Compiling a list of every Yosemite Big Wall


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Big Wall climber
oakland, ca
Dec 31, 2003 - 01:59pm PT
I got J a 1972 Roper from amazon that cost less the a new Reid FWIW.

I'm defining "Big Wall" as a grade V or higher and involving aid for most mortals.

The aid climbs that were dropped from the newer guidebooks are the shorter ones. I think that the Grade V's in the book are all pretty much considered classics or at least "obscure classics".

Social climber
The Deli
Dec 31, 2003 - 03:21pm PT
Sam-I-am - Do you have a copy of the AAJ? What is the rating on the route? FA = Aug or Sept '87? Maybe you can ask TF if he can add to the list.

Mel - I am adding grade IV aid routes too. Anything out of the Roper book would be helpful.


Gym climber
City by the Bay
Dec 31, 2003 - 05:05pm PT
Minerals and others-
A commendable job rallying all this info. Trundles climbed the High Life on Higher Spire? w Jamie Mundo last spring and I think he may have done some other stuff. Al Dude did some climbing on Watson's this year too and McDevitt and Glenn from El Portal did a bunch of stuff on fifi butress within the past 5 years. They have at least 5 routes that ascend the buttress...I didn't see any Coiler routes on the list either. He did that thing over by the thief-which saw a second ascent
Sam Shannon

Social climber
the middle of nowhere
Dec 31, 2003 - 05:52pm PT
Sorry Minerals, I don't have a copy of the '88 AAJ, I'm gonna have to wait until I get back to the library on campus at Colorado State in a couple of weeks. They have damn near every single edition of the AAJ except for the most recent one which some pudwacker has checked out until March. The cute girls in the computer lab might be able to show me how to e-mail you items of interest or I can always just photocopy stuff and mail it.

Still trying to get a hold of Mr. Frost, he doesn't answer his phone as a rule so I'm waiting to hear back from him.

Happy New Year Everybody!
Drinking, Not Thinking


Dec 31, 2003 - 09:13pm PT
Glad to see some other people are stoked about this! Hopefully minerals will remove the errors on the existing routes. I should have looked at it closer! I knew I had bad typing skills but not that bad.

Minerals, I don't have the American Alpine Journal for the that route. But those guys were nuts to climb up that area of the wall. Same goes for Klaus, props to them! Ammon and Andrew had some cool pics on the internet of Erik climbing it.

The rateings on the list are a bit off on some of the climbs. Disorderly Conduct should be A3+ but that makes it look easier than Zenyatta and just a bit harder that the Shield! I think Heavy Metal and Tinker Toys should have the PDH rateing instead of A5, since that would be true to the reporting Jim did in A.A.J.

Just go string Ted up and make him give you the topos! Though getting him drunk might be a bit more legal, it doesn't have a garented out come.


Sport climber
Fresno, CA
Jan 1, 2004 - 03:12pm PT
From the red 1964 super old school Roper guide:

Camp 4 Terror, V 5.8 A4, Bob Kamps and Dave Rearick, July 1960.

Arches Direct, VI 5.9 A5, Robbins and Fitschen, June 1960. (Royal whipped big on the FA.)

Lunch Ledge Direct, IV 5.8 A4, Chouinard and Wally Reed, July 1961.
East Face, VI 5.9 A4, Chuck Pratt and Warren Harding, July 1959.

HD Southwest Face, IV 5.8 A3, Salathe and Anton Nelson, October 1946.

Mt. Broderick South Face, IV 5.8 A3, Chuck Pratt, Joe Fitschen and Bob Kamps, May 1960.

Liberty Cap South Face, IV 5.8 A3, Mark Powell, Joe Fitschen and Royal Robbins, Aug-Sep 1956.

North Face Direct (Mozart Wall?), VI 5.7 A4, Robbins and Frost, May 1962.
North Face Center, V 5.8 A3, Chouinard and Herbert, Aug 1962.
West Face, VI 5.9 A5, Chouinard and Frost, June 1960.

Lower Cathedral Spire, North Face, V 5.9 A3, Al MacDonald and Galen Rowell, June 1960 (upper face), Les Wilson and Wolfgang Heinritz, July 1962 (lower 800 ft.)

Higher Cathedral Rock, North Face, V 5.9 A4, Pratt, Chouinard and Bob Kamps, June-July 1960.

