Lost Arrow Spire Direct, Lost Arrow Spire C2 5.8


Yosemite Valley, California USA

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5 Total Ratings
5 star: 60%  (3)
4 star: 40%  (2)
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Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
Oct 1, 2014 - 05:30pm
Oct 1, 2014 - 03:32pm

Can someone give me some info on the gear. Hammerless? Aid gear? Free gear? Rivot hangers? Ect?

My advice would be to purchase the Guidebook of which this page is supplementary. Or buy the other bigwall guidebook that has more recent beta. Amazingly, all of your questions are answered within either one.

Trad climber
Murrieta, CA
Oct 1, 2014 - 03:32pm
Can someone give me some info on the gear. Hammerless? Aid gear? Free gear? Rivot hangers? Ect?
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Apr 8, 2014 - 07:48pm
Could take from a few hours to a week. Depends on your speed, skill, plan etc. Just like a single pitch rock climb could be done in minutes by some, but hours by others.
As my first wall, it took me 3 nights on the wall without fixing bottom pitches. But I fixed two ropes into the notch with the spire, so my partner and I could use them to set up the traverse later. Good luck, it is a super fun route!

Trad climber
Murrieta, CA
Apr 8, 2014 - 04:38am
How many days does it take. I've seen anywhere from two to four
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
Mar 26, 2013 - 01:58am
Wandering and wondering,

Have you gotten to do the thing?

Don't mean to be snide, just wondering.

How'd it go?

So long ago.

I wanted this so badly, with Millis.

So, did anyone ever climb it with him? Tha's my question and I'm stickin' to it.
Paul Martzen

Trad climber
Mar 26, 2013 - 01:55am
I don't remember a lot from my spring 1984 ascent, but the freezing cold winds at night stand out. The other thing is that pitch 12 went free at about 5.11a. I vaguely recall that it was pretty bad rock and I was pleased to get across it quickly.

Social climber
Oct 18, 2011 - 10:16pm
__Climb this route in the fall when the falls are dry and take the falls trail for the approach and get water in the pool at the base of the upper falls- way easier aproach and you dont have to carry water-

did it this way a couple years ago and had an awesome time!__

Mountain climber
Chamonix, France
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   Oct 18, 2011 - 03:24pm
I just climbed this as my first wall and first solo over the past four days. The topo was mostly accurate, but there were some discrepancies with the route.

Approach: pretty grueling, especially with all the water (the seasonal spring up right of the base was dry). I found it easier to traverse left on the slabs after the big dead tree, go under the base of the cliff and end up in an area with brown rock, less angled slabs. Go directly up and the route is cairned after a while. This avoid most of the forested bit and joins the ST route shortly before the viewing platform. It also minimizes the amount of friction slabs, always nice when carrying a 60 pounds haulbag.

I bivied 50 meters away from the base in the obvious spot, but I think it was a mistake as this was very exposed to the wind. Sleeping at the actual base would be more sheltered and probably a better option.

Some individual remarks:

