Lost Arrow Direct - beta request


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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 20, 2008 - 03:03am PT
Anyone have info on Lost Arrow Direct?

can't quite put the route on the photo...
updated with info from del cross should be about right:


Jun 20, 2008 - 07:08am PT
Imight have no biz posting this since I've not done this but...

Bargainhunter might be able to help?? I'll send him a msg... in the meantime:


Lost Arrow Direct

Lost Arrow Spire Direct Route
(The Reid guidebook claims the rating is VI 5.11 A3, I'd say it's closer to V C2)

I climbed this route in June 1999, rope-soloing the first 4 pitches, then finishing the rest in a weekend with a Polish engineer named Lukas. If you sleep at the base, strong nightly winds rake the slopes starting about an a hour after sunset to just before sunrise and can make sleep unpleasant. It is also windy, but less so, on the ledges at night. There is a thin, slimy water seep a hundred yards or so up the slope (toward the Czech route) from the start of the climb. I don't know if lasts just seasonally or all summer and through the fall, but it was adequate to fill my water needs, although filling up five gallons took more than an hour.

While there is plenty of potential for exciting free-climbing, we aided most of the climb and did it entirely clean. The rack consisted of 16 cams ranging from the small blue Alien to the big green Camalot, plus about 2 sets of nuts, including brass/copper nuts and few large hexes. Also necessary were a leeper cam hook, a bat hook, and a regular cliffhanger hook. You may want to bring doubles of the hooks as several sections have consecutive hook moves. Don't bring heads, they aren't necessary and you will only end up scaring the rock. There are about 5 fixed heads on the entire route and each one can be replaced by a nut if necessary.

There is a brief description of the route with a few photos in the 1968-69(?) American Alpine Journal written by Pat Callis who, with Warren Harding, was the first ascensionist.

If you are unfamiliar with the approach, don't do it at night. While it's mostly a straighforward scramble, a misstep at the wrong spot could prove fatal. I think it's better to break up your loads and do multiple carries than to huff it once with a monster load.

Special note: Despite it's relative "remoteness", the east base of the Yosemite Falls Wall still has an alarming eyesore of litter, mostly in the form of dropped cans, webbing, poo bags and water bottles. When humping loads in or rapping out, consider making a donation to your Karma Retirement Fund by collecting a little trash and taking it out with you.

Pitch 1 - Used a leeper cam hook for pro on the traverse.

Pitch 2 - A tatty bolt ladder missing many bolts, with some cam pro at the beginning and end. Some bolt holes have nail nubbins hammered in which can be looped with a small nut. I used a cheat stick twice, and a bat hook and cliffhanger a couple of times.

Pitch 3 - A single 50m rope will reach the ground from the beginning of this pitch (swing over toward climber's right and land on the big blocks at the base and you will just make it). Big #5 Camalot was useful here. The pitch ends with two anchors within 20 feet of each other. I'd recommend passing the first one and using the second one, the ledge is better. Haul bag got stuck twice here, had to rap both times to free it.

Pitch 4 - This pitch is short. Do not go up the easy cracks immediately at the left at the second anchor, rather stay in main chimney/dihedral for another 20 feet and then go left at an easy traversing crack which leads up to the ledge. Be aware of rotten granite, I took a daisy fall here when a cam pulled out. The short bolt ladder indicated on the topo does not exist; it's a three bolt anchor, which you may already be using as a belay. Large flat ledge with first class view of falls and valley. Plenty of room for gear and can sleep 3 people easily, many more if you cram. It's big enough to saunter around comfortably unroped. Careful hauling over the coarse granite. I ruined my haul line here trying to extend my pulley out over the edge- completely ripped the core off, leaving just the frayed inner strands. Haul bag got stuck twice here again, had to rap again and free it. Ledge is sandy.

Pitch 5 and 6- Back-cleaned the pendulums to make it easier for the second.

Pitch 7 - This would be an enjoyable free pitch if you can climb 5.11

Pitch 8 - Grunt offwidth and chimney pitch, ending in another expansive flat ledge large enough for your extended family. Mice live here too.

Pitch 9 - From below, this pitch appears to be an intimidating blank vertical face. I got a glimpse of it just before the sun set and spent an anxious night suffering from anticipatory "ground grip". I discovered in the morning that my fears were unfounded, as hangerless bolts and bat hook holes abounded. Have all of your hooks ready, you will use them. Ends in a comfortable, surprisingly hidden belay ledge.

