Trip Report
Direct route on Washington Column TR
Thursday May 8, 2008 3:58pm
October 7th 2007

Last fall Tyler and I decided to have a go at the Direct route on Washington Column. Once a popular route it has since faded and for good reason. We had no Topo, just the memory of the old description in Ropers green book. The direct garners a III 5.7 rating read "old school 5.7”. We started at around five in the afternoon.
The route started from the 3rd class ledge system that leads up to the line of demarcation splitting the arches and the column. Bulging puke starts to the left about 60 feet I think. I lead 3 200 ft wandering pitches with just a touch of 5.7, This brought us to a ledge with a tree we dubbed “Helper Monkey Ledge”. IT was dark and we had a monkey party at our perch hundreds of feet above the valley floor.
Pitch off of Helper Monkey Ledge leading to Lunch Ledge:
Morning, The wine is gone and climbing has to ensue! I lead up and left on chimneys and corners traversing to a bolt and hard offwidth I think is named “Offenbacher chimney”? The old book said it was 5.6, well as I soon learned Don’t take the book to heart. I make the Lunch Ledge and its around 9:00 am. Tyler wasted no time taking the next lead the notorious Fat man Chimney 5.7b. Toward the end of the grunting and the rope I hear “Slack, Take, F*#k, AHHH. He makes the belay. I follow with the Mini Pig on and have a brutal time. I notice the sporty runouts between the ancient pins and Thank god T led it. At the belay Tyler explains that the last pitch may well have been the hardest pitch he has ever lead. We laugh and I take the lead on the “Friction Step” Pitch, Starting by a tree on a large ledge I notice a big right facing corner, go for it and then back off of it moving further out and right to a tremendously exposed face/friction move into a crack, then 80 or so feet of loose rock to the belay.
All the while up to this point the rockfall was moderate. Rope drag was a constant problem and following pins and aiming for the Great Chimney was only working so well. Communication was non existant due to wind. This made the long wandering pitches difficult on both of us.
A few pitches that are blocked from my memory, read: SCARY! Voila, The Great Chimney. This was going to suck. T led the 1st pitch. A huge 6-foot Death Spike lay right under the start of the chimneying. T was apprehensive about the pro and so I told him I would tell him where to put it when he got there. No problem he says. 25 feet later I’m yelling purple Camelot, 6inches higher, yeah now push! First piece is in, now comes the pin and then squeeze technique.
The chockstone belay. Now That the famous picturesque first pitch of the Great Chimney was down it was my turn to lead the second. Steep, Loose and filled with ancient soft iron pitons. I commit to the kitty litter, wandering up this chute thinking; it’s not a Death chute, it’s not a Death chute.
Pitch 2 of the Great Chimney
I make it up to a very large tunnel made by a chockstone.
Then a 2nd class forest. Its now around five thirty, where has the time gone? T and I decide there is no way we are going to bivy on this route twice and begin the summit assault.
In the roper book it mentions the forest and that there are many options on exit pitches, all around 5.7. We take stock and decide “Were on the direct, may as well go directly to the summit. These last 3 or so pitches involved everything in the book and some 5.10. Finally, after T runs it out 75 feet on suspect rock in the dark He yells, “I see North dome”. Sweet, I take one look behind me and see the campfires 1800ft below and think “Grade III 5.7 my ass”. We topped out. No idea how many pitches, beat up worse than the grade V we had done together and all alone on the Column’s summit.
A huge bonfire and much ranting to folks on the RNWF of half dome and we were asleep.
This was a fantastic chimney fest and definitely much harder than the Royal Arches route. 16 or so odd pitches with its fair share of bad rock. Read: A must Do!
Peace Mucci










  Trip Report Views: 1,235
mucci
About the Author
mucci is a trad climber from The pitch of Bagalaar above you.

Comments
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mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Author's Reply  May 8, 2008 - 04:18pm PT
sorry bout the size I'll do better next time
mucci
ec

climber
ca
  May 8, 2008 - 04:26pm PT
"A huge bonfire..."

You guys aren't responsible for this, are you?

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.html?topic_id=591178

LOL!