 P2: I didn't find the section after the bolt ladder C2, I had some bomber camalots and offset cams all along.
 P3: I wouldn't have climbed it without my #6 and #5, I think. I thought it was quite desperate (but then I suck at wide stuff). There is a very loose flake on the right side, shortly before the bolt.
 P6: the bad belay bolt has been replaced by a shiny new one on the left. It's backed up by a fixed pin and a nut, pretty bomber now.
 P8: I found the transition from the chimney to the face pretty hard. The one flake that provides both handholds and gear (micro-cams) is about ready to go. The move itself is quite awkward and out of balance, with few handholds until the weight is really on the feet on that sloping ledge.
 P9: there are now rivets just before and after the hole, so no need to mess with tricams. The one move to step off a rivet onto that ledgy thing was the hardest of the route to me. I was completely out of balance and convinced I was about to fall off. In the end, I placed a shitty hook in dirt at the very limit of my reach and semi-crawled on it with an astonishing lack of grace.
 P10: the crack itself wasn't too bad with offset cams, but to go around the triangle flake in the middle was probably the aid crux. I had to use two cam hooks on a couple of crystals, a poor beak (the only one I placed) and a wobbly hook before I got back to a decent crack. It felt C2+ to me. I saw another party behind blow a couple of pieces in the same spot, too. The upper crack (fist/ow) was really rotten, all my cams slipped a bit before settling in the crud when loaded.
 P11: the bottom belay has five good pins in a horizontal crack, so no need to back it up (which would be straightforward anyway with that gorgeous crack on the side).
 P12: the cave has three good pins and a fixed alien. I still backed it up with a red camalot, but that was probably overkill. The "tricky" bit is actually really straightforward with a bomber offset cam just off the belay. The C2+/A2 traverse at the hand had heaps of fixed gear (three heads and two pitons) which all looked pretty solid, so was quite easy. As mentioned in the previous beta, there is a very loose block just before the belay, so better to do some easy free climbing at this spot.
 P13: I was expecting a mellow 5.6 scrambling and ended up on fairly serious ground with really bad rock and mandatory wide cracks. After exploring all my options, I chose the second chimney from the left as it seemed to have the least amount of bad rock.
 P14: where is there a wide chimney? I couldn't find one at all, just some C1+ slabs at the spot indicated.

Overall, a great route, though I wish I had been better at wide cracks before getting on it. I used the offset cams a lot but only hooked four or five times. The beaks weren't necessary in my opinion.

Trad climber
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   Oct 14, 2011 - 06:11pm
Did the route last week (10/14 to 10/17) between storms. We treated water flowing in LA Chimey and made use of the water that Sheik aka JD (Thanks guys) left. No real input on route – some things were different than shown on topo but that keeps it kind of interesting.
• We took small REI dome tent that blew apart on First Error; yes, the wind howls every night. I wouldn’t bother with tent.
• We didn’t use any of brass micro nuts and only had two MasterCam hybrids. We had one old Number 6 forged Friend – 5.5 to 7 inches and a couple Camalot 4s, 3.5s and smaller sizes as recommended by ST. One more bigger piece would have made life easier but who needs that. As others have said, cam hooks, BD talon and claffhanger were handy.
• There is a death block one move from the end of P12; from a fixed pin with weathered sling it appears to be time to abandon aiders and do an easy traverse to wired mashie protecting mantel onto anchor ledge. Just past the pin is an invting 4-foot wide fin with great hand holds on top. The only problem is that the block is just setting on a ledge and moved enough to get my attention. Its not a big deal if you use it for balance but don’t yard on it.
• We had both already done the Tip and rapped from notch and were very happy we did as the rain started when we hit the ground. The bivy site below the notch is narrow but flat and nice. We hauled pigs up the 5.6 to the notch. After bivying at notch we rapped from anchor shown at the top of the 5.6 pitch to the first rap anchor about 10 ft below the P12 anchor ledge - left and below where its shown on ST topo. I think we went ~ 75 ft to the next one then did double-rope raps the rest of the way down. The anchors are great (if you see tatty ones that look crappy at 75 or 80 ft, pass em up). We had one 50m and one 60m rope and the 50m made it on all raps except the last one. There are some rope eating cracks in the upper raps, but they didn’t like the taste of our ropes…
• We left 8 liters of treated water in four 2-liter pop bottles and one ½ gallon duct-taped jug at bivy area at base of climb. In case the bottles spend the winter up there we left them all about 2/3 full to account for freezing.
• Fun climb.
I might try posting some photos later but we probably can’t add anything of value to the great trip report that Jay did earlier this year. I find its hard to keep camera handy on aid routes. PM me if you want.
Fine Print Disclaimer
This info was provided by old fart with short memory, prone to paranoia and hallucinations. Trust it and you’ll likely die.

Sheik aka JD

Trad climber
Sep 15, 2011 - 11:59pm
Yesterday we left 2.5 gallons of portable drinking water at the base; covered under rocks, directly left of the route (where you arrive if you rappel). We attempted the route over the course of a week, however were repeatedly turned back due to thunderstorms w/ lightning, hail and mudslides. The water consists of one duck-taped gallon jug, plus eight to twelve 500 ml. bottles. Enjoy and good luck!

