Well, Paul and I made plans to go climb Blown Away on Daff Dome in Toulumne Meadows,Yosemite National Park. We checked in with our friends Annie and Jed, who also had plans to climb Cry In Time Again on Lembert Dome. But early this morning, Jed called to wave us off, describing evil, dark clouds hovering over the Sierra between June Lake and Tioga. Instead, he suggested that we make plans to check out Dexter Canyon.
Dexter Canyon is out on Hwy 120 between Highways 395 and 6, south of the road. From the parking spot on a Forest Service road above the canyon cliffs, we could see the walls of Granite Buttress rising north of Hwy 120. Marty Lewis, in typical hyperbole, describes the area more reminiscent of Indian Creek than the Clark Canyon tuft that its made out of. Hmmmm, we'll be the judges of that.
First, while the guidebook gave great driving directions, there is no trail leading to the cliff. For now, ignore the little dotted line in the book, and be prepared to have a playground's worth of sand and gravel in your shoes from traversing the steep, loose hillside.
Second, go in the late spring or in the fall. Do not go there when a heat wave is occurring. It was hotter than a snake's ass in a wagon rut. It was 10 degrees warmer in the sun than in the shade of the pine tree we huddled under, 10 degrees hotter still when you stood beside the wall, and your fingers felt 10 degrees hotter still yet more when you pressed them against the sun-baked rock. Jed, being the S&M type, insisted on climbing something after spending all that time reaching the wall, and picked a 3-star 10b.
When he finished the first pitch (most routes are 2-pitch climbs, and require a top out), he said, "If this was a 3-star route, the 4-star climbs must be mega-fantastic!"
Paul and I continued to scout along the wall, but we failed to find anything with shade. Paul decided to investigate the creek below while I traversed back to Annie and Jed, who were quite pleased with their climb but not enough to 'shwack back down for another route. So I volunteered Paul and I to double up packs and meet them at the top.
We finished up the day working on and climbing the higher boulder problems at the Bachar Boulders outside of June Lake.
Sorry, the heat made us forget to take pictures.
Conclusion: Dexter Canyon is worth working on, but not until September or October. It needs trails marked and more descent options to make it a worthwhile destination. There is also tons of good rock there for sport climbs to join the four sectors of trad climbing. I hope to head back in the fall! References: Mammoth Area Rock Climbs, by Marty Lewis and John Moynier