Cool post...

 ec
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Author's Reply  May 8, 2008 - 04:30pm PT
it wasnt that big but gave us warmth and energy for the jingus descent. Thats another story!
Willoughby

Social climber
Truckee, CA
  May 8, 2008 - 05:11pm PT
Nice! I especially like the impeccable route-finding logic: “Were on the direct, may as well go directly to the summit."
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  May 8, 2008 - 05:28pm PT
wow, great TR mucci, go on you guys!
Mike.

climber
  May 8, 2008 - 05:56pm PT
Killer report. Great style!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  May 8, 2008 - 06:33pm PT
Great trip report! Thanks for sharing.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  May 8, 2008 - 07:32pm PT
Yeah, with no topo, you arrive in that clearing just below the exit pitches and it's like "Let's make a deal, choose a crack"

Except they all look hard! (Maybe one isn't but having done the route twice, I haven't found the 5.7 way out yet)

I seem to remember a downclimb down a slab near a big tree and around the corner to the outerface sometime before the great chimney.

PEace

Karl
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  May 9, 2008 - 12:01am PT
Here's a version of your topo with the belay numbers cleaned up:



Is this overlay close?

murcy

Gym climber
sanfrancisco
  May 9, 2008 - 12:53am PT
that looks like so much fun. thanks for the tr and topo!
GoMZ

Trad climber
Eastern Sierra
  May 9, 2008 - 01:59am PT
Awesome! Thanks for posting
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Author's Reply  May 9, 2008 - 02:01am PT
hey clint nice job on the red line! At pitch 6 on the topo we broke up and right a few hundred feet to the 1st 3rd class forest and the start of the G Chimney. I am pretty sure it is easily recognizable from curry. Your line seems more direct but hey its a big face. The whole climb seemed like up and right after pitch 6. We followed pins on almost every pitch but there are ALOT of variations that look killer all the way up so It was tough. Roper got it right

Karl I read your tr before we rocked this thing and YOu summed it up perfectly, nice work , next time hit up the Helper monkey hotel!
mucci-
Zander

climber
  May 9, 2008 - 10:23am PT
mucci,
This report is so cool. thanks,
There will be lines on it this weekend for sure.
Z
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  May 9, 2008 - 12:39pm PT
Thanks for the memories. I did this route 30 years ago with Mark Stockhus. I remember a suitcase size block at the top of the first belay in the Great Chimney. It seemed ready to go. Was it still there? Also remember old ring angle pins in the back of the fat mans chimney. I hope they are still there for all to appreciate.

Best

lars
F10 Climber F11 Drinker

Trad climber
e350
  May 9, 2008 - 01:33pm PT
Cool TR, I remember always looking at the route in the green Roper guide and thinking that would be fun but never got around to it. guess I should have,it's never to late
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  May 9, 2008 - 07:37pm PT
Thanks for the adventure TR. I used to do this route all the time back in the sixties and seventies, usually unroped with North Dome South face. I actually did it again with Inez Drixelius back around 1999.

Your Offenbacher chimney is actually called Reigelhuth Chimney (after the climber of that name) and isn't really a chimney but multiple cracks. Another point, Instead of Fat Man Chimney, you can go slightly right at that point to gain Charlie Brown Chimney which is 5.8. It has a slightly shifty chockstone it. This variation is much more interesting and is on great rock, especially compared to Fat Man which is coarse, granulated and bottomed out. Lastly there is a really cool easy unobvious way out after the "2nd class" forest at the top, RR and I did it once but before then and every since then I have taken the other 3 options, since I could not remember RR's trick.

Best PH
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
  May 9, 2008 - 11:55pm PT
Very nice TR! I've always wanted to do this route
just for the adventure. Thanks for the topo! I
cleaned up your topo for use later. Hope you don't
mind. Here's the version I redrew...

L

climber
California dreamin' on the farside of the world..
  May 10, 2008 - 12:02am PT
mucci,

You had me laughing and cringing the whole way up.

Thanks for the great entertainment!
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  May 13, 2008 - 09:07pm PT
great topos, photos, pics stories!


added this to the obscurities page

http://www.supertopo.com/topos/yosemite/obscurities.html
WBraun

climber
  May 13, 2008 - 09:39pm PT
I remember onsight free soloing this route one winter day in the month of February. Higher up on the route I became bored with the climbing and continued to harder terrain.

