As you leave Tuolumne Meadows on Highway 120 heading west, you will see Fairview on your left after you pass Pothole Dome. Continue westbound until abeam Fairview (Daff Dome is on the other side of the highway). Look for a small dirt turnout on the left side of the road. During the peak season, this turnout will probably be full of cars, so you will have to find somewhere nearby to park off of the pavement. From this turnout there is an obvious trail leading toward the formation. The trail forks after a ways, take the left fork, the right fork goes to Lucky Streaks. There is a short section of easy slabs leading to the start of the 5th class, and the Regular Route is easily identifiable by the two cracks running side by side, evantually converging a short way up the route.
As you start up the parallel cracks, the left side is easier. The technical crux of the route is on the 1st pitch, and in the early season it is often wet, making it that much more difficult. When dry, it is probably slightly easier than 5.9. The 2nd pitch is one of the best on the route, a crack in a corner, with chickenheads galore, and plenty of good gear placements. Pitches 3 and 4 are varied, and easier. Pitch 5 takes you up the arch, which is a fun section, and ends with a sweet little roof 700 or so feet up. The roof is protected by a fixed pin, and has nice big holds. From here there is nothing harder than 5.7, and most of it is easier. For a good topo, click here
for Chris McNamara's Supertopo of Fairview available via a free download (Adobe Acrobat required). It is worth noting that Roper and Steck's 50 Classic Climbs
recommends climbing the right hand crack, and puts the crux on the 3rd pitch. The info I have given is from my recollection of climbing the route myself. When you climb it yourself, note your own observations and drop me a line.
Bring the obvious, your favorite all-day shoes, comfy harness, and you would be well served to use a 60 meter rope and run some stuff together. If you're feeling good, just bring your shoes and chalkbag (if you use one), and solo on up in style, it is a popular solo route. Again, for a super-detailed gear list, look at the Supertopo of Fairview here
A little history...
This route is of such high quality that it is included in Steck and Roper's Fifty Classic Climbs of North America
, and rightly so. It is an amazing route up the longest section of the tallest formation in the Meadows, with fun, varied climbing all the way up. Looking up at the route, it is a little hard to believe that the route goes as easy as 5.9, and that most of it is 5.8 or less.
The route was first climbed via aid by Chuck Pratt and Wally Reed in 1958. The 1st free ascent was made by Steve Roper and Mark Powell in 1962. Like many Yosemite climbs, the aid climb has made the subsequent free line easier due to the placement and removal of pitons. The piton scars are obvious today, and some of them make for excellent finger locks or stopper placements. From atop Fairview, looking north, you will see Daff Dome. Daff got its name from Fairview, in that is the D
airview. Well, I thought it was interesting...