Dike Route 5.9R & Needle Spoon 5.10a
About the Climb
Dike Route is a classic Tuolumne slab climb that follows an obvious left leaning dike system on perfect granite. It is hard to find such a great natural line so close to a road. Most of this exciting route is sparsely protected, so make sure that you’re a confident 5.9 Tuolumne slab climber before jumping on this one. Even if the (new) bolts are well placed, just where you need them, expect some long runout sections, especially on the 4th, crux pitch, where a long fall potential is encountered on 5.8 ground. Even a little route finding is required because the next bolt is not always visible.
Overall, this is a very fun and enjoyable route if you have experience on slabs, with memorable face climbing that will challenge you with balancy footwork, route finding and mental control. Note that it is possible to stop at the fifth pitch and rappel the route, which will allow you to toprope Needle Spoon (5.10a) on the way down. Otherwise, the route continues up and right to the top of the Dome.
Needle Spoon is a fantastic bolted climb that is definitely more sustained and more technical than Dike Route. It is also better protected (with new bolts) than Dike Route, but some runout sections on easier ground are mandatory. Needle Spoon will certainly challenge your friction ability, especially on the glacier polished golden granite sections. The first pitch is a 3rd class ramp, but you can use a more direct start up an easy crack that takes you straight up to the starting ledge. The start of the second pitch has two options, both converging into a slick section of golden polished rock. The one-move crux comes at you on the third pitch and consists of a reachy move to a slopey hold located just above a small arch/bulge. It is very well protected, and really good. After surmounting that, you’ll be confronted with an easier but runout section on glassy rock to reach the anchor, which can be hard to see. From this point on, the route merge with Dike Route.
Overall, Needle Spoon offers great exposure on perfect rock! If you’re not sure you want to lead it, remember that it’s easy to toprope it on the way down from Dike Route (if rappelling).
Because Dike Route and Needle Spoon are located right next to each other, it is very easy to combine these routes. It's better to lead them both, but you can easily top-rope the other one on the way down if you decide to rappel. Either way, you won't be disapointed!
Other high quality routes can be found on Pywiack Dome and make the perfect combination to fill-up your day. If you had enough slab action for the day and want to jam up some nice cracks, try Aqua Knobby (5.9) which is located just a few hundred feet to the left.