Regular Northwest Face, Half Dome 5.12 or 5.9 C1
Avg time to climb route: 3 days
Approach time: 3 hours
Descent time: 4 hours
Number of pitches: 23
Height of route: 2000'
OverviewBecause of the long approach and north-facing orientation, the Regular Route has an alpine quality no found on other popular Yosemite walls. The climbing starts off wandering at a low angle and gradually grows steeper and gets better. The last seven pitches are spectacular. Place one South Face of the Column on top of another one and you will get an idea of the Regular Northwest Face's length and difficulty.
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First ascent historyThe ﬁrst day Royal Robbins, Mike Sherrick, and Jerry Gallwas climbed broken, lower angle initial pitches. A seemingly blank expanse of granite led to the next major features. Robbins overcame this section by placing seven bolts and then making the most audacious pendulum yet completed in Yosemite, on the Robbins Traverse.
Above, the team found heads-up climbing through loose chockstone-choked chimneys. Two committing features, the Undercling Flake and Psych Flake, were especially unnerving and with good reason—years later they would both depart from the wall!
The fourth day presented the most strenuous section on the climb, the Zig Zags. Two hundred feet of difﬁcult nailing up these elegant and steep corners brought the tired climbers to a claustrophobic alcove for the fourth bivy. Adding to their discom-fort that evening was the Visor, an enormous tiered roof that loomed above-possibly blocking passage to the summit.
To their great relief a sliver of perfect granite dubbed Thank God Ledge materialized the next day, leading the climbers under the Visor to easier ground. On June 28, 1957, the evening of the ﬁfth day Robbins, Gallwas, and Sherrick stood on the summit, having completed the most difﬁcult wall in North America.
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