SuperTopo Half Dome NW Face description


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Tradman Chris

Trad climber
Reading, United Kingdom
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 13, 2011 - 07:34pm PT
In 'Road to the Nose', Chris McNamara suggests that the faster teams spend a day approaching the wall & fixing to pitch 3. Given that the total combined length of the 3 pitches is 365 ft, is the idea that you tie the climbing rope and the haul line together & fix them in place, then descend them to the ground by rappel? Then jug up them both to the third belay the following day? Then haul the haul bag on the connected ropes? I'm having trouble visualizing how else you would fix 365ft with just 2 ropes available (haul line & lead line).

Thanks in advance for any advice on this.


Santa Cruz
Feb 13, 2011 - 07:50pm PT
When I climbed the route last year we linked pitch 2 and 3 with a 70m rope. So if you get to the top of pitch 3, fix your lead line down to the top of pitch 1 then the static line down to the ground. Haul from the top of pitch 1. Then the first person to jug up to the top of pitch 3 could trail the the haul line and start hauling while the second jugs. I can't tell you for sure but I imagine that a 60m line would also get you from belay 3 down to belay 1. I wouldn't tie both ropes together for a few reasons, the haul would be heinous because there are a number of places the bag could get stuck and you would have no way to go down and free the bags. And by the time your team jugged up the lines, the resident bear would already have eaten all your stuff. As we started a team rapped by us saying they had stashed there bag at pitch 5 then rapped to spend the night on the ground. When they went back up all their food had been eaten by varmints.

Feb 13, 2011 - 08:33pm PT
A 60 meter barely reaches from top of 3 to top of 1.

A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Feb 13, 2011 - 09:19pm PT
Don't haul the RNWF. It would suck, so badly. Do some of the smaller walls (Column, Tower), go up and fix 2 or 3 pitches, bivy at the base, blast to the Summit, descend to the base and bivy again. Hike down in the morning.

I think, in the long run, that will prove to be so much more fun than spending all the time hauling and dealing with pigs. This way, you are climbing, enjoying the climbing, moving light and fast.

That said, I didn't do partner and I wore tiny backpacks, puff jacket and bivy sack, 2L water, bars and trailmix for food. We climbed to big sandy, spend a cold miserable night sleeping on the ropes, woke up and climbed to the summit, then bivied again at the base where our bags and food was waiting. It was my first wall. I wouldn't do it like that again I don't think.

Feb 13, 2011 - 10:08pm PT
yea, don't haul this route - it would suck. We had one backpack with a sleeping bag and puff jackets and stayed relatively warm on big sandy. We hauled the backpack hand over hand on the vertical pitches and had the second carry it all of the traversing stuff.


Santa Cruz
Feb 14, 2011 - 03:26am PT
I would go with Hoi on this one, leave the overnight gear at the car. We hiked up from the valley climbed the route and then had an epic hike down the JMT. I can't imagine hauling that thing so so much pain! Not to mention getting all your junk to the base and then back down. It is better saved until you know you can bust it out pretty fast with no hauling. The climbing was less intimidating then it looked on the topo. But I had already done El Cap at this point so this style might not be feasible for all.

Trad climber
East Coast US
Feb 14, 2011 - 10:45am PT
I did this route 19 years ago. We hauled one of those old A5 black ballistics cloth 10K cubic inch monsters. Hauling is hell on that route. We had to retrieve the bag more than a few times from gaping flake and chimney systems.

We hiked in on the Muir Trail and fixed two pitches and bivied on the shoulder of half dome, after getting lost for an hour or two. Then we climbed to P6 and fixed two pitches, bivy at P6. Next day climbed to P17 / big sandy; this was possibly the most gruling single day of my life. We then finished up at the end of the next day and bivied at the shoulder of half dome. The last day we hiked back down on the Muir Trail and drank a copious amount of beer on the deck in Curry Village. I'm pretty sure that first beer on that sunny deck, with the haul bag piled at our feet, was the best beer of my life. The 2nd beer was good, too.

If I were to do this route again, I'd get a helicopter.

Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Feb 14, 2011 - 12:41pm PT
Contrary to the widely reported theoretical extra bad suckage of hauling on RNWF,

actually it's NBD - it's just hauling. I'm not sure that the bag ever hung up, even.

Yeah, in-a-day is good, but to pull it off it helps to be fast/strong/know where you're going.

And don't forget to get in some chimney practice.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Feb 14, 2011 - 01:16pm PT
I really think the only sensible way is to do the route is in a one day push. The first part is more like an alpine rock route that wouldn't be fun to haul. the last part is stratforward BW climbing. you don't need to be a rock star to do it this way.My partner, Brad McMillon, and I did it in 10plus hrs. A couple of years ago and we didn't feel hurried and I was almost 65.

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 14, 2011 - 01:22pm PT
Agree with others that doing it in a day is the best way but if that's not possible, could compromise and climb it with a big backpack instead of hauling. Have a look at my TR and feel free to drop me a line.

A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
Feb 14, 2011 - 01:22pm PT
You are Jim Donini though....

Adamame: I am not saying leave overnight gear at the car. Just at the base. That I WOULD do again. Take gear to base, bivy, climb route in a day, return to base for bivy, hike down.
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
Feb 14, 2011 - 09:05pm PT
That is VERY TRUE - he is Jim Donini!

: )

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Feb 27, 2011 - 04:02pm PT


Trad climber
Mar 4, 2011 - 02:16pm PT
We did the route last year in june.We were 3 parties at the base. 2 climbers from Lake Tahoe had fixed a 50m rope, and we fixed the pitches 2,3,4. So we started at 5 a.m jugging and at 7 a.m climbing and finished climbing at the sunset at 9 p.m. We were 2 french parties with a 60m rope.
We had a small bagpack for each, and we bivy at the top.

it was our first wall, we tried before The Nose but it was too hard for us (it looks different from climbing in France).


Trad climber
Olympia, WA
May 31, 2011 - 10:37pm PT
if you can free climb up to .11- how many pitches do you actually have to aid? would it be dumb to not bring etriers and just count on being able to pull on gear?
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