Climb Hermaphrodite Flake to Boltway in Yosemite National Park


Added by Liam McNally

This is an awesome moderate climb with gorgeous views start to finish.

This is a great 5.7/5.8 linkup for anyone looking for an intermediate climb in Tuolumne. Always read through beta on Mountain Project and Super Topo and having the book on hand is always a good idea.

To find the route, this photo is super helpful. The flake is pretty obvious, it's the one feature that looks like it's floating, completely disconnected from the rest of Stately Pleasure Dome. There are multiple ways to approach the start of the climb but this photo is a really nice reference. Really though, once you identify the route from the road, just use the patches of bushes seen in the photos as landmarks. The approach is really mellow class 3/4 scrambling. Be smart, be safe, and you'll be fine.

The first pitch is short and brings you right beneath the large flake/chimney. From there head into, through, and out the other end of the flake. Note that there are very few opportunities to protect in the chimney. Look mostly right for small placements between the edge of the flake and the dome. That said, it's mostly really easy climbing if you're comfortable in chimneys and you'd have to try to actually fall any sort of dangerous distance as it's quite tight and not very steep. If you've got a pack, you're best off dragging it...unless it's a super flat running pack or something, it will definitely be in your way.

Belay from the top of the flake and follow the bolts. From here it's not terribly difficult climbing, but you must trust your feet. It's thin and slabby but not very steep. 

After the slabby face climbing, you'll reach a solid bolted anchor from which you head up the final pitch. There are two options here: 1. traverse left almost immediately from the belay station to find the larger crack on the left or 2. follow two bolts at about a 45 degree angle to reach the smaller crack on the right. The traverse is mostly unprotected and slightly heady but very manageable. The bolts to the smaller right crack (a 10a variation, depending on who you ask) are solid but you must stretch over some very, very slick granite (orange-ish color) in order to reach them. Again, manageable but very heady. The right crack is supposed to be more difficult than the left, but it's nothing crazy hard if you're comfortable leading 10a trad. 

Follow the crack on a nice, solid undercling and as you reach the top of the crack system keep an eye to your left for two bolts leading up and over the final hump. There are bolts to belay from followed by low angle, easy scrambling towards the descent. Head left towards a small group of trees up against a corner about 200 yards away and look for the rap station. It's really low angle rappelling to the bottom, pretty tough to even throw your ropes out ahead of you. Rap on two 70m ropes. Hypothetically (and according to some on the MP and ST) you can down climb this (4th class), but two raps on two 70s will get you down to much, much safer 4th and 3rd class scrambling (highly recommended). Be very careful wherever you begin your descent. 

Photos by Kristi Teplitz and Liam McNally

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Rock Climbing
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