Lost Arrow Chimney Trip Report 9/19/09

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Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 22, 2009 - 01:53am PT
Lost Arrow Chimney Trip Report 9/19/09

This is a climb I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I went up to take a look at it in 2006.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=145597&tn=0
And I’ve collected beta over the years.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=372567&msg=372567#msg372567

I’ve had some injuries over the last few years but this year I’ve been climbing well and more or less healthy so I started aiming for a Lost Arrow Chimney attempt. Chad was looking for someone to go up with him so he could replace the rotten protection bolt at the crux. I told him I was game and the trip was on.
Here is a link to Chad's fine Trip Report of his first climb of this route.
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=594613&tn=0

I cut the gear loops off one of my older harnesses to facilitate the expected thin chimneys. This worked out well. I also bought some climbing pants that had no belt loops in the back. We took a 9.6 60 meter rope and a 8.1 60 meter rope. We took a, for me, very small rack. One set of DMM peanuts, which I don’t think we used at all. On set of BD stoppers #4 to #13.We used these all the time. The big one was very useful. 0, 1 and 2 C3s. One each .4 to .75 C4s. Two each #1 and #2 C4s. This was my contribution- I said we should double up these two. We took a #6 C4 and a #4 Bigbro. We used the #6 a lot. We didn’t use the #4 bigbro. This rack was a little small. A #3 C4 would have been nice but not mandatory. Doubles of the other small cams would have been handy especially when building belays. We had twelve shoulder length slings.
We met at the entrance station on 120 at 4:30 am. We didn’t get racked at the base of the climb until about 8 am.
Here is a pic on the approach.

The route goes up the left side chimney of Lost Arrow Spire.

I took the first two pitches, when the rope came tight Chad simulclimbed about 70 feet. The 5.9 on P2 is very reasonable. I was totally out of gear and the anchor was one old button head and what looked like a rusty #5 Chouinard stopper. I got one other stopper in and just kind of braced myself on the ledge. When Chad came up we put in a good yellow C3 to augment the belay. This belay can go all gear when the bolt rots.
Here’s a pic looking down the first two pitches.


Chad was able to link P3 and P4.
Here’s a pic of P3

The 5.9 move around the roof turned out to be tricky for me.

Here’s a pic looking up P4.

The two lower chockstones turned out to be harder for me than the “safety valve”. The “safety valve” protects with the #6 so these bolts can rot in place too. The “safety valve” is more of a short OW than a squeeze. You can keep your head out of it. One of the hangers had no nut so Chad took it off. Here’s a pic of this relic.


I lead P5. First there is some cool stemming with good pro. Then you do the OW for a while and I made the mistake of leaving the #6 behind in that section. As I got higher I got some good pro and then started running it out again on 5.9 OW. Eventually I said the hell with this and climbed and lowered back down to get the #6. The other side of the chimney at that point may have been easier to climb but when I looked over there I could see no pro at all.

Heres’ a pic of P6.


You can see it starts with this 10a or so flake, very slippery, I almost whipped following, to the strange but not too hard climb out to the right. There seems to be two options at that point. Reid shows you go right for a while and climb back left 20 or 30 feet higher. some have had trouble with this in TRs so Chad went right back left into the chimney after maybe 10 feet or so. This is a hard strange move but I did it clean so it is probably no harder than 10a. This is a great pitch.

The next pitch is supposed to be one of the easier pitches and if continuous 120 foot 5.7/8 chimneys are your thing, it is. I enjoyed it and there was just enough pro. Here’s a pic.


Here’s a pic looking out at absolutely dry Yosemite Falls.


P8 is the technical crux pitch. It’s a pretty cool pitch actually. Chad pulled and patched the two manky bolts and put in one new 3/8” so the crux moves have bomber pro now. Here is a pic of Chad drilling.

And if you are getting tired by now I found the bolt makes a convienient foothold at the crux.

Here is a pic of the bullet pack being hauled. It is free hanging, which gives an idea of the steepness here.


Chad fired off the real crux squeeze in good style. By now I was beat. I managed to worm my way up the first 10a flare section before completely running out of gas. Fortunately I had a couple of Tibloc ascenders and ascended to the belay.

Here’s a pic of Chad on the last pitch in the fading light.


We managed to get two out of the eight rappels done before the light went out. With Clint and MAD BOLTER's rappel chart we easily found the rest of the raps by headlamp. By the time we got back to the car it was around 10:30. Another good day in the valley on a classic route was done. Chad, thanks for going up there with me!
Climb on!
Zander

(Edit- Chad added his TR of our climb on post 53.)
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=965110&tn=53
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Sep 22, 2009 - 01:59am PT
yah! another adventure with zander. Excellent!
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Sep 22, 2009 - 01:59am PT
well done you guys!
tonesfrommars

climber
Sep 22, 2009 - 02:03am PT
way 2 go doodz
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 02:05am PT
good on you guys!
and congratulations Zander, I know this is one you really wanted!!
nutjob

climber
Berkeley, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 05:23am PT
Without taking anything from the fairer sex, thou art manhood incarnate.

Awesome!

You kind of made it sound casual though?

Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 05:34am PT
Awesome!!
Way to go out and get after it.
And photos, too! (Chad got such good ones in his previous TR, but you added to those).

I asked my friend Bob Palais once how hard he thought it was, relative to the Steck-Salathe'. Bob said he thought it was about 3 times harder. What do you think?

Great job on replacing those 2 bad bolts with one good one, Chad!
And nice work on looking at the other bolts and judging if they needed replacement.

