Just got off this a couple of days ago. Mark Hudon's beta is pretty much spot on. I'll add what worked best for me on the hard sections:
-Medium and Large beaks are all you need. I could have gotten by with one of each. You may want to bring doubles of these in case the few that were fixed on the route disappear.
-2 narrow camhooks. I wasn't ever able to fit the wide camhook in anything useful and never needed the micro camhook.
-Even if you plan to nail, no angles are necessary if you have a good selection of hybrid and regular aliens and brass offsets.
-TCU's got me through a few cruxy pin scars, especially the blue-yellow and purple-blue.
I nailed a single #3 lost arrow on the route on P29, the C4 pitch. It felt like the right decision for me to avoid the chance of falling onto my belayer after a string of bodyweight placements and camhooks. This probably brought it down to C3- as after a couple more camhook moves, I was able to get some bomber cam placements.
All the other "crux" pitches went clean and there was minimal fixed gear on the route.
Alice Ng and I climbed this Poor to Average (bottom third), Pretty Good (middle third) and Very Excellent (Upper third) route in the middle of October this year.
We climbed the route all clean and I won't argue the C4 rating except to say that I thought it was going to be more difficult (a newish looking head may have eased the grade a little unfortunately). Cam hooks and Peckers were the key and Totem cams made a lot of the route fast and easy.
The ST rack is good but you only need four beaks, two each medium and large. I wouldn't bother with any pins and we used no tiny, tiny (scary) micro-nuts. An average set of nuts is just fine.
All of the heads (not too many) were in fine shape and all could easily be avoided via clean means, I wouldn't take any.
The new Sloan book shows a few bolts where there are none but it's not really a big deal.
I don't know why there is an intermediate anchor on pitch 29 and feel that it should be removed, it detracts from the beauty of the most impressive corner on all of El Cap.
Hm, very odd. The ledge at P20 is nice and stays dry in bad weather, while the ledges at 19 and 21 were soaked in May 2010. We slept at 19 on that trip and it was pretty uncomfortable and drippy and I was really bummed when we got to the totally dry ledge at 20 the next morning. I don't have a picture unfortunately, but it exists! I have also slept on the right side of P 12 and it was not so good for sleeping, better for belaying. Do-able of course if you were sans portaledge or something, but not a great bivy. I would definitely choose the top of the pillar over the lower right side. Although most people would just sleep on Mammoth anyway.
Just goes to show that everyone sees it in their own way....
Here is some beta that a big wall old school bad ass sent me (who wants to be anonymous)
Just got off the Muir. Old School guys enjoying the camping and what a perfect week.
That rain shed all parties and really spruced the route up. Not a sign of anyone in our "view-shed" and the rock was soooo clean. A big winter, wet spring and the rain of last Tuesday night did us proud. Really delt like an early ascent as there are rarely scars, fixed gear etc.
I am writing you and not posting as I really like to stay anonymous.
A few notes on the current (3rd edition) to the new book/topo.
P 12 - it about 115' from the low ledge to the anchors at Mammoth Terraces. And I think the rt side would be an ok bivy too.
P 19 - at the second pin the topo should show it going UP. Easy place to get confused. Tied off knob is first piece.
P 20 - No ledge whatsoever. I planned to spend the night on the ledge below. Super bivy. At the top of P 20 the leader should set the bag up to lower it to the "Band of Gyspies" ledge. It is about 140' and the bags hit directly on the spot. Nice.
The alternate belays are not so hot... some only with studs and if indicating them as options why not put in the data so people will know that they can link etc? Might be a free climbing situ only?
P 23 - Good ledge isn't. Sloping, portaledge? only. Belay says poor hanging bivy.... excellent and easy to set up super comfy, no problems.
P 27 - 120' which makes a difference if fixing/rapping.
P 32 - starts as a slot. Also, anchors for rapping to bags is immediately rt of "loose flake".
Rack seems big and correct. I didn't use as many larger sizes of offset stoppers as I brought. Nice to have a # 5 here and there.
Climbed this route in (I believe) 1982 with Mike Friedrichs. We both had a Great Time!It was a Gas!! Not a well worn path then; lotta dirt&vegies, and veryfew bolted stations. Great Adventure !!Too many "memorable" pieces to recall all of them;
Think that we hung in the porta-ledges about every night.
