"Up rope I'm not moving!" First ascent of Basketcase

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donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 2, 2009 - 03:55pm PT
When I first showed up in the Valley in 1970 the Spring monsoon was going full bore. Generator Crack had just been discovered and being one of the few overhanging pieces of rock in the Valley, it was the perfect place to get some exercise. My first time there I couldn't get up the damn thing, but the monsoon persisted and we soon began making daily pilgrimages. The days rolled on wet and cold and Generator Crack was tamed. First right side, then left side in followed by right side in solo and on and on. Eventually I got to where I was soloing it with running shoes on. Finally the monsoon ended and damn- I could go wide.
A couple of years later I drove into Camp 4 and bumped into TM Herbert. TM immediately told about his secret project. "Donini, I've discovered one of the last good lines out there. I've been looking at it with my birding binoculars, let's do it." TM was pretty guarded about where this climb was, he told me to meet him the next day and we would hike up and spend the night and do the climb the next day. "Don't worry" he said, "I really checked it out, I'll bring the gear, I know just what we need." FAMOUS LAST WORDS

The next day we started up the endless switchbacks leading up out of Mirror Lake. Eight long, hot, dusty miles later we came across a trail sign that said: Porcupine Flats 2 miles. TM looked at the sign, his jaw dropped, and he sprawled on the trail and began beating the ground with his fists. We now new a better way to the climb.

TM"s plan was to bivouac above a steep, heavily wooded gully that led to the base of the climb. Good idea....except for the mosquitos. TM immediately fell asleep seemly impervious to the hovering swarms of mosquitos. Not me, I spent the entire night slapping the damn things, and I nearly near took out my frustration on a blissfully sleeping TM with the piton hammer that lay nearby.

TM woke up in good humor and led us down the brush choked gully to the climb. I'll never forget the look on TM's face when he looked up at the line, his jaw dropped as he sheepishly emptied his pack of the hardwear he had picked. Out dropped knife blades, lost arrows, even a few rurps and precious few nuts hand sized or larger. This was way before Friends became available. Unfortunately, the impressive crack system that rose above us had a lot of very difficult looking wide sections. TM apologized for his mistake as I was suggesting he get new binoculars and that he get his eyes tested. Having endured a hot, dusty hike and a nearly sleepless night, I was in no mood to bail without giving it a try.

TM wasn't comfortable with wide cracks so the sharp end fell to me. Things went okay until the crux pitch. There were some interesting run outs and a lot of back cleaning of the few pieces that we had that worked. As I recall the crux pitch was steep and it steepened even more near the top. I ended up doing a lot of sketchy back cleaning and strenuous climbing up and down to get the pieces I needed. I never lowered off of a piece because I didn't think it was fair and also, frankly, I didn't completely trust some of my gear to hold body weight. Finally wasted by my efforts, I gave in, did a single point of aid and finished the pitch. What followed gave me the line that as a medicare climber I now use as my only climbing command. TM, eyes wide, reluctantly started up the pitch. A fierce struggle ensued followed by a weak "up rope" from TM. "What was that" , I said, and a more forceful "up rope" floated up from below. I pulled the rope in tight, another "up rope." I pulled the rope tighter, "up rope" again, louder a little more desperate. "TM, I'm pulling the rope as tight as I can." The final plaintive plea from TM, "up rope, I'm not moving."

TM recovered nicely and led a steep, more fingery crack up higher. Back in Camp 4 I ran into Bridwell and Klemmons and made the tactical mistake of telling them about the easier approach from Porcupine Flats and also what gear was needed...duh! The rest is history.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Redlands
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:00pm PT
Bravo!
Russ Walling

Social climber
Upper Fupa, North Dakota
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:04pm PT
A++ Nice!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:08pm PT
Thanks, Jim!

More, MORE, MORE the crowd shouts!!!!!

(like how's about Torre Egger!
klk

Trad climber
cali
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:09pm PT
sweet.

miles of needless hiking to a mosquito bivouac followed by poorly protected wide.

the sport climbers are giving thanks right now that they missed out on the golden age.


hehe
burntheman

Trad climber
slt
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:15pm PT
^^ ha! awesome. thanks for sharing.
Mighty Hiker

Social climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:19pm PT
Bravo! Peter Haan's fine account of the second free ascent (third overall?) is at http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=229851
Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:22pm PT
Great story, I can only imagine :D Thanks for the share.
MH2

climber
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:25pm PT
Many thanks.
Mimi

climber
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:28pm PT
Good story, Jim! Hope's there's much more to follow.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:30pm PT
Like a puppy dog I piddle on the floor of my office in excitement.

