Half Dome in a Day Beta/Strategy/Tips???

Search
Go

Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 1 - 47 of total 47 in this topic
ROtotheC

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 10, 2013 - 12:43pm PT
I have set the ambitious goal of doing the Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome in a day this year. Just want to pick your collective brains about the best strategy and training regimen. Here’s my plan so far:

Thinking that mid to late September would be ideal. Cooler temps with lots of daylight. Probably more crowds I imagine as well. Hike “death slabs” approach on day one. Bivy at the base and blast the next day. Would love to free as much as possible, not just short fix the whole thing. Hike down the shoulder to retrieve gear and head back down the Muir trail.

A couple of questions:

1. Training: Obviously it’s a big day so endurance is key. What types of training have you all found to be the most beneficial with the best translation over to actually climbing the real thing? I’m trapped in an office and won’t be able to log much time on the rock until May at the earliest. I figure I have 8 months to get into tip top shape which should be plenty of time.

2. Are the “death slabs” reasonable to descend as opposed to hiking back down the Muir trail?

3. How hard is it to find the climbers trail on the decent off the shoulder back to the base of the wall?

Any beta would be greatly appreciated!
Prod

Trad climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 12:48pm PT
Hi,

For limited time training Check out Cross Fit Endurance. There was just a decent article in Outside Mag either last month or the month prior. Seems to be the real deal from what the author/ reviewer was saying. He trained for a 100 mile run and the longest training run was something like 15 miles, be beat his PB and said he was in the best injury free shape of his life.

Prod.
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Land of God-less fools
Jan 10, 2013 - 12:56pm PT
Easy to get back down the shoulder, but

the hikers trail is way easier in the dark when you're tired- just put one foot in front of the other.

I don't envy those who descend to the start of the route in climbing shoes after a long day.
WBraun

climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:17pm PT
Half Dome in a Day

To train is climb climb climb climb climb climb.

All other training doesn't equal having tons of climbing time.

You become so used to being on the rock it becomes natural to you.

All this training crap doesn't come close to putting tons of high mileage on the rock.

There were superman cross fit guys around and we still climbed circles around these guys like they were standing still.

But whatever,

High rock time mileage is the winner .....

survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:22pm PT
Approach fast, climb fast, descend fast.
Love, Werner.
nutjob

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:28pm PT
C'mon Werner, we can't all climb the big stone after work every day!
Matt's

climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:50pm PT
you get better at rock climbing by rock climbing, the same holds true for every sport
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 10, 2013 - 01:53pm PT
July. More daylight!
nopantsben

climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 02:10pm PT
1. climb loads...

2. you'll see on your way up, no? depends on the fixed ropes a bit. no big deal, if you find the right way. the very first bit of descent from the base of the wall is a bit is tricky to find on the way down, where all the bushes are.

3. could be annoying in the dark. when there is daylight it's easy.

ROtotheC

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 10, 2013 - 02:12pm PT
I'm out in the Front Range. Anybody got any suggestions for good "simulator" climbs in the area. I'm planning to spend as much time in the S. Platte come May when I finally get time to climb again. I definitely agree with Werner's and others comments about mileage on the rock. In the meantime, I'm just hoping to keep my fitness up until I can get out a bunch.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Jan 10, 2013 - 02:23pm PT
Scenic Cruise, Southern Arete, Atlantis...

not in the SPlatte but good for moving all day.

Climbing fast on the Diamond? Maybe the Diamond Freeway, something like that with a bunch of 5.10 and some sideways action.



Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Jan 10, 2013 - 02:27pm PT
And if you've already bivied at the base once, and you're really tired, maybe just sleep there again instead of going down exhausted in the dark. Make sure to stash your food well, there's a bear.
willm

Social climber
Oakland
Jan 10, 2013 - 02:31pm PT
This TR has some great beta and training tips. I'm holding onto it jussssst in case.

http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Regular-NW-Face-of-Half-Dome-in-a-day-beta/t11519n.html
ROtotheC

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 10, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
Yeah, that TR is pretty sweet. Also, I'm tentatively looking for a partner if anyone is interested. That may be the crux of the whole thing.
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Colombia, South America
Jan 10, 2013 - 03:08pm PT
I'd suggest getting to the valley as early as possible in the season and finding a solid parter is your main goal. Just because you can climb half dome in a day doesnt mean your partner can. Take a run up the DNB first and bring xtra headlamp batteries, lol.
Alpamayo

Trad climber
Chapel Hill, NC
Jan 10, 2013 - 03:37pm PT
Ive not done it IAD, only in 2, but if I were to go back...
Training: Lots of long days with lots of pitches and lots of physical 5.9 (wider cracks and chimneys). Practice climbing at night. Practice Pulling on gear if need be to be fast. It seems counter intuitive to me, but I had trouble being fast while climbing A0...I either wanted to be all free or all aid and had trouble with the in-between. Climb all the 5.9 quick and efficient and this will be less of a problem, but you still have to move fast above BS.

