Leaning Tower Traverse 5.6?

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Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 20, 2007 - 03:05pm PT
Does anyone here have any info about this route? It is supposedly 5.6 or 7 and the summit of LT can be gained via this route. Supposedly in the old Roper guide (green one?). I don't have this guide book but am interested in info on the route if anyone can help. It may be my only chance to free a big wall! at 5.6 I might consider soloing it! hahaha

Seriously, sounds like a fun day.
Gene

climber
Mar 20, 2007 - 03:23pm PT
From the Green Book:

Leaning Tower Traverse II, 5.5
The first ascent of this route, the most obvious in the Valley, was made September 1957 by Chuck Wilts, Ellen Wilts, and G.B. Harr. Seen from the valley floor, this is the intermittent line which diagonally traverses the west face of the Tower. Needless to say, the problems of routefinding are negligible. The loose flakes and great exposure combine to make this a very adventurous climb. Descend either the Gunsight or the climbing route.

Word of caution. When Roper says “loose flakes” and “very adventurous climb,” beware. A modern translation might be "kitty litter death."

The Leaning Tower – East Face route is Roper-rated at II, 5.4. The Northeast Slopes route is rated Class 4.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2007 - 03:29pm PT
Hmmm... I've seen that part before. "Most Obvious" line is right, it's kinda hard to miss the catwalk that is used to appraoch aid lines like WFLT and WDD. However, I've been told countless times there is a top-out to this route, which comes in anywhere from 5.7 to 5.9 (depending on where the info comes from) which tops on the summit of LT.

Just curious if anyone has any info on this part of the route?
burp

Trad climber
Salt Lake City
Mar 20, 2007 - 04:45pm PT
Nef,

http://www.terragalleria.com/mountain/info/yosemite/easy.html

Listed as the 6th route down.

burp
Brutus of Wyde

climber
Old Climbers' Home, Oakland CA
Mar 20, 2007 - 04:55pm PT
Tried it twice, done it once, have a TR laying around somewhere. Don't know about any direct finish tho.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2007 - 05:09pm PT
Thanks guys... I guess there's only one way to find out - Go up and have a look!

'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 20, 2007 - 05:16pm PT
Some years ago and with a few days left before my airplane flight home, Spaz and I thought we'd have a go at [is it?] Disco Strangler, or some such route way on the left side of the Tower. We got our pigs up to the start of the WFLT and there the "fun" began.

Spaz led the pitch, which was totally sick with all sorts of loose crap everywhere! To me it looked like a full-on horror show. He said it seemed like about 5.8. It was a physical impossibility to lower out and then haul our pigs across, there was so much choss.

We bailed, and figured the Better Way to climb an aid route on the left side of the Tower would be to bring 600' of rope, lead the traverse, then fix to the ground from the end of the traverse and haul straight up.
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Mar 20, 2007 - 05:28pm PT
Nef, you probably saw this already here on ST:

Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2007 - 05:40pm PT
Hmmm... Well, thanks WB. I've already down WFLT a few times though. But since you uploaded that pic...

My understanding is the route goes up the ramp (catwalk), whihc isn't too bad if you're not carrying a haulbag, and sucks ass with a haulbag. Take that to the very and and then go up the north/northwest face (whihc angles up and right from the end of the ramp, in the pic), I guess it would be, to the summit.

Just thought it would be cool to be able to fire the Tower in Ammon time. =)

You know, kinda like some of the obscure stuff on the West face/gulley of El Cap (el Cap Chimney, etc.).
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Mar 20, 2007 - 06:25pm PT
Roger that, Nef.

That's not a topo of the traverse, but shows the entire face for reference.

"sucks ass with a haulbag." Yea, verily. It WOULD be fun to 'run' up there without hauling.

