South Face C1 5.8

  • Currently 4.0/5

Washington Column

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
First big wall and first solo, washington column
Monday June 2, 2014 10:25am
So im a uk climber, 32 years old. Never done a big wall

Originally I decided to climb Washington column via Southern Man_
I planned on climbing for 3 days.

Day 1 to dinner ledge
Day 2 to pitch 7 ( staying in my portaledge )
Day 3 to the top ( spend the night on top )

My wife and I arrived in Yosemite, Thursday may 15, and promptly decided to scout the walk up to the base, wasn't too bad, did really well up until we reached the base of the west face of Washington column, here we made a mistake. The guide book says that when you reach the east face, your to walk left on a zig zaggy trail, this is what we did until we reached the royal arches, realising our mistake we tracked back and up the path till we could see the base. upon reaching the base we were met by two lovely girls who were staying at the base of the prow, they were practising putting up there hired portaledge and were struggling a little, im sure they managed it in the end. Anyway, we headed back down to sort all my gear out ready to take up the next day. We were staying in the Yosemite lodge,( expensive I know) but the missies didn't fancy camping on her own. But I must admit its very nice sorting gear out in a large room!!!.

Credit: jagster

Friday may 16th, set off with all my gear which by the way was far too much!!!! you see, even though I was planning on doing southern man, I came with gear enough to do any of the routes on Washington column.

The plan was to leave all the gear at the top of the first pitch, leaving it fixed and spend the night in the lodge , then to get up on the Saturday and jug the line. As I said we took far too much gear, and it took two trips to get it all up there. The 2nd trip was really tough on the missis but fortunately a really nice guy called shane ( thankyou very much ) came to our rescue and offered to take some of the gear. By now I was getting really knackered so offered shane and another chap called drew, 50 dollars each to carry all the gear right up to the base. After a rest I climbed the first pitch, hauled the gear, then rapped back down, and on down to the lodge. Pheww what a day !!!.

Credit: jagster

Saturday may 17, Game on!!!. so the wife drives me to the ahwahnee hotel car park, and I set of, making good time I reach the fixed rope at around 7/ 7.30 am. climb the rope and get to the 2nd pitch, id set the rope up already at the anchor, so im off climbing in good time, the pitch goes really easy, cleaning and hauling the same. Around 11am I think, im starting the 3rd pitch, but first I have some flapjack and protein bar. Climbing the 3rd pitch to dinner ledge, again was easy c1, same with the cleaning but the hauling was a pain, the bag got stuck in a tree, so I rapped back down and far end hauled till I was free. climbed back up and hauled again.

Dinner ledge.2.30 / 3 pm. Its at this point with no one around that I decided id climb the south face instead. After getting all the gear set up on the ledge. I climbed the 4th pitch and fixed it. but as I was rapping down 2 guys were coming up on to the ledge.

Credit: jagster

My climbing up until then was taking me around 3 hours per pitch (climb,rap,climb/clean,haul)

After rapping back to the ledge it was around 6 / 6.30pm. I asked the guys if they were going to fix as well, but they were too tired and it was getting late. so we just crashed out for the night, I was concerned about being slower than them. so I asked what they'd like to do in the morning, go fist and get in front of me?. But they said that they weren't fast so I should just go ahead in the morning.

Sunday may 17th, Wake up, bagel, start climbing. I get to the top of the pitch and haul. set the ropes for pitch 5, Here I make my 2nd mistake I follow skull queen, realising I've made a mistake, I penji back to the anchors and start again. Pitch 5 goes well. onto pitch 6, goes well till a small cam pops, small fall, no big deal. but I take a moment to see where the 2 guys were, they hadn't got over the kor roof yet????. finish the pitch. I started to notice that my good eye is getting bad, its like looking though fog, Too much sun and cheap sunglasses ( a little worried ). Clean and haul.

Pitch 7. I've been using 2 sets of hybrid aliens for most of the climb and on this pitch I did loads of back cleaning, about half way up there's a bolt and piton,so I rapped back down off these to take all the lower gear out. finish the pitch, clean and haul.

Portaledge. I decided to set up the ledge here,now I've practised putting this up loads, so it should have been ok, yet still I struggled. what seemed like an age, id finally got it set up, only to find that one of my aiders had unclipped from my harness, DOOOHHH !!!!!!!

After a long day I'm absolutely Knackered and just crash out.

