Yosemite Practice Aid Circuit

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Minerals

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,
Bryan





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)
Rhodo-Router

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!
Michelle

Trad climber
Earth
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.
Minerals

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!
Rhodo-Router

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.
up2top

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?

Ed
Melissa

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.
Satan

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?

PEace

karl
Michelle

Trad climber
Earth
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!)
Minerals

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…


Cheerz
ricardo

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 ..

    ricardo

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

climber
Bay Area
Oct 3, 2003 - 05:17pm PT
The first pitch of Book of Revelations (10d) in Church Bowl is a good C1 practice pitch and is not free climbed a whole lot.
Minerals

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?
Gene

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?

GM
del cross

climber
Bay Area
Oct 3, 2003 - 07:09pm PT
"Rixon’s Pinnacle area?"

Supposedly dangerous because of rockfall, but the first three pitches of the Direct S. Face are fun C1. I did these multiple times when I first started. Will *you* be killed by rockfall if you climb there? What are the odds??
ricardo

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 ...

    ricardo
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

Peace

karl
Melissa

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.

Sigh

Karl
Minerals

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

climber
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...
Strider

Big Wall climber
Bay Area, Ca
Jan 16, 2004 - 07:12pm PT
So, after reading all the threads about obscure routes and dreaming about what I would, if I could, do this upcoming summer, I wanted to see where the good places are to practice. So I dug up this thread to see if I could get updated. Hey Minerals, what are the odds that we could get you to add some grades? How about Clean or Hammered? I would hate to walk up to "Old A5" with a hammer and a grin only to find out that it is now a clean route. Does anyone know of some aid ratings for any of these climbs? Any more good routes out there? Anyone out there...?

-n
Mungeclimber

Social climber
N. California
Jan 16, 2004 - 11:43pm PT
Pink Pussycat A1- couple of blades, then many baby angles, to small gear. The bolt at the top used be a 1/4" in the early nineties. Replaced I think with a 5/16" soon thereafter. Might have a fixed nut in there as a back up for the rap from what I recall.

Great nailing. Though it might go clean with sufficient lowe balls. But that's gonna take a lotta balls. heh!
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 17, 2004 - 02:25am PT
Ok, thanks guys. I edited the original post.

Never trust ratings - they are worthless.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Jan 18, 2004 - 09:25am PT
I'm not sure if the old El Cap Tree route would be considered a practice aid route, but it was my first one. The tricky part is the rap you have to do off of the tree. There's a hanging stance you have to change over at and it you are not familiar with that you might get a bit wigged.
David

Trad climber
San Rafael, CA
Jan 18, 2004 - 10:22am PT
re."old" El Cap Tree route

Chris lists an ElCap Tree route in "Road to the Nose". Talking about the same one? First five of Iron Hawk?
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 18, 2004 - 01:14pm PT
I don't think so.

From the complete big wall list that I'm updating:

El Cap Tree Direct, (IV 5.9 A4?), FA: Glen Denny and Frank Sacherer, Dec-61, Meyers, '87; Roper (green) '71, etc.

Atlantic Ocean Wall used part of this start but a good portion fell off in the late 80s and more fell off in '99. There used to be a boulder in the talus with a bolt on it. See ST for more details.

So, is the route still there? I don't know if it's still climbable - might need new bolts...??? ...and a bunch of duct tape to hold all of the loose blocks together... ;)
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Jan 19, 2004 - 12:37pm PT
I wasn't referring to the old A4 El Cap Tree route. That was called El Cap Tree Direct I believe. The one I am talking about starts over to the right more. Walk out to the end of a broken up ledge and start clipping up a A2 bolt ladder (P.1) The second pitch is 5.6 and basically goes out the ledge the Tree is on.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jan 19, 2004 - 02:06pm PT
>Cascade Area:
>Sunblast - A2+ nailing (1 pitch)
It's probably obvious from looking at the topo in
any of the recent guides, but the first 110' was freed
awhile back, so that part at least should be done clean.
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 22, 2004 - 03:13pm PT
Re: El Cap Tree Route

Ooooops!!!!! My mistake. I was thinking that you meant the direct route.

Anyone know the specifics on the FA of the regular El Cap Tree Route? FAist, grade, FA date, etc…


>Cascade Area:
>Sunblast - A2+ nailing (1 pitch)
It's probably obvious from looking at the topo in
any of the recent guides, but the first 110' was freed
awhile back, so that part at least should be done clean.