Nailer's Dream (not a single hook move).
Somewhere, in the middle, is that mixed free/aid "jungle" pitch.Very exciting lead.
On the 5th day we quit climbing at 1 pm and just hung out, in the porta ledges, at the bolted station near the top of the last dihedral,(at the base of the "crux" pitch,where Robbins placed his "cursed rawl drive"),2700 ft off the ground; what a Sweet Place, watching the Falcons cruise & soar.
Found a Very home made, aluminum hanger on one of the bolts there, with initials "YC" stamped on it.
Topped out early the next day and chose to hang out on top for another night. Did NOT want to give up the Superb Wall Buzz that we had gained in the previous 6 days of flailing & nailing.
Took ourselves out to breakfast the next morning, at the Foul Squeezins, and who is at the next table but YC himself. Invited ourselves over, told him what we'd just done, to which he leaned forward interstedly and said,"Really? I didn't think that anybody did that route anymore...!!"
Highly recommend the Route, the Climbing, the Exposure and the BigWall Nature.
I and a buddy climbed the Muir in 1994. Great climb, very very long. We aided most of it - took us 4+ nights. One of the other comments about pitches 28 and 29 was spot on. The belay at the top of 28 was easy to miss (and my partner did) and we ended up stretching it the belay at 29. Had to extend the belay at the top of 27 and tie a 2nd rope to get to 29. My partner was hanging on copperheads while I tied the ropes together! Yikes it was sketchy. Some of this might have been because it was back in the '94 when beta on the climb was a ton harder to come by than now with the internet. I would expect since then people have put in a more obvious belay at the top of 28.
Anyway, if you climb it, make sure you look hard for the belay at 28.
Other notables - the overhang at pitch 24-25 is crazy exposed. Get ready for an insane haul bag swing when you release it!
p4: there is a little penji on this pitch from about half way up, you change into the right crack(wide).
p6 has many bolts. added for a free climb? mostly qd's and camhooks.
p10 wear your free shoes. i forgot mine at it felt sketchy.
p11 haul from a little below mammoth terraces.
p14+p15 can be linked if you use a 60m rope and the lowest bolts on gray ledges.
p15 brutal pitch in the heat, link if cool.
p19 after the c3 there are a few easy free moves that make it go quick.
p21 is a real bitch. see comment for pitch 26.
p26 let your partner lead this, unless its your girlfriend. then lead it no matter what ;)
p30 there is a bolt close to the anchor.
p32 mostly 5.6, only 1 move of c2. belay at a big block sittig on that ledge
p33 i couln't find a 3rd class way. rather 5easy, and we were happy to use a rope.
lots of tickmarks on a few pitches as of today.
anchor 27 does NOT have new bolts. shitty looking smc's. no idea why they were not replaced.
anchor 9 does not have bolts - just like anchor 30 and 31. not a problem tho, perfect natural gear.
a 70 meter rope reached from the top of 6 to little john, a 60 probablz won't.
pitch 24 looked hard when i cleaned it, on the lower part. upper part more like c1f. pitch 25 is not bad i thought easier than 23.
he bivy on the 26 is awesome ... stay there!
pitch 28 requires big cams. the rack beta of supertopo is quite often wrong on this route.
the climbing to get to heart ledges seemed hard and scary, especially with aproach shoes, maybe i went the wrong way.
the climb is really really good. totally awesome .just do it!
Jacolelcap, your post is very much appreciated, but the .gif that comes up on the link is pretty much not legible as scanned. Enlarging the image makes it no different or worse. If you have an easy way to enlarge the image before scanning, or scanning at higher dpi, then post again at exactly the same link, it would be very much appreciated. Thank you and we hope you enjoyed that particular trip up El Cap!
I did first ascent of direct finish to The Muir Wall as a finish of Quo Vadis on Nov 20th 2002.