Credit: jagster

With my eye no good, losing an aider, and knackered I decided to bail at this point, im not worried as I think ive done an amazing job, First big wall, solo at that. sleep calls me.

Credit: jagster

Monday may 18th. wake up, eat, sort all the gear, take down the portaledge, then begin rapping, not much to say really, got all the way down and started humping loads to the carpark, a very hard day.

All in all I had a fantastic time. People ask were you upset you didn't get to the top. Hell no!!! I breezed up the climb with no big problems, sure I bailed sure I was knackered, but for my first big wall, as well as doing it solo I think I did great!!!! Proud as punch. Yer baby!!!

  Trip Report Views: 3,237
About the Author
jagster is a big wall climber from uk.

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Big Wall climber
  Jun 2, 2014 - 10:33am PT
Proud as punch! HaHa, never heard that before. Good Job, sounds like you had a great time.

  Jun 2, 2014 - 12:31pm PT


Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jun 2, 2014 - 10:40am PT
Great read -- and good effort for a first big wall -- and solo no less. Too bad about the eye, as you were well past the greatest difficulties (although hauling up high is a major pain).
Thanks for a most enjoyable trip report.


Gross Vegas
  Jun 2, 2014 - 10:47am PT
Nice job!!
Fun TR!
Looks like conjunctivitis...
Unfortunately Washington Column is covered with human scat.
Gotta make sure not to touch your


Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
  Jun 2, 2014 - 10:49am PT
Nice try. I have tried to do the Column several times but have never been to the top. Better luck next time.

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 2, 2014 - 10:51am PT
it's about that, getting into it, having fun and learning tricks as you go. good stuff!

ps, you figured out the East face isn't where the trail meets the base. :)

Social climber
Mill Valley, CA
  Jun 2, 2014 - 12:06pm PT
Nice work.

Getting that BD double set up by yourself might have been your biggest feat of the climb.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Jun 2, 2014 - 12:30pm PT
go fist and get in front of me?.

Sounds redneck, or Irish?

Gym climber
Mount Shasta
  Jun 2, 2014 - 12:47pm PT
Hey jagster, it's Shane. Strong work and great to see your report!

Social climber
1187 Hunterwasser
  Jun 2, 2014 - 12:48pm PT

Big Wall climber
Author's Reply  Jun 2, 2014 - 01:23pm PT
hi shane. thanks a bunch mate!!!!! you'll have to put your report on.
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
  Jun 2, 2014 - 02:21pm PT
Glad you had fun!!

Ha. Shane, knott Cheyne. Cheyne charges union shop rates. ;)

Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Jun 2, 2014 - 02:37pm PT
Nice effort, thanks for posting!

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jun 2, 2014 - 02:49pm PT
right on!

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jun 2, 2014 - 03:57pm PT
Muy Bien Hombre!

We bailed a couple years ago after I dropped BOTH AIDERS connected to BOTH JUGS. Doooooh!

Great place up there in the wind with the swifts and the sunshine. Proud bail. You'll get er next time!

Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Credit: micronut
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Jun 3, 2014 - 06:17am PT
Micronut is this man your brother?????


Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 3, 2014 - 07:46am PT
Good report, and DMT has a really good point!!!
Jim Clipper

from: forests to tree farms
  Jun 3, 2014 - 08:38am PT
First 1812, now this.

Oops jumped to conclusions. I bailed,.....2x! First 1776, now this! Keep coming back. (The ropeguns are coming).

Oakland, CA
  Jun 3, 2014 - 10:55am PT
MicroNut posted:

Nice to see the Hudon influence take root in the Valley! I used this style of anchor on a wall for the first time last summer, really dug it. Hard to let go of the cordalette habit, though, which I still used here and there, and which has its advantages as well.

Trad climber
Fresno, CA
  Jun 3, 2014 - 10:33pm PT
Cool TR.
We passed right by you, then walked out with Dru who was phyced about his $50.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 5, 2014 - 03:46am PT
Cool, good job!!!,
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Washington Column - South Face C1 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The South Face of Washington Column.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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Astroman takes a brilliant steep and clean line.
Washington Column - Prow C2F 5.6 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Prow, C2F 5.6
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The line follows a series of small features.
Washington Column - Skull Queen C2 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Skull Queen, C2 5.8
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Skull Queen.
Washington Column - Ten Day's After A3 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Ten Day's After, A3 5.8
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A series of steep corners lead to an exposed face.
Washington Column - Re-animator A3 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Re-animator, A3 5.8
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The steepest route on the Column.
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