Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1

  • Currently 5.0/5

Half Dome

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
Half Dome with my daughter
Thursday July 14, 2011 6:18pm
A fun time with my 12yo daughter on her first big wall (RNWF):


Credit: Jim Herson

  Trip Report Views: 25,289
Jim Herson
About the Author
Jim Herson is a climber from Emerald Hills, CA.


  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:27pm PT
All I can say is .................OMG !!

Thanks for that TR !!

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:54pm PT
As someone with a daughter I have to say this is so saturated in love and good parenting I almost can't stand it. Way to go Dad! Just an amazing experience to have been able to share with her. And what a beauty - good thing she'll be more than capable of dealing with the boys. If anything she's going to have a hard time finding boys who aren't intimidated. Hang on to your hat though dude, teen years will make HD look like a sport climb even with good girls.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:28pm PT
Some 12 yr. old! Some dad! Great tr.

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:29pm PT
Damn! Puts me to shame....

Released into general population, Idaho
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:33pm PT
Staggering coolness factor.

  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:38pm PT
So cool. Thanks.

Oakland, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:42pm PT
Bookmarked it. Wasn't enough. Printed it out. Wasn't enough. Framed it and hung on wall. Still not worthy enough praise for your TR. It's now being tattooed on my abdomen with images included.

Seriously, as the dad of a 2 yr old daughter, you've thrown stars into my eyes and given me big, wild dreams.

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:44pm PT
I approve of your parenting style. She'll be able to tackle whatever life throws at her!
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:47pm PT
this is so amazing and cool!

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:34pm PT
Kara, WOW.....way to go!!..... I'm impressed..
ps..Love your smile..(-;

Jim, wish i could turn back the clock.. and have a Dad like cool.


edit..... nopales & bean tacos...yum.....


The Granite State.
  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:54pm PT
Dude! Wow.
adam d

  Jul 14, 2011 - 06:55pm PT
Awesome! Kara's big grin is priceless...

Gym climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 07:02pm PT
Captain...or Skully

Boise, ID
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:48pm PT
Words cannot express how cool this is. Fricken Badass youngun.
Handy to have a trained rope gun around. WOOT!

Social climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 07:10pm PT
This was the best thing (and one of the few things) I have read on Supertopo for over a year. Adventure, excitement, learning new things, being with those you enjoy and best of all - climbing.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jul 14, 2011 - 07:18pm PT
Wow, way to go!!!! TFPU!
Kurt Ettinger

Trad climber
Martinez, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 07:24pm PT
Now THAT is what its all about!

Social climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 07:27pm PT
Two days ago I finished the Regular Route on Half Dome with a partner only after training my ass off for 2 months and getting into the best shape of my life. It was the hardest climb of my career. And I'm 26.

Damn, bro.
Brian Biega

Truckee, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 07:27pm PT
Great report and shots. Way to go!

Cheers, Brian

Bishop and Redlands
  Jul 14, 2011 - 07:28pm PT
The best trip report I've ever read.

Gym climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 07:38pm PT
Kara for President!!!

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
  Jul 14, 2011 - 07:59pm PT

I nominate you for Parent of the Year.
I nominate Kara for Young Adventure Sport Explorer of the Year.

Truly inspiring all the way around.

In this TR there is proof the species still has it: the right stuff.



You should think about adding your TR to this site.

Oh, and seconding Murcy's nomination, too.

Trad climber
Station Wagon, USA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 10:10pm PT
World's greatest dad and world's most awesome daughter! I think I was still riding bikes, drinking Yoo-Hoo and playing with legos at her age, which I still sort of do today. She has managed to impress a few thousand grown ups on the internet. Like she cares. She's 12!

I feel bad for your neighbors. Keeping up with the Hersons must be a toilsome endeavor.

Thanks for sharing. Best TR ever!

Kurt Ettinger

Trad climber
Martinez, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:01pm PT
One question Jim. How did you (her,wife) decide she was ready?

