#47 Fairview Dome- North Face (Regular Route) 5.9
Tuolumne meadows contains the largest number of granite domes on planet, over 900 in an area roughly the size of Rhode Island. From Tioga Pass the domes become visible instantly and the urge to climb them is hard to overcome. As highway 120 dances in perfect choreography with the meadows you will quickly come upon Fairview, after all it is the tallest dome in Tuolumne. 12 pitches of classic granite climbing, and in a rare fashion with almost all of the pitches decreasing in difficulty following the first pitch crux. (5.9)
We were lucky when we pulled into the southern parking pull out, we were the first ones there. The frost was thawing off of the grass and our coffee was seeping into our mugs as we racked up with the standard rack. Cams .3-3, a set of nuts and 8 alpine draws, we were ready… or so we thought. The approach was quick at about 15-20 minutes and the climb was easy to spot, what was not easy to spot from the ground was the ice in the cracks. The first pitch was the crux and I was ready to get my send on! It took me about 45 minutes to an hour to lead due to the ice and snow build up in the climb. I guess we hadn’t accounted for snow, but oh well the rest of the climb was supposed to be easier! As we continued to march upwards, the ice thawed but the cracks remained incredibly wet (which we agreed raised the grade of each pitch a full number.) We swung leads in misery until we reached the 4th pitch ledge system, although covered in snow was the first time we had seen the sun, which was a very pleasant surprise. The next 8 pitches were going by quicker than the first 4 and we were feeling better now being warmed by the sun. From the 8th pitch on it is all simul-climbing to the top, by this point our phones had died and so with that gone was our topo of the climb, we got lost and slightly frustrated but we had made it to the top.
Regular Route is my current favorite of the 50 Classics so far. We have not done them all, but the climbing was much better than Castleton and the ease of accessibility beats out the North Ridge of the Grand. We have just arrived in Yosemite Valley and although we haven't climbed any of the classics in the valley I am very confident it won’t easily be topped.