Zee Tree 5.7 & Dike Route 5.9R
About the Climb
Zee Tree is a great introduction to moderate slab climbing in Tuolumne, and a nice route to test your footwork before getting onto the more difficult slabs. The crux pitch is very well bolted by Tuolumne standards, so you can focus on your feet and not worry about the spacing between the bolts. In combination with a 2 minute approach, it is not hard to see why this is such a popular route.
The first anchor at the start of Zee Tree can be a little tricky to find, so if you see other climbers on the first pitch, try to memorize the location of the belay. The first and crux pitch is filled with superb friction climbing on knobs and glacier polish, with no less than 9 bolts. The pitches below the final headwall are not as steep and feel easier, but the bolts are further apart. The final headwall pitch features steep laybacking along a wide crack where you need to place you own gear.
If you don't feel like going completely to the top of the dome and do the walk-off, you can traverse left below the final headwall and rap down the neighboring routes Dike Route (5.9R) or Needle Spoon (5.10a). However, you will miss a great last pitch.
The neighboring 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. Unlike Zee Tree, 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.
If you've climbed Zee Tree, and did not have any issues on the crux pitch, you should try the first 2 pitches of Dike Route, which will keep the rating down to 5.7R. These pitches follow the obvious clean diagonal dike and allow you to test your nerves on long runouts at a moderate level.
Because Dike Route and Zee Tree are located right next to each other, it is very easy to combine these routes. If you don't think you are up to leading Dike Route, but still want to give it a shot, you can rappel the route from the anchor below the headwall and try the crux pitch on top rope.
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.
With the short approach and the moderate length of the routes on Pywiack Dome, you will have enough time left to go climb another route. Stately Pleasure Dome is not too far away, has an even shorter approach, and is filled with great routes: Hermaphrodite Flake (5.4 or 5.7), Great White Book (5.6R), West Country (5.7), South Crack (5.8R), and Boltway (5.9).