Just thinking ahead to my son and daughter (3 and 5 yrs) who are still a few years out yet!

Trad climber
going big air to fakie
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:02pm PT
Best TR ever... sometimes I wasn't sure it was real... but of course it was, absolutely amazing. Your daughter is adorable and motivated with joy for climbing!

Trad climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:06pm PT
i want to see the purity ball tr

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:11pm PT
Anybody want to buy some gear?

No point in using it any more if 12 year old girls can climb Half Dome!

Big Wall climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:14pm PT
Jim, thanks for sharing that! I am stoked for the two of you. What a great experience for the two of you to share. Kara rocks! I love the shot of her leading the bolt ladder.

edit* I think the shot of her holding the burrito is the best one. Love the view of Snow Creek in the background!

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:18pm PT
Incredible work, Kara! Nice story telling, Jim!

Trad climber
Boise, ID
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:22pm PT
Wow!!!! Go Kara!!!!!!!!!

Trad climber
LA LA Land
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:24pm PT
Wow! Coolest TR ever! What more can one say?
dirt claud

Social climber
san diego,ca
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:26pm PT
Man, what a killer TR, very awesome, glad you guys had a great time.
that poop tube design was halarious

The Wastelands
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:43pm PT
That picture of her crossing Thank God Ledge was awesome!

Way to go girl!
Tung Gwok

Mountain climber
South Bend, Indiana
  Jul 14, 2011 - 08:44pm PT
Truly amazing.

Trad climber
Pioneer, Ca
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:01pm PT
SO SWEET!!! :-)

Big Wall climber
Santa Rosa, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:04pm PT
coolest TR I have ever seen! way to go!

Trad climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:07pm PT
Man - I wish I had had a dad like you! Way to go.

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:08pm PT
LMAO at the best poop tube ever and the TGL discussion! Best trip report ever for sure! Proud all around! Proud send, proud dad, and proud daughter!

Social climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:09pm PT
Wow, thanks for sharing!

in the land of the blind
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:16pm PT
A most excellent TR!

Go Kara!

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:20pm PT
TR of the year!
Awesome, love the beautiful smiles.

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:39pm PT
I've never seen a kid with a bigger smile than hers! Awesome!

She will be the next Lynn Hill for sure!


P.S. Was this the youngest ascent??
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:38pm PT
This is unbelievably cool!

Trad climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:41pm PT
This is so rad! Good on ya!

  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:51pm PT
Ha ha ha ha!, Awesome!!

El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:53pm PT

Your daughter looks like an "old soul". So, chances are, she climbed all those routes in a past life!
Congrats to her nonetheless!

Great job, great photos, great tr!
Thanks for posting,
Super inspiring!
Tony Puppo

  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:51pm PT
Beautiful, TR, family and tribute to Jeff.

Trad climber
Imperial Beach California
  Jul 14, 2011 - 09:51pm PT
Totally awesome!!


Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 10:04pm PT
So what's next for her?

The Nose?? Looks like she's already gotten a little King swing training! ;)

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jul 14, 2011 - 10:23pm PT

I can't really expand on what's already been said here.

I am curious about the training process from birth, when the roped climbing began, how much does mom climb, etc. Just really amazing and I want to know more!

Edit: I just saw some of your other trip reports, with insight into all of my questions. Unsurpassedly inspiring!

Trad climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 10:05pm PT
great job guys, way to go for it!!!

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:08pm PT
Egads Batman! That was some sick family bonding and some solid Climbing. TFPU!

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:12pm PT
Funny questiong, nutjob. I've met but don't know Jim's family, but I've seen them at the gym for years. As a n00b I'd watch his wife crank like a beast in total awe. At the time, she seemed to climb harder than anyone (male or female) that I saw at the gym.

