Compiling a list of every Yosemite Big Wall


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Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Original Post - Dec 29, 2003 - 01:43pm PT
I'm working to compile a list of every single Yosemite Big Wall. I started an excel sheet that Jake Hector just updated (thanks jake!).

To take a look at a PDF file of what we currently have, click here:

If you use windows and would like to download the Excel sheet and add to it, click here:

If you use an Apple computer and would like to download the Excel sheet and add to it, click here:


Big Wall climber
Bay Area, Ca
Dec 29, 2003 - 05:32pm PT
You might want to add a section for the Glacier Point Apron. As I recall there was one route there called Galactic Hitchhiker, ~35 pitches I think. There is a Trip report from the FA somewhere on the net. When I get home tonight I will see if I can find it.


Dec 29, 2003 - 05:46pm PT
I didn't really add any free routes to it. Only the aid routes that had been freed on El Cap. I noticed I must have forgot to save it once because some of my mistakes are on that one. Oops!

If someone has the American Alpine Journals they can add some of the missing info/routes.

can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Dec 29, 2003 - 07:15pm PT
I thought Urmas et al put up a route on Half Dome called Sugar Shack or something like that
Greg Barnes

Dec 29, 2003 - 08:10pm PT
hey, didn't some guys named chris & mark put up a big traverse on El Cap?

Social climber
The Deli
Dec 29, 2003 - 09:06pm PT
Mmmmmmmm. Fun project.


Dec 29, 2003 - 09:44pm PT
Greg, there are a few topos in the obscurites on this site that I forgot to add in. Chris route is one of those.

Here are some routes I know of but don't have much info for:
-New route by gerberding and others in Catherdral area 5.12 A4+? It's got info in American Alpine Journal 2001, I think.
-New route by Coiler on the Column, Tora Bora VI 5.10 A3+?
-Traverse of Half dome by Jay Smith

Routes I forgot to put in:
-Laughing at the Void (ribbon falls)
-Spire it Up(cathedral)
-Operation Bravo(cathedral)
-Soul Shakedown(watkins)
-Gridle Traverse(el cap)

can't say, I don't know of Sugar Shack but there is a Psychedelic Shack. It's in the list. But for some reason my computer is leaving out words and shows it as just "Shack", same with White Trash Vacation just "Vacation". Anyone else have this problem?
Jonny D

Social climber
Lost Angelez, Kalifornia
Dec 29, 2003 - 11:17pm PT
how'bout Hole World (near West Buttress)
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Dec 30, 2003 - 03:51am PT
Seems like the best thing to do is for all of us to keep spitting out routes. Then someone posts "Not it", everyone else posts "Not it" and the last person to reply has to collect all the info and enter it into the excel sheet... or something.

oh yeah, forgot to put in el cap girdle, FA: Chris McNamara, Mark Melvin, Aug 98. VI 5.10 A4

anyone have a better name than "Girdle Traverse"? I'm open to suggestions.

Trad climber
Lancaster, PA
Dec 30, 2003 - 09:02am PT
Maybe someone should consider re-naming the Falls Wall to the Kohl Wall. It seems as though he owns most FA's in that area...

Big Wall climber
Bay Area
Dec 30, 2003 - 01:40pm PT

Underneath Chinese Water Torture, where Jim Bridwell's name is should be Dark Star. Put up with Giavante ? (sp?).

Cool project Jake, keep it up. I'll look for more info later.

Cheers, Ammon


Social climber
The Deli
Dec 30, 2003 - 02:21pm PT
This is fun! I have started to update the spreadsheet already and if no one else wants to, I'll be 'it'. Or, I can send updates to Jake.

I talked to Klaus yesterday for some more updates. Pretty damn impressive. He's got 15 new routes on the Falls Wall, 11 of them put up solo.

Keep throwing out routes and we'll try to get this dialed. I'll call Coiler and JonnyB to get more info.

Cheers all,


ps - Yes, it is Psychedelic Shack... I saw the two missing names (White Trash...) and thought it was a PC thing (not my computer...).

Social climber
The Deli
Dec 30, 2003 - 02:35pm PT
Ammon, what is the name of the route that you and Dean and Mark put up on Lost Brother? They did another one too. I thought I had topos - have to look. There are also some old-dad routes farther to the right...?????


Gym climber
City by the Bay
Dec 30, 2003 - 07:03pm PT
you should talk with ted at the mountaiin shop. He claims he has topos for all the wall routes in the valley. He definitely has some obsucurities. You might need some pale ales though as he is reluctant to divulge any of them. Also try talking to Trundlesby about some of the stuff he did.


Social climber
The Deli
Dec 30, 2003 - 11:43pm PT
Thanks for the info James!

"He claims he has topos for all the wall routes in the valley."

Some topos don't exist. It would be great if Ted could pass along any information that he has – a topo is not needed at this point – just the basic info, as outlined in the spreadsheet.

Talked to JonnyB and Coiler today and got dialed on several new routes. Does Trundles have any routes other than the ones that he has done with Coiler?

I’m sure that there are other routes out there so word of mouth and as much input as possible will help us to complete the list. I’ll have a list of trivia questions to post soon in order to try to fill in the gaps.

Anyone and everyone:
Please ask around to friends, etc. for any info on new Valley routes and have them pass on the word. Any help is greatly appreciated. Post info here or email any of us.

