Trip Report - Big Sleep Dome, Shuteye Ridge

July 2012

It's like Tuolumne, only hotter, and without the lake and streams. No running water.
On the good side, there's no highway, campgrounds, tourists, bears, or other climbers.

The views aren't as spectacular as in Tuolumne.
You look out over forest, and the smog-filled Central Valley.
But it's very quiet, except the occassional gun shot
or quad runner shattering the tranquility.

The climbing is enjoyable enough, though strongly sport-climbing
influenced, which seems out of character for such a remote crag
and the long routes.  It bothered me a bit to see bolts placed
with no other purpose than to "mark the start of the route" (guidebook's phrase).
It was annoying to see bolted belay anchors right next to
giant 8" tall knobs that could be tied off for a bomber natural anchor.
It was puzzling to see Moonlight Madness avoiding an obvious natural
line at several points and instead putting bolts up a blank face.
And I had mixed feelings about the approach trail that had been
manufactured with extensive bush sawing and pruning.  In a popular area,
it's good to funnel the traffic to a single use trail to avoid
multiple trails and braids. But here, it seemed like putting a
highway where one wasn't needed.

But these ethical quibbles aside, we enjoyed the two climbs we did
which are probably the most popular: Afternoon Nap (5.7) and
Moonlight Madness (5.9).   They're both worth doing, if only
to reach the mind-blowing upper pitches on each route which ascend
a fantastic landscape of huge knobs and chickenheads.

We thought the route-finding was dead easy - just follow the bolts.
If you don't see any bolts, go straight up, and the bolts will appear.

View of Big Sleep Dome from the South

Afternoon Nap
John on 4th pitch of Afternoon Nap  (Photo credit: Ryan N.)
The amazing knob pitch on Moonlight Madness  (Photo credit: Ryan N.)