Climbing Snake Dike? Bring Roger Brown some water...


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Lindsey Ann

El Portal, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 10, 2010 - 04:28pm PT
Roger Brown has been volunteering in Yosemite for years and is a pretty amazing guy. He's currently working on a project to replace the bolts on the southwest face of half dome. He stopped in to visit with me on Thursday to show me pictures of his project and tell me about his adventures... what a guy! His project is expected to continue through the end of August. Every three days he spends one day hauling water up to his camp. He's camping in a yellow tent that's right on the approach trail to snake dike (two miles up from LYV) you can't miss it. He told me that if every person that climbs snake dike would bring him a small bottle of water (and just leave it by his tent), he could continue his bolt replacement on days when he would be hauling water. He's not one to ask for anything... which is why I thought I'd post this. For those of you who know Roger and the work that he does, you might be able to give some additional insight. Thanks! ~Lindsey

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Jul 10, 2010 - 04:34pm PT
Many thanks to Roger for his hard work replacing bolts. Also, kudos to Clint Cummins who helped string all the ropes Roger is using in his rebolting work. You guys are the bomb!


ps - I would bring a gallon of water to Roger, but I am in France reporting on that bike race thing that Lance rides each July.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 10, 2010 - 05:24pm PT
It's a big project - Roger carried 1950' of rope to the base of Snake Dike, with a little assist from the pack horses, who got some ropes to Little Yosemite Valley.
Roger replacing on the Apron (Hoppy's Favorite), 2009

We may have the dubious distinction of being one of the few teams to pull a forced bivvy on Snake Dike!
(In an alcove at the top where a big slab detached from an arch). It was Roger's first forced bivvy.
In the morning, Roger went down the ropes a ways to free them, and I led a traversing pitch to get above Autobahn. We then fixed the ropes down Autobahn with dry mouths in a heat wave. After hitting Roger's water cache and a nap, I bailed, but Roger has been busy since replacing bolts on Autobahn, Fast Lane and probably Dreamscape by now.
It's a big, impressive face.
QITNL's photo, posted by Peter Haan - routes are on the left side of the face; you can just see the tree near the top of Autobahn - above a long horizontal roof with a streaked golden/orange/brown face below.

Past summers' bolt replacement threads: (Apron 8/2008) (8/2007) (Arches Terrace, 7/2007)

Trad climber
Jul 10, 2010 - 06:46pm PT
His project is expected to continue through the end of August. Every three days he spends one day hauling water up to his camp. He's camping in a yellow tent that's right on the approach trail to snake dike (two miles up from LYV) you can't miss it.

Is that legal? I thought there was a limit to how long you can camp in one spot, and right on the trail?

I like old bolts, and think these type of complete replacement projects steal the adventure from climbing, sorry to be a spoil sport, but That's wilderness, not Alabama Hills.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 10, 2010 - 07:14pm PT
"Trail"? :-) A definite bushwhack in places, with 3rd class sections.

It's legal to bivvy on the wall as long as you want. Not much difference here; he could hang a portaledge just off the ground, but there's not much point. It's very low impact where he is.

It's fun to look at all the different old bolts/hangers, but there is still plenty of adventure in the runouts. I guess you could clip with faded tat draws if you want a bigger adventure with the new bolts? Maybe lead on a 6mm rope? :-)
I'm just glad with some of the bolt remnants I've found that I feel OK soloing in many places:
former "protection" bolt on The Smile (aka The Mouth).

Trad climber
Jul 10, 2010 - 07:19pm PT
Many thanks and kudos for the impressive efforts to replace the old bolts.

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jul 10, 2010 - 07:24pm PT
If I were out there, I'd surely bring him a gallon.
Great job, Roger. Magnifique!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jul 10, 2010 - 07:36pm PT
cool to see those Fires back at work Clint!
good on you guys, you're absolutely great!

Boulder climber
The End Is Near Retirement Home
Jul 10, 2010 - 09:38pm PT
thanks to Roger, and his cohorts

Social climber
El Portal Ca.
Jul 10, 2010 - 09:59pm PT
Roger is a rock star!

and Clint, those images are priceless!

Can't stop smiling.