I think the LA Chimney must be the *real* classic, and the tip sort of a joke. Heck, it's an awesome line, and the first Valley big wall, ahead of its time. But the LA Chimney is only accessible by the true Valley hardmen/hardwomen, and the tip is within bumblie range, so the tip made it into the Roper/Steck book....

Thanks for sharing!
Prod

Trad climber
A place w/o Avitars apparently
Sep 22, 2009 - 07:23am PT
Zander getting it done! Again!

Thanks,

Prod.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 22, 2009 - 08:18am PT
Oh yeah!
eeyonkee

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Sep 22, 2009 - 08:51am PT
Very nice. I'm glad this route still gets done.
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 10:09am PT
Zander, thanks for trip report and congratulations with your wanted long time rout to be made.
What rack you would take next time to be comfortable on all pitches ?
I probably missed in report- why you replaced two old bolts by only one new- no need for second -possible gear placement or other reasons?

how easy was to find rappel route - any topos you had (links)?













Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2009 - 11:02am PT
Hey Clint,
Before we started the climb Chad was wondering about which was really harder the Steck Salathe or Lost Arrow Chimney. He and his partner Mike did them in about the same amount of time. I’ll be interested to see what he thinks now after a second trip. In my opinion Lost Arrow Chimney is definitely harder. I would say LAC is about 1 1/2 times as hard. The first three pitches you can stay on your feet with just an occasional roof. After that it is pretty much continuous climbing. It is hard at the end. On the Steck Salathe two out of the last three pitches are mild. On the other hand if you are not comfortable on chimneys, squeezes and OWs in the 5.8 to 5.9 range you are toast. Then it is infinitely harder.

Alexey,
The two bolts Chad replaced were 2 inches apart. I’ve seen you climb Alexey, you will do well on this climb. Clint posted a little chart of the rappels. It is on one of the Lost Arrow Spire rappel threads. The chart starts 50 feet below the first Spire belay so basically you add one 50 foot rappel to the chart.

Zander
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 11:07am PT
Great Chad and Zander! Nice to see the "ole route" 38 years later. And finally someone replaces those pathetic bolts. A fall there is not out of the question as it is friable, granular rock there. With the replacement done, a few more real climbing parties will do the climb. Thanks.

ph
elcap-pics

climber
Crestline CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 11:16am PT
Sweet!! Nice pics and a great climb. Thanks for posting up!!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Sep 22, 2009 - 11:20am PT
Nice!! Did it BITD and loved it. Wouldn't it be a great one for transition from sport to trad- not!
scuffy b

climber
Sinatra to Singapore
Sep 22, 2009 - 11:24am PT
Ah, Beautiful.

Congratulations, anf thanks for the report and the bolt replacement.
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
Sep 22, 2009 - 11:27am PT
"The day you do the Lost Arrow Chimney in a day is the day you do more work than on any other day of your live" -Sacherer
Footloose

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
Sep 22, 2009 - 12:53pm PT
Wow, nice work, guys.
Clearly, two adventurous hardmen!
Extremely inspiring. Thanks!
Doug Hemken

climber
Madison, WI
Sep 22, 2009 - 02:38pm PT
Another great TR. I always look forward to your TRs!
Slakkey

Trad climber
From a Quiet Place by the Lake
Sep 22, 2009 - 02:56pm PT
Inspiring as I have been going through the injury thing and am really trying to get all that behind me. takes time though. Great TR, great climb, well done guys.
rhyang

climber
SJC
Sep 22, 2009 - 03:03pm PT
Nice work !! Great pics too.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 03:16pm PT
Zander,

I think you post my favorite TR's. Every one is a climb I've done or always wanted to do -- and now you've outdone yourself Thanks for the TR, and for the bolt replacement, and congratulations on a climb done well!

John
Alexey

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 03:35pm PT
I also forget to mention that this TR is very inspiring to do this route. Somehow I missed previous Chad report from 2008. Now reading them both and looking to do it in next spring with longer days
Russ Walling

Gym climber
Poofter's Froth, Wyoming
Sep 22, 2009 - 03:37pm PT
A+ guys!
cleo

Social climber
Berkeley, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 03:48pm PT
awesome, well done!
Ray-J

Social climber
socal
Sep 22, 2009 - 04:07pm PT
Props Zander.
Great pics/beta.
Greg Barnes

climber
Sep 22, 2009 - 04:12pm PT
Cool! Nice job!

Did Chad end up using one of the extra long 3/8", or a normal length one?

How is it that the LA Chimney and a 30 ft tall climb on plastic holds in a gym both end up being called "5.10a"?
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Sep 22, 2009 - 04:17pm PT
Bump for what it's all about.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Sep 22, 2009 - 04:19pm PT
Great!

I'll second Alexey's question: what would your ideal rack be Zander? I don't ask Salamanizer only because I get the sense he's the type of guy who would slim down that skeleton rack you took for the next time. What say you to us 5.10 proles, Zander?
OlympicMtnBoy

climber
Seattle
Sep 22, 2009 - 05:57pm PT
Damn, I'm adding this to my list! Thanks.
caughtinside

Social climber
Davis, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 06:26pm PT
Well done Zander and Chad! Thanks for the route maintenance!
mason805

Trad climber
East Bay, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 06:34pm PT
Awesome TR man.

You guys have to be pretty good because I look at that route and think, "that's only a 5.10a??"

