This was my first ever lead in Tuolumne over Labor Day in 1976. Went there with the LA section of the RCS and someone pointed to this and said it's really easy...It wasn't...Not used to the smooth friction, I had some fun before figuring it out.
After coming off Cathedral, we were on our way to the store to buy some beer. But as we were pulling out of the Tuolumne Meadows Campground I was enthralled by a huge crack cutting up the Dome. It was very wide and straight until it takes a huge dogleg to the left. We abandoned the beer and went to the Dome's pullout to have a closer look. I grabbed my climbing shoes (just in case).
I walked up the steep and polished granite to the base of the crack. The last 15 feet were very slippery and required putting on the climbing shoes. From the base, the crack revealed itself to be a deep channel eroded by water run-off. It was about 2-3 feet wide and roughly resembled a giant irregular staircase. After a delicate mantle I was in the bottom of the crack. I wasn't totally committed but it did look easier to continue up than to go back down. So up I went.
The climbing in this crack is very unique. The center of the crack is slick from water run-off, the sides of the crack are much rougher and offer more fricion. I remember only one hold on the entire route - a one-finger pocket which is helpful at the crux. Otherwise I mantled with some useful knee bars and shoulder bars. Very fun climbing.
I arrived at the top of the Dome about 10 minutes before the sun set. It was serene. My partner, who scrambled up the slopes, met me on the summit. We walked off the slopes and got to the Meadows campstore by 9pm. It was already closed but after careful negotiations with the off-duty clerks, we walked out with a 6-pack!
bailed due to wimpering
Runout, slick, and pretty uncomfortable. There's got to be reason this isn't even in the latest guide book.
I think this was my first lead in Tuolumne.