Most Unpopular Yosemite Bigwalls


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Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 10, 2013 - 12:29pm PT
it's aidclimbing in yosemite that seems to be of no interest to anyone but those who do it.

Let's keep it that way. Let the milk runs floweth with noobs, whilst the test pieces gather dust.

Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Jul 10, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
I'll go for that, Mucci!

Jul 10, 2013 - 12:34pm PT
exactly, mucci.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jul 10, 2013 - 01:26pm PT
Big wall is TWO words, not one! Just cuz Chris Mac made this McStake and Nanook is repeating Chris' mistake, does knott make it correct!

How do you define "unpopular"? It is either "hard" or "crappy" or both, I should think.

Lots of Klaus' lines are unpopular because they are very hard, yet they could offer superb climbing. I've climbed lots of routes that are unpopular because they are hard, or reasonably hard, yet offer excellent climbing.

Here you have Pete's Picks on El Capitan.

In my opinion [49 El Cap routes] here are the very best unpopular routes on El Cap:

Bermuda Dunes
Jolly Roger
Sea of Dreams
Lunar Eclipse
Bad Seed

Here are a few unpopular routes that I thought were quite good:

Iron Hawk
Native Son
Shortest Straw
Born Under a Bad Sign

Routes I did knott like, and why:

Pacemaker - a pretty good natural line, but the cracks are so dirty in this part of the wall, and I had to spend a horrific amount of time and energy cleaning out the plants and the mud

Dihedral Wall - not total crap, just not that great. Direct finish is the worst on the Captain. Severely dumbed down by Todd Skinner's added bolts, often right next to perfect C1 placements!

Son of Heart - even with Valley Giants, the chimneys are very awkward and difficult, just not my idea of fun. Yet there are many on this forum who disagree with me. I think if you are a Real Valley Freeclimber you would enjoy it more

Magic Mushroom - stunning natural line, but hard to climb because of endless flared chimney-cracks. You have to reach in at arm's length to place a piece, and then you can only get up about one step in your aiders before you clean the next one!

NA Wall - beat out pinscars, traversing all over the place. One man's Classic is another man's .... well, I just didn't like it.

As you can see, for the most part, it is hard to find a bad route on El Cap!

Cheers, eh?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 10, 2013 - 03:08pm PT
Bridwell told me he did the 2nd and final ascent of Arches Direct.
Good example of unpopular - dirty, hard, some poor rock, and runout. Not included in the topo guidebooks. But I believe Kor and Pratt did the second ascent in 1963, so maybe Bridwell's was 3rd.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 10, 2013 - 03:16pm PT
What? No one mentioned the old North Face routes on any of the Cathedral Rocks. The Pratt/Hennek line (or, for that matter, the Pratt/Kamps/Chouinard line) on Higher always intrigued me. Now that the Gong Flake fell, has the North Face of Lower lost some of its allure? And who's done the Pratt Chimney?

I can think of some others, one of which (Firefall Face) is still on my to-do list. How can I resist a route Rowell recommended to those who like steep, circuitous and dirty direct aid?


Big Wall climber
Pacif*#ka Muthaf*#ka
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 10, 2013 - 03:40pm PT
how about Disco Strangler on LT? anyone here done it? CVL said he wants to do it.

Jul 10, 2013 - 03:49pm PT
funny, earl told me while we were on the salathe that his tape recorder broke on the leaning tower and that song disco strangler was all they could listen to while on that route.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jul 10, 2013 - 04:06pm PT
Brandon, trolling is beneath you. Besides, Clouds Rest has been skiied.
Yeah, I know Sylvester 'skiied' the NA Wall, but that was different.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Jul 10, 2013 - 08:26pm PT
Ha. Spaz and I tried Disco Strangler a few years ago but we got defeated by the approach. The ledge to the north of and beyond the start of West Face gets really nasty. I think you would want to first traverse over, then fix down to the ground and haul from there.

Jul 11, 2013 - 11:13am PT
Bigwalls is the chillaxin of 2010s,hahaha. New words are made all the time Pete, haha. Still no one is climbing them.

I don't think I"ve ever done a bigwall I didn't like. Crystal Cyclone, which got partially wiped out by rockfall a few years back, is understandably the least popular bigwall I've climbed. It was cool being up there though.

Dan Oppenheim(spelling) climbed Disco Strangler and made whatever changes you see on my topo.


Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Jul 11, 2013 - 02:01pm PT
In 1978 Bridwell, Kauk, Schmitz and I did a new route on Watkins (Bob Locke Mem. Buttress) and we thought it was one of the best and most novel walls we'd ever climbed, with mostly free climbing way up high. But it's too far back there and never gets done. Too bad.


Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
Sep 3, 2014 - 02:35pm PT
Cosmos comes up as a dirty and yucky route but I've never known anyone to write about actually doing it. Anyone know if the soloist that did Cosmos this summer has written about his ascent anywhere?

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Sep 3, 2014 - 03:02pm PT
I did Cosmos in 1997 with EE. I liked it but it was a bit dirty in places, and the bolts were old & scary. On the crux hooking pitch, there was a bolt whose hanger was sideways, with the bottom of the hanger pointing at 3 O'clock. The hanger was an old Leeper, and it flexed badly when I weighted it. The next placement was a hook, I never before had felt so good getting onto a hook but it was much more comforting than the 3 o'clock bolt.

The upper part was pretty good and had some odd, additional belay stations with bolts that looked euro, a funky sleeve with a fragile looking ring for a hanger that was bent down.

the top out above thanksgiving ledge, sucked big time.

Big Wall climber
Oakhurst, CA
Sep 3, 2014 - 05:50pm PT
When I was up on thanksgiving ledge about a week ago, I saw that the cosmos soloist wrote in the little journal that's up there right now. I can't remember who it was... But he didn't have a very high opinion of he route. He wrote that it was a dirty line full of bird sh#t. Again, one mans classic is another mans... Bird sh#t.

I'm curious what pitch on porcelain you refer to as the best thin nailing in the valley. How's that book coming along too?
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