Middle Cathedral Rock, North Face, VI 5.9 A4, Kamps, Pratt and Roper, June 1959.

Rostrum North Face, V 5.8 A3, Glen Denny and Harding, July 1962.

Some of these possibly are iffy according to our definition of big wall, which I guess hasn't yet been defined. I can understand wanting to exclude free routes, but they haven't always been free. Some of these are currently free trade routes, but they were also key walls historically. The Salathe is the Astroman of 2030, know what I'm saying?

Depends if this list is supposed to be historically minded (having FA and FFA) or just a modern tick list.

One more thing: some sort of bibliography might be cool--a way to find more info on a particular route. Get on it Minerals!

Happy '04, peeps!

Social climber
The Deli
Jan 2, 2004 - 02:17am PT
Awesome. Totally awesome!!

Thanks yo-yo!!!! ;) That's a HUGE help. I have heard of some of the routes but now have proof and the details. Back to the spreadsheet...
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Jan 4, 2004 - 02:12pm PT
I just added some more obscure big wall topos to the Obscurities page. Just click on the following link and scroll to the bottom:

If you have more topos you wanted added to the list, just email them to me.

Jan 4, 2004 - 02:34pm PT
The Gerberding route on Catherdral is on the North Face Children of the Corn (VI 5.12 A4+ R). Scott Cosgrave was in on it too with one other guy. Can't remeber who though.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 4, 2004 - 01:03am PT
thanks to Minerals, the complete list of big walls is bigger than ever. you can view the pdf of the list at:

or you can download the excel sheet and keep working on it at:

Big Wall climber
running springs, ca
Mar 4, 2004 - 04:23am PT
Across the Universe, to Infinity and Beyond
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Mar 4, 2004 - 05:00pm PT
As long as folks are talking to FAists about their routes. I think it would be great to get a general idea of which ones are classics or worth repeating, and which ones are "only a mother could love."

Yeah, everybody likes the smell of their own farts but ...


Ben Rumsen

Mountain climber
Sacramento, CA
Mar 4, 2004 - 05:53pm PT
One monumental but worthwhile task would be to attempt to collect a topo and route location drawing for each and every one of these climbs ( that would be worth paying for )!

Mar 4, 2004 - 07:31pm PT

I have topos for Dean Miller and Marks' route on Lost Brother, "Magic and Loss VI 5.10, A3" says the topo, have'nt seen Dean for a while but the topo is from him. Also a route, I think is on Higher Cathedral Rock, done by Bob Gaines and Alan Bartlett. Called "Promised Land V+ 5.9 A3" finished in june 2000.

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
Jul 30, 2013 - 10:02pm PT
GoodGod. . . Dean Miller?

Where in the SamHill is he, these days?

Hobart, Australia
Jul 31, 2013 - 02:06am PT
You might want to include the Cyclops Roof Direct Finish to the Wyoming Sheep Ranch. Xaver Bongard and I did the FA. Three new pitches through the biggest roof in Yosemite. Took me 10 hours to lead that pitch, mostly due to a failed adjustable harness which was choking the hell out of me the whole way.
john hansen

Jul 31, 2013 - 02:50am PT
The more I look..

Very impressive .Chris. Lot's of history here..

Hobart, Australia
Jul 31, 2013 - 05:38am PT
Also, you're missing Quinlan's route that takes off from the Seagull on Mescalito. Prior to Steve's ascent, I had soloed the first new pitch of it (it starts after the first five pitches of Mescalito), but got battered by a storm and came down. I forget all the details at the moment, save for the fact that I had a different line picked out from the one Steve ended up doing.
Ian Parsons

UK, England
Jul 31, 2013 - 10:06am PT
To deuce4 - Adrift, presumably?

Hobart, Australia
Jul 31, 2013 - 03:57pm PT
Yes, Adrift is the name of Steve's route.

I had a line picked out in the old days, not sure if it's yet been done, but never got to it, and likely never will (though I do hope to revisit some of the El Cap classics before I truly retire my haul bags of big wall fun). It would have been a link up with around 8 new ptiches, the most significant of which were the lower (then unclimbed) pitches of the Black Dihedral leading up to the NA wall pitches, then of course out through the Cyclops roof.

Have those lower pitches of the Black Dihedral become part of another route?

When looking at the whole wall, to me it was really one of the major lines--a continuous diagonal line up the SE face.
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