She was pregnant about the time that I left SF. So Kara is one of the kids that I only cross paths w/ every few years who gives me a shock of "My how time has passed!" when I see how she's grown and how well she climbs. A few months ago she was tied in next to me at the gym sending my project. :-) Even for the super talented kids, I think it takes hard work to climb hard!

Jim/Anne/Kara...I hope you don't mind fly-on-the-wall outsider appreciation. It's been inspiring to watch you climb as a family though.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:17pm PT
Truly amazing! And Very cool!

Big Wall climber
Cape Town / Japan
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:27pm PT
Absolutely fantastic. Way to go!!


Trad climber
Costa Mesa, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:31pm PT
Just amazing. 8)

Social climber
London, Paris, WV & CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:35pm PT
Very cool. Climbing with your kids is the best.


Trad climber
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:39pm PT

I've been taking my 5 year old for 2 years......

He's super comfortable on a rope, and sits on a ledge 100' off the deck like it was nothing enjoying the views and looking at other climbers in Eldo.....

Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:41pm PT
AMAZING! You guys rock!

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:46pm PT
Yep. Best TR of all time. She rules.

Trad climber
Joshua Tree
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:53pm PT
The best trip report ever posted. Inspiring to say the least.

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
  Jul 14, 2011 - 11:59pm PT
You two are awesome!! She has a magical smile, and you are remarkably bold for being belayed by a 12 year old! I just did the Rnwf last saturday, it was the biggest hardest thing I've ever climbed. But what an amazing view up there huh?!

Social climber
granada hills
  Jul 15, 2011 - 12:19am PT
WOW! Amazing. Very motivating. Someday when I grow up I want to climb HD too.

Thanks for this TR

Grandpa Wes :)

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jul 15, 2011 - 12:30am PT
Wow. Don't even know what to say. Way to go, Kara!

Trad climber
it's all turtles, all the way dooowwwwwnn!!!!!
  Jul 15, 2011 - 12:50am PT
nice work jimmy boy!
that kid has come a long long way, and you deserve to be the proud father you are, congrats to both of you!

and btw kids-
if your pop can free the salathe as a weekend warrior with a real job and a kid at home, you too can have the same misspent youth that lil miss kara does!!!

Mountain climber
Colorado & Nepal
  Jul 15, 2011 - 12:36am PT

I really enjoyed that!

Trad climber
Valley Village
  Jul 15, 2011 - 12:49am PT a parent, teacher, and a climber, I am really impressed. Kara has a level of commitment and innate wisdom that is hard to find in young people, in spite of her experiences. I can't wait to see what she does in her lifetime as a climber, and otherwise.

Released into general population, Idaho
  Jul 15, 2011 - 01:15am PT
The fact that the Steck-Salathe was a warmup is almost more impressive.

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Jul 15, 2011 - 01:30am PT
that was a great tr

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
  Jul 15, 2011 - 02:07am PT
BEST DAD EVAR!! and your partner seems pretty sw0le for a 'tween. Did she have to drag you up?!

I'm inspired. 2014 here we come!

Mighty Hiker

Outside the Asylum
  Jul 15, 2011 - 02:49am PT
What fun - thank you! Eyes of wonder.

Does Kara know that there's a sea north of Russia named the Kara Sea?

Does she know about your TR? It would be fun to hear her version, too.
all in jim

  Jul 15, 2011 - 02:50am PT
Another awesome adventure and brilliantly crafted TR. Thanks Jim!
KP Ariza

  Jul 15, 2011 - 02:59am PT
Jim, amazing and super inspiring report. Thanks for sharing. Iv'e got a two month old boy now and can't wait to share the mountains with him. Albeit in a bit more moderate fashion I suspect. Thanks again

Trad climber
Portland, OR
  Jul 15, 2011 - 03:30am PT
very cool

your daughter's smile in those pics is priceless. Thanks for a wonderful and inspiring trip report!

East Bay, CA
  Jul 15, 2011 - 04:15am PT
Wow, what an inspiring TR! Just beautiful!

Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Jul 15, 2011 - 04:53am PT
Totally Awesome. And I don't use that lightly. There is some serious father-daughter mojo going on here.

She rocks, you rock!

  Jul 15, 2011 - 08:29am PT
So absolutely cool!!! add my name to the list of dads with daughters you two have inspired...way to go, Kara!!!

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
  Jul 15, 2011 - 08:47am PT
Wow, that is incredible. Great TR!

  Jul 15, 2011 - 09:26am PT
Holy buckets! What a trooper!

Sport climber
Made in California, living in The Old Pueblo
  Jul 15, 2011 - 09:48am PT
Amazing TR I am so inspired by your daughter as a climber and badass, and you, for being an awesome, supportive parent.

Thank you for sharing!
Michael Kennedy

Social climber
Carbondale, Colorado
  Jul 15, 2011 - 09:55am PT
Awesome ascent and trip report! Just about the coolest thing I've seen in years.

Trad climber
  Jul 15, 2011 - 09:59am PT
Definitely deserving of the Trip Report Hall of Fame!

Well done!
Double D

  Jul 15, 2011 - 10:43am PT

Big Wall climber
Crestline CA
  Jul 15, 2011 - 10:44am PT
More than SWEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Trad climber
  Jul 15, 2011 - 10:46am PT
your daughter kicks my @ss many times over...

So great!
Wade Icey

Trad climber
  Jul 15, 2011 - 12:14pm PT
beautiful...and humbling.

Social climber
  Jul 15, 2011 - 12:15pm PT
Allow me to re-iterate what everyone here has already said...This is one bitchin trip report.

Trad climber
the flat water trails...
  Jul 15, 2011 - 12:24pm PT
All I can say is W.O.W.!!!!!

THANK YOU for being such an insipration and for encouraging your kiddos to BE!!



Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Jul 15, 2011 - 12:39pm PT
I'm just.....blown away! My favorite line was when she said, "if you were nicer to your partners, you'd have more climbing partners than just your daughter" (may be paraphrasing).

She can hold her own with anyone here on the Taco, in every sense of the word. Great TR!

Trad climber
  Jul 15, 2011 - 01:55pm PT
Super report. I hope my kids can be as inspired and fearless. Awesome!

Trad climber
  Jul 15, 2011 - 02:11pm PT
The smile says it all!

Great job.

Trad climber
Washington DC
  Jul 15, 2011 - 02:21pm PT

Trad climber
Humboldt, CA
  Jul 15, 2011 - 02:24pm PT
WOW!, yes, the best TR ever. Look forward to the next one...which is?

Trad climber
  Jul 15, 2011 - 02:29pm PT
So cool and inspring

30 mins. from suicide USA
  Jul 15, 2011 - 02:39pm PT
Badass....all of ya'

  Jul 15, 2011 - 03:47pm PT
I am at a loss for words. Fantastic TR. Superlative fathering AND daughtering.

"You know dad if you were a bit nicer to your climbing partners your daughter wouldn't be the only one who'll climb with you."

Ahahah: my daughters have said similar things.

Thank you for posting.
the Fet

  Jul 15, 2011 - 03:58pm PT

It looks like it was just the two of you.

How did you manage the belays? Did you self belay or did she belay you off the anchor with a gri-gri? Did she have a cell phone in case you got hurt on lead?

I know some 12 year olds that are pretty amazing, but NONE that could pull that off.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
  Jul 15, 2011 - 04:14pm PT
That smile says it all. Climbing is fun. Thanks for sharing this.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Jul 15, 2011 - 04:25pm PT
You two are beyond inspiring! Way to chase your dreams! Those smiling action shots are gems.

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."
— T.E. Lawrence

As Bachar would say "Dream On!"

Catching your head so young is a huge blessing for a climber. I started at 12 and never looked back! And are awesome in your imagination and trust! What a team builder!

If there is anything that I can do to help your climbing along please let me know.

