LAID TO REST: on the back of Half Dome


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Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 17, 2009 - 05:56pm PT
Here is a photo from the mid seventies showing the (at that time) unclimbed Laid to Rest. On the right margin is also Call of the Wild upper pitches, not showing its really cool 5.10D roof crux pitch just above the ground. Perhaps someone here might want to post about Laid to Rest.

Since this photo was taken from the ground, the wall is really foreshortened. It is actually probably 750+ ft high. I know from experience that Call of the Wild next to it is around 500 ft.

If you look carefully, you can see other new climbing possibilities in this immediate area, too.

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 17, 2009 - 07:52pm PT
Jeez, that should give a few of you a Wide Woody.

C'mon Peter, I know you're holdin' out with a tale....
Might as well get on with scrollin' it up!!
Sean Jones

Apr 19, 2009 - 01:26am PT
Hello all,

Sean Jones here after a long super topo break. The last 1/2 dome so.face thread not only broke records but just about broke my brain.

Anyway, during the many sessions invloved on the Growing Up route. Many mornings and evenings hanging out at base camp would have us looking up at this amazing wide knarly corner.

Every day we would talk about going up there and climbing this thing. We kept saying that as soon as GU was done, we would run up there and do it while the gear was still all up there.

On GU I stared out climbing with Robbie Borchard, he turned to Jake Jones, that then turned to Ben Montoya. Ben pushed with me all the way through the first 1/2 of GU. That would be the Groung Up 1/2 of the route. Ben was an amazing partner and by all means was having a really hard time dealing with the fact that he had a soon coming job coming in Tuolumne. He had only days left up there and we new for sure he wouldn't be able to finish work on GU.

So I said, dude, if you know that you're out of here and by all means I wasn't stopping on Gu........lets pull off this and run up and do the big corner that we've both been 1/2 drooling over and the other 1/2 dreading having to man up to. This way he would leave there with a fully done route before going off to work.

So the next day we packed up an arsenal of wide gear and went for it. In typical So. face fashion there was a perfect route surely freeable just sitting there but guarded by a blank bottom pitch. We worked really hard trying to find the free start to this thing and just couldn't. Not saying it can't be done but it will be at least 5.13 slab and even then that's at best.

So the way it went down is below the corner there is a big ledge guarding the freeing of the first pitch. This ledge tapars way down in size 100 ft to the left. Couldn't even free onto the lege there !

By starting way to the left though we managed to reduce the aid to only one move. and carry on.

So for the record :

Start 100 ft. left of the big corner running up yht middle of Sub Dome. this would be the big corner just left of Call of the Wild.

Climb 20 ft. up a 5.9 crack and pull past 1 bolt. Undercling and lieback loose funky 5.11 to pull onto the ledge.

Once on the ledge, go right 100 ft to the bottom of the corner.
the next pitch gets wide right away. Slippery typical 4 1/2 in. ow.....maybe 10b and up to a point where you then move right onto steep handjams and to a belay.

Next pitch is a chimney that then goes into a bombay and is topped off with a really physical 5 to 6 in roof and followed by physical 5.9 ow. The roof crux of this pitch is probly 10 +.

Next pitch is again wide and scary as these huge and I mean multiple house sized huge flakes are just hanging on the left wall. This pitch is all wide, physical and weighs in at 10 a/b.

Then a steep chimney leads to good hands and takes you yo the big ledge about 2/3 up the route. From here the route comes off the left side of the ledge and heads into the right of the 2 crack options. Again steep and wide. Go up this and behind then onto a belay on top of a huge chock stone.

From the chockstone belay traverse left on thin cracks and back into the left main crack. The sh#t really hits the fan here with way burly overhanging hand to fists to ow again. This is the crux pitch and is 11+.

A 5.8 mellow pitch from here then i more pitch of maybe 5.7 leads to the top of Sub Dome.

With all the bullshit that was talked about Growing Up, this experience was the exact opposite. An old school hard core ground up in a day onsight f*#king pumped out of our mind bloood fest also full of plenty of loose stuff and way scary uncertain rock surrounding us on the left side of the wall.

