Half Dome Rockfall?


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Trad climber
Bay Area
Jul 8, 2015 - 04:52pm PT
I think he broke the route.
That's a CLOSE call. Indeed he may have "broken" the route. I'd say you're very lucky to have made it to the top.
Did any of the big flakes feel shifty?
Billy Smallen

Trad climber
Jul 8, 2015 - 06:28pm PT
I know this is way off topic by this point, but I couldn't resist as I am still having the same "I slept on that ledge!" creepy feelings that many others are. Pics from 2005:

Brandan getting "comfortable"
Brandan getting "comfortable"
Credit: Billy Smallen

Credit: Billy Smallen

Credit: Billy Smallen
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 07:18pm PT
Half Dome Regular NW Face p11 - after July 3, 2015 rockfall <br/>
Text add...
Half Dome Regular NW Face p11 - after July 3, 2015 rockfall
Text added by me; original NPS photo is from climbingyosemite.com
Credit: NPS / CC
I marked the "after" photo from http://www.climbingyosemite.com/portfolio/half-dome-rockfall/
to show the shortest route to connect over the missing flake section.
Given that it's kinda steep and smooth, my guess is it would take 2-3 bolts to reach the old p11 anchor, then 5-7 more to reach the bottom of the 5.11c corner.
This might be thought of as an extension of the diagonal bolt ladder on the Robbins traverse below.

It might also be possible to climb further up left on corners/flakes,
and pendulum far right, but it may be too steep to pendulum that far.

For free climbing, that might involve climbing on the right side of the new rock scar and then underclinging back left?
Would be risky at present due to the freshly broken rock; would be wise to check for loose rock on rappel first,
as Brandon Latham and Greg Stock described some definitely loose sections when they investigated on July 7.
(Watch for their updated report).

free solos 3rd class
Jul 8, 2015 - 08:06pm PT
2014 07 07
2014 07 07
Credit: Yosemite Conservancy

2015 07 08 new debris fan and scoured gully
2015 07 08 new debris fan and scoured gully
Credit: Yosemite Conservancy

Big Wall climber
Jul 8, 2015 - 08:17pm PT

Gym climber
Being In Sierra Happy Of Place
Jul 8, 2015 - 08:18pm PT
Thanks for the NPS shots - wow.

RE: the photos -it is an understatement to say "the climber's trail is gone", as stated by drwb in his TR.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 09:14pm PT
Hard to tell exactly from photos, but it looks like the right side of the initial chimneys section has solid support.
If it was substantially supported by the loose flake that left, one might think it would have come off then?

Maybe more relevant - might be wise to go higher in the 5.11c corner before tensioning right to the chimney system.
(High enough to get above the fresh rockfall area).

Prior rockfalls in this same area:
1. 1968 - Psyche Flake (former moving chimney - apparently was well above the Undercling Flake?)
2. 1987? - Undercling Flake. This was slightly above the new rockfall, and is shown in one of the old photos in this thread. Was mentioned in "50 Classic Climbs" description.

Roger Breedlove photo, ca. 1974
Credit: Edge
Edge's 1983 photo - Undercling Flake directly above the leader.

le_bruce's more recent photo - Undercling Flake gone.

Rockfalls from Half Dome Regular NW Face &#40;chimney section&#41; <br/>
Rockfalls from Half Dome Regular NW Face (chimney section)
1968 - 2015
original from http://www.markpthomas.com/mountaineering/trip-reports/california/half-dome-regular-nw-face
Credit: Mark P. Thomas / CC
original from http://www.markpthomas.com/mountaineering/trip-reports/california/half-dome-regular-nw-face
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Mexico City, D.F.
Jul 8, 2015 - 10:18pm PT
He definitely broke the route. Well, there is a great opportunity up there now to reconnect the route.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 8, 2015 - 10:28pm PT
there is a great opportunity up there now to reconnect the route. I wonder if there is a way that would maintain the overall grade of the route, and not a run out 5.14 pitch?
Yes - see my 7:18pm post and photo above.
Many options; one is fairly simple.
Maybe an even better option will be possible on close examination....

Boulder climber
I'm James Brown, Bi-atch!
Jul 8, 2015 - 10:38pm PT
nobody should be allowed up there anyway, unless they are Native Americans or John Muir,

going to rap bolt that broke-ass route this weekend,

did anybody find a blue colored sling clipped into the wreckage?

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
Jul 8, 2015 - 10:43pm PT
Love ya Sprock!


Trad climber
the middle of CA
Jul 9, 2015 - 10:56am PT
Climbing magazine made a whole story based off of Clint's post.

Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Mexico City, D.F.
Jul 9, 2015 - 11:50am PT
I can't believe nobody has bagged the FA yet. It's the most iconic rock face on the planet.

Just realized also that nobody is ever going to repeat Alex Honnald's solo.

Trad climber
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:01pm PT
I'm interested to see if they look for a logical free connection, or go with the 20th century approach of "bolts from here to there". May be blank enough that it's moot, of course.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:09pm PT
Climbing Magazine ... Clint ...
Dang, I'm finally famous! :-)
But I was not the first or only one to wonder about how/when the climb will be reworked. I mean, Brandon and Greg already went up there and came back down before I even posted....

Better yet, see the fresh 7/9 update of Brandon and Greg's report - more details and up-close photos of key points in the rockfall section:


The newly posted photos suggest to me that the belay stance atop p12 (5.11c corner to tension traverse right) is intact, although there is a freshly broken block just to the outside of it.
That block is not needed for the stance, but people might touch it, so it should be tested carefully.
The p13 handcrack to chimney looks intact, but as Ron noted, who knows if chockstones / flakes in the chimneys loosened up, etc.

Jul 9, 2015 - 12:25pm PT
Dang, I'm finally famous! :-)

You've always been famous to me!


Trad climber
Portland Oregon
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:26pm PT

Jul 9, 2015 - 12:05pm PT
Smart people are waiting. Who wants to be the first to test if the rest of the flake/chimneys are still attached good? YOu know- the ones hanging out into space, non supported by that flake and ledge that went buh-bye..

"yur lead",, naww YOU can ave it~~~Noooo, I insist YOU get the first lead! OK, we will flip for who belays..

I'm wondering why it would be better to be belaying UNDER the guy up there testing the flakes.....

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Jul 9, 2015 - 12:34pm PT
I confess to temptation here. I also confess that it's 41 years since I've done any climb longer than a Grade IV, so the odds of acting on that temptation are nil.

Still, if I were to make it across first, would it now be the "Robbins-Eleazarian Traverse?"

Oh well, even if my wall climbing is hibernating, my dreaming is operating full force.

wayne burleson

Amherst, MA
Jul 9, 2015 - 02:04pm PT
Nice work Clint! But I think those bolt estimates may be a bit low. The friends of the OP who came upon the missing ledge could probably better estimate. Some short penji's might save some bolts... but we need to keep it A0, right?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 9, 2015 - 02:43pm PT
Yeah, those are guesstimates "for sure"! (And since you were there in June your estimate is probably better than mine).
Something at an "accessible" grade (like the rest of the climb) would be good, since a lot of people do the route.
Actually I've been somewhat surprised at how many people use the Skinner bolt ladder at the top - it's really part of the free version of Half Dome Direct NW Face, not the original Regular NW Face to the left (where I believe the aid crux is).
But I guess the Skinner bolts made it onto the supertopo for the Reg.
And some people may just want to get up in the easiest way at that point.
There's certainly room up there for a couple of different ways to bridge the rockfall gap.
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