Owl Roof, Yosemite

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poop_tube

Trad climber
Irvine, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 1, 2004 - 10:10pm PT
Has anyone climbed this? How hard is it? I don't think I'm nearly good enough to do this yet but I was wondering how cool of a route it is and what it takes to do it onsight. (I love offwidths)
Roger Breedlove

Trad climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Dec 1, 2004 - 11:31pm PT
P-T:

I definitely have not climbed this route. However, I was one of the first to try. Did not even get close. Solid low 5.11 was the top end of the Valley's numbers when I tried it.

That's not the story. It is real easy to get to the roof. It is right off the road and you can hike to the top and get on the route right under the roof to give it a go. Also, the wall beneath it is low angle--at least for a ways--so it is not hard to drop out of it.

Give it a go.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 1, 2004 - 11:59pm PT
Give Russ a buzz about about it. I think he did it back in his youth.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 2, 2004 - 12:44am PT
I'm another guy who hasn't done it, but it has a rep for being pretty badass. Hasn't had too many ascents. (I know Shipley did it)

The pictures you see of guys climbing it are mostly posed.

I've done the OwlRoof bypass route, which is cool although the crack is a little sharp. Checked out the roof. It looks miserable.

Peace

Karl
Russ Walling

Social climber
Bishop is DEAD, long live JT
Dec 2, 2004 - 01:03am PT
Say Karl, unless you were there to see it, I would have to guess that Shipley has not done the Owl. This thing never gets done, and many fine OW masters have failed on it... not me though...... I've never tried it. I've heard tales of funny business going on up there in the past, as in hanging on cams, legs over tubes, and all sorts of trickery and lies. Only guy I know with a shot is JayBro, the offwidth machine. Probably belayed Cilley on a failed attempt. oh Jay???????
James

Gym climber
City by the Bay
Dec 2, 2004 - 01:13am PT
Here's the intense beta second hand translated from Ivo's Bulgarian accent into Californian Climber. Ivo did redpoint the route this year? or maybe the year before. Beta-below







The route is essentially an off-fist boulder problem. Bring a few 3 camalots. You need to place one at the end of the roof to keep the rope from pushing the other two into the crack. Crank really hard deep in the roof and send. Sorry if you want more spray talk to Ivo. The route looks rad. I've always wanted to try it. Don't just hang like Diegelman for a picture as that is considered pretty light.
Ben Wah

Social climber
Dec 2, 2004 - 01:15am PT
The history of this route seems shrouded in mystery and confusion. The FA is listed as Ray Jardine and John Lakey, but it is whispered that they placed a chockstone at a crucial spot in the crux, thus negating their FA. Legend then has it that Kauk and Bard pulled out the chockstone and cast it down, almost hitting their vehicle in the process. It seems to be the concensus that Dale Bard then led it onsight for the true FA, and no one can tell of its ever having been flashed since. Kauk had to work it, as did Johny Dawes, who are the only two other people I've ever heard of having actually pulled the thing (which is a far cry from posing in the easy fist section for photos, which many people have done). The difficulty in pinning down who has really climbed it is exacerbated by the fact that a person attempting to lead it need only grab his pro, and only for a split second at that, to get past the one showstopping move on the climb. His belayer would never know, because the pro is out of sight of anyone not dangling from a rope directly above the lip of the roof. The temptation is great; a slightly dishonest climber with few scruples could easily cheat past and claim an ascent.
What it boils down to, then, is this: how many of the people who claim to have done it were honest? We may never know.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Dec 2, 2004 - 01:29am PT
Hey Russ

Yeah, I was surprised to hear the Walt did it cause the rep was so fierce. Walt w could be pretty badass but not really that kind of badass.

Some mag once reported that Walt had finally done every climb pictured in "yosemite climber" and that would include Owl Roof.

But who really knows? Not me

karl
Spinmaster K-Rove

Trad climber
Stuck Under the Kor Roof
Dec 2, 2004 - 03:01am PT
"Kauk had to work it, as did Johny Dawes, who are the only two other people I've ever heard of having actually pulled the thing (which is a far cry from posing in the easy fist section for photos, which many people have done). "


I hadn't even heard that they had done it but I wouldn't doubt it. Rumor in the mid-late 90's was that nobody had ever acutally climbed it. I've never seen a picture of someone on it without a taught rope.
poop_tube

Trad climber
Irvine, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 2, 2004 - 04:07am PT
Wow! I had no idea this route had such a rich history. You guys got me psyced to do it. I'm not anywhere near good enough yet though.
Spinmaster K-Rove

Trad climber
Stuck Under the Kor Roof
Dec 2, 2004 - 04:15am PT
Good luck. I think the crux beta is to daisy into a #3 camalot while someone takes your picture.
Nor Cal

