Yosemite Big Walls - 3rd Edition - What do you want to see?

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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Original Post - May 8, 2010 - 01:07pm PT
Well, its that time again. The stack of books is dwindling so it's time to create a new version of Yosemite Big Walls. I am going to spend the first part of the summer climbing as many walls as I can and researching history, corrections etc with Chris Van Leuven who is going to co-Author the next version. I am hoping you guys can help us focus our efforts.

 What routes do you think should be added?
 What routes in the 1st and 2nd Editions could use major revisions?
 If you were making the ultimate Yosemite Big Wall book what what you like to see in it?

Any feedback is much appreciated. If you have corrections to routes, please post them on the route beta pages:

http://www.supertopo.com/routebeta/bigwalls.html

Or, if you have a topo that you have drawn in corrections to, please email it chris at supertopo.com

The goal is to include more routes in this new edition. And any routes that we can't include, but people are interested in, we will be adding to the route database.

There are a lot of topos for us to go through so your feedback really helps us prioritize what you are most interested in.

As soon as the next edition is done, I am hoping to finally get the How to Big Wall Book done. Its due.




Ammon McNeely makes a pendulum on Pitch 9 of Horse Chute on El Capitan...
Ammon McNeely makes a pendulum on Pitch 9 of Horse Chute on El Capitan. He is using the Five Ten Insight shoes and Yates Speed Wall Ladders.
Credit: Chris McNamara
Ammon McNeely starts up the spectacular Pitch 13 of Horse Chute, El Ca...
Ammon McNeely starts up the spectacular Pitch 13 of Horse Chute, El Capitan.
Credit: Chris McNamara
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 8, 2010 - 01:22pm PT
Chris,

Include every route on El Cap, even the ones you haven't done. Your guide, wether you like it or not, is a major reason the routes on El Cap are so clogged up. More routes would spread people out.

Also, bag the A rating if the pitch goes clean.

I might also add that if a pitch is rated i.e. 5.8, also giving it a rating of C1 is rather ridiculous. There should be a minimal skill level required to climb El Cap, don't you think?
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
May 8, 2010 - 01:41pm PT
“…if a pitch is rated i.e. 5.8, also giving it a rating of C1 is rather ridiculous.”

I disagree. Not every aid climber can free climb like you can, Mark! This rating lets climbers know if the free climbing is mandatory or not. If you can’t aid through the 5.8, then it doesn’t get a “C” or “A” rating. But yes, a minimal skill level should be attained before venturing onto the big stones. If one wants beta, they can buy the book. If one wants uncertainty, they don’t have to buy the book.


“If you were making the ultimate Yosemite Big Wall book what what you like to see in it?”

Every aid route and every big wall route in Yosemite!


Looks like there may be a little “competition” on the next big wall book…

Mittens

climber
May 8, 2010 - 01:41pm PT
Big wall free climbs- please, please, please. Free ratings of every pitch that goes free. Plus new free routes and variations like Lost in Translation and the stuff that's not included in the "Obscurities" section. Or maybe even include some of the routes from that section.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Redlands
May 8, 2010 - 01:48pm PT
Free ratings of every pitch that goes free.

Yes. On all routes, not just entirely free routes.

Also, if you're going to publish pitch lengths, make them accurate.
Use a larger pool of proofreaders. There are things that are just confusing in the first ed, such as the hauling beta on Eagles Way (iirc).
jsb

Trad climber
Bay area
May 8, 2010 - 02:37pm PT
Haha. Fantastic!

I have the 1st and 2nd edition, both of which are now missing lots of pages. Can't wait for the 3rd!

Maybe you could make little perforations down the inside of every page, making them easier to tear out? :)
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 8, 2010 - 02:59pm PT
Digital!
Cpt0bvi0u5

Trad climber
Merced CA
May 8, 2010 - 03:17pm PT
Including every route would be a big benefit because as Mark said it will give climbers more options to spread out among the wall. Also its just nice to have a comprehensive guide. Also possibly do away with the A2R and A3R ratings (which I saw once or twice in the second addition). Aid climbing rating scale is based on danger so would A2R just be an easier A3? And finally this may be over the top but I think it would be cool to have the speed record of every climb in the history section. Just a little bonus feature. Thats my $.02
Josh Higgins

Trad climber
San Diego
May 8, 2010 - 03:23pm PT
I'm with Mark. It think that when people see that 5.8 or C1 then they will get it in their head to aid it. If they see 5.8, they will have it in their head to free it, and they can aid it if they want when they get there. Really, 5.8 isn't that cutting edge. I was recently stuck behind people for a very long time on a 5.8/C1 section that would probably have been easier, less stressful (for them), and possibly safer if the climbers had just free climbed it. Instead they aided it on tricky micro gear for 45 minutes to an hour instead of doing a very simple 5.8 chimney for 10'. I wouldn't make this change to anything harder than 5.8 though.

Josh
Jordan Ramey

Big Wall climber
South Pasadena, CA
May 8, 2010 - 03:30pm PT
Free ratings for pitches that can be freed.

I usually just pencil them in if I'm doing a route. i.e. in the first edition the free ratings weren't on South Face of Wash. Col., which can be mostly freed at a very reasonable level.
Jay Hack

Trad climber
bellingham, Washington
May 8, 2010 - 04:06pm PT
I would love to see an updated topo of Sunkist...just sayin...I think the Supertopo books are great.
Morgan

Trad climber
East Coast
May 8, 2010 - 04:28pm PT
Sunkist, Electric Ladyland, some stuff on the Falls Wall.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
May 8, 2010 - 05:40pm PT
bump for "more routes"
cragnshag

Social climber
san joser
May 8, 2010 - 05:50pm PT
more el cap routes, yes.

