Half Dome Regular Route TR 7/29/09


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Trad climber
Aug 3, 2009 - 01:42pm PT

Oakland: what's not to love?
Aug 3, 2009 - 02:06pm PT

Thanks for a good TR.

If you were to do it again, would you haul?

What's the #1 piece of advice you'd give somebody going to do it for their first time?

Last question: when do you hit El Cap?

Thanks again, good stuff.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Aug 3, 2009 - 02:40pm PT
Fun trip report. Good job sticking with it.

I don't think the Thank God ledge is harder than fifth class. I crawled out a ways and then dropped off and did a couple of hand traverse moves and jumped back up. If you were fresh and had good gear in place, I don't think you would think twice about.

Regarding the post above: I did it in a day the first time, but if you can avoid hauling, it is so much easier and quicker. The suggestions I have:

Be ready to start at first light. My first time I got off the ground around three hours after sunrise. We were only a coulpe hundred feet from the top (thank god ledge, actually) when it got dark, but it took another six hours in the dark. If we had started at sunrise (never mind first light) I think we could have shaved 3 or 4 hours off our time and topped out in the light.

The two big time killers for many 5.9ish parties are the chimneys and aiding the zigzags. Not much to do except put in the time to practice.

Trad climber
Aug 3, 2009 - 02:57pm PT
my plan was to cram the bivvies, jackets, and extra water into a comfortable 30 liter backpack. Pitches are led in blocks, 3 or 4 at a time. Follower jugs while wearing backpack, except for the chimney I guess. 2 ropes. Does that makes sense?

Also I was hoping to do it in September when the temps are bearable, but when there are still a reasonable number of hours of light in the day.

Aug 4, 2009 - 08:17am PT
This was definitely an amazing trip, we learned a ton from the big wall experience. That said I definitely wouldn't haul if I was to do it again. We only really slept on big sandy for 3 hours anyways, so we could have just done it in 1 push without the bag. Albeit I don't weigh a whole lot more than the haul bag, but I lead the 5.8 and 5.9 pitches on the first half of the climb significantly faster than I hauled them. My other big lesson was definitely that leading in 3-4 pitch blocks is awesome. I had a blast getting in the groove of those, and it worked especially well because the 2nd was jugging so we didn't have to keep switching back and forth between aiders, etc... I will never forget this amazing, crazy, terrifying, eye opening, and awe inspiring adventure with my best friends!

Big Wall climber
Aug 4, 2009 - 07:23pm PT
Sounds like you got the full experience. We came up right after you. The night of Aug 29th we bivied by mirror lake. I watched your headlamps while falling asleep. Then woke up repeatedly thinking that 2 herds of dear passing through and some varmit was a bear after the food in our pig. Each time I saw your headlamps again and figures someone was having a wild ride. Very glad it turned out all right. Leading the double cracks in the dark, whew!!!

We led to p6 the 1st day and had a lousy bivy sliding off the sloping ledge all night. Day 2 hee-bee jeebies at the p14 5.9 squeeze or 5.7 airy chimny and a major fiasco with a stuck rope blew our plans to make it to Big Sandy and we bivied at the p11 ledge. Rest of climb was uneventful.

Hey, did we miss anything at the p22 bolt ladder? There was a huge gap between the 4th and 5th bolts that didn't seem aid-able and wasn't noted on the topo. My partner led that pitch, but jugging by it it defintely seemed harder than 5.7, but supertopo lists pitch as C1 5.7.
August West

Trad climber
Where the wind blows strange
Aug 4, 2009 - 07:42pm PT

Taking a large backpack instead of hauling is not unreasonable (you wouldn't be the first to do it this way) given the blockiness and the traverses.

The route is not that hot even in summer. Especially if you do it in a day, by the time the sun hits around 2:00pm, you should be going into the chimneys and then aiding the zigzags can be warm, but the belayer gets a long rest and sweaty hands don't bother me standing in slings. And then (all too soon) the sun is very low in the sky.

A two day trip would be a little hotter. But the extra daylight is nice and a midsummer night wouldn't take as much clothing as September might. Plus you will have to hump all your water up in September.

