West Crack 5.9 & Blown Away 5.9
Includes Witch of the West (5.9) & West of the Witch (5.8)
About the Climb
West Crack is a super fun moderate route on the west side of Daff Dome. It is one of the most classic crack climbs in Tuolumne, running unbroken for almost 500 feet. It’s a great choice if you need to perfect your crack climbing and jamming skills, but it's very popular, so get there early, prepare for an alternative, or get in line.
The route starts with a few thin balancy moves, and the bolt protected crux is right off the ground. The first pitch then follows a wonderful nut-eating crack up to a roof. This tricky roof is a little burly, but good hidden jugs keep the rating down to 5.8. Above that, the hand crack gets wider, but a multitude of knobs allow for some face climbing and no offwidth climbing is required. It is worth climbing this route only for the third pitch of 5.8 splitter finger crack. These finger locks are just perfect, and the crack takes nuts perfectly. West Crack is definitely one of the best routes in Tuolumne at the grade, but it's a little painful for the feet!
Blown Away starts with the first 2 pitches of West Crack, and then heads left on an exposed and beautiful slab for some very exciting face climbing. It continues up an airy arête and finishes with a mind-blowing overhanging corner. Blown Away is a really fun route packed with awesome exposure and varied climbing. It is also a really good alternative if the top of West Crack is busy. Overall, Blown Away offers a more sustained finish to West Crack, and although it has some short runout sections, it is well protected by Tuolumne standards. Blown Away is not too sustained for a 5.9, but with a long traversing pitch, both the leader and the follower should feel confident at the grade before attempting the route. As the name suggest, not the best option on a windy day.
If you have to wait in line before getting on West Crack or Blown Away, climb the short Witch of the West (5.9), or West of the Witch (5.8) at the base of the dome. Both of these single pitch routes are bolted, and make for a great warm-up.
Of course, Blown Away (5.9), Witch of the West (5.9), and West of the Witch (5.8) offer the best combinations for a full day on Daff Dome at around the some grade.
Many other great routes are also found on Daff Dome, allowing for great combinations. Cooke Book (5.10a), Bombs Over Tokyo (5.10c), and Crescent Arch (5.9+) are all located nearby and would make a wonderful combination.
Remember that if you will be climbing another route on Daff Dome on the same day, it will be faster to scramble down the exposed slabs instead of doing the rappel descent. This will allow you to come directly back to the base of the routes instead of contouring the dome, but it is a very steep and slick descent.