Falls wall.

Catherdral Spires aid routes- what a better way to finish a Big Wall, than on top of a spire!

And as many other routes as possible with history/ fun facts, etc.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
May 8, 2010 - 05:57pm PT
B.O.L.T wall
Panorama cliff
Royal arches
Quarter Dome
Porcelin wall
Spires
Sentinel

Lotta good stone

Stay with the History aspect, Gathering the feel during the FA is a great way to get psyched.

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 8, 2010 - 06:09pm PT
5.8? I mean, give me a break, do you really think someone should be on the Nose or Salathe or any of those routes if they are uncertain about 5.8? I'm not saying .10a or 5.11 or 5.12, I'm saying 5.8!
yo

climber
a tied-off Tomahawk™
May 8, 2010 - 06:24pm PT
Routes ranked by total difficulty (curiously awol in 2nd ed.)

Pics of gurlz.
AJD

climber
Salt Lake City, UT
May 8, 2010 - 06:51pm PT
Ditto for what's been said about the history. Part of the reason I choose climbs is based on the great stories from the first ascensionist. It gives the route so much more character.
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
May 8, 2010 - 07:20pm PT
^^^ hell yeah, I've bought guide books to places I may never climb because of the history that they have. e.g. climbed After Six when I learned it was a YC route. Going through a Pratt phase now. It's tough.
Moof

Big Wall climber
A cube at my soul sucking job in Oregon
May 8, 2010 - 09:54pm PT
WFLT: Add a BAT hook to the gear list (needed on P1).

Add a couple more Washington Column routes like Horny Johnson, or Sudamm Hussein. The Supertopo drives folks to a very small handful of popular routes when folks want something short, so more medium length routes in the book would help relieve this congestion.

Add more details to the Mideast Crisis last pitch (original finish). From my experience it is the better way to topout, and less scary than the Astro-Man finish.

Sunkist.

Add a topo with distances for the Leaning Tower gulley rappels. Add a note that for the very first rappels that a short 70' rappel to the obvious tree from the top, followed by a FULL 60m rap gets you to the notch. Interim crappy stations are not needed
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Redlands
May 8, 2010 - 10:20pm PT
Wings of Steel topo.
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
May 9, 2010 - 01:10am PT
Include in the topo any "free" variations to a wall that goes free W/variations. Like Freerider variations to the Salathe etc...

More history and special tidbits about the first accent. I bought the last bigwalls book just for that. I got the reid guide, which has almost everything... accept history!!!
Oxymoron

Big Wall climber
total Disarray
May 9, 2010 - 01:48am PT
A lies & slander section might be entertaining.



Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 9, 2010 - 02:14am PT
Yosemite Big Walls - 3rd Edition - What do you want to see?
Me on top.

Ammon McNeely makes a pendulum on Pitch 9 of Horse Chute on El Capitan. He is using the Five Ten Insight shoes and Yates Speed Wall Ladders.
Such product placements might quickly get annoying.
Brian

climber
California
May 9, 2010 - 02:39am PT
Chris:

(1) More routes to spread people out (as Mark suggests).

(2) Include free ratings on all pitches that go free; include aid ratings (A or C) on all routes that have traditionally been aided.

As an aside, Mark says "bag the A rating if the pitch goes clean." I assume he means "goes free," but I still disagree. The "minimum skill level" to get yourself up El Cap is whatever skill level it takes to get you up El Cap without damaging the future experience of other climbers (e.g., adding bat hooks because you are too chickenshite to head). Mark is confusing ethics and style. Ethics--which has to do with impacting others' experience through the addition of bolts, chipping of holds, and so on--is everyone's business. Style--which has to do with your own experience (e.g., aid versus free, onsight versus redpoint, and so on)--is only your own business; it's personal. Mind your own business (yes, I realize that there is a grey area where person's chosen style can have an indirect ethical impact by clogging up a route). I mean, ultimately I agree with Mark, and I might get impatient with a party dragging its ass up a 5.8 hand crack on aid. But ultimately it's none of my business as long as they are not fecking up the route for future climbers. Everyone has a right to give the climb a go as long as they aren't ruining the rock. I'm much more concerned with people nailing routes that have gone clean than I am with people aiding routes that have gone free. And to clarify my own focus, I haven't gone up on a route with the intention of doing an aid climb for a decade or so. My focus is on free climbing (though I have resorted to aid when I've been shut down). I'm with you on the retrograde nature of aiding through certain routes and pitches.

(3) Following that comment, I'd like to see a pretty harsh indictment of nailing routes that go clean, just to make it a bit easier or safer. If an old head, rivit, or pin blows, replacing it may be justified. But nailing a crack because you are too scared to aid it clean is bad form. At the very least I'd like to see clean aid ratings for all pitches that go clean.

(4) Include all, or most, of the major bigwall free routes. This is a "big wall guidebook" not an "aid climbing guidebook." Certainly routes like Freerider ought to be included, no? I'd like to see more emphasis on free climbing--both free routes and free pitches on routes that otherwise go on aid.

(5) A good introductory essay on big wall ethics (not style, although that could be interesting as well). Lots of folks use your book as the go-to source and you should give them a stern talking-to about leave no trace wall ethics.

Brian

Good luck with the new edition.
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
May 9, 2010 - 02:42am PT
Perhaps the introductory essay could be on big wall behaviours - discussing the ways in which climbers have an adverse effect on the natural environment or the human environment, and the ways to minimize or eliminate those effects.

