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Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Apr 22, 2009 - 10:04pm PT
Has the right-leaning arch (center) been done ? That could be the start to the next independent line .

I don't think so. I got a good look standing under the thing and it looks thin... really thin. Besides, the exit from the corner is a bit overhanging as is much of the whole south face.

On the true south face, the rock is much steeper than it appears in photographs, especially on the far right (karma) side. The features up there seem to stretch for a few hundred feet or so and then completely blank out on dead vertical to overhanging polished slab. I don't think there is nearly the potential for free routes that most people are probably imagining. You would be hard pressed to find a route that goes from the bottom to top free, even by top down methods. That is not to say there aren't any, it would just be like finding a needle in a haystack.

There is a sizable "dip" in the middle of the entire south face running from one side to the other. The face starts out steep, but not vertical, then "dips" in and becomes extremely steep to overhanging. Eventually it backs off and becomes more and more "less steep" rounding out to the top. All the existing routes that are back there connect the upper (less steep) half with the bottom via a crack system or major dike. And of all those, every single one is in the upper .11 or .12 area in the upper (less steep) half. So you can only imagine how hard it would be to climb through the steeper middle section. There must be a sizable feature to link the bottom to the top. Only when you find that do you have a slim chance in hell of linking a whole route.
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 22, 2009 - 10:55pm PT
Well, Salami,

We have all been looking at this thing since the fifties. Really carefully. Spent days up there scoping, many of our best over decades.

And this is what we have done so far. It is quite a lot, but there is much more to do. Not everybody climbing now knows how much time has already been spent just assessing the situation up there, all these years. Some of these interested climbers are even dead.

There are a thousand reasons--- good ones --- that indicate we are done back there. And climbing has been in front of such roadblocks many times already, going back to the twenties, thirties etc. But always, and I really mean this, new talent finds a way. Here and there.

The back of Half Dome now poses amazingly detailed creative challenges for the next volley of talent. What can they find there? Can they micromanage their routes up these faces, armed with tons of information, foot by foot as it is going to require, or are they going to stand on the ground thinking the thing is “over with”, “hey, we can’t get up it”, in a broad-brush sort of way like we used to in the sixties and seventies?

We are entering, hopefully, an era in our art, where we have to have more information per foot than ever before to lead, to get up these areas on such a beautiful wall. If we are to do these potential horrific lines. And at this point you have assume the Euros are watching this thread too.

I have brought up all these images, and prompted or hosted this discussion, to show current lions of our art, that here, if anywhere, is one of the greatest NEW challenges to them. Our new route prospects ALWAYS looked like this. I can’t over-stress this point. And of course, if it were not an 8-mile hike, I think the “fundamental” view of impossibility would also be different.

Social climber
Apr 22, 2009 - 11:00pm PT
hey there peter hann and all... say, thanks for the share... this is very interesting...

sounds like it will be on folks minds in a new fresh way, all right... wow...

Trad climber
Beautiful, BC
Apr 22, 2010 - 01:23am PT
Peter I have used a version of Autostitch developed up here at UBC and it might be useful to you for your upcoming photography project


It uses AI to piece together many overlapping photos.


Apr 22, 2010 - 12:39pm PT
Salamanizer and Peter- I really appreciate the thoughts you have on this amazing face. You are both right.

Big Wall climber
The Bear State
May 14, 2012 - 07:03pm PT
How bout a good picture of the Snake Dike area?
Captain...or Skully

May 14, 2012 - 07:10pm PT
I'd wanna see that....Do tell, Walleye.
Or is this a wait & see thing?....All good, Bro.
I'll wait. Cheers.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
merced, california
May 14, 2012 - 10:12pm PT
Oh such good pics, no results...

Keep trying, Peter, keep trying.

I question the ethic of flying around taking shots and can't exactly condone all of this checking out Half Dome's backside. It smacks of violation, but not so serious as sodomy.