I started another column titled “Originally started by:” so any trivia buffs please chime in. New Dawn, Wyoming Sheep Ranch, ZM, Yosemite Pointless, etc. – these sorts of routes…

Anyone have any of the Roper guides? I'm looking for the obscure old-dad routes that we never hear about. They're out there...

Thanks all!!!

Big Wall climber
Bay Area, Ca
Dec 31, 2003 - 02:40am PT
Here's an idea, how about adding some reference info for each climb. I can understand the desire to keep the list brief, but without references this list just becomes a mythical and historical list of climbs rather than something we can all use.

I am more than willing to do what I can. The AAJ index is available online from 1987-1996 which I have downloaded and I'll do the Supertopo references as well. I also know Chris has made some obsurities available, so these can be added as well. But that's all I have and that covers only about 25% of what's there I imagine. Can anyone with some older guides help out? You can post info here or email it to me and I'll compile it. Then I'll email it to whoever has done the error/updating work. Or send me the updates and I'll fill in my part. For the ones that have no published topo or no other information available we can just put "unknown" or whatever.


Also, are the routes in any type of order? I notice that the El Cap listing seems to go in order from SW corner (Lurking Fear) to SE corner (Eagles Way) with the Nose in the middle. But I don't know all the routes on El Cap so they may not be in order and I wouldn't know. How about the other formations, are they in any kind or order?

Social climber
The Deli
Dec 31, 2003 - 02:54am PT
That is a good idea. If there is a published reference to the route then it should be listed. For many of the newer routes, there has never been a publication so it's pretty much straight from the horse's mouth or the horse's buddy’s mouth. As for Supertopo, the Obscurities, the Reid guide, and Clay's posters, I've got that all down but if you want to add the references then that would be cool. The hard part now is going to be to find the stuff that hasn't been published.

Jake or Strider, do you have the AAJ with the Sylvester Falls route?

Strider, the routes go clockwise around the Valley, starting at Ribbon Falls. Left to right. Some confusion arises when we consider where the routes start (in relation to each other) or where they top out, or where they cross each other. The hardest part of all of this seems to be the ratings - it's not consistent and I think we need to re-rate a lot of the routes so that it is consistent. No point is creating a new list with old information.

Big Wall climber
Bay Area, Ca
Dec 31, 2003 - 06:24am PT
Minerals, I will email you with my copy of the list with publication credits added. Everything will be in column E so hopefully you can copy everything over without a problem. I don't know what the AAJ references have, whether topo's, route describtions, etc... so if you find a published topo then delete the AAJ reference. Otherwise the AAJ references are better than nothing.

Can anyone do some leg work on the older AAJ Index's? If Minerals gets the Reid and Meyer guide, Chris's Obscurities and the Clay maps then that is most of what is out there. Other than the hand-drawn, beer stained napkins that is. Maybe someone can get "Ted from the Mountain Shop" drunk and copy some of his topo's and give them to Chris Mac to add to the Obsurities.

I also wanted to ask you guys about a few references I found in the AAJ Index. This index only covers 1987-1996, which is a small window but I found a few index listings that only someone with that journal can decipher...
 "Ribbon Falls Ampitheater (Yosemite Valley, California) 1996, pg. 153-4"
 "Mount Watkins (Yosemite Valle, California) 1988, pg. 128"
 "Washington Column (Yosemite Valley, California) 1988, pg. 128"
 "Bunnel Point (Little Yosemite, California) 1990, pg 168"
 "Pharaoh, The (Matterhorn Canyon,Yosemite, California) 1995:142-4, 152"
 "Sentinal Rock (Yosemite Valley, California) 1994, pg 137"
 Glen Aulin Area (Yosemite National Park, California) 1988: 135-6"
 "Leaning Tower (Yosemite Valley, California) 1994, pg 137"
 "Waterfall Wall (Yosemite Valley, California) 1988:1-14"

Edit - No "Sylvester Falls" either.

Social climber
The Deli
Dec 31, 2003 - 12:19pm PT
"Maybe someone can get "Ted from the Mountain Shop" drunk and copy some of his topo's and give them to Chris Mac to add to the Obsurities.

LOL!!!!! Classic.

Hmmmmm. "Waterfall Wall (Yosemite Valley, California) 1988:1-14" That sounds rather suspicious... Sure that's not the Sylvester route? I do remember seeing a copy of the Journal that my Uncle showed me - was the article in the beginning of the Journal...? Hmmmmm. Anyone?
Sam Shannon

Social climber
the middle of nowhere
Dec 31, 2003 - 01:57pm PT
Minerals, you're suspicions are right on track. The '88 AAJ's lead article is about Rick Sylvester's route straight up the Falls. He claims the force of the Falls was enough to erase a few bolts from a previous attempt, DAMN!

The library back at the University has every single AAJ on file, but maybe someone else can do some bookwork in the next 2 weeks before I start school again.

I'm trying to coordinate w/ Tom Frost next week for a different project but I think he has some of the old Roper guides as well as first hand info. If you ever get the chance to visit w/ Frost in his home you have to ask to see some of his photo collection. The man has an entire bookcase full of 4" three ring binders, each one full of awesome 8x10's from his time in Yosemite. AMAZING
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