Trad climber
  Jul 15, 2011 - 04:32pm PT
I need a partner as tough as Kara.
Heck, I wish I was that tough.
Awesome TR!
Cancer Boy

Trad climber
  Jul 15, 2011 - 04:34pm PT
Hey Jim,

We were part of the crowd on Serenity/Sons that day you were there. I didn't realize that was just a warm up! Way to go to the both of you!

I have three kids. Girl #1 had no interest. Girl #2 "really hates me - I am not kidding" when I take her up high. #3 Boy got dropped by some 9 year old belayer in a gym "summer camp" and now refuses altogether.

I am so jealous. How did you do it????
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jul 15, 2011 - 04:37pm PT
I've been reading Jim's trip reports for about 20 years and they have always been great fun to read. I forget sometimes that many people have not seen them. It's cool that they are being shared with more folks now! Click on one of the links on the upper left of Jim's report and you'll find a big supply of good stuff (don't try to read it all in one night - pace yourself!).

The other big attraction in this one is that it keeps the dream that "climbing can be family friendly" alive.
scuffy b

heading slowly NNW
  Jul 15, 2011 - 04:47pm PT
An amazed WOW wafts thru the air...

Trad climber
One drink ahead of my past.
  Jul 15, 2011 - 05:07pm PT
coolest damn thing ever. Along with the coolest damn 12 year old ever. Proud. Way to go Dad!
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jul 15, 2011 - 05:28pm PT
That is completely awesome. Nic job.

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jul 15, 2011 - 05:47pm PT

She (and Dad) will never forget that.

beneath the valley of ultravegans
  Jul 15, 2011 - 06:11pm PT
This is why Al Gore invented the internet! Fantastic adventure for both of you.

  Jul 15, 2011 - 06:39pm PT
I hope one day I can stand in your shadows. I am speechless, impressed, happy and excited for you both.

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Jul 15, 2011 - 07:07pm PT
Fabulous trip and trip report. There is something quite unique about the relationships between dads and daughters, and you and she are making the most of it. Keep it up and keep posting reports!

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
  Jul 15, 2011 - 10:19pm PT
You have a partner who sometimes carries his own lunch? That's awesome!

Good thing you are a tough mo fo, Jim Herson. Those bright penetrating eyes of Kara look hard to stand up to.

Big Wall climber
47N 122W
  Jul 16, 2011 - 12:28pm PT
Being the father of a daughter ... and myself, being the son of a father who taught me how to climb at age 5, I think it is awesome that you had your daughter lead the A1 Robbins Ladder. I remember leading chit as a 8 year old ... but that was way BITD.

Way to go there!

Mountain climber
So. California
  Jul 15, 2011 - 11:22pm PT
Wow, you took your child up Higher Cathedral with a fever. So cool, dude!

Trad climber
  Jul 16, 2011 - 01:20am PT
Bump for a great TR. Way to go!

Trad climber
The Circuit, Tonasket WA
  Jul 16, 2011 - 10:58am PT
I agree with all of the above (well almost all of the comments).
What I love is her expressions of happiness and having fun.
Inspiring, even for one who started his sons climbing, and is now climbing with his grand daughter.
You rock, girl!
Your pretty brave yourself, Dad.

Trad climber
  Jul 16, 2011 - 11:22am PT
Very cool! In a nation filled with soft, spoiled and disinterested kids, it is great to see this and have my hopes for the future lifted.

Trad climber
Nor Cal
  Jul 16, 2011 - 01:45pm PT
Wow! very cool!

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
  Jul 16, 2011 - 02:11pm PT
Will you adopt me?

So awesome!

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
  Jul 16, 2011 - 05:14pm PT

Can't put it any better.

Trad climber
Las Vegas
  Jul 16, 2011 - 05:33pm PT

I'm with Guido on this one...
Best TR in a long, long time.

I chuckled at the pic of your daughter stemming "the famed Half Dome Chimneys"

And is she following 'Dike Route' in her approach shoes?

