Pywiack Dome (Sierra Nevada; 8,851')

Pywiack Dome is located just east of Tenaya Lake, and just across from the highway. It offers nice routes, but any climbers inevitably provide a tourist attraction.

Topo Map

Routes: Unknown route right of Zee Tree (I, 5.7)
Zee Tree (I, 5.7)


Pywiack Dome in mid-September across Tenaya Lake

Date: August 28, 2009

Party: Dietrich and Paul Belitz

Route: Zee Tree

Equipment: Small rack to Camalot #5

Time: 2 hours

Trip report:

After climbing two routes at Canopy World we decided to complete our warmup by climbing Zee Tree on Pywiack Dome, where we had managed to thoroughly miss the route the year before. Keeping an eye on the tree while walking towards the dome from the highway it was obvious where the route went, and we had no idea what had led us astray earlier. I ran up the well-bolted first pitch, Paul ran up the less-well bolted second pitch, then we simul-climbed to the final belay in the corner. I led the crux crack in the corner, which was burlier than I remembered, and made good use of Paul's #5 Camalot that had weighed me down all the way up there. Soon we stood on the summit again, then made the short rappel down the east side and took the fourth-class descent back to the base.

Photo Gallery:

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Paul below the Zee Tree.

Paul following the first pitch.

Paul at the top of the second pitch.

Dietrich starting the last pitch.

Dietrich on the summit.

Paul rappelling.

View of Tenaya Lake from the descent.

Date: September 12, 2008

Party: Paul and Dietrich Belitz

Route: Unknown Route right of Zee Tree

Equipment: Alpine rack to Camalot #3

Time: 2 hours 30 mins

Comments: Very nice, although not what we had planned to climb

Trip report:

For our first day we decided to take it easy and pick a no-approach climb. Zee Tree on Pywiack Dome looked perfect for that purpose. We failed to scout the route from the highway, and once at the base we could not see the tree. Paul went up the largely featureless, low-angled face on third-, then fourth-class terrain, and finally found an old two-bolt anchor that did not inspire much confidence. We thought we were on Zee Tree, and looked for the promised bolts, but there weren't any. So I just edged my way up on 5.6R terrain until I could get a piece in under an overlap. From there I could see a sling up and left, and another half a rope length of 5.6R got me there. Hey, two full pieces of pro on that pitch, and the placements were even decent, not bad by Toulomne standards! The anchor turned out to be two bolts, slightly better than the previous ones, rigged with a faded sling in American Triangle configuration (yuck!), with a third bolt off to the left. I brought up Paul, and we considered our options, realizing that we were definitely not on Zee Tree.

After some fruitless looking around, Paul climbed an unprotectable bulge, continued on friction to another overlap that he followed left for a while, placing some pro, then cut right across more friction to the prominent low-angled dihedral that leads up and left to the headwall. Finally, there was pro galore! I led the dihedral, which was easy and great fun, and set up another belay before the final 5.7 crack that's shared by Zee Tree, the Dike Route, and whatever it was that we had climbed. Half a rope length of nice crack climbing got us to the summit.

We had lunch, enjoyed the view, then took the rappel route down to the east side and hiked back to our starting point. It was a nice warmup climb, but we need to figure out which route it actually was!

Postscript August 2009: The latest edition of Supertopo's Tuolomne Free Climbs now lists this route (to the three-bolt anchor) as Unknown 5.6R.

Photo Gallery:

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Paul at the base of Pywiack Dome.

Dietrich belaying at the top of the second pitch under the big dihedral.

Dietrich following on the short third pitch with Tenaya Lake in the background.

Paul at the base of the 5.7 crack.

Paul and our pack dwarfed by granite.

Paul on the summit with Cathedral Peak in the background.

Closeup of Pywiack Dome from the highway. The route we climbed followed this line .