/my tongue wagging

:)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:46pm PT
> "Don't worry" he said, "I really checked it out, I'll bring the gear, I know just what we need." FAMOUS LAST WORDS

So true!! :-) I have been there before.
Something about the drawbacks of secrecy.

I've blundered in similar ways on new route attempts. I'll see a potential route when climbing nearby, but not go back to check it out for a couple of years. By then, I usually have forgotten about what was wrong with the climb, just remembering the positives. In the meantime, I've dragged a partner out to the middle of nowhere, usually to find something not so worthwhile.... Fortunately you guys did find a good route.

P.S. Generator Crack was first climbed prior to 1963. Source: Peter Haan:
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=693540
So perhaps it was "re"discovered in 1970.
MisterE

Trad climber
One Step Beyond!
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:53pm PT
Great story, Jim!

Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Apr 2, 2009 - 04:53pm PT
Yeah. Thanks Jim for posting on Basket Case. Good story and, I hear, a great climb.

I razzed TM about laybacking: "the technique of no technique," after Basket Case. It is the only time, TM looked threatening. Climbing with TM was so much fun.

Great name, by the way.

More stories please. The rest of us are about plum out. Resorting to bumping. Unsightly and potentially dangerous at our age.

Best, Roger
johntp

Trad climber
socal
Apr 2, 2009 - 07:54pm PT
ROTFLMAO. Sweet story.
PhilG

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
Apr 2, 2009 - 08:16pm PT
Great story telling, Jim
I seem to remember you being naturally good at all sorts of crack climbing, wide and otherwise.
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Apr 2, 2009 - 08:20pm PT
Great tale, thank you, very much, Jim
Reilly

Mountain climber
Monrovia, CA
Apr 2, 2009 - 08:26pm PT
Yeah, nice!
So what was sticking out of the glacier below Torre Egger?
survival

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Apr 2, 2009 - 08:32pm PT
Short but sweet. What a great tale!!
Thanks Jim

Having been in a few valley epics myself, I can just see it going down....that was great.
Fritz

Trad climber
Hagerman, ID
Apr 2, 2009 - 08:46pm PT
Jim: I marveled at your ability to pull that dangling, gear-dropping, over-weight Polish climber up the crux over-hang on the Snaz in the Tetons in 1982! (As Kevin & I cowered below).

Guiding must have built those muscle groups up after Yosemite.

Good to see more stories from you! Fritz (Ray Brooks)
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 2, 2009 - 09:20pm PT
I should post more often. Roger Breedlove, Phil Gleason, and Ray Brooks- how are you guys? Roger, do you remember Overhang Overpass?
Double D

climber
Apr 2, 2009 - 09:24pm PT
Nice!

MisterE

Trad climber
One Step Beyond!
Apr 2, 2009 - 09:29pm PT
Did anyone mention how powerful the art of understatement is?

Just sayin'
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 2, 2009 - 09:37pm PT
Great story Jim!

I can just hear TM calling for tension! Too funny.

Have you told the tale of Fallout with Steve Wunsch in 72. The dark line up behind Camp 4?
chappy

Social climber
ventura
Apr 2, 2009 - 09:42pm PT
Hey Jim,
Great story. And by the way how are you? I think about our days together back in the Valley a lot. Some good memories. You taught me a lot. I can't help but think your belay tactics changed sometime after Basket Case. Remember that time on Gripper when I was calling for tension and you yelled down, "You don't get any tension!" and fed me a bunch of slack instead and I hurtled off into space. Pretty funny! No pulling me up. I always thought your FA of Overhang Overpass was proud. Did I show you that?...I believe I did. It was on my hit list that spring for a FA. I tried it once early in the year with Charlie Porter. I backed off leaving a 2" bong? in the crack. (I think). It was early in the year and it looked hard up there and I wasn't quite fit. A parallel crack with--hard to get pro (thats what I remember. That was the spring I tweaked my finger and missed out on so many ascents! Damn. Anyway good to hear from you. Write some more!
Chappy
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 2, 2009 - 10:00pm PT
I recall Werner saying something about wanting to repeat O O on a rack of nuggets!
Mike.

climber
Apr 2, 2009 - 10:40pm PT
A fun read, donini--thanks. SuperTopo gold.
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Apr 2, 2009 - 10:50pm PT
Good story, Jim! Now let's hear that Overhang Overpass tale...?