What great experiences 4 a dad'n kid to share.
Yer blessed!
wayne burleson

Amherst, MA
  Jul 16, 2011 - 09:34pm PT
Seconding what Clint said, I've also been privileged to be reading
Jim's reports for many years.
He clearly excels in at least three areas; 1) crack climbing,
2) parenting, 3) writing trip reports.
Not bad at on-route photography either...

Great to see him sharing this on Supertopo...

And Kara, what can one say!
wayne burleson

Amherst, MA
  Jul 16, 2011 - 09:55pm PT
Not sure if the Supertopo readership is aware of Jim's accomplishments,
mostly involve the Free Salathe,
but start here:

These are also quite entertaining accounts of another of his ascents of HD at:

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Jul 16, 2011 - 09:57pm PT
I am gonna bump this one for a month or so. Best TR ever.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Jul 17, 2011 - 01:20am PT
Oh geez...what can possibly be said! Susan

  Jul 17, 2011 - 07:45pm PT
Nice to read about families getting outdoors. The "warm-ups" are pretty solid.

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Jul 18, 2011 - 02:14pm PT
Jim, what a wonderful trip report! Thanks for sharing it here. The writing was wonderful and I got a couple of good laughs at poor Chan's expense.

Although my first reaction was, wow, Kara is already 12!?! She has grown into such a beautiful young girl. As a former molecular biologist, I just love seeing the genetics played out in the faces and body types of the next generation. Visually she' s a composite of you both. And she's evidently got your and Anne's climbing genes as well.

Keep posting here for us - ST needs more quAlity climbing content like this.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jul 18, 2011 - 02:19pm PT
Fabulous TR, particularly for this father of daughters. I'll having my 23- and 25-year old daughters read it for their enjoyment and inspiration.

My 23 year old led her first pitch a few days ago. Unfortunately, she leaves for grad school in Illinois in less than a month, so our climbing season together is rather limited.

Thanks again.


Trad climber
Upper Leftish
  Jul 19, 2011 - 05:53pm PT



I'll say it again.

So. Ridiculously. Awesome.
J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
  Jul 19, 2011 - 06:38pm PT

Social climber
Laramie, WY
  Jul 20, 2011 - 11:02am PT


"Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That's what little girls are made of; the heck with sugar and spice."
--- Bethany Hamilton
David Wilson

  Jul 20, 2011 - 12:08pm PT
congrats to you and your daughter jim ! i climbed a lot with my son ( and now 21 year old rope gun ) at that age. it was very exciting but also nerve wracking as the stakes felt so high climbing with a youngster. your daughter will remember that forever.

Big Wall climber
  Jul 20, 2011 - 01:58pm PT
brought tears to my eyes
Jim Herson

Emerald Hills, CA
Author's Reply  Jul 24, 2011 - 12:33am PT
A heartfelt thanks for all the warm replies! A couple of quick replies to questions raised above:

@Kurt, re: deciding when she was ready.
The Steck Salathe in daylight. Technically a much harder climb. More importantly she conceived of, trained for, and pretty much begged to do it and her parents are softies.

@karodrinker & @Feg, re: belayed by a 12 year old

With all due respect to Alex Honnold, when he's ready to bump up the pucker factor he needs to be belayed by his tween daughter. I've had my share of solos, spicy leads, and other youthful climbing indiscretions all of which pale in comparison to the first time Kara, at age 10, belayed me up Braille Book. Now that was heads up! She used to use an ATC but that was more for show as she would never be able to catch me with it. Thank goodness for the GriGri2. It feeds like an ATC but autolocks so I'm actually on belay now. It's also one of those don't-ask-don't-tell situations. She's never ever hosed me on a clip which leads me to believe she has a boat load of slack out.

@Fet, re: cell phone.
We had a cell but only because Anne made a heroic 2hr detour after we had left it in her car. I told her not to bother but for some reason she over road me?

