Shuteye Ridge Adventure!

With the Rim Fire still going strong, and hoping to avoid a smokey weekend in the Meadows like the one we experienced over Labor Day weekend, the club called an audible and headed to Shuteye Ridge. Personally, I’ve been ogling over this location for years but a lack of either published or internet information made the endeavor too complicated. Enter the new Shuteye Guidebook from Wolverine Publishing! Thanks Grahm Doe!

Shuteye is a ridgeline of highly featured cliffs and domes sprinkled along the Southern Yosemite border. Known for its runnels, water chutes, and chickenheads, the rock is a cross between Joshua Tree, Yosmite, and Red Rocks. Oh-yea. It’s that good. 

A hardy bunch of six folks made the trek through the bowels of the central valley and up the winding dirt roads to the Big Sleep Area. There’s no Curry Village pizza, Mobil Restaurant, or bathrooms, but there are no lines either. We only saw one other party the entire weekend. On Saturday we waltzed up to the base of Big Sleep and climbed one of the classic multipitch routes for the area – a 5 pitch 5.7 called Afternoon Nap. The route consisted of fun slab and more fun slab to dikes and a really fun sea of knobs and chickenheads. Our two teams of three attacked the route with fervor, with Team Genious (Aaron, Bruce, and first-timer to the CCC, Carolina) in the lead in perfect Three Stooges style, laughing and hooting and hollering the whole way up.   Team Genius was closely followed by Team Angel (Mark P. Noriko, and Mylene) who made slab climbing look good.

Returning to the base of Big Sleep we climbed several other well-protected single pitches until the beautiful alpenglow bathed us in the last remaining daylight.  We retreated but not before clicking some awesome photos.

On Sunday, the group headed to Runnel Vision Wall for some classic chickenhead slinging and extremely vertical sport climbing. The trail was well cairned and fairly obvious, which was nice. After about a leisurely hour hike, we made it to the base where we immediately began to drool over the options above us. I coerced the group into letting me have the first lead of the day and Caroline belayed me up Friendly Fire (10b), a slightly overhung magnificent climb with huge granite jugs everywhere.

Meanwhile, Bruce led up Runnel Lust (5.7). After committing to the sketchy start, he found himself in a sea of chickenheads. Slinging the heads were his only protection for 90 feet.Mark found a way to turn the nearby runnel into an offwidth (what a masochist).

Next, Noriko gallantly led up Runnel Vision (10c) and hung the draws. Thank god she did cause the first clip was reachy and sketchy and I would have been calling for a early wardrobe change if I had to stick that draw (thanks Noriko!!). This pitch turned out to be one of the most aesthetic and fun pitches I’ve ever climbed. Airy stemming, jugs, and a small overhang. Unfortunately the sun was moving quickly in the sky and it was a school night. After exchanging topropes, we headed back down the hill to our cars.

It was obvious to everyone that Shuteye is a special place and we were already thinking when we can go back.

P.S. Bruce is a wine aficionado. If he ever offers you expensive wine, DO NOT reach over and hold out your stinky breakfast mug with dried coffee grounds in it. You may receive the icy stare of Death.