Trad climber
sacramento, ca
Jul 11, 2010 - 02:24am PT
Dang! I wish I knew this yesterday. Did snake dike today and saw his tent and him on the rock. Had I known I would have hauled up a gallon! That approach was terrible I feel bad he has to do that weekly.
Roger Brown

Oceano, California
Jul 16, 2010 - 08:09pm PT
Thank you Flanders, and your clients, for the three gallons. And hey, just hiking in and doing Snake Dike is a bigger deal than many realize. I see it all from up there, I see you lost and off route in the brush, I hear you folks passing by camp in the middle of the night after bailing. Don't worry about hauling water. I am getting by OK. It is just refreshing to know Clint and I are not the only ones that had an epic on Snake Dike:-) I think Autobahn and The Fast Lane are finished. There are some issues between what the Topo's say and what is actually there that need to be resolved. I am home doing some research for a couple days. Dreamscape has been started. I am having the adventure of a lifetime,
scuffy b

Eastern Salinia
Jul 16, 2010 - 08:18pm PT
Thanks, Roger, for your work (that goes for all your past projects as well,
of course).
I really didn't expect Autobahn and Fast Lane ever to get replaced, so I
always just looked at the topos wistfully.
I just might have to turn myself back into a face climber.

Social climber
Davis, CA
Jul 16, 2010 - 08:40pm PT
You guys are rad! Thanks for doing that.

I don't care to see the old hardware on routes, I'd rather see it in a museum.

Not that I'll ever do it, but I've heard that autobahn has 1 bolt belays. Did you guys beef it up to two, or is it still just 1?
mark miller

Social climber
Jul 16, 2010 - 09:03pm PT
I'd go to the ends of the earth for Roger ( His work should be appreciated by everyone)...
But I only do snake dike every other decade, and I'm Knott due to repeat it again until 2017, sorry "Sir".
If I happen chance to wonder in the area I'll help resupply you with some H2O, sunscreen, Beer and whatever else I can help make your efforts easier.
Thanks (humbly) Roger for all your tireless sacrifice...
Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Jul 16, 2010 - 09:09pm PT
um--wouldn't using a filter on the upper merced there save everyone a lot of steps and trouble?
Roger Brown

Oceano, California
Jul 16, 2010 - 10:53pm PT
I'm going to post twice in one day:-) 1 bolt belays are still just one bolt, but that bolt is now 3/8"ss w/one of those double ring hangers so you don't have to leave as much stuff if you bail or lower off. All the 1 bolt belays will take gear so you can make them really bomber. 9 has a bottomed out knifeblade to back up the new bolt that I will upgrade to a bigger pin if I get back there. You could probably fiddle in some other stuff. I replaced the bolt protecting that 11+ double roof thing yesterday. I struggled over it a couple times now with ascenders on my fixed rope and it beat me up both times. I saw just 1 hold, you can match hands, but still only 1 hold. Its a mantle. It looks really hard and the old bolt looked a bit used. As for the water, I have just been drinking the water right from where it runs out of lost lake, unfiltered. It is only 1 hour from there to camp. So much stuff could go wrong as it is, I guess I just don't think about the water. I'm up to 2 gallons a day now and will probably go higher if I follow the advice of my friend Zach. If I am not mistaken, the water we drink in the Valley comes right out of the river anyway. Just goes thru a screen to get the chunks out. The drinking fountains at the bridge on the hike in? How would they pump it up there? Where would the pipes be? I better quit talking. I just might be really dumb:-)

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Jul 17, 2010 - 10:39am PT
Roger is an absolute asset to climbers that is under appreciated.

Thanks Roger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And likewise with Clint, but Clint usually gets the thank yous he deserves. Thanks for all the history and documentation, Clint! It IS appreciated.

Thanks guys!!!!

Big Wall climber
Jul 17, 2010 - 12:18pm PT
both you guys are always doing something awesome.
good job!
Carol Brown

Jul 18, 2010 - 06:42pm PT
OK this is Carol Brown, first time to post. Thank you all for your appreciative words for Roger and Clint's work with the bolt replacement. And thanks Lindsey for mentioning the need to keep this guy hydrated.
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