Ethics are abstract, and discussion of same may cause the average adolescent male's eyes to glaze over. Behaviours are concrete.
moronbros

Mountain climber
Seatte, North Cascades
May 9, 2010 - 03:21am PT
I just want you to make sure we never see someone sitting on a ledge reading the book on their kindle.

That is all.
JoeSimo

Trad climber
New York
May 9, 2010 - 10:20am PT
More explosions
Oxymoron

Big Wall climber
total Disarray
May 9, 2010 - 10:44am PT
And car chases(!?)
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 9, 2010 - 11:45am PT
As an aside, Mark says "bag the A rating if the pitch goes clean." I assume he means "goes free,"

No, I meant what I wrote, if the aid can go clean then it's sole rating should be the clean rating.

Also, given that Chris' guides are responsible for the level of crowding on the routes, he has a responsibility to try to mitigate the problem. The problem is not people messing up the route for other people (i.e. placing a rivet) it's simply being on the route but not having the minimum skill level to actually climb the route and not create a cluster.
KevinQ

Big Wall climber
SLC
May 9, 2010 - 12:46pm PT
I mean, ultimately I agree with Mark, and I might get impatient with a party dragging its ass up a 5.8 hand crack on aid. But ultimately it's none of my business as long as they are not fecking up the route for future climbers. Everyone has a right to give the climb a go as long as they aren't ruining the rock.

I disagree with this statement. If you're aiding the stovelegs, you ARE "fecking up the route for future climbers" - everyone else who's trying to get up it that day. And if someone's up there most days, "fecking up the route," I think it's fair to argue that the overall nature of the route has indeed been changed.

Check out the Nose on any good weather day, and as likely as not, you'll see this drama playing out. And with more and more climbers in the world, it'll only get worse.

Our walls are a limited resource, and the amount of people who want to use them is increasing. As this balance shifts, we need tighter and tighter ethics to keep the whole scene rolling merrily along. Over time, many practices that were once OK (tossing your sh!t off the wall, dropping your haulbags) have become taboo. I think it's time for another formal shift of ethics - on slow parties.

Everyone has a right to give the climb a go as long as they aren't ruining the rock.

I think this statement is past its expiration date. We need a higher bar. I'd suggest:

"Everyone has the right to give the climb a go, as long as they aren't ruining the route."

Can you ruin a route for a day by taking 4 hours to move one pitch up the stovelegs? Can you ruin a route for a day by bivying on p5 of Moonlight, and not letting people pass? You bet. Come back when you're ready to meet the route at its level, or at least the same level that the 3 parties behind you were planning.

So Chris, I think your book needs to include an opinion on this issue. Probably best as an essay from some well known but mortal climber. Who knows.

But I do know that it would have a big impact. We've all seen many wall gumbies who have little context for what they're doing, and how they're doing it. They've read How to Climb Big Walls by JL & JM and the Supertopo guide, and now they're going for it.

But here's the thing - a lot of em READ those books, and take what they've read to heart. Dill's "Staying Alive" essay has probably saved lives. Now we just need someone to write "It's Not Okay To Drag Ass."

Speed is less and less a question of style. It's becoming a question of ethics. A speed standard will help everyone get up the walls in peace, and make the resource more valuable for all of us.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 9, 2010 - 12:53pm PT
Well put, Kevin.
Brian

climber
California
May 9, 2010 - 01:07pm PT
As an aside, Mark says "bag the A rating if the pitch goes clean." I assume he means "goes free,"

No, I meant what I wrote, if the aid can go clean then it's sole rating should be the clean rating.

Sorry Mark, I misunderstood you and didn't get the transition from your point about clean/aid to your point about aid/free.

I mean, ultimately I agree with Mark, and I might get impatient with a party dragging its ass up a 5.8 hand crack on aid. But ultimately it's none of my business as long as they are not fecking up the route for future climbers. Everyone has a right to give the climb a go as long as they aren't ruining the rock.

I disagree with this statement. If you're aiding the stovelegs, you ARE "fecking up the route for future climbers" - everyone else who's trying to get up it that day. And if someone's up there most days, "fecking up the route," I think it's fair to argue that the overall nature of the route has indeed been changed.

This is why I said

I realize that there is a grey area where person's chosen style can have an indirect ethical impact by clogging up a route

I think we agree on this point, but that you and Mark feel it a bit more strongly than I do. I've been there, and had my NIAD attempt foiled by crowds of slow aid climbers. I guess I'm just not that burnt up about it. There are plenty of other climbs out there. As lots of people have pointed out, guidebooks bring the crowds to a very few climbs like moths to flames. I can always go and climb something else. Something harder or with a longer approach. In fact, those of us who can climb the NIAD might be told by those gumbys in the stovelegs to go find a route that is a proper challenge, instead of clogging up a beginner's route. Should I get pissed that there are beginners epicing on the Arches just because it's a warm up solo for me and lots of others?

Just food for thought here. Again, I do feel you impatience with the folks taking 4 hours for a pitch in the stovelegs. But pretty much every time this has come up on a route I've either been able to go climb something else or pass with relatively little trouble (well, relatively).

As a final point, no matter what Chris says in his guidebook beginners are going to get on the Nose, and they are going to be slow. Got to find a way to deal with it because it's not going away.

Brian
Peewee

Trad climber
Quebec
May 9, 2010 - 01:31pm PT
PLEASE INCLUDE THE FREE CLIMBS!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 9, 2010 - 01:34pm PT
Given the crowds, I think it's only fair and polite to raise the level of your game rather than lower the level of the climb. In this day and age, it is not only about your experience.
Wouldn't some of the Heros of ST, Coz, Bachar, Robbins advocate that also?
WBraun

climber
May 9, 2010 - 01:38pm PT
On the nose especially, there should be an unwritten rule.

