Trip Report
Minor traffic jam on the NW face of Half Dome
Tuesday June 26, 2012 12:29am
Credit: harryhotdog

A little video of our ascent in 1990, the first year I had lace up slippers for granite and never went back.
John McCallum from New Zealand and myself arrived at the bottom of the route at the crack of dawn to find the only climbers were at the zig zags.We though great, clear sailing. Well when we got to the zig zags we could hear them and caught up to them on Thank god ledge.
You can see a climber belaying behind John at 2:16. While belaying John up to the ledge I started talking to this climber about letting us pass,he seemed ok about it but the lead climber shouted down."No f*#king way you guys are passing us. It's our third day and we have to get off ! "
Well I look at John and think wait a minute we have to get off we have no bivy gear!So John heads off right behind this guy who quickly makes a wrong turn.John quickly passes and thats all we needed to get by and avoid fisticuffs 2000' up the side of Half Dome.
As I climbed up the 5.1 1d pitch this same guy who 2 minutes earlier had basically threatened us with bodily harm is now pleading for John to take their rope and fix it at the top of the pitch for them. Well,we felt sorry for the nicer guy so we fixed their rope and made it off before dark. They did not make it up before nightfall.

All in all a fantastic trip that I will never forget. In 12 days we climbed the DNB on Middle Cathedral, West face of El Cap, Hotline on Elephant Rock, the Rostrom, Astroman, Half Dome, the Nose, some cragging and I even think we squeezed in a shower or two. A good outing but nothing compared with what Peter Croft,John Bachar and a host of regulars were doing at the time and Alex could probably do all these climbs in a day. Nevertheless considering our mere mortal status we were happy getting so much climbing in. We didn't really have a plan we just picked climbs the night before and got on a roll. Not hard to do when everyday is perfect weather unlike Squamish.

The Nose was an after thought,after coming down from Half Dome we got back to an empty campground in an empty valley with empty energy reserves.What was going on? Well it was some kind of government shut down,the campgrounds and everything else in the valley was closed. Well, we were bagged from all the previous climbing and were driving out the valley to leave. When we passed El Cap we saw NO ONE on the Nose. We looked at each other with that look and decided then and there that we would never have a chance like this again and went for it.
We had done a ton of long routes together in Squamish that summer in preparation and I had just spent 2 weeks in the Bugaboos right before we got to Yosemite so we were granite ready.


That was my 5th trip to the valley so I feel I did my Yosemite apprenticeship although I have to work on my bomb-bay chimneys as I took a fall trying to get into the Harding slot on Astroman. After battling my too big for slot body up that thing I was really looking forward to watching John squirm,thrash and grovel his way up only to be deflated when he laybacked the outside. No fair!

He was a very talented and easy going partner who made the whole experience even more fun and enjoyable.I think most Kiwi's are like that. He is still cranking today back in New Zealand up at his home bouldering area, Castle hill.

My only regret is they didn't have high definition video cameras in 1990 and I wish I had taken more video.

Yosemite and the Sierras are world class with good weather to boot,you Californian's don't know how good you have it.

Hope to make it down there soon as 50 is the new 40!


  Trip Report Views: 4,027
harryhotdog
About the Author
harryhotdog is a mountain and rock climber from north vancouver, B.C..

Comments
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Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
  Jun 26, 2012 - 12:42am PT
Welcome Harry K, and thanks!

Anders
gf

climber
  Jun 26, 2012 - 01:14am PT
welcome harry
got any hotline footage?
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 26, 2012 - 02:19am PT
Awesome. DNB on Middle Cathedral is my all time goal for the valley. For some reason I want to climb that more than I want to climb anything else there...congrats.
T H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Jun 26, 2012 - 03:03am PT
."No f*#king way you guys are passing us. It's our third day and we have to get off ! "
"The HELL you say"
fsck

climber
  Jun 27, 2012 - 01:25pm PT
yeah, and they would've had to bivy if they had obeyed the other leader's request.

something to think about for all those who think the upper party has absolute right to deny a party to pass.

what a great 12 day trip. you guys packed on ton of stuff in. i would've been happy for just one of those routes.
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
  Jun 27, 2012 - 01:35pm PT
Love it, the video, the writing, the style, the works!

"the non as#@&%e" - hahaha
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Jan 2, 2013 - 04:59pm PT
Bump for the real deal. Thanks y'all.
The user formerly known as stzzo

climber
Sneaking up behind you
  Jan 2, 2013 - 10:31pm PT
yeah, and they would've had to bivy if they had obeyed the other leader's request.

something to think about for all those who think the upper party has absolute right to deny a party to pass.

Nah, the second party has the option of bailing to avoid the bivy when "conditions" inhibit their one-day-passage.

But that's another discussion... Nice retro-TR!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Jan 2, 2013 - 11:09pm PT

I don't know where this one's been hiding, but it was good!
Byran

climber
San Jose, CA
  Jan 2, 2013 - 11:11pm PT
I wonder if Hans has ever come up to a party at Changing Corners and had someone yell down "No f*#king way are these guys passing us, this is our 6th day and we HAVE to get off!"
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jan 3, 2013 - 01:09am PT
Harry, i missed this one before. Awesome report & wow, what a trip!
Talk about getting on a roll or what.
Did you guys climb the Nose in a day?? Great effort either way, just curious as it seemed like you guys were walking off half dome pretty early in the day.

Cool videos too as always.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
  Jan 3, 2013 - 01:49am PT
Two of the more interesting climbing vids I have seen in a while. No pretentiousness, good footage, clearly a couple of nice days on the rock!
MMCC

climber
New Zealand
  Jan 3, 2013 - 03:18am PT
Shout for John McCallum, understated kiwi badass still hitting it hard. His most boring summer probably = my entire climbing career.
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Jan 3, 2013 - 04:13am PT
Very cool Harry! I missed this last time! Nice bump Ryan!
Jim Brennan

Trad climber
Canada
  Jan 3, 2013 - 10:54am PT
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jan 3, 2013 - 12:39pm PT
Super Rad. I love the old footage. No HD needed to capture the insanity of being up so high and so wild.

Thanks!

Scott
The Alpine

climber
  Jan 3, 2013 - 01:44pm PT
Awesome stuff! I love how packs back then were so simple. The modern ones have so much crap all over them.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jan 3, 2013 - 02:08pm PT
I don't know where this one's been hiding, but it was good!

My thoughts exactly. What a trip you guys had! Thanks much for sharing with us.

John
the weasel

Mountain climber
Kamloops
  Jan 3, 2013 - 11:36pm PT
I guess climbing on Squamish rock transfers well to Yosemite rock whereas Gunks rock maybe not so much.What were those guys doing up there taking 4 days? Nice of you to help them out considering.
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