I'd not want to go back down the slabs if I was as tired as I was after two days. Maybe if you were still fresh, or if you spent another night at the base afterwards it would be ok, but I'd be pretty scared going back down the slabs unless I was pretty fresh or perhaps if I had done it before and was comfortable and familiar with it.

Finding the route down the shoulder would be pretty easy if you had been up it once or could find it in the light. In the dark, tired after doing the climb it might not be so easy to find.

Listen to the people who have done it IAD, but those are my thoughts if I were to go back and try it.
deschamps

Trad climber
Out and about
Jan 10, 2013 - 05:07pm PT
Just did it in a day a couple of months ago. We spent a 2nd night at the base of the wall and went down the death slabs in the morning. The fixed ropes were in good shape and it was easy.

Getting back to the base of the route is generally easy. Take the 2nd gully down, not the first.

Dial your short-fixing. I short-fixed us through the first 6 pitches. Short-fix and free on everything except for the short 5.11 crack and the bolt ladder, short-fix and aid on that. We then simul-climbed to the base of the 5.9 pitch just under the chimneys and pitched it out from there, except for a bit of short-fixing on the zig-zags. If you can short-fix and simul-climb well throughout the first half, you will be in good shape. Good luck!
bvb

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Jan 10, 2013 - 05:24pm PT
If you can blister up the Nab wall (Waverly/Butterballs/Butterfingers) in 45 - 60 minutes or so, you'll hike the RNWF in good time and have fun doing it.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Jan 10, 2013 - 05:28pm PT
Did it four years ago in a little over ten hours. Get a good partner who is efficient at establishing and changing over belays, we climbed with a sense of urgency but didn't do anything special.
Cosmiccragsman

Trad climber
AKA Dwain, from Apple Valley, Ca. and Vegas!
Jan 10, 2013 - 05:45pm PT
BETA Below...



























































photo not found
Missing photo ID#277234
TrundleBum

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Jan 10, 2013 - 05:46pm PT
Once again Werner speaks the simple truth.

Just a couple generalizations that spring off what Werner has emphasized.

Know your partner ! Climb, climb, climb...
Train, train...
train WITH THE PARTNER YOU INTEND TO DO THE CLIMB WITH !

A little less general:
Know the route. Study the topo. Discuss tactics/logistics with your partner. Discussing tactics/logistics does not simply mean to plan 'ad nauseum' a single plan. Have a plan A, B, C and D. Plan 'D' should be your 'retreat and/or Self Rescue' plan. If plan A gets any enroute modification then that effects all other backup plans. EX: if plan 'A' and 'B' have become obsolete then you should be forming plan 'E' adhoc.
This might sound a tad on the side of 'over processing'. However that may be for a team the likes of Bachar and Croft, Begging your pardon, I assume you are not climbing at that caliber.

RE: "Know the route"... have you done the route before as a recon, under a 'scenic cruise' M.O? Sure I understand the reward of an onsight, one day ascent. But you are asking the questions so that belies your anticipation/anxiety. Maybe doing other routes of similar length and difficulty is good training and you feel ready. This could be the case, only you can decide that for yourself. But if you and your partner aren't comfortable doing 'Moratorium/ElCap East Butt' (or reasonably comparable routes/enchainments) in a smooth day then maybe you need to set your ambitions a little lower.

Can you and your partner comfortably, onsight, simul climb 5.9 ?
If so think (strongly) about simul climbing the lower, middle section of the route.

Don't worry about which approach to take. Think more on the question "do we approach and climb it in a day, or bivy at the base?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

An after thought:
I assume you are going to do this 'Free as can Be' as opposed to all free ?
If so, get your C1 aid dialed before. Learn to move efficiently on mostly fixed aid. While on the more (free) challenging pitches, if you find yourself contemplating "should a bust a few moves of aid?" then you probably should have already had your light aiders out and in action. That's providing you can really book on fixed C1 and didn't leave it be dweebed around because you went up there with the attitude of "We'll figure it out when we get there" !

SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jan 10, 2013 - 06:24pm PT

Only you, Cosmic!!!!