Trad climber
San Francisco
May 20, 2011 - 06:25pm
Anyone got any beta on collecting water near the base of the route? Is it even possible this time of year with the falls raging?
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Feb 24, 2011 - 12:31pm

California- Yosemite
Lost Arrow, Direct Route. On June 21, after 4 1/2 days, Warren Harding and I completed what seemed to us an exceptionally esthetic new route on the Lost Arrow. It follows a nearly vertical line for the entire 1400 feet from base to tip, a line which, for the most part, appears completely blank from the Valley floor. I understand it was Herb SwedIund who conceived of the possibility of this route. He and Warren had climbed some 200 feet of it the preceding autumn but had to turn back. The route is built upon four main features which, besides contributing to the feasibility, lend an appealing continuity. These are three pinnacles and a tower. For the benefit of those not familiar with Yosemite climbing terminology, a pinnacle is an isolated flake (or the beginning of one) with a ledge on top. Consistent with this definition is that if there exists the hint of a notch separating the flake from the main wall (that is if one cannot chimney or lieback right to the summit) then it is called a tower. The first two pinnacles are called First Error and Second Error; they are 400 and 800 feet above the ground respectively. Both have large ledges and are well known to those who have climbed the classic Arrow Chimney route, the deep cleft forming the left side of the Lost Arrow. This is because both may be reached by climbing about 100 feet out of the Chimney. Although not visible from the Valley floor, there is a fine crack system connecting these two pinnacles. Two hundred feet above Second Error is a graceful tower and 200 feet higher is a 30-foot detached flake; we named these two First and Second Terror respectively. (The latter might also be called Last Error). Second Terror is only 100 feet below Salathe Ledge which is on the regular route to the Arrow’s summit via the notch. The route utilizes the right side of each of these features. We bivouacked on First Error, Second Error (twice), and Second Terror (an uncomfortable place relative to the others). There were some blank areas in between which required bolting but the labor of this was considerably reduced by a technique which Warren, with characteristic imagination, had developed. This involved using Chouinard cliffhangers in short bolt holes instead of placing bolts. Bolts were used only as dictated by safety. Thus only 21 bolts were placed although 55 holes were drilled. (A fear of being short of hangers caused us to leave 4 or 5 bolts without hangers on the first pitch; the nuts were left however.) Several factors make the climb an especially enjoyable one. First of all is the setting. The Arrow has long been an attractive challange to climbers and on this route its tip is almost constantly in view. It is next to impossible to put into words the pleasure of watching the nearby falls during the endless belays. It is a comfortable climb. There are no less than five large ledges on which it is possible for two or more climbers to sleep stretched out. (Besides First and Second Error and Salathe Ledge there is one just below Second Error and another just below Second Terror.) Finally, the climbing is continuously interesting; not one of the 14 pitches is fourth class. Though often exhilarating, the climbing is never severe nor horrifying. Technical Notes: NCCS VI, F8, A3; Necessary equipment includes 2 4-inch bongs and 3 Chouinard cliffhangers ground down to fit 1/4-inch bolt holes.
There are several long pitches of direct aid.

Gym climber
Sep 6, 2010 - 07:29pm
Just wondering, did you go into the notch on p13 or continue up the ladder of the original Direct route?

My buddy lead the "ladder" on the direct a couple of years ago, but when he got to the belay, he didn't want to haul off the original bolts there (many on the ladder had already sheared, which he had to hook past), so he rapped and we went into the notch...