Ben looked like he went down on motorcycle on the street with shorts on and no shirt by the end of the day. You shoud have seen the scabs on him for the next month !

When we topped out it was the perfect ending to the perfect Yosemite day. Right at sunset, blazing pink and orange skies. huge veiws up Tenaya Cny, 2 wasted climbers happy as hell, and the air was dead silent and dead still.

We started on our way back to base camp and out of nowhere this huge f*#king rockslide just cuts loose all the way from the top of clouds rest and pulverizes everything in it's path all the way to the bottom of Tenaya Cny. Huge dust plumes and total chaos.

The dust settled and it was back to perfect silence as the black of night began to set in. The valley was once again speaking and we set off for the grind back down to camp.

A perfect day with a perfect person on a perfect route that is if you like this sort of thing. Scaring yourself for hrs on end, pumping your whole body, and going through a meat grinder, then bushwacking all the way back down and hoping not to get bit by a rattlesnake or jumped by a mt lion at the end of it all.

A day of climbing I will never forget !

So Laid to Rest is 5.11c A1 by Sean Jones and Ben Montoya, late spring of 2007. ground up and onsight in a day. Surey a great addition to the the wide crack hit list. More like the route you go do after getting all honed on the old hardman traing circuit. And a big approach to boot.

I do have a really good topo of this drawn up but the topo is at my house in Vermont. Right now I'm in Boulder ,Co and will be going to the Sierras not to return east until May 13th. Once I get back east in May, I'll dig up the topo and post it up.

If you can't wait till then, the info above will get you through. My rack was everything from small tcu's to # 6 friends. Unless you really want to be scared, bring 2 # 6 friends, at least 1 ,4 1/2 camalot, a 4, 3 1/2 , 3, and so on down the .

Happy trails !!!!!!!

Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Apr 19, 2009 - 01:32am PT
Sean, don't know ya and mi not much of a climber, but your read here is, seriously, one of the best I've read. Publish on bro.

"A perfect day, on a perfect route with a perfect person. Scaring yourself for hours on end, pumping your whole body." What a great choreography of words.

Don't matter how many hours yo put in the public education machine. What matters is what you do with your life and the things you feed it. Your diet is great ! Joy and Peace, lrl

San Fran Cisco
Apr 19, 2009 - 01:33am PT
Sean Jones

Apr 19, 2009 - 01:36am PT
Sorry for the few minor spelling glitches on the above post ! I'm wasted tired.

OK the truth, I'm a high school dropout, hillbilly from Mariposa.


Best to everyone !

Sean Jones

Apr 19, 2009 - 01:45am PT

I forgot to mention, If you go to the photo that starts this post, Nice photo by the way !

Looking up the can see the big ledge at the 2/3 or maybe 3/4 mark.......looking just above see clearly the 5.11 c overhanging double hand to fist cracks.

Anyway, if you were to climb this route to the big ledge, then instead of going straight up into the double cracks and crux of Laid to Rest.......instead cut just left from the ledge and you can clearly see a 2 or 3 pitch alternate finish to the top. This looks REALLY good. Wanted to go back there and do it myself but after 4 months up there had to get out.

Have at it !!!!! Looks clean, good, and less wide.


Apr 19, 2009 - 01:48am PT
Ben has mentioned the route in some other threads . Hopefully he will chime in also .
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 19, 2009 - 02:14am PT
Any reasons why they're called Laid to Rest and Call of the Wild? Latter from Jack London?

Trad climber
Apr 19, 2009 - 02:19am PT
Proud, Sean. What a day eh?
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 19, 2009 - 03:06am PT
Doesn't seem like much "rest" was involved. Oooch, Ouch!

Pain makes man think, thought makes man wise, wisdom makes a man take rest, rest makes a man feel like more suffering!

Welcome back to Supertopo!


Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 19, 2009 - 09:42am PT
In July of 1975 when John Bragg and I were up doing the FA of Call of the Wild to the right of what became recently Sean’s Laid to Rest route that he describes above, John and I were also up there to look at the back of Half Dome in general and this big dihedral to the left of Call of The Wild. We were avoiding the Fourth of July down in the hot-as-hell Valley. This was only five months before his first Patagonia trip with Donini when they did a FA on Torre Egger and got started thinking about Maestri.

