This 5-pitch line climbs a low angle slab system immediately left of Serenity Crack
. Though apparently there are additional aid pitches which allow you top out on the rim, the most popular version of the line terminates after 5 pitches of mostly enjoyable free climbing. The lower "access" pitches are loose and forgettable (though easy, <5.7) but the upper 3 pitches offer fun and casual climbing. The line is referred to as Super Slide
in Supertopo and Super Slab
in Reid's Yosemite Valley Classic Climbs
Follow the driections on the main Royal Arches page to reach the Awhanee Hotel parking lot. From the parking lot, hike north onto a very well beaten trail (Royal Arches cliff is above you on the left at this point). A hundred or so yards into the trail hike, a seasonally-significant stream washes right over the trail. Immediately before you start wading your way across, look for a faint climbers' trail on the left heading uphill into the woods.
Take the climbers' path and hike up and left for about 5-10 minutes. A minor blocky buttress juts out of the base of the cliff. The route starts on the left side of this buttress. There's a huge and obvious flared offwidth-to-chimney (Trial by Fire 5.8) just downhill from the start of the route.
Route DescriptionPitch 1:
low 5th class, 200+ feet. Climb the left side of the above-mentioned buttress via blocky 4th class/low 5th class terrain. After about a 140 feet you'll reach a sloping huge ledge system. The meat of the route is above you at this point (low angle slab with some nice cracks in it). Stretch the pitch up a bit more and belay where convenient. Though Supertopo shows 3 bolt anchor somewhere here, we were not able to find it. TF was also unable to locate a 3 bolt anchor in October 2008.
5.7, 100 feet. RPC's line, went up a prominent left-facing dihedral to an obvious dirty ledge with trees (above the huge ledge system mentioned above). Going is loose and dirty - be careful. Other options likely possible.
TF climbed the thin crack to face to splitter as shown in SuperTopo and it was great. The gear is fine and the splitter is awesome. This avoids the loose corner described above. There's a slight run-out, but it is low angle climbing and didn't feel very committing.
5.7, 120 feet. From the tree ledge, walk left 40 feet along a dirty 2-foot ledge to reach the base of the nice, low angle flake/crack. Lieback/jam your way up the nice flake to a two bolt belay.
5.8, 110 feet. Climb straight up the crack from belay eventually transitioning to the right crack as the left one peters out. Pull a small bulge and belay from bolts above using a wide horizontal crack for your feet.
5.9, 110 feet. Move up the grassy double crack system (poorly defined at first) for about 50 feet to the base of the obvious finger splitter in low angle slab. Climb the splitter (very enjoyable and quite casual) to its end. Step left to a bolt belay.
Rap to top of pitch 3: either two single 60 meter raps (careful - it's close!) or one double 60 meter rap.
Rap straight down (two ropes) aiming for a large tree below.
Rap straight down with two ropes again (sling on tree) to the ground.
For more comfortable belays, I'd recommend setting a gear belay about 10 ft above the P3 bolt anchor. This avoids the hanging belay at the bolts and is a heck of a lot more comfortable. Also, a belay can be arranged at a great stance about 15 ft below the P4 bolt anchor. The stance at the P4 anchor is OK but not great. The bolt anchors are great for the rappels.
Double set of cams from micro's (<0.5 inch) to #3 Camalot. Extras in finger to off-finger sizes (#0.5 to #0.75 Camalots) are nice. One larger piece (#4 Camalot) might have been useful. We saw a party rap this route with a single 60 meter rope but it involved an alternate descent line and significant downclimbing. So two ropes are nice.
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