Half Dome, the steep way.

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handsome B

Gym climber
Saskatoon, Saskatchawan
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 28, 2006 - 01:29pm PT
Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome
June 24, 2006

Friday found the two most promising students of The Handsome Boy Modeling School (www.bdel.com) driving west in search of large granite monoliths.
By complete coincidence, two other students, Kolin and Brad were slated to climb the route on Friday and leave a stash of gear and ropes at the base.
As we rolled into the valley, Brendan's phone lit up with a message from Brad: "We have bailed due to heat stroke"

Sh#t,

As we talked with Kolin and Brad over sandwiches they recounted with abject horror the Death Slabs Approach, the mosquitoes and the heat.
Now it was our turn.

We find a nice park ranger and ask if we need a wilderness permit to camp at Half Dome for friday and saturday night.

Ranger:Yes, you can get a permit and stay in the campground about half way up the muir trail.

Brendan:No, we need to sleep at the base of Half Dome, we plan on climbing it.

Ranger:Well, I guess you can do that, but a pair of strong boys like you could do Half Dome in about nine hours round trip. You should just do the whole thing in a day.

Brendan:Wow, that is really nice of you to say. Wait a minute. We don't want to do the Cables, we want to do the Northwest Face.

Ranger:The what?

Brendan:The steep way.

Ranger:Oh.

6pm Friday: we start the approach by running up to Mirror Lake only to find that we are on the wrong side of it.


Brendan fords Mirror Lake


Approaching the wall, with the route highlighted in pink


Dusk overtakes the Captain

4:30am Saturday: the alarm goes off and we are climbing by 5:45am.
The first 14 pitches go smoothly with only one near fatal mistake.


Two ropes disappear into a chimney, apparently attached to something.


A profound amount of suffering was in our future, but luckily it missed us


18 pitches up, exposure set on high


Brendan leads the Double Cracks, one of the best pitches, anywhere.


I inform Brendan that I forgot the lunch, he does not smile for the rest of the trip


Okay, well, he smiles when he gets to lead Thank God Ledge


10pm finds us searching for the cables


After climbing a vacant route we are astounded to find 3 parties cued up for the route on Sunday (the sabbath)

Sunday finds us hiking down the Death Slabs,
then visiting the Pizza Deck, then the Beer Garden,
then the Taco Stand, then the Beer Garden again,
then the ice-cream parlor, then the Beer Garden
one more time before driving home.
Matt

Trad climber
places you shouldn't talk about in polite company
Jun 28, 2006 - 01:38pm PT
betchya next time you don't go up there in anasazi velcros!
good job, fun day ain't it?
Russ Walling

Social climber
Out on the sand, Man.....
Jun 28, 2006 - 01:39pm PT
good one handsome!
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Jun 28, 2006 - 01:51pm PT
Fantastic shot of the Thank God pitch. Ainīt diital cameras something?!

JL
dank

Trad climber
the pitch above you!
Jun 28, 2006 - 02:02pm PT
great photos! sweet route! my partner and i were wondering if that same storm was gonna hit us on the south face of washington's column. looks like you did the route just in time before the crowd showed up.
Sir Run-it-out

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Jun 28, 2006 - 02:03pm PT
Ha! This is the proper way to do Thank God Ledge:





'Course, when you do it this way, and realize half way across that you're about to pitch out, it's too late to get down on your belly and grovel, 'cause to do so requires rotating your hips perpedicular to the wall to bend your knees, which forces your center of gravity even further out.... Talk about sphincter clenching!

We're the party just starting up the route in the last pic.

We also got a permit, and the ranger almost burst into tears, thanking us for going to the trouble of getting one. She said "most climbers never even bother, you get a gold star!"

our TR is here
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
one pass away from the big ditch
Jun 28, 2006 - 02:13pm PT
righteous!
handsome B

Gym climber
Saskatoon, Saskatchawan
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 28, 2006 - 02:16pm PT
Matt: We switched shoes so the leader had the "free" shoes and the second had the "jug" shoes.

Largo: thanks! I love my Canon S80

Sir: The ranger in my story was just a random one, as I remember, the wilderness permit ranger was kind-of cute. Any locals got the down-lo?



Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jun 28, 2006 - 02:26pm PT
Alright Mr. B!
Good TR. Nice pics.
Zander
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jun 28, 2006 - 03:57pm PT
Nice TR. FUn pix

ALmost enough to make me forget the hike and go for another round...
nb3000

Gym climber
Oakland, CA.
Jun 28, 2006 - 04:18pm PT


Chest Rockwell and Nathaniel Merriwether approve.


