Circular Staircase TR

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Messages 41 - 57 of total 57 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Jun 8, 2010 - 01:14pm PT
Another bit of obscura in this area is the lower west face of Sentinel. As far as I know, no one does this any more. I think that Chouinard and Frost did include it on the first ascent. We certainly didn't when we did the WF. I did subsequently get curious and did it. Not very good, quite rotten, maybe a touch of 5.8.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Jun 8, 2010 - 02:54pm PT
So very cool. Thanks always for sharing and the momentary, vicarious transport from my desk.
HighTraverse

Trad climber
Bay Area
Jun 8, 2010 - 07:00pm PT
Cirque du Sentinel

First Modern Ascent: Ed and Gary, June, 2008
Right ON!
John Morton

climber
Jun 8, 2010 - 11:03pm PT
In some ways those bushwhacks are the very essence of Yosemite Valley. My first partners and I became climbers by blundering our way up several of those listed in the blue (Voge) guide, which had one chapter on the Valley (it's here: http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/climbers_guide/yosemite_valley.html);.

No matter how scuzzy they seem now, these were fabulous adventures. The topic just caused me to remember something I haven't thought of for decades: while climbing the W Face of Lower Brother, Bill Peppin and I stopped upon hearing a thunderous roar. A flotilla of several 2-rotor helicopters appeared and flew up the Valley, slightly below us in altitude. We learned later this was President Kennedy and party.

This thread has the first mention I've seen of a repeat of The Bannister, left of the Circular Staircase. This was a project cooked up by Dick Long, a cheerful and zany character I met at the Sierra RCS sessions at the Berkeley boulders. Much later I realized he was a ringer, having the FA of El Cap E Butt, early attempts on Half Dome etc. He was returning to climbing after a hiatus to have kids. I had the privilege of joining him, Danny Tavistock and another guy to do the Bannister. Dick also took us along to pay a visit to Wayne Merry in his ranger quarters in El Portal.

Long of course went on to do early ascents of El Cap, and the still unrepeated Hummingbird Ridge on Logan. And as an orthopedic surgeon, the incredible restoration of Al Steck's ankles, shattered in a fall in Africa.

John
T H

climber
Dec 16, 2010 - 03:34am PT
I remember one 4th of July night, riding in the bed of a pick-up, looking at the approach ramps - a big bonfire very high on the slope.
skywalker

climber
Dec 16, 2010 - 10:50am PT
Ed,

Thanks for posting. As I've said before T.R.'s rule rants suck.

Cheers!

S...
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
May 16, 2014 - 12:45pm PT
Bump
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
Nevada City
May 18, 2014 - 12:52am PT
BumpingBecauseStyleTranscends
JakeW

Big Wall climber
CA
May 18, 2014 - 11:30am PT
I know this is an old TR, but despite the description and google images i'm confused about which saddle you guys summited in. Sentinel descent gully? The next one back between sentinel and the spires? Or between all that and sentinel dome as your description says? Just wondering because I've always wanted to do this and thought it was supposed to end up at sentinel summit/saddle behind it/normal descent gully. Also, if you were further back amongst the spires perhaps the best descent would be down(or up) the giant trail that is 5 minutes/100yards from the summits of those spires. Cool area!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2014 - 12:24pm PT
sentinel summit/saddle behind it/normal descent gully?

there is a "saddle point" formed by the Sentinel Rock summit and the Valley Rim (as the high points) and the descent gully and the Circular Staircase gully (as the low points)

Credit: Ed Hartouni

there was the suggestion that we find an easy passage up to the rim as an alternative to the walk down the descent gully, but various other projects has that on hold right now... but we wouldn't object to someone else doing that..
JakeW

Big Wall climber
CA
May 18, 2014 - 05:41pm PT
That's quite an oversimplification. You went down the standard sentinel rock descent? As if doing the steck-salathe? Was just hard to tell from the line drawn in the picture...looked like you were one gully further back. I've been in the area before and so far as i can tell there are threeish "saddles": The one right behind sentinel rock that you end up in descending from steck salathe etc., another one above that but in front of the two spires above sentinel, and the one between the spires and the trail below sentinel dome...anyhoo...just curious where this circular staircase dumps you out...thanks.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 18, 2014 - 06:33pm PT
I doubt that you'd go to that part of the saddle, as you point out, Sentinel Rock is a more complex summit than a single high point. These all tend to join together as you descend to the "descent gully" side of the saddle.

I'm not sure it has any bearing on Circular Staircase, which has two raps and two pitches of technical climbing, all the rest being Class 3 or 4... it doesn't top out on any of the summits. The Banister tops out on yet another part of Sentinel Rock, and you wander down probably similar to the Steck-Salathe but probably different in details, eventually joining up with all descents.


Jingy

climber
Somewhere out there
May 18, 2014 - 07:32pm PT
Right on... Ed

Thanks
JakeW

Big Wall climber
CA
May 18, 2014 - 08:35pm PT
Cool, thanks. Sounds like you did end up further back towards the rim than I'd previously envisioned Circular Staircase going. I hope to check it out someday. Surprising that Bannister doesn't end up on the summit either. Based on the green book description I'd always imagined the Staircase going to the standard descent gully saddle and the Bannister going to the summit...like the far right side of the west face. Thanks for the details on some historic passages.
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 19, 2014 - 02:55am PT
When we did the Circular Staircase, we went down the usual Sentinel descent, although we literally slogged up manzanita and other things that didn't feel so much like rock climbing for hours after doing a couple of 5th class pitches at the start, so we might not have been "on route" near the "summit".
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - May 19, 2014 - 11:05am PT
that sounds like what we did Melissa...
Melissa

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
May 19, 2014 - 11:38am PT
In thinking about it moreI sort of remember fins that weren't totally trivial to find a non-5th way around and needing to keep working up, so maybe there was a way to keep shooting through, but since it was getting dark, and we knew the standard descent, we wanted to get there. I could be making it up, but I remember getting to the place that is like the tunnel under manzanita that you go to right when you drop off the usual summit of the sentinel. I'll have to ask the one with the photographic memory for these things.
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