Let the fast parties go by .....

On the freeway you don't drive in the far left lane at 45 mph. :-)
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Green Cove slabbage BITD!
May 9, 2010 - 01:39pm PT
Ya know what, Mark, those guys don't buy these books. Put yourself in Chris' shoes.

This consideration is going to dictate a lot of what goes into the book. People capable of climbing the Golden Gate already know where to get a topo, and there aren't very many of them.
Do I think the free routes should be in there anyway? Yes. It's the evolution of this game, at least at the elite level, and it's really cool. +1 for all free routes and ratings!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
May 9, 2010 - 01:40pm PT
If you don't put a topo of the Girdle Traverse in, how's it going to see a second? :)

Is there any way that you can find someone who can write mean, mean, threatening and humiliating language letting people know that if they leave trash on route it's going to come back to them?

I think - iirc - that on the Nose topo you put a small note about keeping Camp 6 clean next to that belay. When I was in Camp 6 it was a shithouse, that probably goes for a lot of us. How about including a note on topo about the responsibility of every climber to clean up any trash they find, whether it's theirs or not?

These are probably futile ideas, but it's worth some thought: how to use the ST books to combat the higher impact that their publishing brings?
Brian

climber
California
May 9, 2010 - 01:50pm PT
Mark I agree that it is "fair and polite" to raise your game. I also believe very strongly the people should be fair and polite, and not just when climbing. But other than suggesting this, how could it ever happen? No one wants a permit system for climbing El Cap. Would we submit climbing resumes and equipment lists as was once required on Mt. Katahdin?

Passing, which Werner brings up, is another issue. If a very slow party decided to get on the Nose (which, I still maintain is their prerogative), then they really ought to let faster parties pass. And, at a certain point (e.g., when real safety, not convenience, becomes an issue), faster parties might be justified in passing whether or not the slower party likes it.

On that above-mentioned sliding scale from style to ethics, letting others pass is further along toward ethics than just being slow.

OK. I'll try to refrain from further derailing Chris' query about his book with these stylistic and ethical questions. Maybe Mark and I can talk about it over a beer, especially if you are willing to give me Freerider beta after you go up!

Brian
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 9, 2010 - 01:53pm PT
Ya know what, Mark, those guys don't buy these books.

Enough do. How many other big wall guide books are there out there?

Put yourself in Chris' shoes.

If I had written books about "The Road to the Nose" and "How to Aid Climb" and the "Yosemite Big Walls" guidebook I feel I would have a huge responsibility towards the climbing community to try to mitigate the crowding I have helped cause. You simply cannot deny that Chris is responsible for bringing more climbers to the walls of Yosemite.

I'm not saying to tell these climbers NOT go to up on the walls, I'm just saying that in the Guidebook, an article written by a respected climber about upping your game and climbing a route that is appropriate to your skill and speed has to be a consideration when you're climbing in Yosemite.

Brian, PM me, seems like you and me could get along.
KevinQ

Social climber
SLC
May 9, 2010 - 01:54pm PT
Werner - couldn't agree more on the unwritten rule part. I think most of us know and honor it.

But I'm suggesting it's time it becomes a written rule.

Subtle but significant difference, imo.

And the perfect place for that is in the new ST bigwalls book.
WBraun

climber
May 9, 2010 - 01:56pm PT
"You simply cannot deny that Chris is responsible for bringing more climbers to the walls of Yosemite."


No way, Jose. Don't try and blame him.

They'd be here anyways ...
JoeSimo

Trad climber
New York
May 9, 2010 - 02:51pm PT
Agreed. I was going to Yosemite regardless of supertopo. these just happen to be the best guide books for the area. If they didn't exist I'd be using another one.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 9, 2010 - 05:37pm PT
You're being disingenuous if you actually believe that guidebooks don't contribute to the crowds in an area, Werner.

You're just a rabble rouser, Werner, out rousing some rabble! (take care, it was good seeing you recently.)
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
May 9, 2010 - 06:58pm PT
aid rating for every pitch that is possible to aid


bunch of wanker free climbers wanna force me to free climb


pft!




heheheh
More Air

Trad climber
S.L.C.
May 9, 2010 - 07:10pm PT
Sunkist
Heart Route
Misty Wall, Yosemite Falls
Bob Locke Memorial Buttress, Mt Watkins
Direct Northwest Face & Arcturus on Half Dome
Chouinard Herbert Route, Sentinel
Mother Earth, Middle Cathedral Rock

Your books are awesome!
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
May 9, 2010 - 07:58pm PT
Hey Chris
Great job on all your guidebooks.

But I've also got a problem with all of them: the topos are printed too small!
Some of us are getting a bit farsighted and it gets much worse when the light is dim.
I can think of a long list of tradeoffs between topo map size, book size, convenience, price, etc.
Can you be creative on this and work out a way to help us Old Fa#$s?
Ferretlegger

Trad climber
san Jose, CA
May 9, 2010 - 08:55pm PT
Hi Chris,
A few thoughts from a geezer. I did a lot of walls BITD, including Salathe and the Nose. I was young then, and strong. Now I am old and not so strong. I still want to climb walls. And hope to. Fortunately for me, I still have every guide book to Yosemite ever published (or the "popular " ones anyway...). So, having climbed in the Valley for 42 years, I am aware that there ARE a few other (!!!) walls than the those in your books. Like a LOT of walls!!! I totally respect the work you and Eric and others have done to get the topos updated that are in the current books, but I really think that ALL yosemite walls should be there. There are walls on Upper Cathedral Spire, Sentinel, Half Dome, El Cap, the Column, Arches, the Arrow area, and all over that are headed for the dustbin of history. We currently have a situation where there are really NO other recent wall guides (that I know of)but yours and that one selects some of the nicest and more usual routes, ensuring that they are perpetually crowded and beat to death. Anyone from Europe, or other parts of the country that wants to have the experience of a lifetime and do a wall in Yosemite is more or less forced to do one of the ones in your book because that is all they know about. I am not blaming you at all. You do wonderful work for the climbing community, but I see this situation as arising in part due to your success at your excellent work.