Great TR, awesome pics
roslyn

Trad climber
washington
Jun 28, 2006 - 04:36pm PT
climbers from saskatchewan WTF!?!?!?!
Phantom Fugitive

Trad climber
Misery
Jun 28, 2006 - 04:41pm PT
handsome-
I was in the second party on sunday...I remember looking down from the zig zag cracks, and the dude in the orange jacket(you) was still sitting in the same place as when we left the ground. Glad to know you didn't perish there.

Thanks for the beta when you guys arrived in the middle of the night(I was the "voice in the darkness").

I had considered stealing your pad to use since I didn't have one. Good thing I didn't.

cheers,
PF

p.s. We want to go The Steep Way...too funny.
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Jun 28, 2006 - 04:57pm PT
At the end of Thank God I travesed left and free climbed up to a belay. Anyone know what that is rated? It totaly avoided the 5.8 OW.

Juan
JuanDeFuca

Big Wall climber
Stoney Point
Jun 28, 2006 - 05:00pm PT
The Northwest Face is really not that Steep. I thought you guys meant Tisssatack.

Juan
Kartch

climber
Mutahna
Jun 28, 2006 - 05:00pm PT
What do you mean you didn't go up the cables? How else would you get your ropes up there? Other than that, things looked sick!
bobmarley

Trad climber
auburn, california
Jun 28, 2006 - 06:53pm PT
nice job guys! thank god ledge traverse is badass.

Fluoride

Trad climber
California somewhere
Jun 28, 2006 - 07:06pm PT
Quality TR handsome, and great pics!

Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 28, 2006 - 08:17pm PT
very nice trip report...

loved the "no lunch, no smile" deal, happened to me once becuase I forgot the frosted covered pop tarts for breakfast... got the regular ones... man did I hear about that!
Blitzo

Social climber
Earth
Jun 28, 2006 - 08:45pm PT
Nice photos!
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Otto, NC
Jun 28, 2006 - 11:33pm PT
Great shots! I gotta get on that thing sometime...
GrandMastaD

Social climber
Jun 28, 2006 - 11:53pm PT
No frosting...serious rookie mistake!!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 29, 2006 - 01:00am PT
wasn't a rookie.. just too much to do before the trip and grabbed the wrong boxes of pop tarts... and after asking for specific requests too.

All the pictures look great on the RNWF, looks like Thank God Ledge is a popular picture! And amazing that you guys had the face to yourselves, I love it when that happens.
JesseM

Social climber
Yosemite
Jun 29, 2006 - 08:53pm PT
Nice pics Handsome,

Yer friend the Climbing Ranger here.
By the way what was your near fatal mistake?

This week climbers would have needed to be extra speedy for their climbs on The Half Dome. Tuesday there were waterfalls streaming down the slabby side in at least 15 different flows by 5pm. Monday and Wednesday there was some rain/thunderstorms as well.

That’s too bad the Ranger you talked to didn't tell you that you can get a Wilderness permit for the Base of the "steep side" of Half Dome. (The first time I went up to do the RNWF I didn't know either...but that was before my days of green and grey.) If you go to the Permit Office ask for a wilderness permit for Little Yosemite Valley/Pass Thru...ie you are not staying in the campground above Nevada Falls...for the days you will be at Half Dome. Its free, and the young rangers at the Wild. Center let you know about conditions, and other pertinent info such as our favorite, da Bears.

Also Half Dome stands alone in the Valley as a wall you can actually legally bivy under (with a permit), and I think it would be wise for climbers to follow through with getting them before they take off. I already have had other Rangers ask me about Half Dome, and what to do with climbers who don't have permits. It would suck if one of them told you to hike back to the Valley Permit center before you blasted off. In light of recent reports of poop bags, garbage, and abandoned property as well as food left at the Base of HD I might expect more frequent Ranger patrols in the area.

Check out my next posting about a recent and pretty gnarly bear incident that I picked up at the base of Half Dome around the Direct NWF route. It involved chewed up soup cans, tuna cans, and the tastiest item of the little meal, WD-40. Mmmmm, I bet the bear had a little indigestion after that snack.

More Later,

Jesse

jessemcgahey@nps.gov
(209) 372-0354
GDavis

Trad climber
SoCal
May 8, 2008 - 06:56pm PT
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