JelloRemembersAScaryAssSoloOutOfAPakistaniGorgeLookingUpAtDonini'sSkinnyButtAndHopingHeDoesn'tFall
WBraun

climber
Apr 2, 2009 - 10:55pm PT
Overhang Overpass

I believe Jim probably lead it with nuts and EB's. A lot tougher to do than with fires and friends, and now with modern gear and shoes.
Tami

Social climber
Vancouver, Canada
Apr 2, 2009 - 10:55pm PT
Thanks Jim. And this is from someone who first heard yer stories & watched yer slides in that tavern in Leavenworth in '79. I watched from beneath a table c'os I was 2 yrs underage then & myself and another friend - she was 20 - kept getting kicked out. So we snuck in the back door and hung out under the table while friends passed beers to us. Two memorable slides were the one of Egger's boot and another one taken in Pakistan of a just-butchered goat.

Also another.........a bloated and very dead cow - also in Pakistan. Your words ran something along these lines " I had hoped to get some pictures of wildlife but this one is of something neither wild ........nor alive.........so.........."

Yah. Many thanks.
Huge Freakin' Grin.
Cheers, Tami Knight
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 2, 2009 - 10:59pm PT
thanks Jim! great story which illustrates what an FA adventure is all about...

WBraun

climber
Apr 2, 2009 - 11:01pm PT
On Basketcase approach.

Me Shipley and Coz hiked in from porcupine flat also but got caught in a rain storm after the first or second rappel down. We had to bail.

I still believe it's probably faster and easier to do the approach from the bottom.
scuffy b

climber
4 to 8
Apr 3, 2009 - 08:27am PT
Hey, thanks for telling this great story.
Largo

Sport climber
Venice, Ca
Apr 3, 2009 - 09:15am PT
There was one season when I did a bunch of wide cracks and I always wanted to do Basket Case but never did. Sound's like a fantastic climb.

JL
Barry Bates

Boulder climber
smith river Ca.
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:42am PT
What a great story Jim, the back cleaning makes my hands sweat just thinking about it. I never tried basket case it was beyond the limits of my approach-o-meter aka the lazy ometer, although truth be told the real reason is the thing scared the s#@t out of me,from all the stories I'd heard. Phil Gleason introduced me to the generator crack in 68 I failed miserably the first few trips but eventually started to get the hang of off widths after a few months in the valley. I've often wondered if it were not for generator to train on if I would ever had had the technique or confidence to tackle the other valley off widths. great to hear your still climbing hard as ever, your truly an inspiration.

Barry Bates




Russ Walling

Social climber
Upper Fupa, North Dakota
Apr 3, 2009 - 10:49am PT

Barry Bates! The legends are rolling in! For the Bates Problem on Columbia Boulder alone, a modest shrine to you sir. Welcome.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 3, 2009 - 11:06am PT
I just want the climbing world to know, as if it doesn't know already, That Wunsch and I were always in awe of Barry. Never before , and probably never again, have I seen or will I see someone look so naturally at ease on rock. Barry, you were sooooo smooth!
Pate

Trad climber
The High And Lonely
Apr 3, 2009 - 11:30am PT
awesome.
Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Apr 3, 2009 - 11:56am PT
This thread is what its all about! What a joy to read. Thanks!
scuffy b

climber
Frigate Matilda
Apr 3, 2009 - 06:42pm PT
Say, is the topo in the guide book accurate or are there
5 or 6 approach pitches or some other trickery?
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 4, 2009 - 11:25pm PT
we should just go up and see, scuffy
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Apr 5, 2009 - 08:24am PT
Scuffy and Ed,

There are no approach pitches whatsoever if you come from the Tioga Rd/Porcupine Flat spot. I don’t know about coming from below. JB/Klemens and my party came from above.

It is a hike downward, actually very pleasant until you are alongside the dome descending the vegetation in the shallow gully, no rock climbing in there. This latter part of the approach is a semi-bitch but doesn’t last too long and it really helps that you are using gravity to thread through the flattened scrub---it all points downwards from the snowpacks. Also, this approach is fairly obvious as you go along and doesn’t have some horrid trick to it.