@Mighty Hiker, re: Does she know about your TR?
She's away at music camp for two weeks. She'll see it soon enough though.

@Nutjob, re: when she started climbing


Trad climber
  Jul 21, 2011 - 11:23am PT
Itīs so amazing the things youīre doing with your daughter... she should be the happiest girl ever.

I canīt imagine nicest childhood that climbing in Yosemite with my dad.

Awesome dude, awesome.
Cain J Waters

Mountain climber
Ithaca, NY
  Jul 21, 2011 - 01:40pm PT
Jim- your trip report has been shared among many climbing and non-climbing parents as a source of astonishment and inspiration. You and your wife must be the most proudest of parents. My wife and I look forward to reading about your coming adventures. This is right on par with your stories of freeing the Salathe Wall, maybe even more impressive. Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
  Jul 21, 2011 - 01:47pm PT
She's never ever hosed me on a clip which leads me to believe she has a boat load of slack out.

Hahaha. :)

Trad climber
  Jul 22, 2011 - 06:16pm PT
You must be proud. Hope my girls are that into it too. Thank you for the post. I showed this to my wife, she enjoyed it too.

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
  Jul 28, 2011 - 08:32am PT
Unbelievable! Pretty impressive start to a future climbing career!

I did some pretty good climbs with my son, starting at the age of 13.
I'm sure these early experiences helped form him into the successful person he is today.

Good job Dad and rock on girl!

( my son still wants to do that route with me).


Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 28, 2011 - 11:12am PT
Awesome and inspirational. The feat is amazing, but the best part is actually seeing a parent spending time with a kid these days. A rare thing indeed sadly. I'm a dad of four. The details and reputation route will fade into obscurity, but the time with Dad will never be forgotten. Bravo.

  Jul 28, 2011 - 09:35pm PT
Hi Jim, would you consider emailing me about your photos of climbing with Kara? I'm looking for something like this for a book on Yosemite. It's all pretty tentative, and easier to explain in email! Thanks - Kate.

Trad climber
  Jul 29, 2011 - 08:59am PT

Trad climber
Elk Creek, Idaho
  Aug 1, 2011 - 09:38pm PT
Outstanding! Thank you.

dont make me come over there
  Aug 20, 2011 - 05:46am PT
Its a special parent that enables one so young to seek their full potential, and a special child that takes that opportunity and runs with it like Kara has.

Heres to both of you and to a superb TR. I know every parent who read it felt some pride in Kara. What a confident, capable and exhuberant kid she is!

Im turning off my computer with a smile on my face...thanks

Big Wall climber
The Eastside.... UUUUHHHHHHH!
  Aug 20, 2011 - 01:01pm PT
awesome! you are the coolest dad ever! and have the coolest daughter ever!

Trad climber
Oakland, CA
  Apr 27, 2012 - 08:30am PT
Whoa! You guys rock
Peter Haan

Trad climber
  Apr 27, 2012 - 08:55am PT
This is a really unusual, even privileged, peek into the family life of some astounding and apparently brilliant people, young as well as old. Herson himself is incredibly funny and a great read himself. What a game changer too, for the rest of us. Thanks for sharing this terrific outing with us, Jim.

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Sep 26, 2012 - 08:19pm PT
Bump! This is so freaking cool

Gym climber
Minkler, CA
  Sep 28, 2012 - 02:10am PT
I am such a wuss

Awesome x 10

Trad climber
  Sep 28, 2012 - 10:09am PT
The best. TFPU.

Big Wall climber
Salt Lake City
  Sep 28, 2012 - 03:52pm PT
Amazing, thanks!
Johnny K.

