FAs – G.Cornell and T.Devonshire, winter/spring 2000
Desert Dome is easily and best seen traveling northbound on Highway 40 near Rocky Creek Bridge and sticks outta the hillside as a reddish brown slab with broken sections on the far left end that break up closer to Galatea Trail you travel. The established lines are two pitch gear routes with a mutual bolted anchor on the first pitch and a few bolts along the way where runout. The rock is porous pockets on slab terrain and is sustained and will give some leaders unfamiliar with this type of climbing the creeps maybe, however where there is gear, it is generally very good. The cliff faces SW and gets sun all day hence the snowy ascents but with clean sun spoiled rock.
Park at Galatea and walk south a few hundred meters then make a 35 minute rising traverse up from the higher set of powerlines or park in the ditch off Highway 40 directly below the slab and take a forestry road into the woods and head up from there. The first description is more enjoyable however. Also take note of the weird blueish tinge the slab has!
The top is rapped from by coming off big trees. Pitons are not worthy here but the diverse rack should include Tri-Cams, medium nuts, a full set of cams to 3″ and TCUs.
Dam Workers, 5.9 90m – start right of the right-facing weedy corner in an open part of the slab and look way up to spot the first bolt. Go straight up passing a short slanted ledge, passing three bolts and some gear to a ledge with a two bolt belay.(5.9, 50m) From the belay go straight up to a high bolt below a ledge with a tree. Follow the right-facing corner past two bolts then near the top go up left to a fat tree. (5.8, 40m)
Where Eagles Dare, 5.10a, 95m – the next route is found to the right. Start just right of a tree on slick slab to a bolt (crux). Continue to the weeded slanted crack which can be started from the ground at 5.8. Move up it a bit then up and right to another slanted crack and tree. Find a bolt out right. Meander up and far left to a good crack under a bulge then a higher bolt and up to the same bolted belay as Dam Workers. From the belay go up and right up a slanted ledge and a bolt above it. Go back left to the ledge system and up the left-facing corner passing three bolts and the fat trees above. (5.8, 45m)
Handrail Highway, 5.7 55m – this route is rightmost line, right of the dual weeded cracks. Start up a half oval extrusion, pass a U-shaped ledge and follow a left-slanting neat handrail that levels out, clip a fixed peg near a small tree and end at the same communal two bolt belay as for Dam Workers. Rappel or continue up either second pitch.