Another virtue to the route is how it builds from a nice short 5.8 first pitch to 5.9 to 5.10 to 5.11b slowly in the seven leads, #5 being the crux, all while the rock is incredibly good. Some routes are tough right off the ground and thereby seem more stout than they actually might be. And the protection is always good; the kind of fall you would take is always a rather safe one---no horrifying natural features such as guillotine flakes or broken ground. I characterize this route as a very happy kind of harder route, not scary. The crux is very hard but it is also only a short section of less than 10 feet on top of much easier offwidthing that is slowly tapering down. I would characterize the Twilight Zone, for example as very serious and fearsome and this climb as beautiful, encouraging and subtle.

If you actually were unable to do the crux, you can aid a few feet like Donini and Herbert did; it is not mandatory free climbing. I say this because you would not want to hike back up and out from the base to the road----that would be some hours of very unpleasant whacking fighting the scrub that as I say, points downwards vigorously.

Anchors were all natural; when I did the 2nd free on it; there were no bolts and none were needed.
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 5, 2009 - 10:52am PT
Neat stuff.
Jaybro

Social climber
wuz real!
Apr 5, 2009 - 11:58am PT
Ed, Scuff, I believe my new scramblers™ would be ideal for this approach, even the waterfall.
dickcilley

Social climber
A cova Dos Nenos
Apr 6, 2009 - 06:28am PT
I see Basketcase getting alot of traffic this season.
MisterE

Trad climber
One Step Beyond!
Apr 8, 2009 - 08:37am PT
Such a great story!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Nov 2, 2009 - 07:13pm PT
Great Story Bump!
Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
Nov 2, 2009 - 08:05pm PT
yeah!
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Nov 2, 2009 - 08:14pm PT
hey there donini... say, what a great share....

say, i just had to zero in on this... things just aint always what they seem from the far-off lure of a great view, huh:

TM apologized for his mistake as I was suggesting he get new binoculars and that he get his eyes tested.


but--somehow, it's always still worth it... ;)
Mason

Trad climber
Yay Area
Nov 2, 2009 - 11:25pm PT
Jim -

Great story. Very fun to read. This and your story about the axe behind the back straight into the tree.

Very fun indeed.

L

climber
Waist deep in 'gators and still grinnin'...
Nov 3, 2009 - 10:54am PT
"Up rope...I'm not moving..." Too funny, Jim.

What a great story...and it makes me feel so much better for using that simple line any time I find my self in an off-width. Many thanks!

Pate

Trad climber
The Lost Highway
Nov 29, 2009 - 07:20pm PT
bump. great tale!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Jan 5, 2010 - 07:53pm PT
Classic Bump!
damage

climber
olympia, wa
Jan 5, 2010 - 09:29pm PT
Thanks for the stories, kinda feel like i missed out on something.
At least I found st, I can armchair the experiences.
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
Jan 5, 2010 - 10:05pm PT
hey there wow... somehow i missed it: chappy was here posting back in april.. oh my... :)

say, just stepped in to say:

sure hope you do post more often! donini... :)
wonderful story... i read it again... :)

enjoyed seeing my brother's post, too...
:)
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Jan 6, 2010 - 08:14am PT
Credit: Zander

So I've been assuming the approach from above is around at line 1 but then looking at the pic I started thinking maybe line 2. Anybody? I remember Werner says coming from the bottom is faster.
Zander
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Jan 6, 2010 - 08:21am PT
Zander, it is line #2.
Pate

Trad climber
Mar 17, 2010 - 12:28pm PT
donini post with more than two sentences bump
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Mar 17, 2010 - 01:16pm PT


Yeah, Jim. . .

