Route: North Face aka Regular Route (5.9, 900', 5-12p)

TR #: 153

Category: California       Summit Elev: 9,728 ft       Rock Type: Granite

Partners: Dan Aylward, Sarah Hart, Chad Kellogg

A fun climb of a Fifty Classic.

Route overlay.

Even better route overlay courtesy of my friend Mark Thomas, showing the 12 SuperTopo pitches and the way we linked the route into 5 pitches.
The North Face (commonly known as the Regular Route) on Fairview Dome is listed in the classic guidebook Fifty Classic Climbs of North America. Hence, it's one of the best as well as one of the more popular routes in Tuolumne Meadows. The route follows the longest steep line in Tuolumne and contains pitch after pitch of sustained and rewarding cracks. The climbing features good pro (including lots of nuts!), variable cracks, and many options. I had first set out to climb the Regular Route in June 2007, but my partner and I had arrived at the base of the route only to discover quite a line-up of parties awaiting their turn to start climbing; so my partner and I instead hiked a few minutes to the right and climbed Lucky Streaks (6p, 5.10d), a phenomenal route itself. My chance to climb the classic Regular Route came in August 2013 when on a climbing road trip with some friends from Washington. 

The following page is a short trip report for the climb. It was indeed a fun outing and a great warm up for the rest of our California climbing trip.

There were four of us in our party, with Dan and Chad forming one rope team and Sarah and me forming the other. In this photo, Chad is at the tree belay at the top of the first pitch, Dan is following, and Sarah is staring up while I belay her.

The first pitch of the Regular Route is the crux pitch, having the only 5.9 on the route. The 5.9 section is just above where the two cracks in the photo meet. Due to a thundershower the previous night, there were sections of this pitch—including the crux—that were a bit wet. The crack on the left is often wet early in the season.

We linked Pitches 1-3 in the SuperTopo topo into two pitches, which we were able to do using 70m ropes.
Looking down at the base of the route from the top of the first pitch. Yep, a Fifty Crowded Classic!

(The party climbing immediately after us were actually on their way to their wedding on the summit!)
Sarah at the top of our second pitch. We had linked Pitches 1-3 in the SuperTopo. Only one cam left out of a double rack! Even used all the nuts (the Regular Route eats nuts).
Sarah on our third pitch (Pitch 4 on the SuperTopo). There is a fun 5.8 move around the left side of the flake.
Sarah at a belay at the top of our third pitch. This is looking up the 5.6 crack just above the Crescent Ledge, on Pitch 5 of the SuperTopo topo (we linked Pitches 4 and 5 on our third pitch).
A mangled fixed cam on Pitch 6 of the SuperTopo (on our fourth pitch).
The climbing draw warns that climbing is dangerous.
Sarah starting out on our fifth pitch, which was a simulclimb to the summit through Pitches 8-12 on the SuperTopo. This was mostly 4th class with an occasional low 5th move.

We climbed the Regular Route in 4 belayed pitches (which combined Pitches 1-7 on the SuperTopo) and 1 long simulclimbed pitch (which combined Pitches 8-12 on the SuperTopo). Linking pitches, we climbed the route in about 4.5 hours.
The terrain eases towards the top. This photo was taken about 150' before the summit.
This was the first climb that Zieggy* tagged along. (*Zieggy was a souvenir from a hiking/climbing trip in Europe I did just before this Californian climbing road trip. Zieggy is a Valais black-necked goat, which is bred in southern Switzerland; his name is from the German word for "goat," which is "Ziege.")
Descending from Fairview Dome is a walk-off down slabs (2nd and 3rd) on the south side to the trail below. It takes about 40 minutes to get from summit to car.
A trail marker post on the approach to Fairview Dome. It is about a 20 minute approach from the car to the base of the Regular Route.
Afternoon/evening thundershowers can be a problem in late summer in this area. Shortly after we got back to the car at around 2pm, it started to rain quite hard. We piled into our two Subarus and began driving south to our next destination, the High Sierra, where we hoped to find better weather...