Uhhhhhhhhh……

Those free climbing bolts aren’t there anymore…
Has the first 110' ever been done clean?
Chicken Skinner

Trad climber
Yosemite
Jan 22, 2004 - 03:28pm PT
El Capitan Tree-Regular Route 5.6 A2 FA March 1952 by Al Steck, Will Siri, Bill Dunmire, and Bob Swift.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Apr 15, 2004 - 09:57pm PT
Bear Rock was in the center of the path of the big "Good Book/Folly" Slide. The rocks went around both sides. Any route on the side facing the Folly is probably wasted. The route facing the road is probably fine. I don't know what the approach would be like now since there is big fresh loose talus all the way to the road. There is more rock that could come down too although only a major event would have any chance of making it to Bear Rock and even then, you would probably be saved by the rock unless you were on the approach.

There's better stuff without the baggage. When we were climbing Wild Thing before the slide, somebody was on the Folly left and they were sure knocking down a lot of rocks. Keep the question marks on that one too.

Peace

Karl
BR

Trad climber
The LBC
Apr 20, 2004 - 02:08pm PT
There's a random 25-30' boulder in the forest below the nose that has a line of 4 or 5 hanger-less bolts going up a vertical face. I came across it a couple of weeks ago, completely by accident, walking up toward Pine Line. If I recall, it's a few hundred years ESE of the clearing on the main trail up to the nose. Anyone know more about this one (probably one of many around the valley, eh?)

br
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 30, 2004 - 02:04am PT
Update:

The Stigma,
Cookie Cliff




This is a fun little practice route at the Cookie. The approach is about as easy as it gets (almost) and there is a nice flat spot (old road) with a boulder to sit on at the base. The two-pitch route was first done in 1970, using mostly pitons. Continued nailing over the years has carved the thin splitter such that a select few now free climb the route. In 1985, Alan Watts placed two bolts next to the crack to better protect the lead for the free climber. A new first-pitch belay was also added, about 20 feet below the original belay; the new belay consists of three 3/8” bolts that are fairly closely spaced. Today, Ron Kauk and others still free the first pitch (wicked thin 5.13) and last weekend, there was a TR fixed to the first belay (Kauk). Please respect the fact that the first pitch is climbed free; it is best to save your hammer for the second pitch.

The two lead-bolts on the first pitch are 5/16” thread-heads (?) with thin Cassin hangers on them. I don’t know what Kauk’s opinion is but something should be done with the bolts. I left them alone because I wasn’t sure what to do (no vroom vroom…). It seems like the pitch is usually done as a TR but if free climbers lead it often enough, then the bolts should be replaced. There are plenty of good placements next to the bolts (pin scars) for the practicing aid climber and there is bomber gear below to prevent a grounder. So, my question is, should the two retro lead bolts on the first pitch be replaced or removed???

The first pitch (to us aid climbers) is C2 (plus or minus…) and there are a couple of tricky moves to keep you thinking. The series of thin cracks split a vertical to barely overhanging smooth face; the belay is about 70 or 80 feet above the ground.

The second pitch continues up the splitter for about another 20 feet (offset nuts and pins) and then crosses a blank section of rock to the right. This was the location of the original first pitch belay. After talking with several people, I decided to preserve the retro belay and remove the upper belay to accommodate free climbers and lessen the number of bolts in the rock. The original belay has been removed (3 bolts removed; 1 replaced) and now three bolts (ladder style; 1 before the old belay, 1 at the belay, and 1 after) with hangers (in original holes) connect the top of the splitter to a right-leaning thin corner (#2 and #3 heads, A2). There was a bolt in the middle of the corner that I really wanted to chop but judging by the vintage of the hardware (thin SMC “death hanger”, same as original belay bolts), assumed it was original and thus, replaced it with a 1/4” buttonhead and a hanger. If this bolt was not original, the replacement should be removed. There was also a poorly chopped (long ago) 1/4" stud to the right of the bolt; it is now patched.

The thin corner ends at a sloping shelf to the right. According to the Reid guide, it’s 5.4 to the belay. There was a newer bolted belay at the end of the thin corner and just left of the sloping shelf (two 3/8” bolts with a mop of ugly webbing that could be seen from the road). There was also a third empty hole. Because this anchor was not original and is not necessary, it was removed and all three holes were patched (thanks for the quick-link and hangers!). Instead of climbing out right, I continued aid climbing up another right-leaning thin corner that I believe was not climbed before. 8 heads were placed (A2) and left fixed (they are bomber but over time they will weaken – be careful above the sloping shelf – you don’t want to whip!). Tension right at the top of the corner to a couple of free moves up a wide, right-facing corner to a newer two-bolt belay with quick-links and a small stance. This belay is above the 5.7/5.8 route to the right of The Stigma and just below the wild, overhanging 5.11b crack (The Enigma? – sorry, my books are in storage and I’m typing on the floor of my empty apartment.) From this anchor, one rap brings you back to the ground (170 feet?).

