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Table of contents

1. Calaveras Dome Area 24 routes in Crag

Unknown and Trad

Long/Lat: -120.236324, 38.490731

Unique Features And Strengths:

Some big, lesser known domes.


A fantastic, slightly old-school area comprising several distinct domes and walls. The centrepiece is 'Calaveras Dome' itself, a massive 1800' high dome on the southern side of the Mokelumne River.

Access Issues:

No access issues, as its located in National Forest.


From CA highway 88, turn right (south) onto Ellis Rd (poorly signposted) and drive for several windy miles to the bottom of the valley. At the bottom, turn left (East) and follow the road along the Mokelumne River (with several crossings) until the domes loom into view.

Where To Stay:

There's plenty of free camping just downstream from the domes. The official National Forest sites have pit toilets, picnic tables and fire rings, but there is no potable water anywhere in the valley.

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 Thunderbolt and Lightfoot

FA: tweedle dee, and assorted fools

5.10b Unknown 1300ft
2 Layin' On the Hands 5.8 Unknown 66ft
3 C.L.O.G. 5.11a Unknown
4 Preasure Wave 5.10b Unknown

1.1. Calaveras Dome 3 routes in Cliff

All Unknown

Long/Lat: -120.227082, 38.486335

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 Wall of the Worlds 5.10b Unknown 1300ft
2 ** Sands Of Time 5.9 Unknown
3 * Old Smokey 5.9 Unknown

1.2. Hidden Dome 0 routes in Cliff

1.3. Hammer Dome 5 routes in Cliff

All Trad

Long/Lat: -120.230128, 38.492608


Drive past the dome towards the reservoir until you get to some houses with "private property, no parking" signs. Turn hard left, cross a bridge over the river and there'll be a turnout / parking lot immediately on the left hand side of the road. Park here, then scramble up at the right hand end of the parking lot to the aquedect. Follow this left for about 10 minutes until it disappears into the dome.

Descent Notes:

There are several rap routes on the dome. Double 60m ropes recommended.

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents

To access all the routes right of and including 'Smoke Screen', scramble straight up where the aqueduct enters the dome to the highest ledge with trees. You'll arrive at the base of 'Smoke Screen'.

1 ** Wings and Stings

Major right facing corner on the right hand side of the dome.

5.7 Trad 2
2 * Smoke Screen

Slab route to the right of Gemini Cracks, and also the rappel descent for that and nearby routes.

  1. 30m 5.10a. Up the blocky corner (watch out for wasps), and up a tricky laybacking section to the roof. Traverse right under the roof until below the first bolt. Pull over the roof, clip the bolt then up the slab (2nd bolt) to a hanging belay on chains.

  2. 30m 5.10c. Up a well protected face past 7 bolts to another hanging belay on chains.

  3. 15m 5.10a. Short pitch past 3 bolts to hanging belay on chains. Can be linked with P4.

  4. 30m 5.10b/c. Up the finger crack just right of Gemini Cracks P4 to a shared belay.

  5. 30m 5.10a R. Cross over Gemini Cracks (which goes right at this point) and trend slightly left up the face above, passing spaced bolts. 2 bolt anchor.

Rappel the route with 2 ropes, ideally 60m.

5.10c R Mixed 440ft 5, 15

To access 'Gemini Cracks Direct Start' and routes to the left, head down and around the dome where the aqueduct enters the tunnel.

3 * Gemini Cracks Direct Start

Corner then slab with 4 bolts to the right of the original start.

Much better than the original P1.

5.7 Mixed 130ft, 4
4 *** Gemini Cracks

A classic! Pitch 4 is the money pitch, with a superb moderate crack way up in the sky.

  1. 40m 5.0. Up a non-descript V-chute to a small ledge with trees (natural anchor). Watch out for poison oak.

  2. 20m 5.8 A0 / 5.10c. Nice corner and crack up rock scar to roof. Aid move (#4 cam) to get into offwidth trench, then easily past small tree to double bolt belay (with rap tat).

  3. 30m 5.7. Continue up the trench to a pod (natural anchor).

  4. 35m 5.8. Up out of pod (old buttonhead bolt) then move right and up the broken cracks to the middle of 3 splitter cracks on the headwall above (double bolt belay above headwall).

  5. 20m 5.4. Move right along ledge to tree then easily up crack system. 4th class except for one move near the top.

Rappel descent (double 60m ropes): aim for the chains halfway up P4, then a short rappel to the chains visible 20m below. From here a 55m rappel reaches the ground.

5.8 A0 Trad 540ft 5
5 *** Gemini Cracks Variant P3

From the P2 belay on Gemini Cracks, go left on the undercling flake (#3.5 / #4 cams), and up a lovely easy handcrack on the left hand side. Belay at rappel chains on top of the flake, or move right to the original P3 belay.

Better than the original P3.

5.8 Trad 130ft

1.4. Deer Bridge Dome 9 routes in Area

All Unknown

Long/Lat: -120.236882, 38.494012

RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 Taster's Choice 5.9 Unknown
2 Smooth Sailing 5.10 Unknown
3 Riptide 5.10b Unknown
4 Sendro Luminoso 5.10b Unknown
5 Rio Negro 5.10a Unknown
6 Glide Slope 5.11a Unknown
7 Captain's Paradise 5.10b Unknown
8 Emberrassment of Riches 5.10a Unknown
9 Clambake 5.10+ Unknown

1.5. Stair Cliff/Rainy Day Area 3 routes in Area

All Unknown
RouteGradeStyleSelected ascents
1 Stairs Cliff 5.11c Unknown
2 Abdominator 5.11b Unknown
3 Dreaming of JTree 5.10b Unknown

1.6. Sergeant Rock 0 routes in Crag

2. Index by grade

Grade Stars Name Style Area
5.7 * Gemini Cracks Direct Start Mixed 130ft, 4 1.3. Hammer Dome
** Wings and Stings Trad 2 1.3. Hammer Dome
5.8 Layin' On the Hands Unknown 66ft 1. Calaveras Dome Area
*** Gemini Cracks Variant P3 Trad 130ft 1.3. Hammer Dome
5.8 A0 *** Gemini Cracks Trad 540ft 5 1.3. Hammer Dome
5.9 * Old Smokey Unknown 1.1. Calaveras Dome
** Sands Of Time Unknown 1.1. Calaveras Dome
Taster's Choice Unknown 1.4. Deer Bridge Dome
5.10a Emberrassment of Riches Unknown 1.4. Deer Bridge Dome
Rio Negro Unknown 1.4. Deer Bridge Dome
5.10b Preasure Wave Unknown 1. Calaveras Dome Area
Thunderbolt and Lightfoot Unknown 1300ft 1. Calaveras Dome Area
Wall of the Worlds Unknown 1300ft 1.1. Calaveras Dome
Captain's Paradise Unknown 1.4. Deer Bridge Dome
Riptide Unknown 1.4. Deer Bridge Dome
Sendro Luminoso Unknown 1.4. Deer Bridge Dome
Dreaming of JTree Unknown 1.5. Stair Cliff/Rainy Day Area
5.10c R * Smoke Screen Mixed 440ft 5, 15 1.3. Hammer Dome
5.10 Smooth Sailing Unknown 1.4. Deer Bridge Dome
5.10+ Clambake Unknown 1.4. Deer Bridge Dome
5.11a C.L.O.G. Unknown 1. Calaveras Dome Area
Glide Slope Unknown 1.4. Deer Bridge Dome
5.11b Abdominator Unknown 1.5. Stair Cliff/Rainy Day Area
5.11c Stairs Cliff Unknown 1.5. Stair Cliff/Rainy Day Area