It's a good adventure. Have fun.
the Fet

Supercaliyosemistic climber
Aug 4, 2009 - 08:00pm PT
Great TR of a full value ascent.

Aug 5, 2009 - 03:14pm PT
This is cool trip report. You really feel your
experience. Some day HD for me?

San Fran Cisco
Aug 5, 2009 - 04:57pm PT
Sweet TR!

Trad climber
Aug 5, 2009 - 06:50pm PT
Enjoyed the write up and fotows. Thanks for sharing! I read the 1st half on my BB eating lunch nearby then peddled home and jumped online for the full view. Good Stuff!


Aug 6, 2009 - 01:45pm PT
TR Bump

Trad climber
Aug 6, 2009 - 03:04pm PT
"I will never forget this amazing, crazy, terrifying, eye opening, and awe inspiring adventure with my best friends!"

That pretty much says it all doesn't it.

Well Done!
and thanks for posting the wonderful TR...

Jordan Ramey

Big Wall climber
South Pasadena, CA
Aug 6, 2009 - 08:31pm PT
Great Job!

Trad climber
Springfield, Mass
Aug 9, 2009 - 11:31am PT
Way to GO!!!

Thanks for the trip report.
bubble boy

Big Wall climber
Aug 9, 2009 - 11:36am PT
Yeah dawgies!!!!!! I like the pic from inside the chimney. Thanks for sharing.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Aug 9, 2009 - 11:39am PT
great read, great trip! thanks.

Trad climber
Currently Nomadic
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 10, 2009 - 12:28am PT
Hey Everyone,

Thanks for all your feedback and comments. I feel pretty mentally and physically recovered now, and in a decent state to reflect on the experience.

I posted an additional picture of big sandy. Carling - I will post that 5:30AM hauling pic when I find it :)

To answer a few of your questions/comments:
* I didn't even think of dropping down and doing a hand traverse for thank god ledge, but in retrospect that is probably the way to go. I just kept my feet on the ledge and nervously shuffled across on my tip toes.

* If I was to do it again, I would DEFINITELY NOT haul. If I'm going to climb for 26 hours, I might as well not have to haul. plus, then the second gets to actually climb most of the pitches. Just much less cluster to deal with. In retrospect I think if I wasn't hauling I probably could have done it in around 18 hours. I'd start pre-dawn and french free the 10c pitch. Have the first guy carry a camelback with a few snacks and 3 liters of water, have the second carry a medium pack (maybe 25ish L) with aid gear, shoes, a little rain stuff, a bit of food, and 5 liters of water. In the chimneys they either attach above or dangle below.
Then I think I might hike to the top first and stash overnight stuff and extra water/food maybe 50' down the face out of reach of tourists and sleep on top.

* #1 advice I would give? I'd say don't haul, but if you are going to, then be sure to have your communication down, and be streamlined and quick in the hauling/bag lower-out process. be able to jumar and clean a free pitch almost as fast as you can haul.

* I think we'll hit El Cap as soon as the painful memories fade and the awesomeness and good memories take their place. I can feel it happening already. Maybe I'll do it again in a day and if that works i'll give the Captain a go.

* 4.5 liters was too much. Even with temps of 102 in the valley we had 7 extra liters after drinking to our hearts content after sleeping an extra night at the top. I'd scale back to 3 for hot days, 2 for cooler temps in shoulder months.

* I think all the bolts were there on p.22, although come to think of it, the last bolt on the first ladder (I think bolt 4 or 5) would have been unreachable if it wasn't for a fixed sling hanging down about 5 feet. The fixed sling was tangled around itself and 3 feet shorter than it normally is, so I was considering doing some free moves to get to it. I was standing in my grab loop above my top step and and the sling was still just out of reach (I'm 6'2"). Luckily, I was able to wave a quickdraw at the tangled sling and it came undone and into reach. Not sure what i'd do if the sling wasn't there - the free moves looked at least 5.10 something.

Again, thanks for all the positive comments - maybe I'll post a couple more of our better stories from our 2 months in Yosemite this summer. (maybe a TR for our trip up My Favorite Things on Cloud's Rest, we'll see how busy I am the next week)



Trad climber
San Francisco
Aug 10, 2009 - 09:49am PT
P21 I call it OH HELL NO LEGDE
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