After initial few beaks (1 or 2 fixed) and few hooks moves (A2+ or A3) you reach base of the overhang. First of the 4 rivets is chip aluminium anchor close to the top of the hollow block. I used it because of lack of tension (at least lower) and simple easy placing. Since bad durability and shorter life, will be not bad idea to put another regular rivet just 3 inches apart. Of course hanging from higher one. Especially it is just above the slab and this variation will be used in future more frequently as the direct finish to The Muir Wall. My concern.
After 4 rivets there is unnecessary bolt. At night I did’t see good placement behind me, however the final move/placement from under summit/edge block is well protected. Top out is even greater then on Zodiac or Down. In a case of bad weather this var. I think is easer and more secure.
Anybody out there done or know anything about the direct finish variation for The Muir Wall? I watched (from the meadow) somebody skip the pitch 31 tension traverse and punch straight up through the roofs last fall and hope to get some beta on this cool way to finish the climb. Thanks.
You can fix it after pitch 4 and 5 too.
After 4 is no more then 50m (40?) to 2-nd belay of Quo Vadis (many old 1/4 and 2 new bolts) and 55m to ground.
After 5 you can use 3-rd belay of QV (close to Muir) or Dorn Direct to the left, but you need 3 rops. So with 2 60m ropes you must fix only from 4 or 6.
If you have one 70m rope, it is posible (not sure) to fix from Muir 5 to QV 2. If rope is few m short, you can still have extra 5m of 60m second rope.
We just did the Muir two weeks ago and I've done Zod twice. I'd say the crux aid on the Muir is definately easier then the crux aid on Zod. However much of the difficulty on Zodiac depends on how much fixed gear there is, alot of the crux moves are often fixed. The crux pitches on Muir didn't have any fixed gear aside from a couple of fixed heads...which is really cool. To climb either route clean (do-able, read below) is probly near the same difficulty C4. The C4F pitches on the topo didn't have fixed gear so it was more like A2 for us.
It's also a bit less dangerous because you don't have ledges like the Black Tower to fall on under the hard sections. I think I placed less pins on Zodiac, but the Zod placements were smaller and more dubious, beaks and tipped out sawed offs, while Muir is all pretty sinker.
The 1st crux listed on the topo p23, went clean foe us with tiny brass offset nuts and camhook moves. Not to bad but you might zipper your nuts if you blow it.
The second crux is a 20ft thin seam at the top of the pitch (p25), it is about 4-5 hard moves. It takes some good arrows, and more micro nuts, and cam hooks work good. Clean fall.
The third crux is p29-30. These placements are angle scars in a corner. Sometimes Alien Offsets are bomber in the scars, sometimes not. Take care not to whip on your partners head.
There are maybe 4 fixed heads up high on the route (p26 + p30), that look like they are going to be there for a while, but I'd add a small handfull of heads (and head chisel)to the gear list.
Not really any need for a bolt kit on the route. All belays except for 30 have at least one fatty bolt and bomber natural pro, and the very few lead bolts (2 or 3) are all good with hangers.
The Muir is a hell of a lot more work then Zodiac, for obvious reasons. After all the tough hauling, the crux aid sections up high will feel like a casual stroll through the park.
We used our 5" piece about 10 times. The 1 1/4" and 1 1/2" sawed angles were not used. Pitch 29 took a couple of each 5/8" & 3/4" sawed angles. We used a single cliff hanger hook twice, only on pitch 30. Lots of grass to deal with low on the route, but the upper dihedrals tend to be cleaner.
Soloed this at the end of last season, great route, and as info for those thinking of it:
I think the 6" piece is vital, esp. if you are solo or afraid of chimneys, I was both. I climbed clean and hand placed only one small angle. Micro cams and swedges or equivalent. I only have the blue black offset alien but this was useful.
P25 – pitch is the crux of the route for sure
P29 - probably C3 as there is a good cam half way. I placed one small angle by hand on this pitch.
P31 - you can go lower than you think if the obvious penji seems to hard, and then swing into a small groove and hook all the way to the second penji (which is more like a tension traverse) Hooks probs C2
eman, Use the SuperTopo with the updated info below from Chris. There at least one short wide section from p8 to Heart that a 4.5 Camalot helps with, on p4 keep left and traverse early, not up the more obvious cracks straight up. Other than that it's pretty straightforward. Be ready to place gear at the belays - either to back up bolts or for primary pieces. One each sawed 5/8" and 1/2" angles are useful; maybe substitute for one each full length.