  Jul 16, 2013 - 07:34pm PT
Andy Fielding

Trad climber
  Dec 15, 2013 - 09:01pm PT
Another bump for a brilliant TR.
Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
  Dec 16, 2013 - 04:11am PT
Wow! That was heartwarming and jaw dropping all at the same time.
Now I have to try and figure out how to hide this TR from my friends at work so they still think my mini conquests are of any importance! :)

The pics were all amazing, but my favorite was that beautiful smiling girl on Big Sandy. Great TR Jim, thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
  Dec 16, 2013 - 09:32am PT
Thanks for bumping this! I've seen another TR from Jim and his midget crew when they did the E. Butt of El Cap. But this? Holy bovine, Batman! Jim and Kara, my hat is off to you both! She's 14 now. Leading 14's? Sounds like she's into music, too, so maybe her life is more balanced. The poise and joy and sense of play for such huge undertakings--makes me want to put on a rope and get some.

Funny, jokes about hanging up my climbing shoes forever don't come to mind. I'm really happy and inspired to see this! HD was one of my best climbs ever. It's impossible to imagine it at 12!

Wow. Wow. Wow.



Trad climber
Hustle City
  Dec 16, 2013 - 11:25am PT
Wow. Just wow

Trad climber
Mountain View
  Feb 4, 2014 - 05:47pm PT

Social climber
  Feb 4, 2014 - 07:38pm PT
I just lurked into this.....

WOW!! and Another BUMP

Social climber
boulder co
  Feb 4, 2014 - 09:42pm PT
This is definitely one of the best TRs on Supertopo. What an amazing experience to have with your kid, I'm in awe!

Big Wall climber
  Feb 10, 2014 - 08:33am PT
This trip report might be the only reason im ever going to have kids.

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Mar 12, 2014 - 03:41pm PT
Jeremy Hadland

Trad climber
  May 18, 2014 - 10:58pm PT
Was that you Jim and Kara my buddy and I ran into on NEB higher cathedral in April 2014? You saw me take a 30' winger off the last pitch and offered me a top rope to the top? If so, thanks for the lift!

Trad climber
Diamond Bar
  May 22, 2014 - 03:31pm PT
you are bad ass parents. GREAT WORK DAD AND YOUNG LADY

Social climber
The internet
  May 22, 2014 - 03:39pm PT
What's Kara doing next weekend, NIAD? it turned out...!

Trad climber
  May 22, 2014 - 06:58pm PT
Best TR I've ever read! BRAVO!!! :)

Sport climber
Houston, TX
  Dec 17, 2014 - 08:44pm PT
love love LOVED this! so inspired for my trip this summer! ill think of her every moment i get scared and remember this story

Trad climber
  Dec 18, 2014 - 01:09pm PT

This TR makes my whole year!!

The smile on her face says it all.

I have had my 11 year old daughter out on the rock a few times and she has had that same smile.

Good on you and thanks.

Oakland, CA
  Dec 19, 2014 - 09:34am PT
My five year old daughter and I were at the Ironworks gym climbing when we saw Kara and her mom crushing in the cave.

The daughter, who is usually ultra shy, wanted to meet the girl from the stories and pictures I'd shown her, and asked Kara if it was hard to climb El Cap. Kara mentioned something about being really tired at the end of the day.

"Dad she climbed to the top in one day?" daughter later asked. "But why did you take four days?"

Hahhaha. "She's better!"

Easy question, easy answer.
Half Dome - Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The Regular Northwest Face.
Photo: Mark Kroese
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Half Dome - Snake Dike 5.7 R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Snake Dike, 5.7 R
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Snake Dike follows an amazing feature to one of the most incredible summits in Yosemite.
Half Dome - Tis-sa-ack A3 5.9 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
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Half Dome - Zenith A4 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Zenith, A4 5.8
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The first part of the route is hidden.
Half Dome - Direct Northwest Face 5.14a or 5.10 C2+ - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Direct Northwest Face, 5.14a or 5.10 C2+
Half Dome
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The Direct Northwest Face.
Half Dome - Blondike 5.11b R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Blondike, 5.11b R
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Blondike is the red line and Two Hoofers is the Blue Line.
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