In Book three, I suggest that you more or less start over and get encyclopedic. I, for one, have no objection to wandering off the beaten trail a bit and working my way up some more or less forgotten routes (and staying out of the way of the "elite" people who think that their skill and conditioning means that they should have special privileges on a route like the Nose.

At the minimum, I suggest including references to the other walls, and perhaps even the topos from Reid or other older guides. A complete disclaimer could be added that the routes have not been climbed recently and that anchors, etc, may need maintainence. I bet that many of them HAVE been climbed by some of the more adventurous on this site, and a solicitation for recent beta might be productive. If nothing else, the load of climbers would be spread over a bigger area in the valley.

There has been some debate about including free ratings in the guide and some rumbling that people who have to think about climbing 5.8 do not belong on a wall. It is very hard for the young and fit to understand how aging eats away at ones ability to fire up things. I have climbed at pretty high level, and still can get up decent ratings on a good day. On a wall, loaded down with a couple of ropes, jumars, aiders, and all the crap and weight, I doubt that I will be leading hard free on a wall. I am not a gumbie, and have literally thousands and thousands of hard pitches in my wake. But being over 60 now, and knowing other long term climbers of similar age, I think it is not unreasonable to mention explicitly the mandatory free limits of those climbs you really document. If I KNEW that I had to climb a 5.9 flare, I would be able to thin out the rack and make a heroic effort to get up it. This is useful. There will always be people trying walls that have no business on them. Perhaps if we were honest, some of us might admit that they fell in that group once. My first try at the Nose (circa 1971) was a total fiasco. Well worth a story sometime, but I learned from it and did the Salathe a few years later almost completely clean with only stoppers and hexes. My partner broke his ankle trying to nut a parallel sided crack, and we climbed off in a snowstorm... Not everyone that longs to climb a wall is ready, but I would urge some of the veterans posting above to cut them some slack, for god's sake. They may have traveled from the ends of the earth to get on a wall, and may have never had a chance before to climb one. Or even SEEN one!!! Yosemite is a pilgrimage for many. Maybe a once in a lifetime chance to grab the brass ring.

Which leads to my next suggestion. You are one of the most prolific Yosemite wall climbers around. I doubt that there is a technique used on El Cap that you have not seen or used. So expand the intro a bit and talk a bit more about HOW these walls are climbed. For example, you give some size ranges for cams. How about pictures of the most likely hooks, a short description of sawed angles, and a few pictures, some tips on getting through the C? fixed stuff and some ideas as to what one might do if they are NOT fixed anymore. I know you are writing an aid climbing book and this should all be in that, but I believe that MANY wall aspirants from other places could use a little more advice. And being a little more explicit about manners and ethics, and passing, and how to get along with other parties might ease some tensions. One other thing that would be very helpful in educating people so they do not appear on El Cap as a gumbie would be a bunch of suggestions about pitches and places to practice aid moves and to work out the kinks for the newcomers. The first 4 pitches of the Nose are certainly the WRONG place to start. What are some GOOD places to get dialed in? Steep jumaring, overhanging rappels, overhanging jumaring, a piece of wall somewhere to practice setting up hauling systems, where to try out some cam hooks and regular hooks, that sort of thing.

This is a lot to digest, and a bit chaotic. It is also a hell of a lot of work. But I think that there is little value in just adding a few climbs to the guides you have now. They cover what needs covering in respect to their contents, and just tweaking them is pointless. I for one, would like to hear about the Chouinard Herbert, the West Face of Sentinel, other routes on the Column, Arches Direct, the Robbins route on Higher Spire, Some of the routes around Yosemite Falls, and so on.

Thanks for all the service you do for the community, not the least this priceless forum. I would love to see your aid book. I wish the new guide book well.

All the best,
Michael Jefferson
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Green Cove slabbage BITD!
May 9, 2010 - 09:14pm PT
The Robbins Route on Higher Spire-hmmm. Shaggy and I climbed that about 13 years ago. 'Higher Excavations', we started calling it. PM me if you really want to hear more about this one.
Oxymoron

Big Wall climber
total Disarray
May 9, 2010 - 09:24pm PT
I miss Shaggy. Great folks.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2010 - 02:18pm PT
thanks for all the feedback. really awesome!!! the whole supertopo thing started when i was asked to write an article for rock and ice (1999?). then i got positive feedback so made the book… and ever since then the whole process is basically about getting feedback from passionate yosemite climbers about what they want in a guide. so all these feedback is awesome. really helps us figure out what to focus on.

 yes, will be putting more emphasis on clean aid ratings. this was one of the major reasons to write big walls 1.0. the current zodiac topo at the time (late 90's) still called for 80 pins and rated it a5. every aid guide since then for zion and yosemite i have tried to have the most current clean aid beta. you can help me out in this next edition, by emailing me topos with more current clean aid beta. this feedback has been awesome but so far nobody has emailed me a topo. please do! also, if you have an updated rack for the climb, please post it the route beta page. you can find that page here http://www.supertopo.com/routebeta/bigwalls.html if you have beta for a route not listed there, let me know and i will create a page for it. its best if you post beta there because it helps keep things organized and lets other people comment on it.