Pitch 10 - Crux of the climb is 20 feet above belay, you may have to bat hook the brittle holes of a couple fixed, rusty RURPs. No big deal, pro below is good and a fixed piton up and to your left invites security. The pitch evolves into a punishing offwidth/grunt chimney. You will lose skin and grumble unpleasantries while finishing this one.

Pitch 11 - A splitter 1" crack launches vertically off the belay. The end of the pitch is overhung. The belayer here can squeeze back into the "shade cave" to avoid the sun.

Pitch 12 - Short pitch, some hooking, horn looping and nutting down low, and fixed micro-copper heads above. If the heads happen to blow, you can easily use RP's, tiny nuts, or cam hooks to continue. Ends in another comfy ledge. Cam hook useful to supplement the anchor. The first anchor of the Rohrer rappel route lies about 6 feet below this ledge.

Pitch 13 - Easy 5.6 scramble to the notch. Several options here on how to end the climb: climb the tip and/or climb fixed ropes out of the notch to the rim; aid/free climb your way to the rim; rappel the Rohrer rap route.

We got to the notch and discovered that the ropes we had fixed from the rim two nights before were inaccessible, so we ended up rapping the Rohrer route. Tucker Tech professed that climbing the final 2 pitches to the rim were "not straight-forward" A3 and/or 5.10ow; adding that he ascended it pitonless after climbing the Lost Arrow Chimney and discovering, like us, that anticipated fixed ropes were not present.

I was intimidated at the thought of rappeling down the unknown face as I am paranoid about stuck ropes. I anxiously envisioned us hanging from a rusty anchor midway down the wall, pathetically ensconced like giant slabs of beef jerky slowly desiccating in the 90+ degree heat as our futile cries for help were drowned by the roar of the falls.

Fortunately, the Roherer rappel route prove to be a no-brainer, and we made it down without a hitch, leaving only a bolt hanger and a couple of pieces of sling behind to supplement the in situ fixed chain rap anchors. We employed double 50m ropes, but preferred to break up the rappels with intermediate anchors when we found them in order to preclude stuck ropes. Beware of the occasional lose block; there are some very big ones waiting to go which will happily take you along with them.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2008 - 10:44am PT
thanks for posting that reddirt, found it on a Google search earlier...
...I also have the Roper description, but I was going for a "phototopo" from all the info. Seems like the upper pitches (11-14) might be easier to find on the rock than through any description...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2008 - 11:23am PT

that stuff does look decomposed... the image can be good even if the picture isn't (if you know what I mean)...

del cross, you holding out on us?! no trip report??

ASCA had reported that all the bolts had been replaced....
oops, maybe not "all"

from http://www.safeclimbing.org/areas/california/yosemitebigwalls.htm

Lost Arrow Direct Almost all lead and belay bolts bomber 2003 Jack Hoeflaich

Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Jun 20, 2008 - 11:23am PT
Great photos!

Here is the lost arrow direct beta page:


don't be shy posting beta there too! (or on any of the route beta pages. makes searching for beta for those routes a lot easier in the future - as opposed to mining through the forum)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2008 - 11:27am PT
you're right Chris... thanks for linking over there...
I'll correct the annotation on the picture later, and post it there...

Anyone else familiar with it should help out.. please!

Social climber
Charlevoix, MI
Jun 20, 2008 - 01:35pm PT
The approach is tough to find from the ground up, but when we bailed it was really easy to see that we needed to stay further left than we thought as you start to work your way up off of the bench, lots.

The wind, flat out, freaked Christa and I out. We found a nice flat spot just above the woods, pitched a tent. It's evening and breezy maybe 10 knots. I'm thinking, no biggy, this isn't "Windy". Give it a few hours. At one point it gusted so hard that as the tent pitched it lifted Christa off the ground, at that point I looked out my side of the tent, the way we were being blown, down a pretty steep skree slope. That'd hurt was the first thought I had. There goes the concept of sleeping. We switched sides and I was able to grab a rock through the door with my left hand and toe hook another rock through the tent with my left foot. Oh well, after that we met a bunch of cool folks at the Facelift.

Sorry for the thread drift.

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 20, 2008 - 01:57pm PT

Do you have a photo of the wall to the right of the Arrow Direct? I'd like to make an overlay/topo of the Rohrer rappel route. (I haven't actually done it yet, but plan to help Tom refurbish it in August).
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2008 - 02:44pm PT
Clint, I do have a set of shots covering that wall out to Yosemite Point Buttress, but it is in the shade of the buttress... I'll put the larger mosaic together with those panels and post it on my site later.... I'll alert you all when I do...