All heads that I placed were left fixed. Bomb Squad.


Recommended Rack:

2 sets HB Offset Brass Nuts
1/2 set Stoppers (thin to medium)
1 set Ball Nuts
2 sets Alien Hybrids
1 set Aliens to red
2 orange Aliens (or other 1 1/2" cam)
1 #1 Camalot (red)
2-3 Beaks
1 ea. 1/2” and 5/8” Angle
A few small to medium Arrows
A few Heads (if fixed ones are bad)
Cam Hooks


Have fun!!!
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Apr 30, 2004 - 03:42pm PT
My partner and I are trying to break into the big wall-in-a-day grade and I need to speed up my aid climbing. In particular, I'm looking for topropes to practice my speed cam hooking on cam hook friendly cracks (that is, easy A1 cracks as opposed to tricky/spooky placements). Any suggestions? (I think this topic may have been covered before, but I couldn't find it with a search.)
Mungeclimber

Social climber
N. California
Apr 30, 2004 - 03:52pm PT
Aid Route below Camp 4 wall. I'll have to look at, i think, the Roper guide (anyone have it handy?). Single pitch, but supposed to be worthy. Bolt ladder? Dunno?


[I guess this is near Rixon's Pinnacles actually. Bear Pinnacle? or something like that. 5.3 A1 is the old rating in the roper guide. -Munge]
WC

Trad climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 2, 2004 - 08:02pm PT
To add another climb to the list...

If no free climbers are in the Q, Church Bowl Tree can be a fun route to climb. Once at the two bolt anchor, there is an old bolt ladder that will take you up to the ledge with the actual tree. You can then rap from the tree and TR More Balls than Brains. You can also rig a hanging belay at the two bolts, then climb the bolt ladder as a second pitch. Makes for good practice.

When I was learning to aid climb, I used to go over and climb these routes early or late in the day so as to stay out of the free climber's way.

David

Trad climber
San Rafael, CA
Sep 2, 2004 - 08:37pm PT
This list is great but I don't have a clue as to where some of these routes are. Are most of these in the Reid book? For example, with nothing but a name, how does one go about finding the first pitch of Crystal Planet?
bigwalling

climber
Sep 2, 2004 - 08:42pm PT
Crystal Planet is over by Tempest. Or it might be just to the left of Everyman for Himself. It's somewhere in that area. Probably a bunch of nailing and heading knowing Minerals. Outer Negitive looks pretty cool and Bryan told me it's good and I should do it. This stuff is on the SE El Cap poster, so just check it out at the Mtn. Shop.
David

Trad climber
San Rafael, CA
Sep 3, 2004 - 10:54am PT
Cool...thanks! I've seen the posters around.
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 4, 2008 - 10:23pm PT
Bump... for a climbing topic and for Mark and Shack!!!

Additions to the list welcomed!
martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Mar 5, 2008 - 09:15am PT
how about that traverse aid crack on swan slab. I placed my first rurps and hooks on that one. not sure what it is rated any longer.
kev

climber
CA
Mar 5, 2008 - 10:49am PT
You're not talking about the aid route are you? It goes free at 11.? /A0 (2 bolt ladder). The rest of P1 is 5.7 and p2 is nice .10a pin scars.

Bryan, I hope to start working the circuit this weekend.

martygarrison

Trad climber
atlanta
Mar 5, 2008 - 11:02am PT
nope, I have done that route free a few times. it is the very thin seam that crosses that route. it was rated A5 when I did it but who knows it may be A2 now.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 5, 2008 - 11:48am PT
Thanks for the list. Dynamo Hum was my first aid lead in the Valley (It was the first pitch of the climb "Camp 4 Tree -- From South Base" then) and I would second its earlier recommendation.

I've also been on the NW Corner route of Kat Pinnacle. I probably would not recommend it as a first aid lead, but it is a nice climb. Even though the aid pitch is short (maybe seventy feet) it is both steep and exposed. I was there so long ago that I have no clue about its likelihood to go clean, or its difficulty without pins.

