Follows several dihedrals up the right side of the Cal Dome apron. The third pitch moves up the slab past a few bolts and left away form the prominent dihedral and gains a crack system that moves back right. Again from the anchors move out left past a few bolts and back right or go right from the anchors into the 5.9+ chimney (called the "Smoking" veriation) to the bolted anchors. Pitch five follows the obvious dihedral to the chains. Pitch 6 is a short pitch that moves up past a short hands crack under the now obvious large arch to more bolted anchors. Pitch 7 moves out left under the arch to a fixed pin then over it and up an easy (dirty) gully to a sling belay. Two more pitches following the arching dihedral bring you to the top
Rappel the route on good rap anchors or find the long scary walk off. Just rap the route.
I don't know about that dude's "5.6" comments; I thought many of the 5.8 sections on this route were quite hard for the grade. Also, this route was MUCH less mungy and loose than a lot of other routes we climbed/examined on the dome, leading me to believe the poster who calls it easy, mossy and loose maybe didn't actually climb the right line.
A lot of this route feels like 5.9, and tenuous, sustained 5.9 at that (with long runouts on the slab sections--hard sections not always protected). My boyfriend (who regularly leads 5.11 trad) thought so too. Get both your calves and mind of steel ready to do this thing! Neither of us noticed a lot of loose rock, dirt or moss.
There was a good mix of climbing here...face, crack, etc. Calaveras Dome and Hammer Dome get very little traffic and almost every time we've been out there we've had both Domes to ourselves. Maybe that's because there's not much book beta around except for an out-of-print book by William Cottrell. It was a good way to spend my Father's Day. There's one scary part on the 4th pitch (I think) where you have to do a small face traverse to the left beyond a awkwardly-placed bolt for only about 10 feet to a shallow thin crack, then climb up and to the right from there. Placed a tiny nut in the crack to feel better. I abandoned the crack and just climbed the face instead. The final pitch had one cool overhang move on a breadloaf looking rock. I will probably do this climb again in the future.
Upon climbing this route my suspitions are further solidified in believing that most so called "classic" routes are deemed that only by the fact they are the easiest route in the area.
This route is a dirty, mungy, spungy, loose choss ball all the way to the top. Each pitch seems to get easier and dirtyier as it goes. They call it 5.9 but I can't seem to remember making a move harder than 5.6 the whole way accept for the chimney variation, which was the best pitch on the route, even though it's technically not part of the route. We linked every two pitches with a 60m making the entire route in 4 pitches. Everything above pitch 5 was total crap. Loose and dirty, it was more like scrambleing than climbing. Everything below was not much better.
I wouldn't wish this route on my worst enemies. It would make a crule joke though.