Son Of Heart - T.R.


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Big Wall climber
So Cal
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 23, 2008 - 11:36am PT
The first dozen routes up El Capitan followed mostly obvious crack systems up the towering monolith. Son Of Heart, established by Rick Sylvester in 1971 is no exception. The route follows the inside right lobe of the heart formation before punching thru the roofs above to a stunning series of left facing corners that shoot upwards towards the summit. These corners have some wide cracks & chimneys that have always intrigued me so it was with much anticipation that I decided to get myself up there to experience them firsthand.
Looking up from Heart Ledge

Starting up the bolts & old rivets on pitch # 5. A few placements lead to a long stretch of funky old dowels & just enough modern bolts to keep it casual.

This pitch leads to a steep leaning corner that took a bunch of Lost Arrows & offset cams & leads to the roof capping the Heart feature.

Next was the roof, Heartbreak Hotel. Some fixed pins & 1 bolt lead over the roof & up a leaning crack to a poor ledge above, the Heartbreak Hotel.

This is pitch 9. a corner that needed lots of cleaning to unearth the placements. Maybe A2, though the topo called it A3.

This is pitch #12, an unrated pitch on some topos. Supertopo says it's 5.11. I found it to be 5.10 & A1 at the very end, like the Reid/Meyers guide. The inside edge of this 6 to 7" lieback is pretty positive but rounds out as you get to apoint where you need to slip inside & wriggle for awhile. The aid part comes way up high on the 150' pitch where a steepening corner gets thin.

This leads to the ominous chimneys, so prominent from the ground. Here's Erik leading the Kierkegaard Chimney. A bombay slot that flares downwards, making protection more difficult. Big cams were key here! A very physical pitch. Erik got rug burns on his knees through long pants with kneepads on top.

Looking down the Nietzche Chimney. Another physical tormentor of a pitch in which big cams were essential.

These pitches are part of Alex Huber's free route El Corazon. Alex called Kierkegaard Chimney 5.12 B, Chris Mac's topo says 5.10B, go figure!!

A look out to show the bombay nature of the Kierkegaard Chimney. This is an amazing place to be!!

Here's a nice view looking down from up high. You can see Hollow Flake on the Salathe, far below.

Here's a view of the Calcite deposits that are found on El Cap where water runs much of the year. You find these formations on the Coral Sea Pitch on Native Son, & on the coral Corner on Aquarian Wall. These sharp little pihrahna teeth just grind your skin unless you're very careful. chickenwinging up the Nietche Chimney against this stuff almost burgered(buggered?) my arm. I recommend long sleeves for this section.

This is a 5.13 A pitch that goes at C2 with cams & wires. El Corazon then goes left, undercling a roof to reach the Golden Desert section of the Heart Route which then leads to the A5 traverse, another 5.13 pitch for that route. I was kind of wondering what is holding the block on the right in place? It seems detached on all sides & sits like a pestle right above the belay. It seemed solid when I got to it but you never know. It kind of hangs there like a big bomb waiting to go off.

This is pitch # 17, a fine headwall with amazing rock & the biggest view you could ever imagine. One more pitch leads to the Fat City corners which lead to the top.

This is a flake system that I saw back in 1994 when I did Sunkist. I always wanted to get back up there & climb it but the Huber Brothers beat me to it & then drilled holes in the edge of the flake for threaded runners. Kind of lame, if you're gonna drill a hole, fill it with metal I say! Now the flake has aging webbing slings that will no doubt need replacing sometime soon.

Soon enough we topped out & returned to the sublime valley floor for some R&R .

Edited insert part 2

Tonsilectomy Traverse ~ rated A3+ but more like A2. Very stimulating location here.

Throwing off a big-ass dirt hummock from the start of pitch #8, A1 hooks(what's that?) off Heartbreak Hotel. There was a ton of grass & weeds that needed to be cleaned to see where the hook edges were.

Another view of the struggle in the Kierkegaard Chimney.


Trad climber
Sep 23, 2008 - 11:46am PT
A fine TR!!!

Social climber
Ventura, California
Sep 23, 2008 - 11:48am PT
Cool, thanks for the shots Levy.

I wish we had big cams back in 77 when Dale Bard and I did it. It was like going to war with a few Bongs.

One of my best times for sure!


Sep 23, 2008 - 11:55am PT
bump, nice lighting..and route.

Sep 23, 2008 - 11:58am PT
Russ Walling

Social climber
Upper Fupa, North Dakota
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:02pm PT
Way to go guys! You and the "E" rock.

Trad climber
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:14pm PT
Really nice TR, looks cool

Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:22pm PT
Good Lord, that's gnarly.....

well done.

Sep 23, 2008 - 12:32pm PT
Hey Bill - Nice TR. One of the cooler routes that I've done, and I always thought that this is one of the most compelling lines on El Cap.


Big Wall climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:32pm PT
Cool. Very nice TR and Photos.


Big Wall climber
Ashland, Oregon
Sep 23, 2008 - 12:47pm PT
Very nice TR and sick photos. Chimney looked cool. Glad to hear you guys sent.
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Sep 23, 2008 - 01:34pm PT
great photos! i added a link to this page

Santa Monica, CA
Sep 23, 2008 - 01:54pm PT
Another awesome TR - Thanks Bill and shots!!!

Big Wall climber
El Cap
Sep 23, 2008 - 02:18pm PT

Awesome! Thanks for sharing

I drink your milkshake!
Sep 23, 2008 - 02:33pm PT
Thanks Levy.

Big Wall climber
Yosemite, CA
Sep 23, 2008 - 03:31pm PT
Nice job guys! Thanks for the pics! Where are E's pics of Bill???

Trad climber
Sep 23, 2008 - 03:51pm PT
Nice TR Levy!

Good Stuff.
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Sep 23, 2008 - 04:02pm PT
Always was curious about that route.

Sounds like a good time. Thanks for sharing and transporting me from my desk if only for a few minutes.

Trad climber
Boulder Colorado
Sep 23, 2008 - 04:17pm PT

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Sep 23, 2008 - 05:12pm PT
I love it when a TR makes my palms sweat.
Messages 1 - 20 of total 126 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
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