Really sweet.
Phil_B

Social climber
Hercules, CA
Sep 22, 2009 - 06:35pm PT


Way to go!
Chiloe

Trad climber
Lee, NH
Sep 22, 2009 - 08:01pm PT
Well illustrated and described, you brought us armchair types right along.
the museum

Trad climber
Rapid City
Sep 22, 2009 - 08:30pm PT
WOW, that is awesome, good job guys! Thanks for sharing.
klk

Trad climber
cali
Sep 22, 2009 - 08:34pm PT
nice. just saw this
seneca

climber
jamais, jamais pays
Sep 22, 2009 - 11:00pm PT
Zander! You are the man! Great trip report. An inspiration.
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 22, 2009 - 11:54pm PT
Hey le_bruce,
I’m going to offer a rack suggestion but before I do I want you to notice something. If you look at the climbers who have climbed this route on the various threads- jaybro, Brutus of Wyde, Peter Haun, eeyonkee, the two Sar guys Werner mentions in the rebolting thread, Hal Hammer and his partner with his sweet TR, donini, and Chad and Mike, there is one guy who does not fit in with these solid climbers. That guy is me, 5.9 noob, and I am climbing better than I ever have in the ten years I’ve been climbing. And this is the type of climb I train for all the time. And I still got worked. I offer this suggestion with deep humility.

This is a climb where you better take responsibility for your actions. This ain’t no Supertopo climb.
2 or three micro stoppers- just in case.
BD stoppers #4 to #13
Doubles of cams from 3/8” to #2 C4
One #3 C4
Optional #4 C4
One or two #6 C4, see my TR.
The # 4bigbro. I did not need this on any of my pitches and neither did Chad. My sense was that when you can use them you are on 5.7 chimney terrain. Read Hal Hammers report, though, he disagrees with that. Make your own call.

I wore 1/8” neoprene knee braces and tan Ace type elbow pads. We didn’t tape our hands, no need. Two quarts per person with gookinaid. Could have used more. Small bullet pack worn the first few pitches and then hauled. Do not do this off the couch. Go for it, you won’t regret it.

Zander
E Robinson

climber
Salinas, CA
Sep 23, 2009 - 12:01am PT
Great TR, brings back memories. Did you brave the Harding Hole? My fried memory has that logged as one of the wilder squeeze moments to be had.
E
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 23, 2009 - 12:12am PT
Bad Azz Bro! I'm totally impressed. Everyone who does it say the route is punishing!

Peace

karl
Jello

Social climber
No Ut
Sep 23, 2009 - 12:16am PT
Thanks Zander. Never got to do that classic. Your pics help me to know what it's like.

-Jello
Darwin

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
Sep 23, 2009 - 01:05am PT
Thanks for the TR with photos Zander.

RE your caveat emptor: Don't worry, you will not be responsible for getting me on it. Not that I wouldn't want to in my dreams, but it's a bit far away and probably way over my head.

Dawin
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Sep 23, 2009 - 01:06am PT
Alright Z!

Man you get to all of the good ones!

Good work replacing those bolts, many thanks from my end.

Great pictures, that haulbag pic is awesome!

Mucci
HalHammer

Trad climber
CA
Sep 23, 2009 - 01:51am PT
Hey WTG that is awesome to see more parties up there! Classic route, I hoped it would start getting done more frequently. Says a lot to haul the bolt kit way up there finally.


-Your beta I'd agree the #4 bro is not esential now. We called it mandatory because it was the only thing that could place in the vicinity of the crux/runout fossil bolt land; that fall was dangerous onto the flake in the crack below. Cliff was glad to have it on the safety valve lead as well. We placed it one more time on the long 5.9 squeeze pitch above the crux.

Quite the reputation hangs over the chimney. I love getting on those kind of lines. Good on you guys; more people get out there! When we were going to check it out in the valley no one knew anything. Only Timmy and Dean and Honnold had been up there in the last recent years. We were warned of loose funky climbing with manky gear. Alex's partner said he called the traversing 5.10 on the old topo frustrating, unclimbable free after several tries. What the heck does that mean is up there?!

So.. key the Darth Vader music... no it's not terrible; quite the adventure. A steeper sustained cousin of the Steck Salathe. With the improved bolt replacement by Zander and his partner this climb is a fun long physical day. Nice work! Burl!
MH2

climber
Sep 23, 2009 - 04:34am PT
That's a good day, Zander!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 23, 2009 - 08:54am PT
Karl,

About the Harding Hole. This Zander party did the better alternative pitch on the outside, basically just continuing up the chimney to the notch without any tricks. Their last photo shows this. This last pitch is one of the best on the whole route, by the way and is 5.9, protectable. Some handjamming and a little roof, nothing too radical and on the best rock of the climb. The Harding Hole is really tiny. You chimney sideways way back in there, the crack getting smaller and smaller slowly. I tried it when I was 185 lbs and I could get one arm out and just stick my head through to enjoy the insane exposure you would get coming through the final hole to the notch. But it was also a little bit worrisome as you could possibly get stuck back in there, God Help You. It is just really small and lame because it would circumvent the more interesting, bettter climbing of the alternate pitch.