 i will be adding in a lot of free routes and adding more free beta to pitches. I was actually just emailing with Alex Honnold about sections that should be described as mostly free (like the upper half of the Glowering Spot pitch on the nose is 10 d - which i didn't even know till alex told me). So that people will be inspired to free climb as much as they can. an give people one more reason not to nail (like on Grand Traverse on West Butt of El Cap)

 whether to include free ratings on easy pitches (a c1 pitch that is 5.7) is a tricky one. I see both sides of the issue. Overall, i think so far this is really only a major issue on The Nose, no? and stovelegs specifically. I will have some comments about that in the book. But overall, i take a "keep it positive" approach. I don't think I can tell people they can't climb the nose if they dont free the stovelegs fast. But I will copy and paste text over from my how to big wall climb chapter on this issue. you can read my opinion here http://www.supertopo.com/a/Preface-of-my-How-to-Big-Wall-Climb-Book/a10531n.html if you dont want to read that whole page, I basically say, "its a lot more fun for you and everyone else if you have your aid and free climb skills dialed before getting on the nose or any popular wall where taking forever makes eveyone's experience suck."

 seeing a lot of requests for falls wall: which routes on falls wall?

 routes by overall difficulty will be in!

 there will be a lot more walls in this book. but not all of them. expecially because I am under a bit of a deadline. however, you can help me get ALL the walls on the supertopo database. basically, i just need an introduction (5-10 sentences) and the basic vital stats and a line on a picture. so if you are psyched to help out, just email me. What routes will make it into the book? I dont know exactly what the cut off for routes to include or exclude will be. partially it will be how good the history is and how much interest there is in the route…

thanks again for everyone feeback. to recap how you can help:

 keep posting to this thread your ideas
 posted updated beta to the route database especially updated racks, clean aid beta, free ratings (for exampe, pitch 10 is rated c1 but goes free at 5.11)
 draw in beta onto existing topos and email the to me
 help me add new routes to route database (if you have done the route, can help me write an intro, and help draw a line on a photo)

Thanks again. I really appreciate all the feedback!
Shimanilami

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
May 10, 2010 - 03:11pm PT
More Half Dome routes.
Knuckles

Trad climber
Everett, Wa
May 10, 2010 - 03:37pm PT
It would be cool to highlight first clean ascents. Turning A2-3 into C3-4 is pretty cool and will help sustain the rock. People should be recognized for their efforts on this.
Mick K

climber
Northern Sierra
May 10, 2010 - 04:39pm PT
More history!
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2010 - 04:39pm PT
I was just skyping with John Middendorf who helped get the first new page started: Kali Yuga (Thanks John!) http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/Yosemite-Valley-Half-Dome-Kali-Yuga I will fill in the route intro and get a photo next week. you can find on that page.

Anyone know where to find the AAJ FA account? Or links to other cool Kali Yuga beta?
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - May 10, 2010 - 04:53pm PT
I just created a page for The White Room on Half Dome

http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/Yosemite-Valley-Half-Dome-The-White-Room

I posted Walt Shipley's first ascent topo. Anyone have any beta, rumors, lies to add to this climb? Does it even have a second ascent? Anyone who can draw it on a photo?


Also, i posted this cool FFA account of the Westie Face by Leo Houlding

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Leo-Houlding-FA-of-Westie-Face-story/t10632n.html
Gene

Social climber
May 10, 2010 - 05:29pm PT
But I've also got a problem with all of them: the topos are printed too small!
Some of us are getting a bit farsighted and it gets much worse when the light is dim.
I can think of a long list of tradeoffs between topo map size, book size, convenience, price, etc.
Can you be creative on this and work out a way to help us Old Fa#$s?

i hear ya. Buy the e-book version and print the topos on ledger paper. Works for me.

g
OhYeah!!!

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
May 10, 2010 - 07:20pm PT
Chris,

Your bigwall guides have definately been a godsend to all of us. I know that it means more work for you, but could you have a large subset of topos that go into the book, and place all of the other topos of more obscure routes on Supertopo.com (with updated information) so people could get that info as well.

About 5.8 free vs. C1- 5.8 on wet rock in hiking boots with a cluster of gear hanging off of you can be hard... It would be good to know that you could aid it.

Falls Wall- Via sin liquer...Via sin aqua... It would be awesome to see people on those a little more often :)

Have fun writing the guide we are all anticipating it.

Mike
scotty vincik

climber
up north, these days
May 10, 2010 - 08:48pm PT
Supertopos Big Walls are good, for the most part. You updated aid ratings which had clearly changed by new gear and repeated beatings.

1. Big wall free routes should be included. Definition, multi-day for most.

2. Topos in "Supertopo" form, with mucho beta should donly be done if you've climbed the route, and the beta is accurate.

3. Chris, you picked up Donny Reid's torch.....you owe it to the world to publish ALL of the routes on Yosemite's walls. The history needs to be recorded, which it is not currently. However, it is not necessary to have loads of information about every route, just what the first ascensionist provided. I would like to see the obscure routes stay obscure. People who hang in the valley can get beta on them. If they get over published, they will get beat up or drilled on. Reticent Wall is a good example. I believe another section in the book, or a separate book would serve this need. Really, a comprehensive online source would be fine, just so that all the new route activity gets recorded. Same for free routes.

The select guidebooks you publish appeal to most Yosemite climbers, and therefore outsell Don Reid's books. I know it is hard work and bad business, but please step up and record all of the route history. Some day, life will draw the current generation away, and history will disappear.

