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:
Sea of Dreams
Here are a few unpopular routes that I thought were quite good:
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.