In general, Pilgrims, the route is only 5.10a, is reasonably safe especially now with the fossils eliminated at the crux, and is really classic climbing. But there is like a 1,000 feet of steep chimneys, squeezes and combination climbing and usually most climbers get pretty tired in there. they aren't use to using their cores that much for that long. Retreating from somewhere on the route itself might be quite problematic with hung-up rappels, I would imagine and you would be leaving very valuable gear too... So you want to get to the Notch. Will Tyree and I did the second or third free ascent of it in 1971 in 6 hrs. The late Bill Bonebrake hiked to the rim and left us Jumars, slings and a fixed line from the big tree to the Notch. Oh, and you would NOT want to be there in weather or even worse, freezing conditions where ice might be coming off the rim; you might not be able to shelter yourself. And lastly, we did not bring a pack; too much trouble.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Sep 23, 2009 - 12:20pm PT
HI Peter
If you had two ropes, couldn't you bail at one of the Error ledges and rap the direct route?

Yeah, the Harding Hole is one place I've sworn never to go and I don't think you'll be venturing there either, absent some famine!

Peace

Karl
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 23, 2009 - 12:56pm PT
That's for sure. I am really fat nowadays, to say the least. But even someone 175# probably could not make it through and you'd miss a really fun, pretty final pitch to the notch on the outside.
scuffy b

climber
Sinatra to Singapore
Sep 23, 2009 - 03:07pm PT
Didn't Salathe and Nelson descend by rappelling the Chimney?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Sep 23, 2009 - 03:12pm PT
You can rappel anything of course, but do you want to run any chance of hanging a rappel deep in a chimney? And do you want to leave equipment for a bunch of anchors? My point being that if a party is going to go up there, they really should be damned serious about doing the whole enchilada otherwise they might not be so happy after retreating.

You certainly could go on the outside, Karl in a couple of places. And it appears the face has bolts at most/all of the belays.
del cross

climber
Sep 23, 2009 - 03:29pm PT
> Didn't Salathe and Nelson descend by rappelling the Chimney?

"Getting off the climb requires a long rappel down the narrow confines of the chimney. However, we prusiked from the Third Error to the rim on a fixed rope, since friends were on hand to help rig it." -- Ax Nelson, Five Days and Nights on the Lost Arrow

Third Error = The Notch, correct?
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Reply - Sep 23, 2009 - 11:13pm PT
Hey E Robinson,
We did not do the Harding hole. I know I couldn't fit!

Hey Greg,
Chad used one of the shorter bolts. Apparently the rock was pretty good.

Zander

Salamanizer

Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Sep 30, 2009 - 03:27am PT
Nice TR Zander, I had a great time on the route and an awesome time climbing with you as always. Sorry to have sandbagged you on the rack a bit. Don't ever listen to my beta, I never know what the hell I'm talking about and end up sandbagging myself half the time as well.

Thanks everyone for your compliments. I hope this TR riles the crowd to get out there and climb this classic. And for those of you who never get the chance I hope you walk away with a sense of the route, both it's nature and aesthetics as well as the mastery of those who first climbed it in 1947.

Now for the good stuff. A view of the route through the lens of the other d00d who was there.

Looking up from the base you can get a sense of the route. A bit intimidating, a bit intriguing, a good adventure to be sure.

Credit: Salamanizer


Sorry, no pictures of the first couple pitches as I was busy climbing and belaying. However, here is a shot of the famed Zander pulling with good style through the first crux of the Safety Valve. I figured it's a tight squeeze chimney, you can't fall out so... click, click.

Credit: Salamanizer


After the safety valve, Zander lead the 5.9 O.W. fifth pitch with just a little back cleaning. It was my fault he was unable to cruise this pitch as I skimmed the rack a bit too much. After the back cleaning he cruised right up in good style. I've climbed a lot of 5.9 O.W. pitches in the valley, and this one ranks right up there with some the hardest ones of the grade I've ever climbed. A proud lead for sure. Sorry, no pics as I was busy belaying.

Next up is the funky sixth pitch with the traverse and bolts printed in the Reid guide. Ignore the guide, it's bogus beta. You climb a .10 flake, traverse/step right at the top to the base of a steep ramp. Then comes a splits maneuver as you stem back across the chimney and weasel your way back into the chimney. It's 5.10 for a 5.12 climber if you know what I mean. Here's Zander fighting his way back into the chimney. What you can't see is his lower half doing the splits. Mind you, he's carrying four liters of water on his back at this point... Hard man!

Credit: Salamanizer


Cruising through the next pitch we took a little break at the foot of the rotten chimney before setting to work on those old bolts. For those of you who have never seen these bolts, well... here they are in all their glory.

Credit: Salamanizer
Credit: Salamanizer


Zander following through the rotten chimney.

Credit: Salamanizer
Credit: Salamanizer
Credit: Salamanizer
Credit: Salamanizer


After the rotten chimney is the real crux. A long 180ft pitch of continuous flaring, tight, squeeze chimneying. Zander giving it a go.


Credit: Salamanizer


And a happy Zander upon finishing the pitch.

Credit: Salamanizer


Enjoy!

Dirka

Trad climber
SF
Sep 30, 2009 - 03:54am PT
Whoop Whoop!
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Sep 30, 2009 - 07:29am PT
I weighed 150 (soaking wet) when I did it and there was no way I could get even my shoulders through the harding Slut.
I passed my rack, shoes, and harness through the hole to the other side, to no avail.
I soloed the other variation (5.9?) in Lava domes and dragged the rope so Scary Larry could follow and crack his pelvis.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Redlands
Sep 30, 2009 - 11:21am PT
Outstanding!
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
Sep 30, 2009 - 12:26pm PT
I did this in 1990 with Don Snyder when we were both climbing constantly and doing routes in a day like the Nose, Salathe, Watkins, Half Dome, Pegasus, etc. Lost Arrow Chimney was by far the hardest and most physical. Awesome TR.
stich

Trad climber
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Sep 30, 2009 - 01:04pm PT
Was there not a tale of discovering the remains of an unfortunate climber in the Lost Arrow chimney? Coonyard figured into the tale as well.

