California sunshine, stable weather, and perfect Sierra granite were the ingredients for our new route, Tehipite Sanction (5.12 Cl), on Tehipite Dome. The massive south face and upper dome rises out of the majestic and lonely Kings Canyon. In July, Ari Menitove, Mike Brumbaugh, and I horse packed 13 miles to a base camp in the forest below the upper dome.
We were alone in the recently burned wilderness, and an eerie feeling lingered in the dead forest as we hiked back and forth to camp during our five-day stay. To start, we hiked down a gully to the ledge system just above the middle of the wall and rapped to the base [Farther east, the rock drops to the toe of the complete 3,400' south face—Ed.]. From there we scrambled about 600' up an obvious gully, then established 12 pitches connecting the steepest part of the wall to the upper dome. Ari and I nearly freed the crux fifth pitch—we climbed it with one hang—which should go at 5.13-. Other than anchors, we only needed to add about six bolts. Where our route ends, at the big ledge system below the upper dome, one can walk off or continue on one of the upper dome routes. We finished with six rope-stretcher pitches on the upper part of the 1997 route, In the Niche of Time (Felton-Joe-Zielsky).
The route has every type of crack climbing on it, from tips to hands to offwidth— and no hanging belays! The wall required little to no cleaning and was a spectacular experience. Dust and ash covered us daily and the hours on the wall were long; but when it came time for climbing, the soreness and pain went away and were replaced by the joy of climbing an amazing line in a wonderful place.