How about Torre Egger???????
ground_up

Trad climber
mt. hood /baja
Mar 18, 2010 - 07:28am PT
bump....for a great on topic post
pc

climber
Mar 18, 2010 - 08:35am PT
Great story! Thanks.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 18, 2010 - 09:43am PT
Bump!
Lynne Leichtfuss

Sport climber
Will know soon
Apr 18, 2010 - 03:45pm PT
Super great story Jim Donini. :D I enjoyed every sentence.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Aug 13, 2010 - 07:50am PT
Once and future Bump!
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
USA Carson city Nev.
Aug 13, 2010 - 07:55am PT
Treasures for sure!..
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Dec 25, 2010 - 11:33am PT
Story Bump!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 3, 2011 - 09:38am PT
Bump for a Basketcase!
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
Apr 3, 2011 - 09:46am PT
Thanks for the bump Steve. I was psyched you'd done that because I'd not seen this before...that is until I see I posted in April of 09. What a crudy memory I have! Still, great reading. :)
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Dec 21, 2011 - 10:00pm PT
awesome line bump
Powder

Trad climber
SF Bay Area
Dec 22, 2011 - 02:30am PT
Haha good one! Thanks for sharing the story, Mr Donini.
YoungGun

climber
North
Dec 22, 2011 - 06:27am PT
A good laugh. Thanks for sharing!!
Wade Icey

Trad climber
www.alohashirtrescue.com
Dec 22, 2011 - 08:28am PT
basketcase
steveA

Trad climber
bedford,massachusetts
Dec 22, 2011 - 08:33am PT
It was fun to read this story again.

It brings back the fond memories of the too few times I climbed with T.M.

I bet his grandchildren have a great time with him! He is such a funny guy.

Thanks Jim for the story.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 25, 2012 - 02:18pm PT
Classic story bump...
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Nov 15, 2012 - 03:48pm PT
Bump with a photo of the approach (an updated version of Zander's from upthread).

Basket Dome Approach
Basket Dome Approach
Credit: cultureshock

On the maybe someday list...
WBraun

climber
Nov 15, 2012 - 04:10pm PT
Scout it out with GigaPan in full page zoom mode ....

http://gigapan.com/gigapans/111085

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Nov 15, 2012 - 05:17pm PT
Culture, I believe you have it marked correctly in my experience. We traversed to the base of the very clean prominent dihedral rather than descending hundreds of feet only to then 3rd-4th class back up to it. The gully above was pretty fiercer vegetated, all pointing downwards and kind of steep.

If you look very very carefully on gigapan, you will see little terraces coming in from the left, leading to the dihedral, from the forested pedestals' uppermost reaches. My recollection is that we were rather surprised that the terraces miraculously worked out and actually lead us without further hassle, to the base of the roped pitches.
briham89

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Nov 15, 2012 - 05:27pm PT
Thanks for the bump and thanks for the link Werner
Zander

climber
Nov 21, 2012 - 11:38am PT
I want to do Basketcase this year if I can get in shape. Last year I couldn't quite get fit but I have high hopes for this year.
Z
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Nov 21, 2012 - 11:54am PT
One of the best stories on ST.
And stelor route which probably has one accent per year? Or less?
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 9, 2013 - 07:35pm PT
Classic story bump...
Powder

Trad climber
the Flower Box; Bay Area
Mar 9, 2013 - 07:51pm PT
What an amazing story.

Thanks, Mr Donini, for sharing;

Thanks Steve, for bumping.

We need more of these. *^_^*
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
May 24, 2013 - 01:47pm PT
What followed gave me the line that as a medicare climber I now use as my only climbing command..... "up rope, I'm not moving."
hilarious and inspiring ..
This medicare climber probably now moving up the Nose in the day
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
May 27, 2013 - 10:13am PT
just learned from friend meaning on "Basket Case"
urban dictionary definition:
A basketcase is common word used to describe a social outcast in school. Some characteristics of a basketcase included emotional instability, weirdness, and constant isolation from mainstream society. A basketcase is often independent and isolationist, in other words, anti-social.

This word was widely used in the 80s. Like most slang prior to the 90s, it has fallen into disuse. Today, a basketcase can be categorized in three groups known as the goth, emo, and punk.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
May 27, 2013 - 10:20am PT
Alexey, its original meaning of course is denoting someone who has lost all four limbs and so cannot move without help from others and fits nicely into a basket. Perhaps this is how they originally managed such victims, in a basket.

Alexey, you have to go do this route soon. You are ready.

(1) Start very early; no tardy business, running out of daylight before the critical part of the climb and rappelling off and (oh my god) hiking back out. Park at the Snow Creek sign on Tioga and walk down, following the dome fairly closely and traverse on the terraces mentioned earlier. Wear long pants.