Scotty
Ferretlegger

Trad climber
san Jose, CA
May 11, 2010 - 12:44pm PT
Hi Chris,
Another thought on free ratings at the low end. My (limited) experience soloing is that it is a lot harder to be courageous leading free on a wall when soloing. I thing as a previous poster pointed out, that KNOWING that a part can be aided or whether or not there is mandatory free (slab, face, whatever) could be very very helpful for a soloist having a bit of a bad day. There really is no reason NOT to put it in, if the beta is known, and it really could be very helpful. Please keep in mind that not all legitimate climbers can do 5.11 with a wall rack on...

All the best,
Michael
Dave C

Trad climber
Louisville CO
May 11, 2010 - 01:07pm PT
Include all the free routes. A separate free topo would be nice instead of just free var. marked.
Nanook

climber
May 11, 2010 - 01:29pm PT
Yo Gang,

Happy Summer!

Hey, Chris isn't being forth coming here so want to let you know that I won't be a part of the 3rd edition of the Supertopo bigwall book.

I'm currently developing an all-inclusive(that's every single Bigwall route, free or aid in Yosemite), all-free, Yosemite Bigwall dedicated website: yosemitebigwall.com. For now I"ve been posting some new topos and ideas on Jon Middendorf's site, bigwalls.com/forum2/

The website should be up this summer and hope to print both a Select and Comprehensive guidebooks soon after.

Lovin this attention on the Bigwalls!

many cheers
erik sloan
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 11, 2010 - 01:33pm PT
Sometimes it's not clear when free is indicated on the topo whether it means a section of mandatory 5.whatever or that the whole pitch goes free at that grade.

Also, a couple of times the free ratings have seemed to be what the topoist thought the pitch looked like it would go at if they were free climbing. I think I passed beta long on a couple of these (i.e. 5.8 that is really 5.11). As someone mentioned up above, the beta that you guys provide is usually so good and the belief is that you've done it yourself, so one's guard is especially low when it comes to taking free ratings w/ such a big grain of salt.

Re: free only grades...If I see 5.whatever or C1 I'm more psyched to free it b/c I know it's supposed to be well protected!

Style notes on the free climbs might be an interesting and historically worthy addition.

Some clear indications of what one might expect when they try to get on the Nose in June might help some poor travellers out (and maybe spread them onto other routes). It's one thing to say that they may need to wait a couple of days to start, but it might be worthwhile to say that the average party that starts, probably doesn't finish, and that there is generally a giant cluster finkle somewhere above Sickle Ledge that even competant parties might not be able to bust through w/ the time (or water) that they have available.
bringmedeath

climber
la la land
May 11, 2010 - 01:38pm PT
Used to hang out with someone who said he did The White Room.
mr p

Big Wall climber
eastside ca
May 11, 2010 - 01:49pm PT
with regard to the white room the second was johnson, foz, dorton some of the pitches can be down rated Godzilla was a-3 p expando but Walt's topos were simply
the best Walt counted the # of holes and the ratings were dead on at the time of the first he was a mechanical engineer talk about meticulous not to mention he had a photographic memory the Walt show was a site he had
total recall of every placement, move,hold etc

bringmedeath

climber
la la land
May 11, 2010 - 02:03pm PT
Mr P, do you happen to be the man who put up the route?
crazymountaingoat

Big Wall climber
modesto, ca
May 11, 2010 - 02:08pm PT
ALL known assents!!!!! i wish there was a guide that had all recorded routes in the valley.free, aid or otherwise. just put it all in one place. when you go to do a climb and the guide you hvae only has select climbs of an area. you could see other climbs with bolts or tat and be misdirreected by the guide. if the guide had everything, confusion at the base would be greatly reduced. also like someone else said. more routes to keep traffic jams to a minimum.



one other note: i don't think that any route should be included if there has been no recent assent to verify the topo. people assume that the guide is accurate and if something is missing or wrong it could cause some pretty major trouble for someone.

either way, im stoked for the new guide.
GhoulweJ

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
May 11, 2010 - 02:15pm PT
Chris, you might think that I'm out of line here, but these books you write are just bulls**t. I mean really, You are just writing what you should be telling me.

When I go the valley, I expect you to be right the f' there next to me giving me the beta that you know I need right at that moment. You writing these books and expecting me to "go do it" is just selfish on your part. I expect better service from you. If I'm shelling out $35 of my hard earned cash you need to be there when I need you... Really man... This is nuts.

One time, I just went out and used your guide. It said to bring one #1.... Dude I totally needed two of them WTF???

Oh yeah, and one time, I used your book and aided this pitch and it turns out I could of freed it, WTF? you totally robbed me of the best climbing day of my life.

Dude, you need a time out to just think about things.


NOTE to all: Sarcasim
mr p

Big Wall climber
eastside ca
May 11, 2010 - 07:45pm PT
that be me i scoped it and walt was the surgeon general!!!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 11, 2010 - 08:14pm PT
Can someone point out to me a 5.7 or 5.8 pitch that cannot be aid climbed (Apron excluded)? Do really need the guidebook to tell you that the next section of 5.8 can be aid climbed? Are you that dependent on the guidebook and that unsure of your own abilities to read the rock?
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 11, 2010 - 08:43pm PT
Mark...What's it to you if someone, like me, is keen to know that bit of beta?

You sure were keen on beta for the Freerider. Beta is the cat's pajamas when you're making plans near your limit, and for plenty of otherwise competent wall climbers, 5.8R is very near a limit...or even a disqualifier for route selection. Even if it's well within the zone, C1 is just another way of saying "good pro" or "don't change your boots" or "not a problem if it's wet".

