Robbin's Goodrich Pinnacle TR (1965)


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Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 15, 2008 - 11:27am PT
Goodrich Pinnacle. Don Goodrich was killed while attempting the first ascent of the west face of Mount Conness, a peak in the high Sierra. As a tribute to him, an 800-foot exfoliation slab on Glacier Point Apron in Yosemite Valley was named “Goodrich Pinnacle.” An excellent but very difficult free-climbing route goes up the east side of this formation. On May 30 T. M. Herbert, my wife Liz, and I made a new route up the west side. This is perhaps the most beautiful of the many fine routes on Glacier Point Apron. The problems are challenging, but never harrowing. And, although one must risk a long fall in two places, it’s not a death-defying matter. The result of a slip in these places would be 30 to 50 feet of rolling and bouncing down smooth granite slabs. The climber with good technique, good judgment, and experience can manage the climb with a quite reasonable degree of safety. Despite some of the severest friction climbing in the country, and some poorly protected leads, the west side of Goodrich was repented five times in the summer of 1964. This fact testifies to the quick growth of this route’s reputation as an exciting climb on exccllcnt rock, Tahquitz-like in places. It also indicates the large number of extremely competent climbers frequenting the Valley these days. On the fourth pitch one must make some delicate moves 20 feet above a piton. For half an hour I made repeated starts here, carefully backing down each time until I had the combination worked out. After that the problem was to control the emotions so they did not interfere with the technique. Higher, TM led the crux pitch, a traverse as delicate as any I have seen. We placed 16 pitons and 3 bolts. NCCS III, F10. Route description Start around corner from east route. 60 feet of roped scrambling leads to a good ledge with stunted Douglas firs. 2nd pitch: follow a flake up right to second good ledge. Move right and straight up to large broken area. 3rd pitch: ascend gully 60 feet to small ledge on left. 4th pitch: follow crack leading up left to small ledge, then climb right side of flake and traverse left to shallow ledge. Move diagonally right 20 feet to flake. Wander up face to first bolt. 5th pitch: move right, then climb up to ledge. Traverse right to bolt. Climb up to ledge, then move up left to third bolt. 6th pitch: traverse left to near skyline, and go straight up. Last two pitches ascend chimney on right. Allow 4 to 6 hours for ascent, one to two hours for descent (rappel).

Royal Robbins [url=""]AAJ 1965 p417[/url]
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Nov 15, 2008 - 11:28am PT
this is for Goodrich Pinnacle, Right Side

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Nov 15, 2008 - 11:39am PT
I did Goodrich left side with Steve Wunsch waybackwhen, but never tried the right.
Someone have some modern impressions to complement Royal's description?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 16, 2008 - 09:58am PT
There was a good thread on this last year:

Both sides are really good routes and people should go do them. I guess I should add that as with all Apron routes especially, special care should be taken with rappel anchors. The lower angle nature of the Apron causes slings, bolts and pins to have a harder life than steep routes.

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Nov 16, 2008 - 10:10am PT
Thanks, Peter, I hadn't noticed the earlier thread.
Jim Pettigrew

Social climber
Crowley Lake, CA
Nov 16, 2008 - 10:49am PT
Luke Freeman & I spent a lot of time on the "Apron", in the eary 70's. Our goal eventually became to do all of the pinnacle routes up there eventually finding our way all the way to top of the apron. We climbed in klettershhoes or some knock offs, then the EBs came out makeing slab climbing on the apron one or pts. easier!

Robbins description is as good as it gets cuz that was the route description we followed. Rope's guide was all we had to work out those routes.

Roger Brown

Oceano, California
Nov 16, 2008 - 02:38pm PT
Thanks for posting the TR. This is one of the routes we worked on this summer. Of the 13 bolts found only 4 were replaced. 2 were determined to be 1st ascent protection bolts and the other 2 were at belay anchor/rap stations and were very old. (1/4" bolts with Leeper hangers) I was the only one there that day, so I made the call. That is the way it usually is when you run into a problem. You hope you made the right call and research the thing when you get home. This was one of only two routes we found this season with a bunch of added bolts. If I took the time to research the routes we plan to work on each season it would sure make things a lot simpler:-) Its a nice feeling to find a route unchanged, except for the deteriorated fixed gear, since the first ascent. I got that feeling over on "Goodrich Left". In fact, I got to experience that feeling a lot this season:-)
Roger Brown

Trad climber
Mar 19, 2009 - 08:57pm PT

Trad climber
Mar 19, 2009 - 09:03pm PT

Social climber
wuz real!
Mar 19, 2009 - 10:08pm PT
There is a plaque commemerating Mr Goodrich bolted to MT Conness near the Harding rte, I must have a photo somewhere.