It then became more and more sporty and thus I became happy.

I never have seen a topo for this thing, I just looked at the wall and eyeballed it and went.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  May 13, 2008 - 09:56pm PT
Since this is the definitive WC Direct thread, I thought I'd link my harrowing solo trip report.

http://www.yosemiteclimber.com/Washington_Column_Solo.html

Peace

Karl
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  May 13, 2008 - 10:22pm PT
Yes, good times!
Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
  May 13, 2008 - 10:31pm PT
Hey Steelmnky, what program did you use to draw that topo on? Just curious, I like it.
ct

climber
CO
  May 13, 2008 - 11:01pm PT
Very proud. Thanks for posting up your adventure.

Karl, I resonate with the piece you wrote on this climb. I've read it several times, and the photos here make the retelling all the more vivid.

Cheers, gentlemen.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Feb 15, 2009 - 01:42am PT
bump
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Feb 15, 2009 - 03:37am PT
WBraun :

" I remember onsight free soloing this route one winter day in the month of February . . . I just looked at the wall , eyeballed it and went . "
( my edit )
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Feb 15, 2009 - 12:00pm PT
Good TR both Mucci and karl. This one just got taken off my "to do" list for some reason i don't think I'm going to get around to it.
Al_T.Tude

Trad climber
Monterey, CA
  Apr 8, 2009 - 10:14pm PT
The hand drawn topo on this thread agrees virtually 100% with Roper's description in his '71 guide.
>
Using both will help considerably with routefinding.
>
Topo reads, "Offenbach Chimney?".
Roper notes this as "Riegelhuth Chimney" (his spelling corrected).
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Apr 8, 2009 - 10:46pm PT
Nice job!
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Apr 8, 2009 - 10:53pm PT
Nice story Karl.
steelmnkey

climber
Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
  Apr 8, 2009 - 11:09pm PT

Here's the topo redraw I posted back then...it was wiped out when I changed ISPs. I would have fixed it in my post above, but it won't let me.


mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Author's Reply  Apr 8, 2009 - 11:36pm PT
Steely, that's is a great looking topo! It's nice to see it in a legible form, Clint's (red-line) seems more accurate as to the line, My topo seemed to trend right, but with your hard work on the redo, It will be hard to get lost.

Great route once again, Many thanks for the Topo!

Mucci


Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Apr 8, 2009 - 11:41pm PT
You Guys are just bumping my thread to get the slander and bile off the front page@@!!

Fair enough.

Oh god, a topo has arrived. How will anyone manage to get lost and epic now??

Actually, having a topo will ensure MANY more people will get lost and epic

No doubt

Have fun!

I'll probably have to go back soon myself. I have a "friend" or two that are gluttons for em, fun

Peace

Karl

Note that off - route corner marked on the topo. Yup, Been there, climbed that. See above
Crimpergirl

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Apr 9, 2009 - 07:16pm PT
Nice photos and TR.
kev

climber
A pile of dirt.
  Apr 9, 2009 - 07:51pm PT
Yo Brah!

So I've had a few 'suggestions' given to me for our adventures next week. Funny - this was mentioned but YOU'VE ALREADY DONE IT BASTARD - BAGALAAR!

Nice topo.

Hope you're keeping Bugs happy..Rain will clear but not as soon as I'd like - oh well....

kev
Studly

Trad climber
WA
  Apr 13, 2009 - 11:51am PT
This is probably not a good early season climb, as it drips water?
Peter Haan

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Apr 13, 2009 - 01:05pm PT
No, it is a good early season climb. The Arches have quite a bit more water on them than this route. You won't be disappointed
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Apr 25, 2014 - 05:52pm PT
It's about time to bump a classic line and some stand-up dudes having fun on it.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Apr 25, 2014 - 06:42pm PT
Someone should get on it now, this weekend! Guaranteed more adventure than you expect!
westhegimp

Social climber
granada hills
  Apr 25, 2014 - 07:06pm PT
Sick!

Nice TR. I missed it the first times.

Thanks
Wes
Daphne

Trad climber
Northern California
  Apr 25, 2014 - 07:09pm PT
Just enough time has passed since Jaybro and I did it that it is feeling like a fun adventure that bears repeating.
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