"His damn jacket won't fit!"

Where on the climb might that have been?
Dolomite

climber
Anchorage
Sep 30, 2009 - 03:00pm PT
Nice work Z and Chad!

Stich: link to Roper's story about the discovering the body here:

http://web3.bdel.com/scene/word/2004_rock.php#skull
imnotclever

Sport climber
Sep 30, 2009 - 03:12pm PT
Cool TR!
L

climber
Smiled like an angel... laughed like the devil
Sep 30, 2009 - 03:39pm PT
I somehow missed this excellent adventure first time round, Z.

Awesome TR, as usual...and those photos! Beeeeeeeeautiful and a wee bit sceeeeeeeerrrry! Your partner's photos added a really nice perspective, too.

Great job, you guys. Thanks!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland: what's not to love?
Sep 30, 2009 - 04:51pm PT
Thanks for the thoughtful answer on the rack, Zander.

Great pics, Salamanizer.

This climb looks incredibly hard.
Largo

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
Sep 30, 2009 - 09:38pm PT
I always thought the LA Chimney was a 5.10a climb for 5.11 crack climbers. I can't imagine being up there in that ghastly gash if 10a wide was my max.

And how about San Diego Greg on-sight free soling the thing in the late 1970s. I was always way impressed with that one.

JL
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 1, 2009 - 10:55am PT
Hey Chad,
Nice pics. I never got to see the old bolts. Pretty manky.

One other memory I have of the climb was on the descent. We were rappelling in the dark and were taking turns going down first. We had the rap chart so we weren't worried about finding the way. Chad had gone down and I could see his headlamp looking around as he went so as not to go by the anchor. I turned off my light. It was pretty warm night and clear. The stars were in full force. I could see lights and hear sounds from below in the valley but they seemed a long way off. I had the sense of being out on the immense face of rock and it was peaceful. I was tired and content. It was good.

Zander
jstan

climber
Oct 1, 2009 - 11:51am PT
I think it was the late 60's when Pete Ramins and I went up the Chimneys. I remember one bolt somewhere. With the falls going and the possibility we might come onto the bones the route had great drama. We could not find/fit thru the Harding squeeze, so to beat the sun we did the rappels. It was eerie expecting one of those to get hung up.

As I remember them the Chimneys had drama, history, and required a lot of work. The SS has variety, great climbing, and even more history.

One is well rewarded by doing both.
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
Oct 1, 2009 - 12:01pm PT
Great TR. Thanks. Looks totally awesome.

The link to the "body-in-the-chimney" story was pretty entertaining.
Eric McAuliffe

Trad climber
Alpine County, CA
Oct 7, 2009 - 11:11pm PT
Great work guys that looked like a rad time!

And thanks so much for putting the effort replacing those bolts, great style!!!


E
Swifter

Social climber
Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 7, 2009 - 11:43pm PT
Wow! Thanks for the great photos, guys. They really took me back.

Bob
oldguy

climber
Bronx, NY
Oct 11, 2009 - 01:38pm PT
It's great to see that some of the old classics still have a certain allure and can provide pleasure. Royal and I did the fourth ascent in 1957, ten years after the first ascent. We got a late start, but if we had started early we might have made it to the notch in one day. We bivouaced two pitches below the Harding Hole pitch. Those two pitches were hard nailing at the time, so I imagine that we climbed most of the lower pitches free in order to make good time. I have no memory of any bolts, but it's possible the Salathe placed some, but probably not Rawl drives. Pratt and Sacherer climbed all the way to the notch free in the early sixties. We were also using 120' ropes and klettershue. Following are two segments of my book that may enlighten and amuse. I should mention that in 1954 Harding had only been climbing for a little over a year.

In 1954 I was on a climbing trip with Barbara Lilley, and she passed around a postcard she had received from Warren (Warren who?). The glossy side showed the 2,000-foot north face of Middle Cathedral Rock in Yosemite with a line drawn up the north buttress on the left side of the face. The route was actually Frank Tarver’s idea. He was an eighteen-year-old hot shot from the Bay Area and had already been on the route twice, but both attempts ended with falls, actually a good reason to go up again, like getting back on the horse. Finally Frank found Harding in Camp 4. The route was also in the minds of Craig Holden and John Whitmer who, by an exceedingly rare coincidence were already a few pitches up when Frank and Warren arrived at the base of the climb. They combined forces and spent three days getting to know each other on the climb. This was Harding’s first experience at bivouacking, notable because he probably spent more nights bivouacking in the Valley than any other climber, at least into the ‘70’s. The climb was also the first to require more than two days since Steck and Salathé had climbed Sentinel, and the route was considerably longer than either Sentinel or the Arrow Chimney.
A month and a half later, Harding, Tarver, and Bob Swift started on the second ascent of the Lost Arrow Chimney. Harding, still a novice at direct aid climbing, distinguished himself in the narrow chimneys, especially on the last pitch before the notch, subsequently called the Harding Hole. The climb took four days. Within a few months, Harding had done more big wall climbing in Yosemite than anyone else at that time except Salathé. You could say he never looked back. He also made a trip to Tahquitz where he joined Royal Robbins for a climb. Warren led up the first pitch and established a hanging (standing in slings) belay anchored by two pitons. Royal followed, and, when he arrived at Warren’s stance, he clipped his slings into the lower of the two anchors, but as he stepped into the slings the piton popped. Two climbers hanging from a single Army wafer piton driven straight up into a crack isn’t a pleasant sight. “We’d better get something else in,” said Royal, understatedly, as he scrambled to drive in another anchor. There’s a good deal more to say about Royal and Warren, but it will have to wait.