Trad climber
San Mateo
Dec 2, 2004 - 09:33am PT
I went to try and aid the roof one day, we thought this to be a great idea. That morning was a hoot.
We parked in the small turn out below the roof and headed into the trees, way over loaded, after all we had all the large cams we could get our hands on. So the first thing we find just off the road is a sign that has been knocked over, this sign read "area closed".
So we hiked on, steep slippery slopes. To make a long morning short we had a hard time finding the approach pitch and never got off of the ground. Perhaps, for me, this is worth another try, especially sine I've got several more years of Valley climbing under my belt.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 2, 2004 - 10:25am PT
This is slighty off thread, but one of the funniest OW roof stories I ever heard was Russ's telling of his Pisanno Overhang epic. Care to share Russ? It's a classic.
Russ Walling

Social climber
Bishop is DEAD, long live JT
Dec 2, 2004 - 12:36pm PT
Karl writes: Some mag once reported that Walt had finally done every climb pictured in "yosemite climber" and that would include Owl Roof.

Those mags will print anything:
probably nots:
Dihedral Wall (better eye for a line)
Razors edge (too hard)
Separate Reality ( a maybe....but unlikely)
Tales of Power (too hard)
Bircheff Williams (a bit on the stemmy side for the less than flexible Walt)
Space Babble (not his cup of tea)
Excalibur (a bit wide? no large cams?)
Sea of Dreams (not that I heard of)

But.... out of the 500 or so routes that did not get in the book, Walt had done many of them, either FA or otherwise, and is still my hero.

Side note: doing all those routes in the book would be some kind of feat.... anyone close???? (Bard maybe???)
AlexC

climber
Mountain View, CA
Dec 2, 2004 - 03:02pm PT
I'm one of those people interested in Owl Roof, so last spring I headed up there with my friend Dave to have a look at it.

The first pitch is straightforward, but a bit sharp.

Dave then aided the roof. This wasn't too bad except for pulling over the lip where it was hard to make progress due to gear being in the way and having no feet to counterbalance off.

I then tried to follow and it is indeed hard! It's mostly fists deep inside, except for the lip wich is a bit wider and flared. I didn't even come close to getting it. Once past that it's easy. Our guess was that it would be a one move wonder type of climb, with that one move being very awkward and strong.

Having been up there I have to say that I was a little disappointed. I was hoping it would be a bigger roof and more sustained climbing. No plans to go back :)

Alexander
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Dec 2, 2004 - 08:16pm PT
I did the Owl after many attempts spread over years. Never went there with Cilley, though he threatened often enough, kinda like that animal nickname guy.
The funniest attempt was a clusterf--- ca '84 with my (then) buddy Fred, Schneider, Cosgrovel and Werner-"Hot shot kid, show us how it's done." "I will, I am I'm goin' to the top,"-Cos. Um, he didn't, but the rope burn eventually healed and we became friends anyway.
Walt never mentioned being on it, though he did a lot of the weird ow's that no one does ( Stepin' out, Cream(?) Jam session etc.
The Beta? follow your feet and do the sittup from hell. It's short, accessible and easy to bail from, also VERY hard.
Jaybro

Social climber
The West
Dec 2, 2004 - 08:27pm PT
Oh yeah,
Gary Zachor sent it. I was driving by and did a double take apparently while he did so.
The long, tall, Rick Piggot has also climbed it. This one Cilley himself told me of, but Rick verified. Rick also climbed Elephant's Eliminate. I am jealous because I have not. That's the one to go try, similar but narrower, then more flared and harder than The Owl.
-Russ, I actually,DID belay Cilley on a failed attempt on that one.
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
Dec 2, 2004 - 08:57pm PT
Great tales, especially the JayBro.

I took Dale my copy of _Yosemite Climber_ to sign a few years ago and he got all misty looking at that shot of him on the Owl Roof in the inset. Then he proudly said, "The FIRST and TRUE ascent."

I'd have thought that Peter Hahn might've tried it. Any word if he did, or succeeded?
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 2, 2004 - 09:18pm PT
Speaking of Yosemite Climbs... A few years afer it came out I was hanging in the Awahnee bar and ran into the Bird. After a few rounds and trips to the outback, I mentioned something about the pics and he said that the pics in the book are were the back up pics. Apparently the original selection of shots was stolen and Meyers had to use those. Don't know if it's true or not, but I always wondered, if it is true, what routes were in on the first choice shots that got jacked.

Levy

Big Wall climber
So Calif
Dec 3, 2004 - 02:17am PT
If I remeber right, the quote about Walt was that he had done all the routes in "Vertical World Of Yosemite", by the late Galen Rowell, not Meyers's "Yosemite climber".

I can't think of too many who claim an ascent of Owl Roof. Rick Riggot & Bard are the only ones I know or believe. Congrats to Jaybro, it looks rather rugged.
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