Lost Arrow Spire Tip 5.12b or 5.7 C2
Trip ReportLost Arrow Spire - Fun in Sun with Father and Son
All right everyone, I take a lot of trips and only write up a few TR's but I figured this one deserves it. Last month I climbed the lost arrow spire tip with my father (will be 70 in January). It was an awesome climb, but it was even better to share it with my father. It was nice to give him such a great experience after everything he has done for me.
My Dad brought me up to appreciate the outdoors and wild places. We used to take winter camping trip every year, we hiked, scrambled, went backcountry skiing, kayaking biking and on and on....but we never went climbing.
In college I figured it would be good learn how to use a rope and harness because I thought it might be cool to summit some backcountry peaks that were a bit harder.
So I bought a rope, harness, a few slings and biners and a copy of freedom of the hills. I read the book cover to cover several times and taught myself how to top rope off a tree in the backyard. The first time I went climbing I set it all up and had no one to double check my work, but I was confident.
As I started climbing more, I wanted a belay when I was home, and who better to ask than dad? Well, if he was already going to belay me, he may as well try climbing too. Over time he became more interested in climbing and I taught him everything he knows (how often does a kid get to say that to a father?)
I went on to solo my first big wall a few years later in yosemite followed by a move to calfornia. My dad comes out to visit each year and always wants to go climbing. He's worked his way up the grades and climbs yosemite 5.8/5.9 without much problem. He has expanded his sights and tried alpine climbing (we took a trip to Peru together) and he even expressed an interest in wall climbing.
Several years ago he followed me up the first few pitches of the NA wall with the goal of possibly doing the arrow spire. Well...the jumaring wore him out (it was his first time after all) and he decided between that and the exposure he was not up for it after all.
Fast forward to July 2012. I make arrangements with a friend to do the spire as it was still on my hit list. After telling my dad about the plans, he starts getting worked up and decides he wants to come as well. Schedules didn't work out so I'll be doing the spire twice but that's OK with me =)
EDIT: I ended up going a month lates with my buddy Mike. Read about it here.
My dad arrived at the end of September and we spent a day training at Texas Canyon. It's a really great place to practice because you have two 100ft+ steep domes about 100ft apart at the summit. perfect simulation of the tyrolean required for the spire.
We headed to the valley the last sunday in september. our plan was to crag sunday, do the spire monday, climb and come home tuesday.
Started the trip by getting spanked on generator crack. I tried it both ways in, starting from the ground (no tree) and it showed...eventually I managed to get up with a few hangs.
We racked up the night before and started hiking at 5:30. It was my first time up the falls trail and it never seemed to end (especially with the big pack). Luckly we were able to stay in the shade and as the sun rose we scooted towards the switchbacks to the left of the falls and we never had direct sun until we were at yosemite point.
It was easy to find the tree at the top and set things up. There was already a fixed rope there , but it was for a team doing the spire direct and they were way down towards the bottom. WE had the route to ourselves the entire day and only saw one or two people on the rim the entire time.
I planned on doing the climb with just 2 60m ropes as several others have suggested. Clint Cummins has a good write up of that technique in a trip report here .The rap down to the notch was easy enough, I kept the end of the rope clipped to me so it would not get tangled below the notch.
My father followed and we set up the first belay. The first pitch was shorter than expected. The offwidth section overhangs and is a bit awkward to aid at the start. a little physical.
The Salathe ledge is a killer belay spot. The second pitch starts with a traverse left and then up a bolt line to the top. Easy but use lots of slings for rope drag and back clean alot.
The summit was great and I enjoyed the views waiting for my dad to follow.
He came up and was pretty tired up top (but hey he's 69 so thats OK).
WE did the cheap tyrolean back to the rim (jumars clipped to rim rope and then rap off spire on 2nd rope).
As he went back to the rim we were able to sneak in a quick high-five!!!
I took too much gear and never used any nuts. Here is what I will take next time in addition to personal gear (aiders, jumars ...)
1 or 2 double slings
20 free biners
a few lockers
offset ailens (each with biner)
1 set cams #1-5 (each with biner)
1 grappling or cliffhanger hook
2 rivet hangers (or 2 small nuts to use)
If I was free climbing the first pitch I would definately leave the #5 and maybe even the #4. First pitch didnt look to hard to free and was much shorter than expected. I back cleaned a lot and busted some free moves here and there. If you were aiding every move and leaving gear you would probably want more gear than my list above.
The sun was going down as we headed down. Those f*#king switchbacks seemed to go on forever again. We made it down just before the cafe closed and were able to grab a quick sandwich and a few beers.
You can read my TR of my second spire trip here if you want more
I'll leave you with a self portrait from the summit...one of my favorites...
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