Here are a couple of shots of us probing around trying to get up to the ledge at the base of the huge formation from 100 ft to the left of it, just as it turns out Sean ended up doing. There was a bolt there, just as Sean describes, even back then!

We were fairly cowered by the prospect of having to climb some of those scary features up there and never got anywhere. Routes like this weren’t being done yet. You can even see some of the loose-looking monster flakes from the ground. That was 34 years ago. Thank god someone did the sucker. It is really impressive from all angles, especially from right below. I was really hoping you would post up Sean, thanks tons! Go back and do that great-looking variation to the left too, that will bring even more character to this wild route.

a winter view showing the main dome and the “sub dome” also known as The Pearly Gates, lending the meaning to the climb name, Laid To Rest (which comes from the song by Fight): Also showing how complicated the back of Half Dome really is. Basket Dome and North Dome are across Tenaya Canyon there, with the Tioga Road visible in the upper right corner.

John Bragg and I trying to get a feel for the first pitch:

Sean Jones

Apr 19, 2009 - 10:14am PT
Those photos age great !!!!

Thanks and awesome to think of your adventures up there. Yes, looking up at this thing is intimidating. Even in this day and age with all these big shots firing all this big sh#t......

You can't avoid the reality that those huge plates are hanging on the left wall. Some are hundreds of feet in size. A real relief when you finally get above them.

On the 3rd or 4th pitch, you can't avoid using the flakes on the left wall. Your whole body is in there...chicken winging,
and when you knock your knee against the wall it just echoes and vibrates all the way up. uuuuuuugggghhhh. You really don't even want to sit around the base in places like this.

Sean Jones

Apr 19, 2009 - 10:30am PT
Oh yes,

The name Laid to Rest.

For 1 it seemed fitting as we stared up at it for months talking and dreaming about going and doing it. GU was really keeping us from going there. So when we finally just did it it was Laid to Rest for us.

Also from camp it just looks like a big ominouse coffin leaning against the wall. It is !!!

And the one truth that REALLY stuck this name in our heads even way before we set foot on the line......

I'm a huge music fan of many sorts. Like WAY into band like YES, GENESIS, KING CRIMSON, RUSH, PORQUPINE TREE, ext. But also a huge metal head. There is a band called FIGHT that Rob Halford from JUDAS PRIEST formed in the early 90's. The album is called WAR OF WORDS. ( fitting eh ) anyway the song Laid to Rest is a really burly deep heavy tune on the album. We would crank this soooooo loud all the way into the valley time and time again when heading up there. The song pounded in our heads all the way up the trail so many days. This name is owed to Halford. Far and away the most epic vocalist anywhere even today. Judas Priest will be on tour with their best album to date Nostrodomus. Believe me when I say that Halford is destroying still. His range is huge still. Can't wait for the shows !!!!!!!!!!

On the note of music and bands that I love...... there is a new Queensryche album just came out. AMERICAN SOLDIER. This is far and away the best album they've done. They are destroying.


Trad climber
Apr 19, 2009 - 11:01am PT
I just started bleeding from my elbows and knees reading this TR, son of a.....stigmata!!

Gym climber
above the play park
Apr 19, 2009 - 11:20am PT
What a mission! Way to knock the bastard off, or survive it, however you decide to look at it.

above Magruder's garage and it's all good

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 19, 2009 - 12:04pm PT

Ice climber
Rustys Saloon
Apr 19, 2009 - 12:52pm PT
Pain makes man think, thought makes man wise, wisdom makes a man take rest, rest makes a man feel like more suffering!

as someone once said, to experience the pleasure, you must suffer thru the pain.

nice pictures Peter. I enjoyed your tr Sean
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 19, 2009 - 03:05pm PT
Here is another view of Laid to Rest, this time showing the interior better. Slide is not in the best shape.


Trad climber
Lee, NH
Apr 19, 2009 - 04:52pm PT
So with a writeup like this, mentioning huge deadly flakes, who's gonna want to repeat it?

Great to read about, though!
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