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
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   Sep 6, 2010 - 06:29pm
Howdy all -
Just got off this route on September 5 2010, and had a couple notes on the topo...
[ ] the pendulum on pitch 5 seems to go off a bolt below the roof shown. All we found above the roof were chopped studs.
[ ] we did not find bolts next to the "hole" at the pitch 11 belay, but there are good placements for a gear anchor up in the hole (awkward though it may be)
[ ] the only pin we placed was a 5/8 sawn angle to back up a two pin & rivet hanger belay at pitch 10 - the rest of the route went clean with some fixed mashies.
[ ] the wind howls at night up there, but there is a great little rock shelter to stick a stove in on 8
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Jun 24, 2008 - 01:11am
[Click to View Linked Image]
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
Jun 20, 2008 - 11:22am
Great beta and photos here


Big Wall climber
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   Jul 2, 2007 - 04:44pm
We rapped the route. All belays are equipped with new ring anchors or 3+ good fixed pins/nuts with slings and rap biners. The rope falls clean. An excellent route.

1. Rap 180' from pitch 15 to 2 bolt anchor in notch.
2. Rap 80' from notch to pitch 12.
3. From pitch 12 swing to 11 (pitch 11 anchor has no bolts as indicated, 3 bomber pins though).
4. From 11 rap and swing to 10 (pitch 10 belay has 3 bomber pins no bolts).
5. 10 to 9.
6. 9 to 7 (180').
7. 7 to 6 (pitch 6 anchor has many good pins/fixed nuts).
8. 6 to 5.
9. 5 to 4.
10. 4 to 2.
11. 2 to dirt.

Trad climber
Brooklyn, NY
Aug 12, 2006 - 08:57pm
i wrote in response to the posts below: "i would imagine that the rap route sucks, that it's hard to find and devious, marginal bolts, not to be attempted at night, etc etc etc." i haven't verified this for myself but did find the following:


the section by charlie wolf provides some detail, and tells one where to find the rap route (see note on p12). the bolts, however, seemed to be replacement candidates, and the beta is seven years old, so there has been that much more weathering. even the guys at the rock shop in curry village were mystified when i asked about the status of the rap route, so i don't think it has seen any rebolting. expect quarter inch compression jobs.

the approach is indeed straightforward, a bit scary, and exposed (i did the approach with the first of my two loads before becoming ill and having to hump everything back down in a sorry state).

 the first fourth class section (step across drainage) is easier if you start down low and move up to the left as you traverse, particularly if you have a heavy pack. staying high seems like the way to go but it's awkward and the rock wants to push you over backwards -- not good when you're top-heavy.

 the trail across the top of the cliffs is almost always obvious but is sometimes difficult to find where a section of erosion and leaves absolutely covers it up. you need to keep to it or you'll end up sending rocks down. i did this twice after getting off route while trying to stay away from the edge. i'm extremely happy i didn't hurt or kill anyone in the process. when in doubt stay low (ie, moving *towards* the cliff edge, or at least gaining zero elevation -- counterintuitive, but that's how the trail works). if you go high thinking it's the safe road you can end up in sandy, dirty slopes that threaten to send debris (and unwary climbers with haul bags) tumbling over the edge with a misstep. scoping the trail (without a pack) when it becomes unclear or exposed is the best policy. once you know where you are going, go put the pack back on. the dangerously exposed sections of the trail are second class. easy going, but watch where you put your feet.

 the second fourth class section (when the trail ends in a drop off that peers over at the bottom of the falls) was a matter of finding the easiest way up the small band of cliffs above me. i tried a few different options without a pack and found that backing up a bit to the east (maybe ten or twenty meters?) was the best. it's possible i missed something, but i went for the easiest looking section -- one of the few that says "yeah, you can do this without a rope". it's not exposed at all, has pro possibilities if you want to climb it on lead, and there are ample trees above if you want to fix it for getting loads to the base of the climb. this is where the cliff band faces south, not west, and it seemed to be the simplest way to go. i found a huge cairn at the top of the section that was obviously marking a way down.

from there it's more dirty groveling up the slope to the base, but nothing difficult.
Corey Fields

Trad climber
May 22, 2006 - 01:56am
I also wander about the rap route. How is this for a solo? How about haling?

Trad climber
Pioneer, Ca
Apr 12, 2006 - 12:20am
Was wondering what the rappel route was like?
Lost Arrow Spire - Lost Arrow Spire Direct C2 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
Photo: Chris McNamara
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