(2) Bring a couple (not a zillion) large cams, like 3/#3, 2/#4, 1/#5, 1/#6 Camalots or equivalent plus a light assortment of regular stuff and runners. There are no bolts, last I knew.

(3) Do not do this route with just one rope. At least take a 9mm as a second rope.

(4) You will need water. You will also notice the altitude and you will be in the sun all day until you get to the summit chimneys. Bring a headlight and matches.

(5) The route can be done in about three hours at best, I would think but most likely twice as long, maybe even more.

(6) After the crux pitch, the climbing is no harder than 5.9 at most but is a bit junky and still has some spots in it so don't relax your guard after the 5.11c and when you are probably quite tired...

(7) There are NO secret holds inside or adjacent to the crux crack, tiny or big. There is no secret. It is what it is and must be offwidthed very very delicately.

(8) Falling out of the crux is quite safe so don't get fearful; you won't hit anything. But you also won't have enough gas to make more than two real genuine attempts at it. You and your belayer will not be able to see the crux, also. As you start, you will think that the climbing is wildly overrated and will be a snap. Then you turn the corner, out of view now, and face the real and very unique problem somewhat surprised.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 27, 2013 - 10:39am PT
I always thought it was a description of something that had been torn apart and was just a collection of it's components, with no constructive interaction left, like an old car for example. Or a person whose brain fits that description.

But Peter's right about the quadruple amputee.

Other than the fact that the formation is named Basket Dome, the name doesn't really fit. Maybe Klemens and Bridwell decided only a mental basket case would hike that far to suffer in a 4 pitch offsize crack. That was around the era when they climbed Geek Towers and chipped the word GEEK in the stone in large letters at the top...
BMcC

Trad climber
Livermore
May 27, 2013 - 10:59am PT
Great story and thread! Missed seeing/reading it before now.
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
May 27, 2013 - 11:20am PT
thanks Peter for encouragement and the great tips.
Are you sure that parking would be Snow creek not -Porcupine creek ?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
May 27, 2013 - 03:48pm PT
Alexey, you are taking the Snow Creek trail south towards Half Dome/Tenaya Canyon then diverge from it cross country leftward approaching the west side of Basket Dome then dropping down in the shrub filled couloir along its emerging west face. I parked at Snow Creek trail x Hwy 120 to do this.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 27, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
Peter, that seems like a longer approach to me. There's a trail that links up to the Snow Creek Trail from the Porcupine Flat to North Dome Trail about half way out to North Dome. Are you advising using that to drop down in elevation via trail? The traverse westward after that descent from the Snow Creek Trail to the base of B Dome is really brushy, and a good distance. Plus Basket Case is further west by a ways even after you cross the creek which runs down the east gully of B Dome, and you have to gain elevation from that crossing to reach the base of the route.

It looks to me like you could hike out the North Dome Trail, descend the slope and gully on the west side of B Dome, and then traverse east along ledges to reach the base of the route most easily. Don't I remember you writing about that approach, Peter, or am I imagining things? (Again)

I scoped out an approach which would be a long rising traverse from over by Apathy Buttress that looked interesting, and very direct. There are a couple of questionable sections for 3rd classing, however.

Here's a way to look at these possibilities:

http://www.xrez.com/yose_proj/YEP_ortho/YEP_ortho_SLtiles.htm

The Apathy Buttress approach possibility roughly takes a 45 degree diagonal from the talus left of and above Apathy Buttress toward the terrace with a cluster of large trees about level with the start of Basket Case, and to the west. This terrace would be at the end of the descent from the North Dome Trail if you went that way, and at the start of the traverse eastward toward the route.

EDIT: On closer inspection, maybe the Valley up approach I'm suggesting doesn't start near Apathy buttress, but above the next low angle formation west - one with a long diagonal roof running up and left above the forest. I scoped it fairly carefully from several different viewpoints with binoculars, and I think it will go 3rd class. This would be doable when the Tioga Road is closed, and would eliminate all the extra mileage and elevation gain/loss/gain involved with the Snow Creek trail approach.

