Galactic Hithchiker

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Quick Facts

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Approach Time: 

5 mins
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Descent Time: 

Depends on your luck hitchhiking
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Length: 

20 pitches
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Rating: 

5.11a
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Quality: 

3
Your rating: 3
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Crowds: 

1
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Highlights: 

A long, mostly moderate route all the way from the bottom to the top of Glacier Point. The only long route in Yosemite with a parking lot (to catch a ride) and a snack bar (cold drinks!) at the top. And some fun climbing, though this is decidely not El Cap or Half Dome.

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Details: 

There's enough detailed info on the web and I am writing this long enough after the fact that I hesitate to say much. First, check out the detailed trip report by Karl Bralich from the second and third ascents (also check out his awesome Yosemite photography and support a local photographer). Also, Theresa made a trip report of our ascent. Also, there is a topo online. I believe this is based on the original Lou Renner topo, sent by Kelly Rich to Clint Cummins who rescanned it and cleaned it up and then was annotated by Karl. Assuming I have that right, it is because there's Clint's topo and his explanation of the Credits for Online Topo (scroll to bottom). Then Karl Bralich updated Clint's topo by adding some annotations in red and posted what is probably the most useful Galactic Hitchhiker topo online. I've included a copy at the end of my photos in case Clint and Karl's sites go offline, but those topos should be considered definitive and those sites should be checked for any updates and changes.

Other than that, most people seem to climb Galactic in eight to twelve hours and about twenty pitches these days. You have plenty of trip reports to choose from around the web for detail, so I'll just include a few observations.

  • This route was established both from the bottom up and the top down. The effect of this is that it has tons of fixed pro at the beginning and the end, but has some moderately runout 5.10 in the middle (the pitch above the Oasis comes to mind). So I would say that it's a route for a solid 5.10b leader. If you can handle some exciting but not fatal runouts on 10a/10b, you can probably pull through anything harder using fixed gear.
  • One key to having fun is moving really quickly up Goodrich Pinnacle. This constitutes the first "approach" pitches and includes way run out 5.7 slab. If you can run up this, it gives you a good jump.
  • With a 60m rope, you can almost always run two pitches together, with occasionally the smallest bits of simul-climbing. A 70m would probably eliminate that too.
  • In the middle section (pitches 29 to 35 on the topo), there is a lot of easy ground, more hiking than 5.2. Most parties will want to coil the ropes, put their comfy shoes on and hike it.
  • Bring money. There's a snackbar at the top, and a few dollars for cold Gatorade on a hot day makes hanging out at Glacier Point so much more enjoyable and refreshes you for the hitchhiking part of it all.

Note that in the photos, pitch numbers refer to the "short pitch" numbers, not assuming that you are combining pitches. So they are pitches as numbered on the topo, not as commonly climbed for this route.

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