Social climber
Newport, OR
Jun 20, 2008 - 03:21pm PT
Cool route! I did this in '82 with "Swiss Michi" Wyser and "Punk" Roy Galvin...Partied up and there so I don't really remember all that much...Maybe "Wonder" (Roy) might have some ideas...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2008 - 10:40pm PT
still not sure where 1 should be... but moved the rest around... see the OP image, you may have to "refresh"

I'll work on Clint's assignment after dinner
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 20, 2008 - 11:54pm PT
The Arrow Direct

V, 5.8, A.3. This somewhat contrived route up the 1,400-foot face of the Lost Arrow was first climbed in June 1968 by Pat Callis and Warren Harding. Rope up about 40 feet to the right of giant blocks which lie against the face. Ascend an easy jamcrack for 40 feet, then traverse left (5.7), and climb to a belay bolt. Using bolts, hooks and pins, work up 125 feet to an excellent belay ledge at the base of the chimney system which forms the right side of First Error. Two pitches (5.9 and 5.8, A2) lead to the large ledge atop the Error. On the 5th pitch, climb a bolt ladder to an A1 crack, pendulum right to another crack and nail to a sling belay above roofs. Continue nailing, then pendulum right to a beautiful crack system which is followed for two and a half pitches to excellent ledges atop Second Error. Pitch 9: using hooks and bolts, work up a 70-foot blank wall, then traverse right (5.7) to a small belay ledge below a right-facing open book. Nail this book to a sloping ledge on the left, near the top of a giant flake called First Terror. On the 11th pitch nail a crack on the right, then pendulum right and nail an overhanging crack to a large belay hole. An A3 pitch leads up and right to a large, blocky ledge. Pitch 13: bolts and hooks lead up and left to a small belay ledge at the base of a detached flake known as Second Terror (if the reader is getting tired of these names, it is understandable). Chimney behind this flake, then follow bolts, holes, and 5.8 jamming to Salathe Ledge on the Arrow Tip route. Two pitches lead to the summit. Iron: 50 pitons, including 7 each of 3/4", 1" and 1 1/2" angles, 10 bongs, up to 4", should be carried.

-Steve Roper, Climber's Guide to Yosemite Valley 1971
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2008 - 12:53am PT
for Clint... click on the picture for the 3MB version

Captain...or Skully

Big Wall climber
Jun 21, 2008 - 12:58am PT
Ed, that is a great pic. I really love that section of Valley Wall, The Spire, the falls, etc..
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2008 - 01:14am PT
I love that place too, went up there in 1971 when I was 17 years old to climb that thing. Never once thought that it might be too hard, having been put up 3 years earlier. Didn't succeed on that attempt.

But going up there today is almost like time travel for me...

Jun 21, 2008 - 02:49am PT
Did it as a team of three a few years back, sure helped with the hauling, which really sucks since the route either is slabby or is in a chimney/corner for max-friction. Get some friends to rap in and meet you at the notch for the traverse on your summit day, there's always people who want to do this in camp 4, and why not? It's Classic!

You'll need two medium beaks for pitch 10(the pitch after the bolt ladder traverse) for leap-frog/clean beaking in a seam in the back of a dihedral. Camhooks and offset aliens are useful for pitch 11. We had a 2 old style #4.5 and one #5 camalot and used them! There is lots of free climbing possibility, so if you are up to some, at times, thrutchy 5.9 you'll be great. There's some great 5.10 as well.

No ledge is needed as there's a 5 star hotel every 4 pitches.

Watch out for sneaky ravens!

Gym climber
Jun 21, 2008 - 12:56pm PT
I did the route about a year ago--Spring '07 (well, almost did the route). The going is pretty obvious, we didn't use any pins, but did use hooks.

If you want to do the real direct, pitches 13 & 14 go up the outer face (instead of going into the notch).

My buddy lead pitch 13, after I failed on it due to my "short reach." That was part of the problem. The other part is that the bolt ladder is mostly blown out. My buddy did some sketchy hooking to arrive at the belay and proclaim "I'm not hauling off these bolts!!" After which he rapped and we went into the notch.

Long story short, if you want to do the direct, be prepared to replace a bolt or two on the upper pitches.

Other than that, I had a great time. Best belay ledges...

Here's a couple more photos, perhaps repostings:

Great way to start the day:

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jun 21, 2008 - 01:00pm PT
Wow, Ed - thanks for the expanded photo. This will be very helpful for describing the rappel route. Very beautiful up there, too!
F10 Climber F11 Drinker

Trad climber
medicated and flat on my back
Jun 21, 2008 - 01:34pm PT


can you post up a few more photo's
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 23, 2008 - 10:51pm PT
nice k-man!
and thanks for looking it over del cross... I updated the photo again...
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