My friend Matt and I topped out on this route on Sept. 8, '03. We both had a great time. The 1st beta I'd like to through out is that pitch 9 was about 110 ft. and pitch 10 was about 120 ft. so I believe they would NOT link with a 60m rope and a standard belay.
2nd, I would like to say that if your running a bit late in the day and you have not made all of the first 10 pitches, you can rappel quite easily from the top of 9 to the Heart Ledge rappel station one pitch shy of Heart Ledge and come back the next day to complete 10. Next we only nailed 5 pins on the route; one LA on pitch 25 and 4 pins on pitch 29 (2 LA, 1 sawed Angle & 1 pecker). The rest of the route went at a reasonable C3 or less. Pitch 30 has 3 new fixed heads which brought it down to C2F.
Something else to note is that there was a new bolt anchor above & on the right side of the poor block anchor at the top of 32. Plus that anchor is way right of the last rim move and it is directly above pitch 30 (an easy free hanging rappel straight back to 30).
What a route!!!
A little grassy, but a gem none the less!
CORRECTIONS TO TOPO IN <A HREF='http://www.supertopo.com/bigwalls/yosemite/bigwalls.html'>YOSEMITE BIG WALLS: SUPERTOPO</a>
These updates to the topo come from Erik Sloan who did us all a HUGE service by replacing many of the anchors and lead bolts on this climb. All anchors are bomber.
P19 - write C2+ next to “thin nuts”, show pitons at the two penji points
P20 – show just one bolt in pitch and remove the false belay symbol
P21 – write “no fun” under C1+ and write "hidden crack" right above 4.5"
P22 show bolt at belay 22
P23 – remove bolts on midway ledge, put note “route significantly harder from p23 to top”
P24 – pitch is 140’ long, show 2 bolts at belay and remove “belay takes”, change pitch rating to A2 or C3
P25 – pitch is C4 or A2+, show another overlap above roof at top of pitch, write “reachy” just before belay
P26 – write “A2+ funky” instead of “A2 loose” just above where it currently says C2 and remove C2 rating. Correct ledge size at belay 26 is 1x5’ and its actually only an ok bivy for 1
P29 - mention sawed angles needed at beginning of pitch. show lead bolt leading to belay.
P30 - show bolt next to A2. write 4.5" above A2. cam sizes need on pitch are .5-4.5"
P31 - put 5.8 under first penji
P32 - show bolt under C2 right next to crack. Show 5.7 mantel above C2. mention that anchor 32 is poor and should be backed up.
notes for rack: 6" piece not necessary. add 1 1/4" and 1 1/2" sawed angles to rack.
We did bivi on top of pitch 19, with ropes fixed to 20. And I did pitch 21 with the horrible 5,10 squeeze next morning mixed with free and aiding. I spend a long time on that one, so I asked for the next one to get my psykce up again. Next bivi was on top of pitch 23. The pendulum was nice but it would feel better with some more gear in first.
Pitch 24 is super. To bad we only had 4 small La's. but with backcleaning once did I ok.
Pitch 25 is god but, thoose flakes are loose and crispy. Maybe worth making an note in you guidebook.
We spend the night on Belay 26, wich is a god bivi
Pitch 27 to 30 is great !!!! with pitches without fixed gear. Super.
On belay on pitch 28 did I wish for moore and bigger stoppers. I did place one Camalot .75 as biggest item and some small aliens. At least I did make an clean belay, but we did use the hammer early on pitch 29.
Pitch 30 did have some fixed gear, and it was 2 bolts there after the roof. We left the pigs at 30 and did the pendulum in the dark. Finding the way on pitch 32 in the dark was unpleasant, since both headlamps did die out. I did howeever put one in my pocket on my fleece so we did get up.
Mill Valley, CA
Sep 2, 2001 - 01:21pm
Pitches 7 and 8 can be combined on a 60m rope, which is recommended because of limited natural gear placements at the top of pitch 7.