Does anyone know anything about the El Cap East Ledge, West Side route? The Red and Green Roper Guides rate it III, 5.6, A2 and describe a "large cleft with a perfect crack in its back" that sounds like a good beginner's multi-pitch aid route. The approach deterred me 40 years ago, and the route probably has bolts that are 50 years old, but I'd still be interested in any information about it.
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 3, 2008 - 10:00pm PT
Obama wants to make EVERYONE an aid climber. FEAR FEAR FEAR!!!!



...but no need to worry about #1 heads, beak tips, and those hook moves that make noises as they decide to relocate...
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Feb 20, 2009 - 09:20pm PT
great list - i added it to this list of Aid Climbing articles
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=692927
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Mar 21, 2009 - 01:15pm PT
bump despite crackpot political references

Edit; can anyone advise on current state of Dynamo Hum Anchors? looks like a small tree?
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Mar 21, 2009 - 02:24pm PT
cause edits don't bump.

Dynamo? anyone?
squishy

Mountain climber
sacramento
Apr 1, 2009 - 04:30pm PT
Last updated in 2004?
mooch

Big Wall climber
The Immaculate Conception
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:10pm PT
Old A5 - A2 nailing (1 pitch)

Riiiiiiiiight. A2, eh? Better account for the 5 consecutive #1 C-heads to a RURP, then #1 KB.....then a merciful 1/4" bolt. A2?........NOT! More like A3+, my friend.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Nov 17, 2009 - 06:17pm PT
Bump.
Bulldog

Trad climber
Yosemite, CA
Nov 18, 2009 - 11:12pm PT
On Schultz's Ridge, I put up a 4 pitch aid route this spring. Wouldn't call it a practice climb though. It starts in the corner to the left of "Ain't that a bitch", ala, Dale Bard. It then joins into Mikey Shaffer's route, for the last 20', at C1, at a bomber 3 stopper anchor. The 80' above the Bard route goes free at 13+, complements of Mikey Shaffer. From here it stays on a overhanging arete for 3 more pitches. First pitch goes at 5.8/A2/C1 for the last 20' of Shaffers route, 5 beaks. Second pitch, 14 beaks, corner fall potential, gear belay, 160'. Third pitch, 10 beaks, 140', gear belay, + one bolt. Fourth pitch, 7 beaks, 5.7, 200'tree belay. So if anybody wants a hard, short, exposed route here's one.
Name of route: "Psycho Bitch" A3+?, Second ascent up for grabs.
Gear list:
Triples, 00-TCU to #3 camelot, 4 - #1 camelots, 1 - #4 camelot.
20 beaks, 3 extra large, 4 large, 10 medium, some ground down, 3 small.
1 set of hooks, with extra tallon hook.
2 ea.- micro offset stoppers, 2 ea. - set stoppers.
8 - heads, + 3 circle heads
1 - medium lowball
3 - rivet hangers
P.S, I soloed this route over several days, leaving ropes fixed,and I also clove-hitched the rope around certain objects, just a heads up. Also no pitons other than the beaks were placed.
jack herer

climber
veneta, or
Nov 18, 2009 - 11:20pm PT
bulldog-

nice work! I saw you post this on the albotross thread, but what exactly is a extra large beak? im familliar with the regular 3 sizes and would mabey consider a specter to be the next size up... or is it some vermin specialty you can buy at the mtn shop? anyways i love beaks and would love to know whats up.
Bulldog

Trad climber
Yosemite, CA
Nov 19, 2009 - 11:34am PT
Yeah Jack, your right, that would be a, Specter. I have 3 on my rack and they stick real nice, so good that my partner left one fixed on the last pitch of the North America wall, down to 2 now.
Mike.

climber
Nov 19, 2009 - 11:44am PT
Nice effort, Bulldog. Sounds high value. A3+, hehehe...
Norwegian

Trad climber
Placerville, California
Nov 19, 2009 - 11:44am PT
duudde i fully ripped a long string of gear on old a5. i was using cam hooks and back cleaning them, leaving a few arrows. i was standing on what i thought was a good green alien in a pin scar when it ripped. all the pieces below me ripped except one and i fell over that roof and just touched down with rope stretch. all in all prolly 50'. i was rope soloing with a clove hitch and my anchor was a tree a ways back from the wall so i had to cough up some slack
.
the cam hook that i had placed from the alien was winking at me from ways up there.

quite the practice experience. the memory smiles me.
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
Green Cove slabbage BITD!
Mar 12, 2010 - 09:51am PT
Coffin Nail on the Cookie got freed in the mid-90's and is attempted to this day- best to try out the iron someplace else.
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 12, 2010 - 12:49pm PT
Yeah, last updated in 2004, cuz I can’t remember when I last hung in my aiders. I can give you an updated list of easy to moderate free routes in Tuolumne, if you would like. ;)

Re. Old A5… Uhhh… I think Wade Icey and I did that one several years back and I don’t remember what you describe. Sorry, don’t mean to sandbag. Oh well, maybe it just felt like A2 when I led it. But then again, I have never hung from a cam hook – not once. And I did say earlier in this thread…

“Never trust ratings - they are worthless.”