Rick L

Trad climber
El Dorado Hills, CA
Mar 20, 2007 - 06:46pm PT
Believe it or not the Leaning Tower Traverse was the first climb I did in the Valley. I was @14 (1965)and had never done a climb with any significant exposure. Somehow I got hooked up with a lunatic hanging around Camp 4 who started climbing because of what he later described as a pathological fear of heights. Turned out to be an accurrate description. He selected the climb because he had made an unsuccessful attempt with another victim the week before and wanted to retrieve an over-driven 1" angle located near where they turned around and retreated. He dredged up another guy from Berkeley who was a bit older than me and we took off. I had no clue as to what I was getting into. I still remember huge loops of rope drooping between pitons and trouser-filling exposure. For most of the climb, you are shufling along above enormous, overhanging exposure. Our leader appeared absolutely gripped at all times- profuse sweating, incoherent cotton-mouth conversasations and self-directed pep talks. We were wearing swamis and had absolutely no clue whatsoever about self rescue. I remember some rotten rock and loose flakes. Any time something came off, there was a sickening wait until the sound traveled back up from far below. There was one pretty good size ledge part way across where we pulled in somewhat shell-shocked. Our leader noticed several huge blocks that looked to him like candidates for some Olympic-caliber trundling. "Do you think that's a good idea?" as he went to work doing a leg press to dislodge one rather large block teetering on the edge. We screamed "rock" as we saw the he was really gong to do it. An eternity later we heard a distant "boom". Our leader shivered and cackled with excitement and anxiety- scaring the hell out of me. We coaxed him into leaving the trundling and completed the climb up to the rim, skipped the trip to the top of LT, waded across Bridalveil Creek and made our way down the Gunsight.

If you are looking for an unusual, sometimes loose, wildly exposed adventure in a very scenic position, the LT Traverse is something to consider. I'm sure I would have had difficulty with 5.8 at the time and would have been even more gripped than I was. I think it was 5.5 or 5.6. I can't imaging it is climbed very often and you definitely won't have to stand in a que once you get past the start to the West Face. Probably would be a good idea to be up on ascending a free-hanging rope in the event you pitch off most anywhere on the route. Oh yes- he did get the 1" angle but broke one side of the eye when he retrieved it.

Good Luck

Rick
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Mar 20, 2007 - 07:03pm PT
Rick -- It's amazing some of the adventures we can have being clueless. But now amid all the experience on Supertaco, you're the one who can actually recount that climb -- bet you never thought the memory would be useful. A wild wind from the old days.
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2007 - 07:07pm PT
Nice, Rick! Sounds exciting... For some reason I envisioned it as being more of a slab type of climb once you exit the ramp... Do you think it would be possible to take the photo Bill posted and draw an approximation of where the route is?

Regardless, at this point, I plan on heading up and scoping it out. Nothing wasted in the venture. A day's worth of exploring a wall in Yos... Awesome!

Great story!
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Oakville, Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 20, 2007 - 07:43pm PT
Can you, um, leave a little water up there somewhere... ? [HINT]
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 20, 2007 - 07:57pm PT
it's on the list of "Roper Obscurities"....
should be a wonderful adventure, and the rating doesn't mean anything for these climbs except that the technical difficulties are well within the ability of most modern climbers. The twist is that the climb probably isn't about technical difficulty.

Good luck, and post a TR when you complete!

Here is ablegabel's brief TR of another obscurity in the same general vicinity! (Read the comments later in the thread too).
Nefarius

Big Wall climber
Fresno, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 20, 2007 - 08:19pm PT
Adventure is what it's all about, Ed! Thanks for the link!

Pete... Hmmm... Leave some water up there, huh. How about I hang a gallon or so from a shiny, new offset alien, placed in a crack. Oh, wait.... BWAHAHAHA!

Sorry, couldn't resist, Pete.
Sheets

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 20, 2007 - 10:16pm PT

I've been thinking about LT traverse recently too. Lately I've gone out with some newbie climbers and have wanted to take them on something a bit longer and adventerous. Kinda glad I haven't dragged those guys up it now, though.

But, ya, Ian said the Middle Cathedral traverse is quite the adventure.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 20, 2007 - 11:12pm PT
hey Nef, hows 'bout a LT Traverse link up with the MC Traverse then down the Kat Walk for a girdle of the whole formation... now that's adventure!

(Actually, have to think on how to get Higher in there too)
Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Mar 20, 2007 - 11:17pm PT
"(Actually, have to think on how to get Higher in there too)"


Maybe descending down enough to climb something mungey that might be uphill from Braille Book? I don't think there's a horizontal band on Higher:

Wild Bill

climber
Ca
Mar 20, 2007 - 11:18pm PT
Another view:

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