellaneous Info

Get a required wilderness permit and car pass at the permit kiosk at the end of the road. Cost is $ 15.00. Must have to park overnight at Zumwalt Meadows.


From the end of the Borneo Traverse, traverse north on a rough trail. The idea is to traverse into the head of the canyon west of North Dome to avoid any rappels. A spring and large white boulder will be found at the crossing point. Head down along the west slope of the canyon above the creek bed to avoid a waterfall following a rough trail to a crossing of the stream bed about 1/2 way down at a large talus field. Follow a rough trail on slopes above the creek bed on the east side until an old ming trail is reached. Follow that to the road just west of Zumwalt Meadows parking lot.



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