OverviewBe advised that the road leading to Fresno Dome (Sky Ranch Rd) is OPEN for the 2007 season
If anyone could butcher the naming of such an awe inspiring granite outcrop, it was the Californian settlers. Fresno Dome is better defined by the Mono Indians as "the greeting place" (pronounced "wah-me-yelo"). For the rest of us, we've managed to "tame" it to our own liking as just "Wamello". Over the years, Wamello has inspired countless climbers with its commanding views and high quality granite. Legends like Fred Beckey and Royal Robbins have left their mark upon Wamello's flanks, covering a fine selection of classic multi-pitch routes. Most climbs range from 3 to 5 pitches in length. The upper reaches of Wamello boast of chickenheads and knobs while the initial pitches require friction and faith. As is the tradition of the central valley region, the use of bolts are fairly conservative on Wamello. So the term "runout" is often enamored by climbers who complete such nervy routes like 'Friction Dandy' or 'Friction Addiction'. Overall, Wamello is host to some very challenging moderates yet still gives way to a few sport routes as well. And at an elevation of almost 7000', it makes for a great escape from the central valley heat. The only warmth you'll be greeted with will be Wamello's welcome spirit and the gradeur of it's inviting presence.
Drive approx. 3 miles north outside of the town of Oakhurst on Hwy 41. Turn right onto Sky Ranch Rd and head east. Continue to stay on Sky Ranch Rd for approximately 15 miles. Several signs along the road will point the way as the asphalt road gives way to dirt. Don't be discouraged when you see a few signs indicate that Fresno Dome is "5 miles"......for the 4th time!! Stay on the dirt road until a stone marque appears on the right side of the road for FRESNO DOME. Either park here or park along side the road an 1/8 of a mile back. There is a path from the sign and leads up to Fresno Dome. The parking area back 1/8 mile requires a hike down to a small creek and back up the other side to a faint trail which follows the creek down for approximately 50 yards. Turn left and up hill. A climbers trail continues up and eventually joins the other trail at a saddle. Drop down the opposite side and follow the trail down to the base of the dome. This is the southern side of Wamello. Most of the routes start on this side.
Sections/Features Of Fresno Dome
In order to effectively find your way around Fresno Dome, the area can be identified in sections or sub-sections to allow proper location of routes. In the 'Routes' section of this page, each route will identify the section or feature to identify where each route is located. The following sections/features are listed in the order that they would appear to a person once at the bottom of the south side climbers trail:
#1 - Zipa-De-Do-Da Buttress (features three bolted sport routes)
#2 - Panorama Wall (directly above Zipa-De-Do-Da Buttress)
#3 - Friction Dandy Slab (starts 25 yards left of 'Bay Bridge')
#4 - South Face (100 yards left of 'Friction Dandy')
#5 - West Face (starts 50 yards downhill from 'Whiskey Bill')
#6 - Echo Wall (starts 25 yards left of 'Kammerlander')
#7 - Eraserhead (a small formation just uphill from 'Big Dogs')
Wamello is in the Sierra National Forest and requires no permits to access. Camping in and around the area can be found about anywhere. The only water source is the creek, located near the roadside. Be aware of other recreational users (hikers, hunters and the like). For peace of mind, bring a helmet. This is not due to any loose rock conditions but due to the loose minded "tour-ons" that launch rocks off the top of the dome. As a side note, forest rangers do occasionally frequent the place. So assume a low profile if you intend to put up a new route.
When To Climb
The best time of the year to climb Wamello is either spring or fall. Wamello can still be climbed throughout the summer but one must be vigilant for the occasional thunderstorm. After the first good snowfall, Wamello is usually hard to access because the road is not maintained beyond Glen Meadows.
There are paid camping spots before Wamello at Glen Meadows ($12 a day, 14 days max). These sites offer pit toilets and potable water. But since this is the national forest, you can park your carcass just about anywhere. Be sure to acquire a camp fire permit in Oakhurst (Sierra Nat'l Forest HQ). And for the sake of future parties and the area itself, maintain a respectful attitude with recreationalists and forest rangers. Huge efforts have been put forward to allow climbers to use Wamello almost hassle-free. No egos or posing!
For current weather and conditions, Cal Trans or the National Forest Service offers recorded weather and road conditions. Visit the Sierra National Forest website or The Weather Channel for more gouge.
Places To GrubThe town of Oakhurst has plenty to offer when it comes to "strappin' on the feed bag". At the north end of town, there's the Sierra Mountain House (off of Hwy 41, on the corner of Rd 222 to Bass Lake). This place features a rustic ambience and palate pleasing pleasures. After a hard day of crankin' on Sierra granite, restore your energy levels by ordering the Sante Fe Rancho Burger or order the tempting Georgia Pecan Pie (with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream a la mode!!). S.M.H. won't have you scraping for change in the Love Bug ashtray. Prices are fairly moderate and the food is served "generously"!
There are several ethnic resturants scattered throughout the central part of Oakhurst including a unpassable Thai/Indian resturant. Buffet style food with specialty items to order.
For coffee or some Chai tea, try the Yosemite Roasting Co. Located at the north end of town on the 41, Yosemite Roasting Company provides a wide array of international coffee blends plus frozen treats to cool you off after those long hauls from the Valley.
And, finally, Oakhurst has a wide assortment of Fat Saturation Stations: Burger King, Foster's Freeze, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Round Table Pizza (they're obvious!).
- More Gouge On Wamello
A spread of climbing areas throughout California and beyond. Look for Wamello as a listed place to visit....