Should I update the list to change the rating?


Hey Kevin, your new route sounds cool! I wonder if it’s what Wade and I were looking at when we were up doing Abazaba. Nice job with that! Although climbers might want to practice aid BEFORE they get on that one…


“Coffin Nail on the Cookie got freed in the mid-90's and is attempted to this day- best to try out the iron someplace else.”

On toprope, or did someone put the bolts back in? :)
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Mar 12, 2010 - 01:56pm PT
Old A5 is the Corbett thing near staircase? If I remember correctly there was a fat solo anchor (YMS?) bolt at the base and thin diagonal crack. Pre Cam hooks. I think you-Minerals- put in rurps and blades of various quality to an old (fa?) bolt then more various thin easing to the anchor. might've fixed a rurp?

Minerals cruised and if there was any A3ness™ it was probably due to diagonals and ground fall implications. even "Practice Aid" cragging is A5 if you rip the gear.

Keep the Wall/Aid bumps coming. New hip on Monday- can't wait to top step again- PSYCHED.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Mar 13, 2010 - 04:59pm PT
Early in the thread there was some confusion about the El Cap Tree routes.
I'm not familiar with the direct but have climbed the original in February a LONG time ago.
It diagonals to the left to the tree ledge.

According to Roper, the first two pitches go as steep as 110 degrees. I believe it.

Roper and the green Meyers/Reid guide show three pitches with the 3d at 5.6. The start of Iron Hawk
This is the way I remember it.

SuperTopo Big Walls shows it as the first 4 pitches of Atlantic Ocean Wall, 5.9 C2.
Also shows the last pitch as 5.8 or 5.9 or C1. I definitely recall it easier than 5.8 and free.
It's probably easier to make it 4 pitches for hauling a pig. Do it in 3 otherwise.

Lunch at the base of the Tree, a spectacular spot.

We rapped the last pitch back down to the ledge. From there it's an overhanging rappel with a sling transfer at 120 feet. A very good introduction to working in a totally exposed position! Check and double check every thing you do! Noob that I was, I went first.
On the 140' rap from the transfer to the ground the tails of my ropes hung up in an oak tree about 40' off the deck. More interesting practice to tie off my rap and retrieve the ends while twisting in the breeze 15 feet out from the wall!

Big Walls shows 2 raps straight down from the tree. 190' each.
You can also rap the route. You'll still need 2 ropes.

It had snowed hard the day before and big plates of ice were sliding off all the cliffs on the North side of the valley, especially El Cap. They flew behind us and crashed in the woods. A good route to climb on such a day.

I highly recommend it for a beginning multi pitch aid climb. You can escape from any pitch by rapping.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 13, 2010 - 08:00pm PT
The best thing to do is jump on an obscure wall so that you don't interfere with other climbers and tough it out. You will learn.
Ferretlegger

Trad climber
san Jose, CA
Jun 21, 2010 - 04:21pm PT
Hi all,
I'm a geezer planning on doing some walls this summer and fall. Did El cap a few times BITD and many of the Grade V's and standard nailups of the times. Things like Bishop's Balcony, Swan Slab A5 traverse, etc. I am hoping to solo something if my aged bones permit, and am looking for some nice practice lines. I recently got my lovely Fish ledge, and want somewhere obscure, but not too much of a deathmarch to practice setting it up, and some new hauling techniques I hope to use. I spent a lot of time talking with Mark Hudon (THANKS Mark!!), after his trip up Tribal Rite, and got a lot of ideas from him that I want to try out also.

So I was wondering if there are any RECENT ideas about good practice lines. I did Le Conte Boulder last week, and that went well, but something like the Southwest face of Rixon's would be better for what I want to do. Anyone know if it is still in the death zone? Another oldie I was thinking of was the Bear Rock Bolt Route. Anyone seen this in the last few years?