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Mar 19, 2009 - 10:39pm PT
Can't remember much of anything any more but did either Coonyard or Goodrich back in the mid to late 90's. We were clearly the first party in a looong time to do it judging from the huge piles of detritus we encountered. We damn near needed a shovel at times. Some of the anchors were in pretty horrifying shape. We rapped berrry gingerly.

I'm digging the new climbing oriented Taco Stand!

Social climber
Mar 19, 2009 - 11:02pm PT
hey there ed... say, thanks for the history... i never knew this, as most non-climber wounldn't....

this would make a good post, perhaps, "the men's life's behind the famouse first routess"

not to make light of their life being lost, but so folks would understand the heart of main route... and what it cost...

thanks for sharing how the goodrich pinncacle was named...
your quote:

"Goodrich Pinnacle. Don Goodrich was killed while attempting the first ascent of the west face of Mount Conness, a peak in the high Sierra. As a tribute to him, an 800-foot exfoliation slab on Glacier Point Apron in Yosemite Valley was named “Goodrich Pinnacle.”

Trad climber
Mar 20, 2009 - 12:13am PT
I went up there to do the right side. I had just bail off my first wall attempt. The wind was howling. We got about half way up and I talked my partner into bailing. I had major snail eye. We start to setup the rappel and these two mid fiftys guys climb past us. Total casual outing for them.
Off White

Tenino, WA
Mar 20, 2009 - 11:38am PT
I did the right side with Watusi & Galen Kirkwood way back in 1977 or so. We continued on to the Oasis, spent the night (damned snafflehounds stole the apples right from under my head) and forged on up to the rim the next day. Gets weird wandering out left and up from the Oasis, I wonder how long it's been since anyone's gone that way? Made a good first "Grade V" for someone who doesn't really climb aid.

I've been contemplating going back to the R Side of Goodrich on a trip to the Valley this May, that's more or less in the "safe-ish" realm on the Apron these days, isn't it?
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Mar 21, 2009 - 01:57am PT
Great description. When worded well, I can see the climb in the minds eye and either goes on my to do list or on the maybe list. Thanks for taking the time to post. I could never look up all the grate thread info on mi own. Not enough hours in the day/week/year. climb on ... Peace
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 21, 2009 - 02:10pm PT
Goodrich Pinnacle was also the scene of another fateful tragedy involving this young man, Ernie Milburn.

Chuck and Ernie were solid partners before the accident and it lead directly to the formation of the Kroger/Davis team. The rest, as they say, is history.

John Rawlings' and Glen Denny's, The Stanford Alpine Club 1999, had this to say about the transition:

All for the price of a runner! Simply tragic.
Patrick Oliver

Boulder climber
Fruita, Colorado
Mar 24, 2009 - 01:25am PT
Yes I remember that dreadful day Ernie
died, and Bridwell and a bunch of us were
summoned and ran over to the Apron. I never
saw Bridwell so horrified. He turned white
literally when he reached the ledge 30 feet
up where Ernie had landed after falling. I
helped carry the bag down... I've spoken
in another thread about that rescue and all that...
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 26, 2009 - 10:06am PT
Any idea on which thread you posted the rescue tale? I missed it first time around.

Trad climber
Hollywood, CA
Mar 26, 2009 - 02:52pm PT
I did Goodrich Right with an amazing partner back in '04. Great route. Super heady in places.

And bring along a windbreaker. Damn it got cold up there fast when the winds started kicking up.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Apr 3, 2009 - 03:21am PT
oh whoa, missed this thread, but was just reading about the route. nice to see it.
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