This approach could be an adventure in itself. Careful scrutiny of the High Rez image reveals a sinuous weakness which leads directly toward the traverse to the route.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
May 27, 2013 - 06:22pm PT
Not sure, Kevin, if we aren't on the same page here. Take a trail from Tioga Road, follow it towards Tenaya Canyon, break off of it to follow the right/west face of Basket Dome as it starts to rise out of the slope down into Tenaya. Follow it and its brushy couloir down and around, then take the little ledges to the base of the left facing dihedral and start. And MAKE the climb, don't plan on hiking out of this situation.
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 27, 2013 - 06:33pm PT
This map, Peter, is a simple illustration of the trails:

http://snri.ucmerced.edu/sites/snri/files/public/documents/YOSEMITE%20map.pdf

The Snow Creek turnoff from the Porcupine Flat parking area - North Dome Trail is not half way out, as I suggested upthread, but more like a third of the way out. It heads east toward Snow Creek. I think you just have the North Dome trail and Snow Creek trail mixed up.
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
May 28, 2013 - 03:03pm PT
what Kevin said is correct approach (taken from other Basket tread ) start with North Dome trail at Porcupine Flat and after 2.5 miles just before North Dome turn right to Basket Dome and traverse it west face to the base of the route.
Credit: Alexey
The Warbler

climber
the edge of America
May 28, 2013 - 09:33pm PT
There looks to be another traverse option over to Basketcase just below the upper one in your photo, Alexey. Not so much elevation loss that way

If you look carefully at the High Rez link above, and follow the down and westward green line in your photo (which descends to the lower traverse)past the lowest traverse and continue down and westward, you might see the Valley up approach I think will go.

There is one questionable section about half way from the base of Basket Dome to the forest.

Another possibility would be a giant switchback turning in the amphitheater below the waterfall that drops out of B Dome's east gully
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
Jun 5, 2013 - 01:59pm PT
Big Donini bump!
LilaBiene

Trad climber
Jun 6, 2013 - 09:27pm PT
BBST
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jun 6, 2013 - 10:21pm PT
Ønce again, do not take the lower of the two yellow paths to Basket Case. When you get closer, it all makes sense and you do a completely trivial traverse to the dihedral start.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 9, 2013 - 09:46am PT
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Jul 8, 2013 - 01:58pm PT
Yesterday Chad Suchoski {Salamanizer] and I climbed Basket Case.
Even after study high resolution photos - it was very hard to find the right approach.
The Route from the bottom of the climb looks really jaw-dropping.
Chad climbed crux pitch and all route in impressive stile and on-site.
He also made a photos of the approach and for all Basket Case pitches and trip repot coming soon.

I'd like to thank Jim Donini and Peter Haan for great stories they wrote about Basket Case.
Without those stories - I would not even think to climb this route.
And Peter, your gear beta and suggested logistic was right on!

Up Rope I am not moving!
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Jul 8, 2013 - 02:20pm PT
Chad is a beast!

Congrats to both of you for hitting the obscure.

Can't wait for the modern TR.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jul 8, 2013 - 04:35pm PT
GREAT TO HEAR THIS and congratulations to you both!! Get those photos up and approach beta please!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 8, 2013 - 04:39pm PT
Approach beta? I thought the damn thing had become so poular the NPS paved the approach to prevent erosion.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Jul 8, 2013 - 07:27pm PT
Christ, J-Do, you used to be such a nice boy. Plus to hell with paving; let's go trench the sucker. The approach AND the effing climb. Get that dumb crux out to about a nice S-chimney. Stuff like this out there in the wild is too good for mortals and it IS about time to cut down another Bristlecone in order to count the rings and "it can't be that old". Any parallel here?
mdanek

Trad climber
California
Jul 9, 2013 - 11:05pm PT
Chad and Alexey, congrats! Cannot wait to see the TR with pictures.
Zander

climber
Jul 29, 2013 - 07:37pm PT
WTF, Over. Where is the trip report!

(And i say that in the nicest possible way)
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
Jul 29, 2013 - 10:49pm PT
Nice Alexey! Way to git after it. I can't wait to hear more. And maybe have you drag me up something come September.
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
Jul 30, 2013 - 01:05am PT
WTF, Over. Where is the trip report!
Chad? working hard on TR? self-developing black/white camera film with chemicals ( mid 20th century technology )?
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jul 30, 2013 - 09:12am PT
Love this thread (as well as Peter Hahn's)! Looking forward to the TR and pics.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 21, 2013 - 05:32pm PT
Nice TR about the seldom done Basketcase. Some people said they never heard of the climb....here is a little history.
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