After the first ascent of the Lost Arrow Chimney in 1947, climbers were content to climb the final spire from the notch. Although only about two hundred feet high, piton placing was not an easy matter, and a number of parties failed in their attempts. The four-day ascent of the chimney by Harding, Tarver, and Swift seven years after Salathé and Nelson’s five day epic, and the three-day ascent of Wilts, Gallwas, and Wilson have been previously noted. Chuck’s subsequent comment on the string of ascents, each a day less than the previous one and its implied challenge for the next party, publicly introduced the speed factor into California climbing. Up until then, the main challenge for most climbers was completing the chosen route, preferably before dark if it was a climb that had typically been done in a day, as was the case in the middle fifties with all but four routes. Still, the better climbers began to realize that speed, while not necessarily a goal in itself, was a mark of climbing ease and efficiency that in turn augured for success. It was also fun. Climbing well beats climbing poorly any day.
So, what was the hardest climb in Yosemite that Royal hadn’t done? The Lost Arrow Chimney. In those days, parties of three were still favored on multi-day climbs for their extra security, so Royal and I enlisted Mike Sherrick to accompany us on a Labor Day attempt. I picked Royal up late on a Friday afternoon, along with John Mendenhall and Dave Rearick, and we drove straight up to Camp 4, arriving well after midnight. We found Sherrick tucked into his sleeping bag and roused him to sort gear before throwing down our own bags. We definitely wanted to do the climb in two days, so an early start was essential. The long drive and the short time for sleep conspired against us, and it was already light when we got up. Heating up some oatmeal and instant coffee took more time.
Finally we drove over to the Park Headquarters, signed out with the rangers, and started hiking up in the general direction of the base of Upper Yosemite Fall. Our route finding wasn’t good. In addition to wrestling our way through patches of manzanita and willows, at several points we actually had to rope up to surmount sections of cliff. When we finally got to the base of the chimney we looked across the granite terraces at the base of the Upper Yosemite Fall and saw a trail switchbacking its way up the gully on the far side, the trail that started in Camp 4 and that would have provided an easy, early morning’s stroll to the start of the climb. Our preconceptions led us to believe that the water pouring over the falls would prevent us from getting from the trail to the chimney (if you looked at almost any picture of Yosemite Falls you would reach the same conclusion), but in the fall there is very little water falling, no more than a shower in a cheap motel.
We scrambled up as far as seemed prudent and drew straws for the first lead. Mike won and was soon on his way. From this vantage point the chimney looked fearsome, a dark gash that thrust up farther than distance could be judged. When Mike found a belay spot at the end of the first pitch, it looked like he wasn’t any closer to the top than we were one hundred feet below him. He set up an anchor, and then instead of yelling “belay on,” called out that he was coming down. He wasn’t feeling well. Sorry. Good luck. See you when you get down. He shouldered a rope and headed over to the trail. With all the delays, it was now ten o’ clock. Got to move.
Tahquitz Rock, our training ground, had only one climb with a chimney. The Lost Arrow provided all the training in chimney technique we would want, from wide stems with a hand and foot on each wall, to feet and back, to knees and back, to squeeze and more squeeze. Up and up, hour after hour. By the time darkness threatened, it was clear that the notch was still several hundred feet above us and that the climbing would be hard. We selected two chockstones, one above the other, to sit on through the night. The chockstones were far enough back in the chimney so that they had absorbed no warmth from the sun, far enough back so that we could look out as through a doorway on the slowly dimming light in the valley below while we were already very much in the dark. It was cold. It would be at least ten hours before we could start climbing again.
My fatigue allowed me to sleep fitfully, but sometime in the middle of the night I was awakened by noises I couldn’t at first identify. They came from below, and looking down I could barely make out Royal’s silhouette. He was standing on his chockstone, stamping up and down and blowing on his hands. A wind had come up, literally, drafting up the chimney as lustily as if driven by a roaring fire. But there was no fire, no warmth. Finally, I suggested that Royal join me on my chockstone. Huddling spoon-fashion provided some warmth, some protection from the wind, but it also meant that a slight shifting of position by one of us was sure to nudge the other from any drift toward sleep.
Finally, I came out of a light doze to see that it was slightly lighter out in the valley than back in the chimney. I couldn’t go back to sleep; I could only wait. Most people have probably hung around to watch the sun set from time to time. It’s best on the west coast as the sun darkens from gold to orange to rust before it finally touches the sea at the horizon--there, just where the arrow of light dancing on the water points. The sun sinks slowly, and when it finally slips beneath a distant wave we might shiver a little and turn aside, go inside. A little drink will warm us. But waiting for the sun to come up is a different matter. Royal and I knew we wouldn’t get any warmer. We wouldn’t even see the sun until we moved onto the spire above. We had to wait until we could see well enough to climb, a terribly long time it seemed, and then when we could see the texture of the rock the cold gave us an excuse to huddle a little longer. Was it better to take the lead, as Royal did, and thereby gain some warmth through the exercise, or to belay from the chockstone, thereby avoiding for the time being the deep ache in the fingers from gripping cold rock and fumbling cold pitons? A toss-up, probably. In any case, the decomposing and shallow cracks at the back of the chimney required all of Royal’s skill to get pitons to hold body weight.