Basically I am looking for something to lead (solo) that is long enough to actually use the tools (minimum of 5 placements or 20 feet) and reasonably safe (I REALLY know how to place gear- I just want to work on procedures, solo leading, setting up a solo belay, portaledge, rappelling to the bag, jumaring the pitch back up, etc). So A4 right off the deck is not what I am looking for. I would like a decent anchor (can replace if necessary), and preferably not overhanging too much. I was toying with the idea of finding a suitable boulder somewhere in the valley and putting up a short aid route and good belay, but perhaps this already exists. It seems to me that this sort of thing would be useful to many doing their first walls, to get the procedures worked out, and that sort of thing.

Anyway, I already know I am going to die (at my age you cannot escape the fact...), so I would enjoy having a dialogue with others with some ideas, both about locations to practice that won't get in people's ways and which I can stagger up to without losing lunch and in procedures for self belay, rappel back to the previous belay, and hauling methods and procedures for soloists. I can think of many ways to do most of these things, but would like to avoid re-inventing the wheel and use battle tested methods.

All the best,
Michael
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jun 21, 2010 - 04:37pm PT
the far right side of Arch rock has a A1 nail up crack.

Don't know the name but obscure fur sure and accepts iron from what I hear.
Urmas

Social climber
Sierra Eastside
Jun 23, 2010 - 12:06am PT
One of my first aid leads was NW Corner of Kat Pinnacle. Yes it is steep and exposed - exactly what aid climbing is all about! I recommend it highly, just watch out for (or ignore) the poison oak on the approach. It's also a cool summit, which offers a reward for the effort!
Dave Sessions

Trad climber
Thousand Oaks, CA
Nov 2, 2012 - 11:59pm PT
If you're looking for C1, maybe the best starter aid climb of all time is Church bowl tree, up to the bots. Solid, and varied, close to the car, comes with a bench - and it's right next to the medical center (!)
Kalimon

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Nov 3, 2012 - 11:31pm PT
Werner's Ant Trees is a must do practice aid line. At least that what we thought back in 1978.
Dave Sessions

Trad climber
Thousand Oaks, CA
Nov 14, 2012 - 12:08am PT
Here's an interesting practice climb I just 'found' - the Robbins route on Rixon's, aka Far West has a first pitch variation that was rated A4 when Jeff Foote/Eric Beck added it in '63. The Reid guide has it down as being A3+. Wonder when the last time that thing was done....!
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
Nov 14, 2012 - 12:22am PT
Serious question - how much do you need to practice aid climbing? Why does it have to be on a rope?


Can't you just take a crashpad, an etrier, a sh#t load of pins/heads/offset bullsh#t, go to boulders by the base of your objective and see what hooks and stuff fail?


When I was a bright eyed child (2 days ago?) I thought you had to do all these bolt ladders and shtuff.


Single pitch aid climbing, where you are always less than a full pitch off the deck... not a good place to mess with tenuous placements.


Just my .02, I think Minerals is a bad ass and does more for the community (and more rock climbing) than I can shake a stick at, so big props to him - plus, his beard is AWESOME.


(cool I didn't check to see that this thread is 3 years old. I'm a dum.)

karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 14, 2012 - 01:25am PT
I really never practiced too much, just went out and did the "easy" south face of the column route. kinda of a cluster through the first aid pitches off Dinner Ledge, but not much to hit if I blew it! Learning close to the ground sounds pretty sketch.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Nov 14, 2012 - 01:50am PT
Serious question - how much do you need to practice aid climbing? Why does it have to be on a rope?

Can't you just take a crashpad, an etrier, a sh#t load of pins/heads/offset bullsh#t, go to boulders by the base of your objective and see what hooks and stuff fail?

You need a shitload of practice if you want to be fast. Free-climbing is fast, aid climbing is slow. If you want to be slow as f*#king molasses, then be a slow aid climber.

"Aid bouldering" is a great tool for getting quick with placements, learning to trust your placements, and learning to make secure placements that can be cleaned quickly and easily.

The old British tradition of girdling can be applied to "aid bouldering" along the base of a cliff.
micronut

Trad climber
Nov 14, 2012 - 10:12am PT
Minerals,
Thanks for the effort here man. Good stuff. We'll be gettin on some of these this winter in prep for our first El Cap ascent this spring. Great resource. Much appreesh.
-Scott
Sioux Juan

Big Wall climber
Costa mesa
Nov 14, 2012 - 11:04am PT
the wflt ....is no place to learn, unless you have masterd down aiding,should you bail and rap down
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Nov 14, 2012 - 01:18pm PT
+1 for practicing in low-traffic locations.

Tips, if it hasn't yet been mentioned, would be perfect. C1.
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