Nanoindentation studies often show an instantaneous displacement-excursion in the load-displacement curve. This anomaly is generally associated with a surface contamination effect, dislocation emission, a phase transition, or an oxide break-through event. The determination of which effect is operative is often difficult when investigating oxide covered surfaces. We have performed a detailed nanoindentation study on clean, flame annealed single-crystal Au thus eliminating the effects of a surface oxide or contamination layer. Multiple displacement excursions were observed exhibiting a new phenomenon of 'staircase' yielding. Owing to the fact that our radius of contact is more than an order of magnitude smaller than the average dislocation spacing expected for well annealed Au, the excursions are explained in terms of multiple dislocation nucleation events on parallel slip bands. Indentation data were taken on Au (111), (110), and (100) single crystal surfaces.