The notch where the spire splits off from the main wall is actually formed by chockstones, and beneath the chockstones a natural tunnel runs from the end of the chimney to the other side. On the first ascent, Salathé had pounded his way up an unfriendly overhang to gain the notch, while on the second ascent Harding had found a way through the tunnel. The burrowing saved considerable time and energy, but the tunnel was barely wide enough to allow passage. Harding was convinced that if he could get his head through, he could get the rest of his body through. Jerry Gallwas squeezed through on the third ascent, and from his account the Harding Hole became legend.
When Royal and I got there, he allowed as how I was smaller than he, so I should lead. It’s one of the oddest pitches in climbing, actually more caving than climbing. To begin with, I left all of my climbing gear behind: hammer, hammer holster, pitons, carabiners, slings, the works. The pitch started out as a conventional squeeze chimney, but as I got a little higher I had to start going sideways. My feet became almost useless, my hands searched for holds to pull on, my chest and hips wiggled and jiggled. By the time I got to the narrowest part my body was horizontal. I had to be careful working my head through the slot in order not to abrade my temples or rip my ears. Wiggle, jiggle, pull, scrunch. My progress was measured by the inch. A subsequent visitor to this spot found that as he progressed his pants were being stripped from his legs like the skin of a shedding snake. By the time he emerged his pants were trailing from his ankles, held only by the climbing rope that he had tied to one ankle. Six or eight feet on, the tunnel widened slightly, and the going was a little easier, but now I was headed in a downward direction until I plopped onto the final chockstone and was able to scramble up to the notch.
It was the only pitch I ever led that Royal didn’t want to follow, so I pulled the rope up and threw it down to him on the other side. We felt greatly relieved to be at the notch. All the claustrophobia of the chimney lifted like a morning mist and with it a lot of the accumulated fatigue. We traversed from the notch toward the valley side of the spire into the healing, redeeming, ever-blessed sun, the very same sun that on other days, other climbs, was often an immortal enemy, draining our desire, leaching our precious bodily fluids into its insatiable maw. We made a few moves, and, suddenly, we saw twelve hundred feet of air beneath our feet. It was like riding an elevator up to the 120th floor of a skyscraper and then stepping out onto the window ledge and looking down. Whee! Hard climbing followed, and our respect for Salathé’s aid climbing abilities was firmly grounded in our own immediate challenges. And then the summit, big enough to stand on, but don’t stray too far. Far below, the valley stretched out in the leisurely afternoon light. Light, like shiny coins, twinkled off the small rain falling from the lip of Upper Yosemite Fall, and a softer light pooled in the meadows and lined the nave of the valley. The sun, dropping in the west, cast a spotlight on the altar, Half Dome.
We want to linger, to be immersed in this place, to hold onto this exquisite and seemingly timeless feeling as long as possible. But we don’t want to bivouac again, and so we rappel to the notch. In our initial planning, we had expected to have to rappel the entire route since it is impossible to climb to the valley rim from the notch, and we didn’t have enough time to hike up to the rim and fix ropes down to the notch, the preferred method. A rappel descent would surely dictate another cold night in the chimney. When we drop into the notch, however, we find that our good buddy, Sherrick, had hiked up and fixed ropes for us, and at the top of the ropes he also left our hiking boots, knowing well the pain from hiking for very long in climbing shoes. Down we go, pitons clanging like cowbells, into the once again encroaching darkness. Switchback follows switchback in a rock-a-bye rhythm, fairy lights beckon in the dark forest, pine scent is joined by mountain laurel (bay leaves), the trail levels out, and here we are in Camp 4.
It’s after nine. Most folk are in bed, but a small campfire beckons. We approach. Harding, for it is he, offers us a beer, and so does Mark Powell. A young woman stands quietly between them. She is wearing a skirt and blouse, and the firelight gleams off her nylon encased and shapely calves and her shiny pumps. What is such a creature doing in Camp 4, with hairy Harding and scruffy Powell, no less? The short answer is that it’s Janie Dean. Why is she dressed like this? She just got off work. She’s the manager of the Yosemite Lodge coffee shop. She likes to climb. She’s a very attractive young single woman who likes to climb. Almost unheard of in those days. She’s vivacious, redheaded, and has a slight gap in her front teeth like the sensuous and seductive Wife of Bath, but I’m too tired to pursue. Besides, Harding, Powell and Robbins are not only older than I am, they’re also more worldly and mature and, for all I can tell, virile. A few quick beers, a synopsis of the climb, and so to bed.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Oct 11, 2009 - 02:11pm PT
thanks for the story... very nice sitting here watching the ball game and glancing, from time-to-time at Denny's picture of climbers on the Lost Arrow.

Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 11, 2009 - 02:45pm PT
Here are some lens distortion corrections on the Chimney photos here and in recent threads. As you can see, a tremendous ice tongue develops in there in the winter.





Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Reply - Oct 16, 2009 - 08:50pm PT
I'm going to bump this rascal thread with one last thought.

There is a lot of trash in the chimney. Multiple ropes, cameras, gloves, old sardine cans, etc. Chad and I were thinking what a pain it would be to haul a big sack up there to take it away. One thought was that if someone climbs this and every time they get to a piece of trash they throw it as far out as they can it would all collect in the first four pitches because it is more or less vertical after that. Then a second party could come up the next day and collect it and rap off after pitch four. Rapping, and if needed, freeing a stuck rope would be easier on these first few pitches. So if anybody is going up there and wants to add a little trash tossing to their climb let me know. Even if I can't do it at that time, possibly other taco standers could do the cleanup.

Zander
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Oct 16, 2009 - 09:56pm PT
Great idea, Zander! Practical and effective.

Restating the obvious too---- it is a big and wonderful step forward that the crux is now protected with trustworthy gear!! If truth be told, up until now, the climb was as Johno Largo says, a 5.10 climb for 5.11 climbers. The crux was actually dangerous and probably should have maybe even had an X rating, even back in 1971.
Jingy

Social climber
Flatland, Ca
Oct 16, 2009 - 11:07pm PT
I'd go up there to clean trash...

Super cool TR...

Thanks for the photos. The pic make me think that I might want to scurry that chimney some time in the future...

Kick a$$!
Zander

Trad climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 14, 2010 - 10:36pm PT
Probably you all new this already but oldguy is Joe Fitschen.
Just found this out on the Castle Rock Spire thread. See his cool report up thread.
Thanks Joe and welcome.
Zander
guido

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Feb 14, 2010 - 11:28pm PT
Great write up Joe, any news on a publisher for your book?????????????????????????
Jan

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Feb 15, 2010 - 06:36am PT

It's interesting how climbs go in and out of fashion. I never thought to ask Frank Sacherer what his favorite climb in the Valley was, but from the amount of comment on the ones he did mention, I would say the first free ascent of this one was his favorite.
Barbarian

Trad climber
slowly dying in the OC
Feb 15, 2010 - 01:06pm PT
That could be a good FaceLift project.

Joe-
Great to see you here on the ol' Taco Stand. And thanks for the great day 35 years ago at Jenny Lake, "showing me the ropes".
gumbyKing

Trad climber
Vancouver, BC
Feb 15, 2010 - 02:26pm PT
great TR, nice pics.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Feb 15, 2010 - 03:18pm PT
Since Ed mentioned Glen Denny's great Lost Arrow shot, I should mention I have a few copies of Glen's lithograph left and they are SIGNED by the photographer!

http://shop.vershke.com/

Here is the poster...
Credit: Ihateplastic


Watusi

Social climber
Newport, OR
Feb 15, 2010 - 04:56pm PT
Yeah had only done the "Direct" on the Arrow, (with "Punk" Roy, and "Swiss" Michi,) and could only just peer into the chimney at times and marvelled at the on-sight free-solo ascent by fellow Woodson climber Greg Cameron, (Eeyonkee) in the '70's...
jstan

climber
Feb 15, 2010 - 08:02pm PT
I read only the first page. The roar of the falls made this climb entirely unlike any other.

Only one comment.

If I would ever go back

I would use goldline.
fosburg

climber
Feb 15, 2010 - 09:27pm PT
The Lost Arrow Chimney is a great route! (also probably a great ice route in the winter all you bay area folks, nod's as good as a wink, say no more!). Nice trip report.
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Feb 16, 2010 - 02:32pm PT
Credit: Jay Wood

Taken 2/13/10

Didn't notice the ice at the time.
nutjob

Trad climber
Berkeley, CA
Feb 16, 2010 - 03:44pm PT
There was a lot of ice in there... I definitely noticed and tried to take pics of it, but I don't think I got the exposure properly set for the darkness in the chimney compared to the brightness all around. Will post my pics whenever I upload 'em.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 16, 2010 - 03:48pm PT
that poster is AMAZING! I have it hanging up in my hallway... next to the "BACHAR" poster...
Denny's poster is very high quality, and the price seemed much too small for something like that, but it is what it is... if you are thinking about it and haven't purchased it yet, do it!
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Feb 16, 2010 - 04:14pm PT
Nice display of Denny photos (some LARGE) at the mountain room bar currently.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Feb 16, 2010 - 05:15pm PT
I agree with Ed!
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 16, 2010 - 07:14pm PT
Here Jay, after Camera Raw techniques in PS C4:
Credit: Peter Haan

You can see that effing ice tongue in there. this is a risky place to be when ice has formed.....
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Feb 16, 2010 - 09:59pm PT
Don't want to add another skeleton!
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Feb 17, 2010 - 02:49pm PT
Wow I missed oldguy's story the first time around.

All the claustrophobia of the chimney lifted like a morning mist and with it a lot of the accumulated fatigue. We traversed from the notch toward the valley side of the spire into the healing, redeeming, ever-blessed sun

The golden age of Yosemite climbing was filled with an impressive group of people who could not only climb but also write eloquently about their adventures.

The founding fathers of American climbing. What a legacy they created.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Feb 17, 2010 - 06:40pm PT
On another thread Ed H. had a wonderful 3Mb file of the Arrow. I just blew it up at Kinko's as a 6' x 3' B/W poster for my office wall... planning expense Wr. IRS...

Ed's post...
http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=618394&tn=0
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Feb 1, 2012 - 07:49pm PT
Day off from work bump, deluxe quality thread.
David Wilson

climber
CA
Feb 5, 2012 - 12:07pm PT
bump to bring the LA chimney back up

Zander - could you post up the rappel route beta from the notch?
Zander

climber
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 6, 2012 - 07:20pm PT
Hi David,
Here is the rappel chart I got from Clint. The first rappel starts 50 feet below the first belay station for the LA Tip route. Let us know how it goes.
Z
Credit: Zander
David Wilson

climber
CA
Feb 6, 2012 - 08:20pm PT
thanks Zander
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
Nov 19, 2012 - 01:35pm PT
Was just reading that this climb is on the 50 Classics list...

Bump!
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