Skip to Content

Sunkist - A3 popular

Average Rating = 5.00/5 Average Rating : 5.00 out of 5
Route sequence (left to right): 40
Route Summary | Ascent Notes (4)
Premier Sponsor:
The usual stuff including heads and two #4 Camalots
Consensus Ratings
  Difficulty 5.10a A3+
  Safety Rating PG13
  Exposure 5.00/5
  Rock Quality 4.50/5
  Scenery 5.00/5
  Fun Factor 5.00/5


Sunkist is an overlooked classic that is really not that hard. It climbs the beautiful orange wall (for which it is named) to the west of the Shield. The beauty of this climb is that you can jug the fixed ropes to Mammoth to start! So you're already a thousand feet up "for free", if you consider it "free" hauling your pigs up the fixed ropes to the Heart. It's amazing that Chris Mac didn't include it in his Supertopos because it is so good. It's also hard to understand why it's not more popular because it just isn't that hard - a bit harder than Mescalito but certainly not as hard as Pacific Ocean. Pitches 14 and 15 are STELLAR!

Submitted by: passthepitonspete on 2006-03-26
Views: 3468
Route ID: 4885

4 Ascents Recorded

GoRecord an ascent

  Difficulty 5.10b A3+
  Safety Rating G
  Rock Quality
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: JacekCzyz3 on 1997-10-01 (View Climbing Log)

5 out of 5 stars :) :)

Did 2 times. First in 10 days, no fixing, starting Free Blast. Now I know who break off those heads. Thanks Pate :) I put my beak into death head first time.
Second time as preparing fixed ropes for our camera men for Jolly Roger in 2000

Added: 2010-02-26

  Difficulty 5.10a A4
  Safety Rating PG13
  Rock Quality
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: rexcarrs on 1994-07-06 (View Climbing Log)

5 out of 5 stars My favorite route on El Cap

This one is a real gem!! Amazing bronze & tangerine colors of the rock, huge exposure make this a route to do!

Added: 2008-01-12

Red Point Red Point ascent by: b_fost on 2004-08-29 (View Climbing Log)

0 out of 5 stars Ascent Note

No comment

Added: 2004-08-29

Onsight Onsight ascent by: passthepitonspete on 1997-05-05 (View Climbing Log)

0 out of 5 stars Ascent Note

<br><br>Dave was a natural! This was his <b>first ever big aid route,</b> and we split the pitches equally - he led the <b>odd</b> pitches and I led the <b>even.</b><br>

<br>We took all day, a <b><i>long hard day,</b></i> hauling up to Mammoth. That's the benefit of Sunkist - you get to <b>start a thousand feet up!</b> We made the top of 4 the next night where there is a bivi cave for one.<br>

<br>What I remember most was the disconcerting sound - <i><b>"sproingggg"</b></i> - of my first-ever-placed #1 knifeblade going in on Pitch 8, along with the rather scary moves to leading up to the mantel onto the ledge at 8, a very nice little bivi spot. There are a couple penjis (pitches 6, 11) where you might want to have two lead ropes unless you're soloing. But it's the <a href=""><b>stellar 14th pitch</b></a> that is the real reason ya just <b>gotta</b> climb Sunkist!<br>

<br>The base of Pitch 16, the <b>"A5 Arch,</b> posed an <b>interesting ethical dilemma</b> when I took a fall and <b>ripped out all the fixed heads:</b><br>

<br><a href=""><b>"To trench, or not to trench?"</b></a><br>

<br>You see, my problem was this. We were the first ascent of the season, and when you are the first to try out the fixed heads that have been <b>rusting</b> on the wall all winter, you are going to <b>take a ride</b> from time to time. This I did, directly <b>onto Dave's lap!</b><br>

<br>The fixed heads ripped, and the only head placement remaining, to my inexperienced eye, was completely <b>"smooth"</b> - it was like trying to paste a head into the inside corner of your bedroom - there were <b>no rugosities</b> for the aluminum to bite.<br>

<br>I tried without success for <b>two hours</b> to get something to stick, and it <b>would not stick.</b><br>

<br><br><br>I was left with <b>three options:</b><br>

<br>1. Drill a <b>rivet</b><br>

<br>2. <b>Entrench</b> a head placement with my <b>chisel</b><br>

<br>3. Reach for the <b>cheat stick</b> and leave the ethical dilemma to <b>someone else.</b><br><br><br>

<br>I chose the <b>latter course</b> of action, this being the <b>only time</b> I have used a cheat stick.<br>

<br>At this point in time, I did not have very much wall climbing experience, and I did not know the <b>better way.</b><br>

<br>But as we all know, there is <b><i>ALWAYS</b></i> a <b>better way!</b><br>

<br>In this instance, the <b>better way</b> would have been to have had the <b>proper tool for the job,</b> which is a <b>heavy duty punch</b> big enough to pry in behind the busted head and <b>remove the "deadhead".</b> I only had a <b>chisel</b> and a <b>rinky-dink little punch,</b> neither of which was "up" for the rather <b>substantial challenge</b> of cleaning the "deadhead."<br>

<br>Because I did not <b>know</b> what the <b><i>hail</b></i> I was doing, I naturally chose the <b>ethically pure</b> but <b>stylistically poor</b> way, which was to cheat! Better to cheat on style than to destroy the non-renewable resource, which is the rock. I'll be <b>damned</b> before I'll chip.<br>

<br>Aid climbing is <b><i>NOT</b></i> about <b>chipping,</b> any more than <b>free climbing</b> or <b>bouldering</b> is.<br>

<br>As I have previously written, it is <a href=""><b>better to drill a rivet</b></a> than to <b>drill a bathook hole</b> or to <b>chip.</b>

<br>Pitches 18 and 19 of <b>Sunkist</b> are <b>super-exposed</b> on a spectacular arete - it'll steal your breath away. A memorable moment was when a <b>peregrine falcon</b> flew by me here closely enough that I could see the stripes on his breast and the curl of his talons. We got hit by a thunderstorm on the summit slab when we topped out.<br>
<br>My partner Dave Benton wrote a detailed report for <b>Tuan's Yosemite Rock Page</b> were you can find some really great beta.<br> <br><a href=""><b>Click here for Dave's Sunkist beta</b></a><br><br>

Witnessed by: Dave Benton
Added: 1997-05-05