What would Royal say?

Seriously, I like not those archy-looking things, there could be BATSOS in there....
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
May 15, 2012 - 12:54am PT
> How bout a good picture of the Snake Dike area?

Captain...or Skully

May 15, 2012 - 12:59am PT
Huge Stone just sittin' there, mindin' its own business....

May 15, 2012 - 05:34am PT
A few weeks ago, I hiked/post-holed up to the top of cloud's rest, and was just so quieted and humbled by the awesome beauty back there. Like the feeling you get when you've just gotten out of a movie or art exhibition that really challenged your mind or blew away your construct of the bounds of your reality, and you just don't want to return to the banalities of life, or even hear your own voice...
It's hard for me to put into words, but it is truly a magical place. If I believed in that "energy vortex" stuff that hippies in Arizona talk about, then I'd have to say that that south face has one...
Some of the most amazing things I've ever seen are up there. Some of the most special times I've ever had were up there on that piece of rock. One of my closest friendships was forged deep in a private world of uncertain outcomes, ominous objective hazards, and hard physical labor not to mention the shared love of the quest.
I sure hope those routes don't end up being the only time I drink from that well. I can remember everything with such clarity-as if it were this morning! I will always cherish my memories from that spring and summer.

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Sep 17, 2012 - 11:04pm PT
Clint, do you have any info about that Labor of Love route? I was eyeing that from the base and was mighty tempted a few months ago, not knowing whether or not it was an established route. Looks like all natural pro at a moderate grade, cruxes not more than low .10? But maybe my eyes are bigger than my stomach and balls, and my sense of difficulty is off?
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 18, 2012 - 03:22am PT

Thanks for sharing your great photos.
Definitely "the stuff dreams are made of"!


There's a topo for Labor of Love on p.214 of the 1994 Reid guidebook. Definitely an established route (Walt Shipley and Stephanie McCormack, 7/1991). I don't have any further beta beyond that. Best get up there before the days get too short!

Ice climber
dingy room at the Happy boulders hotel
Sep 18, 2012 - 11:40am PT
What's the story about On the Edge?

Trad climber
New and Bionic too!
Sep 18, 2012 - 11:52am PT
Peter - From your first photo it is clear that Half Dome shoud be renamed "Dead Ox Point".
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Land of God-less fools
Sep 18, 2012 - 12:29pm PT
I've been wondering why, since it's quite exactly opposite the North West face,

It's not called the South East face.

Ice climber
chingadero de chula vista
Sep 18, 2012 - 02:28pm PT
thanks for taking the time to put together this compiliation - all

Trad climber
the crowd MUST BE MOCKED...Mocked I tell you.
Sep 18, 2012 - 03:09pm PT
Doesn't this pic look like a big turtle?

see the eye and the shell and front legs?


Trad climber
Chamonix, France
Feb 13, 2015 - 04:08am PT
Peter Haan:

And at this point you have assume the Euros are watching this thread too.

Did that mean that you feared rap bolting?!

It does seem strange that the most featured part of the wall - between Southern Belle and Karma - is completely devoid of routes. Is that because it's steeper or because the features don't link?

Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 13, 2015 - 04:26am PT
Both, jaaan.

If you want that area to link up for you, there will have to be a very organized preparatory effort on the ground to find a tiny-feature-to-tiny-feature linkup. And now that distasteful previewing is getting accepted more and more often, this will be required too. Modern and like we have never really done before until very recently. The prospect of ugly blind leads up in that area is very great and frankly prohibitive for someone just trying to force a line as a free climb.

Instead of "follow the orange dihedral for 400 ft", it will be more like "step right three feet to find a good incut hold to gain several feet straight up with small nubbly footholds to reach a four foot dyno for a sloping stance". I think the recent Dawn Wall ascent was this micro-managed and should serve as an example how the remaining route prospects have to be worked. It just is the way it has to be when climbing at this high a level.
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