LOL!
toadgas

Trad climber
los angeles
Jan 10, 2013 - 06:27pm PT
-



loosen up first by rapping the Nose



-
ROtotheC

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 10, 2013 - 06:48pm PT
Hmmm...rapping half dome to check out the route on the way down. Now that's an idea! Seemed to work well for the nose crew. What could go wrong?
crøtch

climber
Jan 10, 2013 - 06:51pm PT
Mark Kroese posted some really detailed HDIAD beta to Supertopo this past summer.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jan 10, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
I don't think you need to simulclimb to do this in a day. Unless you're on 5.7, I think simulclimbing is risking disaster unless both of you are really solid and familiar with the route. Maybe those those wandering easy pitches between 8 and 10 or 11 might lend themselves to that. You could probably also short fix the Zig Zags if you're not super fast on A1, but I think for the most part you just need to be really solid at the grade and move efficiently. Granted, my recollection of the route is from 30 yrs. ago (climbed it young) but I remember it being pretty straightforward stuff.
Guernica

climber
right there, right then
Jan 10, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
Did it IAD ten(ish) years ago with a strong partner (which is of course the real key beta). Not sure how september has "lots of daylight" but we did it in early june and believe you me, temps were perfectly cool up there. Anyway, we simul-ed some of the early/middle portion and while I guess it's sorta risking disaster, as the above person noted, it really didn't feel too bad and is a good way to save time. Fun too! Other than that, we led in blocks, and if you're intimidated by chimneys, *do as I did and have your partner lead that block.* We would have taken a week if that was my portion. Plus by so doing the zig-zags were my block, which also made sense since I was probably the faster french-free/aid guy. All in all it's totally doable by strong weekend-types, and will be a very memorable adventure. The views from up there are... well... you'll see.
holyshootdude

Social climber
santacruz mountains
Jan 11, 2013 - 12:22pm PT
Overall aerobic fitness, practice simul climbing, short fixin , I recommend climbing NE butt higher cathedral , east butt el cap, and royal arches to crest jewel, also use a 70m, a little beta I can give for the route, I remember was to do the three chimney pitches in one, simuling the last 40ft, also after thankgod ledge , climb the wide crack facing the wall. Hope this helps, good luck!
ROtotheC

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2013 - 02:28pm PT
One more question for ya'll. How do the chimney pitches on RNWF compare in difficulty to the chimney pitches on Epinephrine in Red Rocks?
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Feb 4, 2013 - 02:36pm PT
All other training doesn't equal having tons of climbing time.


This. So much this.

Re-create the conditions... climb multiple long free routes, quickly, even linking big moderates. When I trained for the RNWF we just did like 3 routes on tahquitz in a day 4 times or so, Half dome felt similar. We brought a little haulbag to take a nap at the sandy ledge, but it wasn't more than 15lbs total and we hand-over-hand hauled it or wore it as a pack.

Had a pair of goobers crash on the ledge next to us who were 'in a day-ers' and poo-poo'd our jumars/haulbag/etriers. But we were on their ass the whole time and they shivered all night while we dreamed the night away in our minimalist bivy like the dudes who put the route up...


got off by 2pm the next day taking our time behind the slower party ahead who had to prussik (one dropped his tibloc... on my face).

If I was going to go for it in a day (I want to...) I would want to be a much more sharp free climber so I can do the zig zags french freeing and be comfortable on the chimneys, and I'd probably want to try to free the 11 variation to the pitch off the 11th ledge, because it looked bad ass and I felt like a punk aiding up it. But that's way out there... need to eat more kale and flail around in Josh a bit more...
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Feb 4, 2013 - 02:38pm PT
I’m trapped in an office and won’t be able to log much time on the rock until May at the earliest.

I work 5 days a week 8 hours a day... wake up at 5, buy a mini traxion, do what you gotta do that limit is one you put on yourself... you're a rock climber aren't you :)
Alpamayo

Trad climber
Chapel Hill, NC
Feb 4, 2013 - 02:39pm PT
Epiniphrine chimney pitches are easier than the RNWF pitches. If the RWNF chimneys are 5.9 then I'd call the Epi chimneys 5.8. The RNWF chimney pitches do protect better and it is easier to pull on gear, and there is lots of fixed gear, but I think that the actual climbing is harder.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Soon to be Nipple suckling Liberal
Feb 4, 2013 - 02:41pm PT
do ALL training with a SLED in tow, and add 155 pounds of weight to the sled.

Then contact me before your ascent,, ill will replace the weight...Thank you.."SOE" chairman..
ROtotheC

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2013 - 02:42pm PT
Thanks Alp. I suspected as much as the Epi chimneys didn't seems so tough for me except a few spots. Glad to hear about the protection for sure.
ROtotheC

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 4, 2013 - 02:44pm PT
Ron, I'll have to charge for that. RNWF taxi/shuttle service won't be free.
ROtotheC

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 24, 2013 - 01:56pm PT
Another question about the chimney pitches. Anyone done the 5.9 squeeze chimney? I've gotten a lot of info about bailing our left and french freeing the 11c crack. How bad is the squeeze? Are we talking trailing the helmet kind of squeeze? How long is the squeeze section, etc? Thanks! I'd sorta rather free the whole chimney section than french free or do any more aid than I have to.
Adamame

climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 24, 2013 - 03:53pm PT
I think it is a cooler experience to hike up from the valley floor on the day you do Half Dome in a day. It's 4800 ft from the valley floor to the top, is it really a one day ascent if you spend two extra days going up and down from the wall? Also you save yourself the wear and tear of carrying extra clothes, sleeping gear, and food to the base. All you need is gear, food, and minimal clothing. Water at the base.