You can think that those of us who are not trying to climb as free as can be or as free as you personally define as easy don't deserve to be there standing in slings on 5.8 all that you'd like, but if our skills actually are sufficient to take us to the summit by hook or by crook...which is sorta the point for many people when they get on a wall that is predominately climbed with aid...we're going to keep letting each other know how hard the aid and free is so that we can choose routes that jive with our own sense of confidence in our skills. Knowing what can't be aided is also motivation for us ladder standers to improve our skills so we can be ready for sections like the Texas Flake that can't be aided too.

It's true that some routes would be less crowded if only people who were better climbers did them. It's true, but it's not going to happen like that. People who don't get scared on anything less than 5.10 are probably the minority of Yosemite big wall climbers and Chris' customers. I'd be curious to know what % purchasers of Supertopo Big Walls max out on a Grade V C2? Even for us punters that do more than that, the guide is as much of a fantisizing tool as it is a guide for our whopping one or less climb per year. Beta helps with that semi-fiction. Like a TR.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 11, 2010 - 08:55pm PT
Mark...What's it to you if someone, like me, is keen to know that bit of beta?

You sure were keen on beta for the Freerider. Beta is the cat's pajamas when you're making plans near your limit, and for plenty of otherwise competent wall climbers, 5.8R is very near a limit...or even a disqualifier for route selection. Even if it's well within the zone, C1 is just another way of saying "good pro" or "don't change your boots" or "not a problem if it's wet".

That's a fair and accurate rebuttal. I'll go for that.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 11, 2010 - 08:56pm PT
Thanks. Sorry if I came on a little strong.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
May 11, 2010 - 09:02pm PT
Oh no, you should argue forcefully, fairly but forcefully.
OlympicMtnBoy

climber
Seattle
May 17, 2010 - 01:26pm PT
Chris asked "Anyone know where to find the AAJ FA account?"

The AAJ is now entirely online and completely searchable from 1929-last year: http://www.americanalpineclub.org/aajsearch

Great resource if any of you are looking for FA info, or trying to identify new or obscure routes (just search for the formation).
Peter12345

Trad climber
California
May 18, 2010 - 05:19am PT
A printed book obviously has page limitations but PDF does not. Including all routes helps navigate - identify the target route among possibilities. As was said above, more routes helps spread people and shorten lines. That said, not all routes have to have a detailed description, especially if it is not well known.
Alone

Trad climber
Nevada City CA.
Jul 18, 2010 - 07:09pm PT
Please include all the free routes in the book, you did a great job with including first ascent history. What about first free ascent history.
Thanx..
Keep up the great work!
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 18, 2010 - 07:35pm PT
How about a recommendation that everyone captures their urine and carry it off the climb?
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Jul 18, 2010 - 10:10pm PT
bump for responsible waste management
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jul 18, 2010 - 10:16pm PT
What would I like to see- frankly, nothing. It would be nice to see info. on other big walls around the World that don't have volumes written about them.
tomtom

Social climber
Seattle, Wa
Jul 20, 2010 - 10:08pm PT
Eliminate pins on the gear lists for routes that don't need them.

Zodiac can easily be climbed without hammering pins.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Jul 20, 2010 - 11:02pm PT
Disappearing Nightly!
Disappearing Nightly!
Credit: yellow pines revue
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Jul 20, 2010 - 11:15pm PT
A renewed focus on clean climbing and having more routes listed to spread people out. If the route goes clean, then go with that rating only. Suggest people carry a couple of pins, heads, etc in the haul bag for situations when fixed clean gear is missing.

People keep treating walls like a renewable resource which they aren't! More focus on responsible wall stewardship. I'm not convinced that you should carry urine to the top of the wall, but it needs to be disposed of carefully and not on the route or down cracks, ledges, etc.

More detailed East Ledges decent info, since there seems to be a fair bit of confusion about this. Maybe photos of the route and raps points, etc.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jan 26, 2011 - 04:21pm PT
I was on vacation (at least in the mountains) and missed this the first time. While I like knowing what routes have been done, and use Ed's and Clint's resources for doing this, I don't mind ST's relatively small selection of big routes. The current volume gives me a pretty good idea of what to expect on the routes it lists. The absence of a route's listing there also conveys information, namely that it may be more adventurous (read unfashionable).

Those who are wedded to popular routes -- or want detailed topos -- can stay on the beaten path. I personally like the ability to find solitude still by straying off of it periodically.

I do, however, agree with Mark, Kevin, and others about the change in ethics, particularly on popular routes. If there's a general expectation of what climbers should be doing (e.g., freeing the Stovelegs), knowing it could help to avoid unpleasantness for both slower and faster parties.

I also agree that if a route can be done hammerless, we need to know that pitons, heads and hammer belong at the bottom of the haulbag -- and should be used only if fixed gear gets unfixed. That's simply good stewardship of our limited rock resource.

John
David Brigham

climber
Scotland, UK
Feb 12, 2011 - 09:38am PT
do we have an expected date of release yet?
Peyton Hassinger

Big Wall climber
Raleigh, NC
May 17, 2011 - 06:51pm PT
Regarding slow parties, I don't think you should have to ask permission to pass someone. If they are moving slow, just do it. Give them a candy bar or something if they look upset.
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
May 6, 2014 - 11:14am PT
Can someone point out to me a 5.7 or 5.8 pitch that cannot be aid climbed?

Texas Flake?
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose and south lake tahoe, ca
May 6, 2014 - 12:04pm PT
^boom!
WBraun

climber
May 6, 2014 - 12:07pm PT
Texas Flake can be aid climbed.

Sling shot with small cord shot over the top and then pull the climbing rope over the top back down and anchor.

Jumar up and you've aided it ......
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