Pot Belly is a great warm up or introduction to Yosemmite Valley climbing. It's also a good burn out/top off on your way out of the valley. It can be led or toproped. Great granite friction and solid finger/hand crack climing. The climbs all face south and tend to get plenty of sun. Yum!
Park on either side of the Cascade Creek bridge on your way into or out of the valley. It's just before the last tunnel on Route 120. There are two parking areas and there tends to be quite a few photo takers in this area. If there's no room -- wait a minute or two and you can probably get a spot.
Once you've parked your car, get yourself to the eastern side of the Cascade Creek bridge and hike up the narrow, steep trail on the north side of the road. It starts next to Cascade Creek. It's a quick (5 minute) walk to the base of Pot Belly, the first formation you come to.
There are two ways to start these routes: A slippery, 5.8 start with tiny holds and fingers, or a 5.8 powerful undercling. From there, for either crack climb, head up. The right-hand crack is easier (5.7). The left-hand crack is harder (5.9) -- thin and sharp. You can also climb the face to the left of the left crack for a 5.9 crimpy face climb.
To set up a top rope you'll need a few pieces of gear. Scramble up the right side of Pot Belly and then traverse over to the top. A few medium to small cams are useful. (Green Alien, .75 - 1.25 cams?) Only one rope is needed for a TR, plus a few slings/cordalette of course.
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