A look at Lost Arrow Chimney

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Messages 1 - 20 of total 41 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 24, 2006 - 04:44pm PT
I long ago decided that if I ever climbed Lost Arrow Spire I would do it by way of the Lost Arrow chimney. The 5.10a rating put it, theoretically, within my ability. That assumption was put in doubt when I got my butt handed to me on a platter getting to the top of the Steck Salathe. Never the less, I figured that knowing the approach could be helpful. Plus it would just be cool to go up and take a look around. My gym buddy Chris couldn’t turn down the allure of seven plus hours of driving and a thousand feet of scrambling to climb a couple of pitches. Last Friday the web had the valley temperature at 19 degrees so we were expecting to be cold and to hike through snow.

Fortunately, you can see in this picture by 8:30 Saturday it was already a beautiful day and the slope below the spire was snow free. We went up the talus behind the maintenance yard as described in Reid. After you do the first 20 foot section of class three he describes cut back to the left for some yards to find the trail. Otherwise, if you go up and right you’ll end up soloing 50 feet of Yosemite class 4 - about 5.3, no pro. The first pitch we climbed is in the broken area below the sweep of the main chimney. Almost a rope length with a bush and about six feet of 5.8 chimney. The second pitch has a choice of two cracks. The left crack was wet so I took the right, which runs out of pro in about 40 feet. A quick re-read of Roper suggests the left crack. Then a later look at the Geek Tower topo seems to show that the “first pitch” I climbed was actually an approach pitch and if we had scrambled farther to the left we could have 3rd classed to the base of the climb.

I took these pictures looking up the Lost Arrow. At this point we decided to head down. As the day progressed the snow and ice kept falling off from around Yosemite Falls. It crashes and explodes and echoes and rumbles. Pretty cool.

If you compare the picture I took in the morning with this later shot you can see how much has fallen. We rapped the Sunnyside Bench regular route, which is a good idea if you like getting soaked banging around on wet, rock and enjoy constantly tangled wet ropes. I’d be interested if people have an opinion on which is a faster approach, climbing this route or walking over from the maintenance yard. When dry that is.

Another good day in paradise.
Zander
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Jan 24, 2006 - 06:25pm PT
Awesome post! I never knew the Lost Arrow Chimney formed into a mixed route this time of year (3rd photo). Thanks for the cool pictures.
David Nelson

climber
San Francisco
Jan 24, 2006 - 06:41pm PT
I concur: great photos! I have never climbed up to the gully, although it is legendary in Valley history. Anyone have more?
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 24, 2006 - 08:31pm PT
Kevin,
The photo does not show, the ice was kind of shimmering there in the dark slot. I'll take more pics when I get up there. (notice the ever optimistic "when")
Zander
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
Jan 25, 2006 - 05:10am PT
I agree Radical, great thread and pix. I'm envious, I've got to get back home and to the Valley and the Sierras.
Leroy

climber
Jan 26, 2006 - 03:37am PT
The La Chimney was the hardest day of my life.It doesnt have anything to do with the Steck Salathe.Itś more like Astroman on steroids.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jan 26, 2006 - 08:18am PT
I remember an almost overwhelming sense of forboding, and bad rock at the crux. Though technically easier than Astroman, more work than Steck Salathe and more serious than either. Scary Larry's cracked pelvis may color my recolections, plus running out of water. Took the longest of the three, also.

Reminded me more of some scary mountaineering epic. Like the Grand, with chimneys.
Rhodo-Router

Trad climber
Otto, NC
Jan 26, 2006 - 10:24am PT
Bone frags?
pc

climber
Eastside
Jan 26, 2006 - 11:11am PT
Nice pics Zander.