And on the 5.9 chimney, the 5.11 way goes really quick with pulling on a few pieces, and some fixed gear.

You can do the route in 12-14 pitches with a 70m. We also brought a 100 ft super thin tagline for gear exchanges.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Feb 24, 2013 - 04:55pm PT
Maybe so Adam, but I'm 44 now and I think the approach+the climb=the descent (to where?) would destroy me.

Fortunately, no one is paying me to climb stuff and claim IAD status.
jvSF

Trad climber
San Francisco
Feb 25, 2013 - 02:34am PT
The chimney pitches on half dome are not too difficult. I personally thought the Epinephrine chimneys were harder.

We climbed the route in a day car-to-car. The follower generally followed on jugs. My partner was extremely competent and short-fixed the first 6 pitches or so. I think we climbed 7-9 in two pitches. We also linked almost all the chimney pitches into a single long pitch and made it to the base of the double cracks on the next pitch. My partner took over again at the zig zags and short fixed up to TGL.

We climbed in blocks, which saved a fair amount of time.

We climbed the route at the end of July and the weather was perfect. The spring was still flowing too. At the end of Sept, you don't have as much daylight and the spring can be pretty weak. Colder at night too.

I've also climbed the route in 2 days. The first time we topped out with just enough light to make it back down to the base and retrieve our packs before hiking out on the JMT. I wouldn't have wanted to route find down the side in the dark. Similarly, I wouldn't want to go down the death slabs, especially in the dark while tired.

Hope that helps.
Adamame

climber
Santa Cruz
Feb 25, 2013 - 03:04am PT
Rhodo-Router,
Bad excuse, I did this route in a day with a friend on his 43rd birthday.

The route was not as hard as one would think, there is a lot of scrambling and 5.9 stuff that goes quick. But the thing that will really slow you down is the zigzags, be ready to go as fast as possible and link pitchs.
PotatoHead

Trad climber
Nunya,ID
Feb 25, 2013 - 05:51pm PT
We took a rest day to suss out the approach/descent of the 'death slabs' to get it totally wired. Carried day packs full of beer and lunch meat for simulation. Descended in the early evening just to see what it was like in case we epic'd or got stalled on the route. That was the best thing we could have done to prep for the route I think. The slabs aren't that bad once you get your line dialed.

The route is pretty straight forward. We were both reasonbly solid on Valley .11 and fit. We got a very late start and made it to the top pitches at dark trading pitch for pitch. Any of the really hard climbing as well as the zigzags were chill to french free. The chimneys were rad, featured and well protected. Lots of fixed gear on the whole route where you might want it. I thought the top few free/aid pitches were tricky route finding(by headlamp) due to the different bolt lines and such. That little wide bit after T-God ledge will wake you up. Short-fixing may be helpful to conserve energy if 5.10 is your free climbing limit?

I'd say for training, get the approach/descent dialed, go do EB El Cap as fast as you can and go practice your french free on the Rostrum(w/o getting in anyones way ;-). No sweat...you got it!
ROtotheC

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 27, 2013 - 06:20pm PT
Success!!! We did it in a day! Not a speed record by any means and one of the longest/most strenuous days I've ever had, but a great time. Thanks to everyone for the great beta and suggestions on strategy, training, etc...
Credit: ROtotheC
Credit: ROtotheC
Deekaid

climber
Sep 27, 2013 - 06:46pm PT
not much of a tr....
Gene

climber
Sep 27, 2013 - 08:22pm PT
not much of a tr....


I think those smiles tell the story.

But a TR would be cool.

g
Deekaid

climber
Sep 27, 2013 - 09:31pm PT
i grin like that every picture I'm in...supposed to help you live longer
10b4me

Ice climber
Soon 2B Flagstaff
Sep 27, 2013 - 09:36pm PT
Good job. Glad you got it done.
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
Sep 27, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
The pics do tell the story. Good job boys!

Cheers,
Doug
Messages 1 - 47 of total 47 in this topic
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
 
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks


Try a free sample topo!

 
SuperTopo on the Web

Review Categories
Recent Trip Report and Articles
Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews