Yosemite Practice Aid Circuit


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Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 20, 2003 - 09:31pm PT
Hi all,

This is a preliminary list of practice aid routes. The intent of the list is to provide climbers with a selection of routes on which to practice their aid skills and techniques. First pitches of wall routes are not included in order to prevent unnecessary traffic jams and rock damage. There are other short aid routes in the Valley (in addition to the list) but until I am able to climb them or receive info about them, I will not include them in the circuit. I would like to hear any feedback from you about any of the routes on this list or other routes that you might recommend. Suggestions on seldom-climbed free routes for C1/C2 practice would be appreciated as well. Some of the routes listed below have been re-bolted but others have not (yet).
Questions welcomed.

Thanks to those of you that have emailed me, expressing interest in the list of routes.

Have fun out there,

Yosemite Valley Practice Aid Circuit

Le Conte Boulder:
Le Conte Bolt Ladder - C0 (25' - steep!)

El Capitan:
Delectable Pinnacle, Center Route - C2 ? (1 pitch)
Delectable Pinnacle, Aid Route - A2+/C2+ ? (1 pitch)
La Escuela - C2 (2 pitches)
La Escuela Direct - A4? (2 pitches, bad bolts?)
Little John, Center - 5.10d/C1, A3-? (2 pitches)
Negative Pinnacle, Left - A3 naining (1 pitch)
Negative Pinnacle, Center - A4 nailing (2 pitches)
Outer Negative - A3 nailing (1 pitch)
Crystal Planet - A3 nailing (1st pitch)
Warren Harding Memorial Rivet Ladder, Wino Boulder - C0 (20')

Washington Column:
Pitch to Nowhere - A2+ nailing (2 pitches (5.7 approach pitch))
History of the Future - A3 nailing (3 pitches)

Cookie Cliff:
The Stigma - C2 (1st pitch); A2 nailing (second pitch)
Coffin Nail - A2+ nailing (1 pitch) "AC Certified"

Cascade Area:
Sunblast - A2+ nailing (1 pitch) "AC Certified"

Sentinel Creek:
Sheba - A4 nailing (1 pitch)

Staircase Falls:
Old A5 - A2 nailing (1 pitch)
Old A3 - A2+ ? nailing (1 pitch)
Old A2 - A2 ? (1 pitch)

Lost Brother:
Prowd - A3 nailing (6 pitches)

Church Bowl:
More Balls Than Brains - A2+ nailing (1 pitch)
Book of Revelations - C1 ? (1 pitch; 5.10d free route)
Bishop's Balcony - ???

Kat Pinnacle:
Northwest Corner - 5.7 A2 ? (3 pitches)
Southwest Corner - 5.7 A3+ ? (2 pitches)

The Folly:
Left Side - 5.9 A3 ? (9 pitches?)

Camp 4 Wall:
Dynamo Hum - C1+ (1 pitch; 5.11d free route)

Schultz's Ridge: East Side:
Abazaba - A3 nailing (1st pitch)
Creamatorium - A4 ? nailing (1 pitch)

Dog Dik Cliff:
Pink Pussycat - A1 nailing (1 pitch)

Rixon’s Pinnacle area? Feel lucky?

(last edited: 4/29/04)

Trad climber
Otto, NC
Sep 21, 2003 - 10:22am PT
Dynamo Hum .11d on the Camp 4 Wall is close, obscure, and C1+.

Really there is little as frustrating as getting geared up to fire a wall and finding bendy rubber green folks projecting the first pitch. Folks: learn this stuff someplace out of the way!!!

Thanks, Minerals!

Trad climber
Sep 21, 2003 - 06:56pm PT
So this is what you meant. Which of those are clean and which require nailing? Being green and bendy myself, I wouldn't want the added pressure of clogging the way of some master sending WFLT in 20 minutes, so thanks for the list. (you know it's bad when the word 'send' is used in relation to a wall. I'm screwed..) Seriously, thanks for taking the time B for doing the work. I expect the topos and beta soon since you are unoccupied with regular committments.

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 21, 2003 - 09:26pm PT
Hey Rhodo, thanks! That sounds like a Zappa tune...? Looks like a good one – a 100-foot splitter. What is the descent like? Rap or 4th to walk-off?

Michelle, Delectable Pinnacle, Center Route, and the first pitch of The Stigma go free and should be respected as “C” routes, however much Coiler disapproves. Meteorite on Delactable Pinnacle may also be good C1 practice. As far as the rest of the routes on the list, have at it and swing away (except for the bolt and rivet ladders...). We’ll keep working on it!

Trad climber
Otto, NC
Sep 22, 2003 - 01:10pm PT
I don't know where she's comin from
with that 4th to ??
we rapped

And I'm no master, pretty bendy and green my own self, but when I finally psyched up to escape the talus gravity, nobody needs the guys from Fresno methodically...aiding...the 5.10... 1st pitch... on blast day--kinda takes the wind outa your sails.

Must-aid-on-real-walls, is what folks think, I guess. Good place to catch a headful of dropped gear.

Big Wall climber
Phoenix, AZ
Sep 23, 2003 - 02:03am PT
Bryan, thanks for putting this together. Are any of them sheltered and reasonably dry during bad weather?


Big Wall climber
oakland, ca
Sep 23, 2003 - 03:02pm PT
Thanks, Minerals!

Word,Rhodo. The only thing worse than the duo that was learning to aid and haul on the base of the Nose the other day (they told us that two pitches/day was there plan, with a day two bivy planned for on Sickle) when there were 7 other people also trying to get off the ground, was the time that I was engaging in similar antics and made free climbers wait for two hours while I got my circus out of the way. I felt so bad... It's good to know of other options.

It would be a nice addition to any subsequent releases of the free climbs or walls book, if Minerals and Chris are willing.

Guido...The Folly is still dropping plenty of rock.

Social climber
South Central LA ( HELL )
Sep 23, 2003 - 03:43pm PT
Thanks Melissa. I thought that Rixons was the formation to avoid.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 24, 2003 - 12:24am PT
Stigma has a new set of bolt anchors that I'm assuming went in for the free climb. I took a huge whipper trying to clean climb the thin section above the new anchors but it was years ago and there were no tcu's, aliens, or cam hooks. Does the new "aid Circuit" stigma climb go the higher anchors or the first ones?



Trad climber
Sep 25, 2003 - 06:38pm PT
Thanks for the C list, B (but I don't get what you were implying you were implying, its probably better that way!)

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 2, 2003 - 10:48pm PT
Guido, yes, there are two aid routes on Kat Pinnacle. I chose the Chouinard route because Coiler recommended it. Abazaba and Creamatorium look cool; I’ll have to go check them out.

Rhodo, the 4th class that I was referring to was from the Reid guide – the topo says 4th above the route and I wondered if you could walk off or do you have to rap? It sounds like you have to rap; are there bolts to rap from or what?

Up2, sheltered? Maybe try something in the Alcove on El Cap – it’s pretty steep over there. Crystal Planet… 1st of South Seas?

I tried to do the second pitch of The Stigma last time I was in the Valley but couldn’t find a partner and didn’t want to go solo it. It’s just not as much fun when you don’t have your bros around to yap at. Anyone want to lead the first pitch and give me a belay on the second pitch? (partner must like to drink beer…) Karl?

Thanks all.
Any more suggestions?

Now I just need to get two days off in a row so I can go back down to the ditch and swing a hammer…


Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 3, 2003 - 04:41pm PT
i guess i lucked out .. when i took my circus to the "Real Walls" to learn i never ran into another party trying to climb those walls..

(mind you i was even gumby enough to pick some pretty popular routes like the salathe (free-blast!) and new dawn) .. i guess what was on my side was that i picked the hottest frigging month of the year ... i was up there on july and august .. i barely even saw other climbers on el cap during those 2 months ..

.. this list is great though .. thanks minerals ..


PS.. minerals .. i'll belay you as long as we're back at the mountain room before midnight.. (or you bring your own headlamp)

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 3, 2003 - 05:47pm PT
Ok, Ricardo; that sounds good. As long as I'm climbing and not belaying, I think things will be all right. It's when I have to belay for a long time and eat too many pistachios and drink too much beer and get really dehydrated and pass out at the base for a couple of hours because I can't move... Oh, what a tough job belaying is... We've got to give Wade some credit though; that was the first time that he'd ever placed heads on lead, while looking at a 30-foot grounder if he screwed up. I told him that it was like an accelerated learning program, kinda like the school program that he is just now finishing. He'd never done such a nailing intensive pitch before and did a darn good job. He now has a new respect for true nailing and said that it is a craft in itself, far more involved than simple clean aid. No, we didn't have an epic; we just took a long time, but had a lot of fun. Nice work Wade!

(ps- the route in question is called Outer Negative - check it out.)

Thanks Del. Anybody ever done Bishop's Balcony?

Social climber
Two hours away
Oct 3, 2003 - 06:28pm PT
"Anybody ever done Bishop's Balcony?"

Yep. 1972 or so. Bowline on a coil. Pre-daisies era, at least for me. Back still hurts. Internal organs still bruised.

As I kinda remember, easy free to ledge under roof. Free to start of roof. A few fixed bongs out a ways. Turning the lip was tough. Couldn't breathe.

We thought with the road to Ahwahnee at base, it'd be a great place to pose for rich chicks. Didn't do any good though.

I saw some guys doing it about 10 years ago. I laughed.

I have not returned to this route since then.

Need any more current beta?


Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 4, 2003 - 02:03pm PT
hehe -- oh dude totally .. i have huge respect for climbers who can nail properly ...

.. the whole way up zodiac i kept on saying "wheeew -- i'm sure glad everyone else places heads better than i" .. the one head i placed on lead blew out during testing ...

Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Oct 4, 2003 - 08:25pm PT
Funny you should ask about the chances. Did the West Face of Rixon's today. It's one of my fav routes but yeah, it's in a rockfall zone. I told my partner rocks were more likely to fall to the West than on us.

It was a great day with no rocks until we finished and freed the first pitch of the aid route. Then this HUGE rockfall came down a few hundred yards to the West. I'm talking about some of the rocks made it to the ROAD!

It was wierd, it wasn't that loud as we were around a bit of a corner. I was scanning the base of Sentinal to see if the rockfall was over there but finally the cloud of dust drifted over to us and it was obvious.

You could say we almost got snuffed. Yet, on the drive home, cars were coming the opposite direction at 40 miles an hour and they all missed us by at least 10 feet.

Guess it wasn't our time



Big Wall climber
oakland, ca
Oct 5, 2003 - 02:19pm PT
Hey, Karl.

A couple of friends thought the same thing about the Folly (Good Book) last year..."What are the chances...?" They had to duck and cover while on the route. The rocks were smaller but headed directly for them. Some of the hardware on the route that was supposedly replaced since the original rockfall had been flattened in the meantime as well.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Oct 5, 2003 - 09:15pm PT
The NPS actually had the road past Rixon's closed today and routed traffic around to Southside drive.

Darn, just when I wanted to finally go back and repeat the Good Book.



Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 5, 2003 - 10:13pm PT
Greg Barnes

Oct 5, 2003 - 10:35pm PT
Good Book now, or Owens during the next major quake (nothing much since the late '80s Mammoth quakes, but that big Lone Pine quake in 1872...). Either way, I want a helmet with a class-9 force field (help trekkies...)

Hey Minerals, are you geo sorts going to be able to tell us when the next big quake will be near Owens? If you say yes, I'll also have to ask you about picking lottery numbers...
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