The Stately Pleasure Dome is at the foot of Polly Dome right on the northeast side of Tanaya Lake. You can park at the foot of the dome.
The Great White Book is an obvious left-facing dihedral on the west side of the Stately Pleasure Dome. The base of the climb starts just to the left of the open book, following a little finger crack system. To get to the base and the first belay anchor, it's a good idea to put your climbing shoes on at the car and walk up the 3rd/4th class slopes and crack systems to the base of the climb.
This route, though rated 5.6, can be very runout and awkward at times. It can also be a lot of fun and the angle is quite low. I'm usually not a big chimney/offwidth fan but this climb was fun! The runouts were quite thrilling.
Climb the finger crack to the left of the open book. Keep going up until you get to the top of a little flake. We set up the first belay at the top of the flake, just before the route traverses over to the open book. The crack flake takes small pro at the beginning (1-2") and bigger pro at the end (3-4"). It's a short pitch; some people go all the way to the top of the blocks for the first pitch but it's 200' I think.
Traverse over and "get in" the open book. You can put a couple of pieces of pro in on the short traverse. (Medium size) We climbed this pitch as we did much of the book -- right shoulder against the book and feet providing counter pressure. Keep going up the book until you get to the top of the 4th class blocks. This part of the climb takes big pro (3-4" as I recall.)
This is a big runout pitch. My partner belayed me from the bottom of the blocks. I put a couple pieces of pro in the blocks and slung a couple of blocks thinking that at least if I came off in a colossal fall I'd have many pieces at the bottom of the route to hold me! That was the last pro I put in on the whole pitch. Again, I climbed the pitch with my right shoulder against or in the chimney/offwidth. I huffed up this pitch due to the lack of oxygen (or was it because I was freaked at the runout? You decide.) The offwidth/chimney doesn't look that large from below but when I tried to place big gear in it there wasn't even a chance for a big 4" cam. It didn't even come close. There are nice, new double bolts at the top of this pitch and were certainly a welcome sight.
Sling a horn near the beginning of this pitch. Otherwise it may be difficult to get gear in until about half way up the pitch. Keep following the book; the angle becomes even less on this pitch. The crack/book will end abruptly at a small "roof." Here is the best place to belay from. There are a couple of guide books that show a pair of bolts to the right of the roof -- they do not exist. My partner climbed above the roof and wasted a lot of time looking for the bolts.
Go up past the "roof" to the right on friction. If you don't like low angle unprotected friction, you'd better start liking it now! Actually, you can traverse back to the left a little and set a micro-cam or two in some little pods. Put some long runners because rope-drag can be a real, well, drag. About 15 feet above the roof, start traversing left. This is a long friction traverse with no pro. Just keep going up and to the left... and trust your feet! You can set up the last belay at the top of a big flake.
Once you and your partner are up, start traversing up and to the left. Keep going until you see a black-streaked headwall and a tree. We rapelled off the tree but it was pointless and slow. Just keep you climbing shoes on (ouch!) and keep downclimbing. It will go much faster.
All in all this is a great route and lots of fun -- especially for a chimney/offwidth. There were a couple of guys free soloing the route. If that's your gig, have fun and I'm sure you'll love it. For someone that likes to set a decent amount of pro, you'll be more like me and wish there weren't sections up to 100' maybe with no pro at all. Having said that, I never really felt nervous in the open book because it was like a huge body cam -- I was more worried about getting stuck in the crack than falling. Have fun and the views are OUTSTANDING!
Additional Beta from "Diggler":
Starting at the base of the flake you mention that comprises the first pitch (the ledge below it leads to a flake/ledge one can sit on as a belay stance), one can streeeeeetch out the pitch to the beginning of the blocky section with a 60 meter rope.
Pitch 5: After going pretty much straight up past the roof (30ft?), a pin can be located to one’s L that was driven into the R-facing dihedral/flake, that seems pretty solid. To back it up, a .75 Camalot slots in directly above it pretty much perfectly (though it’s a shallow placement).
- One set of nuts
- One set of cams, emphasizing medium and large ones (4-6")
- Small hexes were helpful sometimes and some long runners for just before the friction traverse on pitch 5.
- Microcams were helpful for setting the belay on the top of pitch 4 and for placing in the little pods on pitch 5.
- Rope: we brought only one rope but if you wanted to retreat for any reason, you might want to bring two. Otherwise you'll probably end up leaving quite a bit of gear.
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