Man that thing looks like it's coming off sooner rather than later. Don't push too hard in the chimney ;)

pc
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Jan 26, 2006 - 04:19pm PT
Hey Jaybrau, what's the honest modern grade for the "safety valve" in your opinion? It seemed kinda stiff for 5.7 I thought. How about that ice though?
jghedge

climber
Jan 26, 2006 - 09:10pm PT
whew! me and schultz's winter ascent remains the only one so far...thought my lone claim to Valley fame was gone there for a minute...
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jan 27, 2006 - 02:07am PT
Kev fos, I'm too pre-modern to know, like wise my dated topo collection, (which one is the Safety valve? at top?) anything up there sounds stiff for 5.7! If it's a euphomism for the h-slot, I was too bulbous even when honed.
kevin Fosburg

Sport climber
park city,ut
Jan 27, 2006 - 05:34am PT
The '87 Reid guide has the 4th pitch labeled the "safety valve" 5.7 yikes. Joe, I think your valley claim to fame is doing the NWFHD as your third roped climb.
Ditch Trad

Trad climber
CA
Jan 27, 2006 - 07:46am PT
Don't worry Joe, it'll always be the first winter ascent.

Nice pics Zander~have fun and climb safe.





Sacherer (paraphrased), "The LA is the hardest day of work in your life."



Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Jan 27, 2006 - 08:48am PT
'94 guide calls 'The Safety Valve,' 5.9. But I only vaguely remember it. I think it is was hard for That grade. I think we were running late, I was anticipating the pitches ahead, and might not have been fully in the moment. Glad to get past it and on to the epics above?
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Jan 30, 2006 - 03:40pm PT
Great pics! I hadn't seen this thing since '79 and had forgotten what it looked like. I'm glad this climb still gets done from time to time.
Grug

Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Feb 2, 2006 - 11:28am PT
Sitting here recovering from shoulder surgery and going through this site is bringing back a flood of memories. Only a few friends know this hopefully interesting free-solo story - so here it is.

The inspiration, really, was Henry Barber's free solo of the Steck Salathe - in 1977, I think. I was intrigued by this, and in 1978, I too, free-soloed the Steck-Salathe. I did it the same way Henry had done, I brought a long sling and a carabiner with me to protect the one scary piece of face climbing. The whole climb took about an hour and a half to complete.

The Steck-Salathe was a climb I had done several times before, and, frankly, free-soloing it did not seem to be such a big deal, in retrospect. It occurred to me that an on-site free-solo of a Yosemite classic would raise the stakes. I don't remember what made me think of the Lost Arrow Chimney - it wasn't a climb that was really on my radar or anything, but I was very confident in the wide crack arena and figured there was no way that I couldn't free-solo 5.10a.

So, sometime in the late Spring of 1979, I let some of my friends in on it and told my buddy Alan Chase that if I didn't show up for dinner the next night, to walk up the Falls trail the following morning and throw a rope down to the notch so I could prussik out.

I left in the morning, excited, of course. I brought a paperback book, "The Myth of Sysiphus", that I stuffed in my cotten warmup pants, just above the ankle. The climb went quickly and rather uneventfully. Because I figured that I might have to hang out at the notch all day anyhow, I took my time - hanging out at certain ledges - but still the whole climb took only about 3 hours. Like on the Steck-Salathe, I took a long runner and a carabiner. I used the runner on a fixed pin at the scary, flakey section discussed in this post, and then abandoned it.

When I topped out on the notch, there was a party setting up to do the tyrolean traverse of the spire. Two clearly inexperienced guys were at the notch, and one guy in particular, was really spooked and could not believe that I had soloed up to that point. I asked if I could use their ropes to get out. Both guys ended up jumaring up to the top of the wall. I was expecting that maybe they would send jumars down for me, but after the second guy went up, nothing happened for like 15 minutes, in spite of my yelling. So I got out two small cords and prussiked their rope to the top of the wall.

I hiked back to Camp 4 with little fanfare. I do remember John Long congratulating me the next morning.



Crag

Trad climber
Feb 2, 2006 - 11:51am PT
WOW!
Sewellymon

climber
.....in a single wide......
Feb 2, 2006 - 01:01pm PT
ditto. that is SO burly.

and we all knew about it back then. us late 70's So Cal climbers, everybody was flabbergasted... light years outta my league, of course. and apparently most everybody else's ....not too many other free solos happening on the thing? more likely none..
WBraun

climber
Feb 2, 2006 - 01:05pm PT
Awsome solo Grug, what was wrong with those fools who wouldn't help you out of the notch?
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