Em Holland and Bruce Bindner
Mill Valley, CA
Aug 12, 2001 - 01:25pm
In May 2001 the following bolts were placed during an ascent of Muir Wall. All placements were at existing belay stations, to supplement or replace existing old quarter-inch bolts. All drilling was done by hand. No existing bolts were removed except the one on Dorn Direct P3, which pulled out easily by hand:
Dorn Direct, P3 belay anchor, removed old 1/4" x 1.25", placed one new 3/8" x 3.5 " Rawl 5-piece stainless with a 40Kn stainless hanger. Patched hole with rock dust & Seam Grip. Note: this station can be used as a rappel route to descend to the ground from P5 or P6 of Muir Wall, with three 60m ropes.
We were forced to descend to the ground from partway up Muir P4 using this rappel route during a hail/thunderstorm. (The normal route was seriously clogged with fixed ropes from other teams) We replaced the old bolt two days later when we jugged back up.
P22 anchor, placed one new 3/8" Rawl 5-piece stainless bolt on right wall of dihedral.
Muir Wall, P23 anchor, placed one new 3/8" Rawl 5-piece stainless bolt on face to right at the slab belay to supplement two existing 1/4" bolts at this location.
P24 anchor, placed two new 3/8" Rawl 5-piece stainless bolts on face to right of alcove (existing old bolts in this location not marked on SuperTopo).
Muir Wall, P27 anchor , noted existing new 3/8" on face to left of dihedral, not marked on SuperTopo.
Muir Wall, P28 belay anchor, placed one new 3/8" Fixe stainless bolt on face to left of dihedral.
Muir Wall, P29 belay anchor, placed one new 3/8" Fixe stainless bolt on face to right of dihedral to supplement numerous scary old 1/4" anchors of various vintages.
Other notes on the route:
Muir Wall P24: we observed a typewriter-sized block on the narrow ledge at lower right of belay alcove, which appeared to be totally detached and loose. Care should be taken by subsequent parties to avoid dislodging the block.
Muir wall P25: Supertopo calls this the 2nd crux of the route, C4F or A2. We encountered no fixed gear on this pitch. (Has this been cleaned out by free-climbing teams??)
Muir Wall P26: there is a knife-edged flake between the section marked "A2 loose" on Supertopo and the belay ledge. Care should be taken to protect the rope from cutting over this edge while the second is jugging (our rope suffered sheath damage on lead even though Bruce back cleaned that entire section and protected the edge with duck tape).
Muir Wall P30: Considered adding a bolt to this belay station, but instead fixed an overdriven sawed-off piton to supplement the existing fixed pin.
Muir Wall P30/32: As recommended in Supertopo, we left our haul bag anchored at P30 (fixed pins) and hauled to the rim later after doing the traversing pitches 31 and 32. To the right of belay 32 (as shown on Supertopo) there is a huge block directly above where the haul bag sits on P30. This is the most logical place to to set up for hauling, however the block appears to be detached, and possibly unstable. Rather than place gear around or on this potential death block, we anchored the station by extending our 60m ropes to trees on the rim above.
NOTE FROM CHRIS MCNAMARA
Em and Bruce did a great service which all climbers should be thankful for. To find out how you can support bolt replacement, visit the <a href='http://www.safeclimbing.org'>American Safe Climbing Assn. web site</a>
The Muir is one of the few really classic moderate routes on El Cap that does not receive tons of traffic. Even during June there are rarely many parties on the first third of the route or the last third. the middle third of the climb is shared by many popular climbs (Shield, Triple Direct) and usually has people on it.
How difficult is the Muir Wall? Most of the pitches are C1 and C2. At its hardest, it is about as difficult as Zodiac (A2). The main difficulty of the Muir is its length. Because if traverses so much, it may be the longest route on El Capitan. Also, because there are few pitches rated 5.7-5.9, almost everything must be aided, which is time consuming. Because the Muir Wall is soo long, it is reccomended for teams that can move fast. If you can do The Nose in 2 bivies the Muir will probably take you four.
The Muir Wall is one of El Cap's greatest natural lines.
Photo: Tom Frost
*What is "Route Beta"?
It's climber slang for information or tips on a route as in, "what's
the beta on that route?" As a service to fellow climbers we ask SuperTopo
guidebook users to post tips and updates to this website if they have relevant
information to share after a climb.