Yosemite Big Walls - 3rd Edition - What do you want to see?


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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Original Post - May 8, 2010 - 01:07pm PT
Well, its that time again. The stack of books is dwindling so it's time to create a new version of Yosemite Big Walls. I am going to spend the first part of the summer climbing as many walls as I can and researching history, corrections etc with Chris Van Leuven who is going to co-Author the next version. I am hoping you guys can help us focus our efforts.

 What routes do you think should be added?
 What routes in the 1st and 2nd Editions could use major revisions?
 If you were making the ultimate Yosemite Big Wall book what what you like to see in it?

Any feedback is much appreciated. If you have corrections to routes, please post them on the route beta pages:


Or, if you have a topo that you have drawn in corrections to, please email it chris at supertopo.com

The goal is to include more routes in this new edition. And any routes that we can't include, but people are interested in, we will be adding to the route database.

There are a lot of topos for us to go through so your feedback really helps us prioritize what you are most interested in.

As soon as the next edition is done, I am hoping to finally get the How to Big Wall Book done. Its due.

Ammon McNeely makes a pendulum on Pitch 9 of Horse Chute on El Capitan...
Ammon McNeely makes a pendulum on Pitch 9 of Horse Chute on El Capitan. He is using the Five Ten Insight shoes and Yates Speed Wall Ladders.
Credit: Chris McNamara
Ammon McNeely starts up the spectacular Pitch 13 of Horse Chute, El Ca...
Ammon McNeely starts up the spectacular Pitch 13 of Horse Chute, El Capitan.
Credit: Chris McNamara
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 8, 2010 - 01:22pm PT

Include every route on El Cap, even the ones you haven't done. Your guide, wether you like it or not, is a major reason the routes on El Cap are so clogged up. More routes would spread people out.

Also, bag the A rating if the pitch goes clean.

I might also add that if a pitch is rated i.e. 5.8, also giving it a rating of C1 is rather ridiculous. There should be a minimal skill level required to climb El Cap, don't you think?

Social climber
The Deli
May 8, 2010 - 01:41pm PT
“…if a pitch is rated i.e. 5.8, also giving it a rating of C1 is rather ridiculous.”

I disagree. Not every aid climber can free climb like you can, Mark! This rating lets climbers know if the free climbing is mandatory or not. If you can’t aid through the 5.8, then it doesn’t get a “C” or “A” rating. But yes, a minimal skill level should be attained before venturing onto the big stones. If one wants beta, they can buy the book. If one wants uncertainty, they don’t have to buy the book.

“If you were making the ultimate Yosemite Big Wall book what what you like to see in it?”

Every aid route and every big wall route in Yosemite!

Looks like there may be a little “competition” on the next big wall book…


May 8, 2010 - 01:41pm PT
Big wall free climbs- please, please, please. Free ratings of every pitch that goes free. Plus new free routes and variations like Lost in Translation and the stuff that's not included in the "Obscurities" section. Or maybe even include some of the routes from that section.

Social climber
May 8, 2010 - 01:48pm PT
Free ratings of every pitch that goes free.

Yes. On all routes, not just entirely free routes.

Also, if you're going to publish pitch lengths, make them accurate.
Use a larger pool of proofreaders. There are things that are just confusing in the first ed, such as the hauling beta on Eagles Way (iirc).

Trad climber
Bay area
May 8, 2010 - 02:37pm PT
Haha. Fantastic!

I have the 1st and 2nd edition, both of which are now missing lots of pages. Can't wait for the 3rd!

Maybe you could make little perforations down the inside of every page, making them easier to tear out? :)

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 8, 2010 - 02:59pm PT

Trad climber
Merced CA
May 8, 2010 - 03:17pm PT
Including every route would be a big benefit because as Mark said it will give climbers more options to spread out among the wall. Also its just nice to have a comprehensive guide. Also possibly do away with the A2R and A3R ratings (which I saw once or twice in the second addition). Aid climbing rating scale is based on danger so would A2R just be an easier A3? And finally this may be over the top but I think it would be cool to have the speed record of every climb in the history section. Just a little bonus feature. Thats my $.02
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
May 8, 2010 - 03:23pm PT
I'm with Mark. It think that when people see that 5.8 or C1 then they will get it in their head to aid it. If they see 5.8, they will have it in their head to free it, and they can aid it if they want when they get there. Really, 5.8 isn't that cutting edge. I was recently stuck behind people for a very long time on a 5.8/C1 section that would probably have been easier, less stressful (for them), and possibly safer if the climbers had just free climbed it. Instead they aided it on tricky micro gear for 45 minutes to an hour instead of doing a very simple 5.8 chimney for 10'. I wouldn't make this change to anything harder than 5.8 though.

Jordan Ramey

Big Wall climber
South Pasadena, CA
May 8, 2010 - 03:30pm PT
Free ratings for pitches that can be freed.

I usually just pencil them in if I'm doing a route. i.e. in the first edition the free ratings weren't on South Face of Wash. Col., which can be mostly freed at a very reasonable level.
Jay Hack

Trad climber
bellingham, Washington
May 8, 2010 - 04:06pm PT
I would love to see an updated topo of Sunkist...just sayin...I think the Supertopo books are great.

Trad climber
East Coast
May 8, 2010 - 04:28pm PT
Sunkist, Electric Ladyland, some stuff on the Falls Wall.

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
May 8, 2010 - 05:40pm PT
bump for "more routes"

Social climber
san joser
May 8, 2010 - 05:50pm PT
more el cap routes, yes.

Falls wall.

Catherdral Spires aid routes- what a better way to finish a Big Wall, than on top of a spire!

And as many other routes as possible with history/ fun facts, etc.

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
May 8, 2010 - 05:57pm PT
B.O.L.T wall
Panorama cliff
Royal arches
Quarter Dome
Porcelin wall

Lotta good stone

Stay with the History aspect, Gathering the feel during the FA is a great way to get psyched.

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 8, 2010 - 06:09pm PT
5.8? I mean, give me a break, do you really think someone should be on the Nose or Salathe or any of those routes if they are uncertain about 5.8? I'm not saying .10a or 5.11 or 5.12, I'm saying 5.8!

a tied-off Tomahawk™
May 8, 2010 - 06:24pm PT
Routes ranked by total difficulty (curiously awol in 2nd ed.)

Pics of gurlz.

Salt Lake City, UT
May 8, 2010 - 06:51pm PT
Ditto for what's been said about the history. Part of the reason I choose climbs is based on the great stories from the first ascensionist. It gives the route so much more character.

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
May 8, 2010 - 07:20pm PT
^^^ hell yeah, I've bought guide books to places I may never climb because of the history that they have. e.g. climbed After Six when I learned it was a YC route. Going through a Pratt phase now. It's tough.

Big Wall climber
A cube at my soul sucking job in Oregon
May 8, 2010 - 09:54pm PT
WFLT: Add a BAT hook to the gear list (needed on P1).

Add a couple more Washington Column routes like Horny Johnson, or Sudamm Hussein. The Supertopo drives folks to a very small handful of popular routes when folks want something short, so more medium length routes in the book would help relieve this congestion.

Add more details to the Mideast Crisis last pitch (original finish). From my experience it is the better way to topout, and less scary than the Astro-Man finish.


Add a topo with distances for the Leaning Tower gulley rappels. Add a note that for the very first rappels that a short 70' rappel to the obvious tree from the top, followed by a FULL 60m rap gets you to the notch. Interim crappy stations are not needed
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