Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1

 
  • Currently 5.0/5
Search
Go

Half Dome


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Northwest Face of Half Dome
Saturday August 20, 2011 7:38pm
So, it was a productive summer and I was fortunate enough to climb a lot of the ultra classics that I didn't get to the last time I was in the valley in '08. This included the northwest face of Half Dome, which I've dreamt of climbing since I first roped up 12 years ago. Looking at a poster of Ron Kauk (i think) dangling from Heaven, I wasn't drawn in by the wave of polished granite, but the behemoth in the background, hulking and shadowed. Even though it's a trade route nowadays and can be crushed by 12-year old girls in better sytle than me, it still meant a lot to finally get up on that hunk of stone. A dream come true!

https://picasaweb.google.com/WanderlustMD/HalfDomeTripReport?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Thanks to Shino for the beta! Much appreciated
Cheers for taking a chance with a wall noob, Bryce! Looking forward to El Cap in the spring.

  Trip Report Views: 2,409
WanderlustMD
About the Author
WanderlustMD is a trad climber from New England.

Comments
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Aug 20, 2011 - 07:54pm PT
CONGRATULATIONS!!!
eKat

Trad climber
Less than a second shy of 49 minutes
  Aug 20, 2011 - 08:04pm PT
Crank the rads, Dadz!

TFPU!
QITNL

climber
  Aug 20, 2011 - 09:12pm PT
Great stuff & very nice meeting you today, Bryce!
fishtrap

Trad climber
Bass Lake, CA
  Aug 20, 2011 - 09:37pm PT
Well done, really enjoyed the pictures! Did you guys go with the big backpack strategy (second carries a pack with bivy gear, food & water and no haulbag)? If so I'm curious what you carried in the backpack (s) and what your take is on the system that you used. Hoping to do the route in the next year and still debating options but most likely will go with a similar strategy to what you guys did.
pc

climber
  Aug 20, 2011 - 09:50pm PT
Great photos! Congrats!!!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Aug 20, 2011 - 11:32pm PT
Thanks for sharing - nice job with the climb and photos.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Aug 20, 2011 - 11:37pm PT
sweet
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Aug 21, 2011 - 01:05pm PT
Nice Job guys, way to go!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 23, 2011 - 10:38am PT
Nice write-up, Matt. I can still hear the sound of that approaching thunder when I think back to this day.

Amazingly, we were the only parties on the NW face: nobody above, nobody below, nobody on deck at the bivy spots. I had that same luck on WFLT and the Triple Direct, including the Nose pitches. It's a charmed life.

Fishtrap, yep we went with the backpack and no haul expecting to bivy on Big Sandy. It worked out pretty nice for us. Keeping the bag at minimum weight is key.

Leader carried 2L water in a camelback, and trailed a 7mm tag/rap line.

In the bag we had:

-4L water
-Two puffy jackets
-Two light rain shells
-Two space blankets
-Bagels w nutella/pb&j, bars.
-(Edit) Two wag bags, forgot we brought these

That's it. I wanted to go with 2L of water/person instead of 3; Matt insisted, and he was right.

We each had jugs and aiders. We thought about dumping one set of each, but didn't.

We fixed p's 1 and 2 on day 1.

We didn't bring any hooks or cam hooks.

We only short-fixed once - many opportunities but we knew we were only gunning for Big Sandy, which took the anxious feeling off the day (at least until the wx started getting into our heads).

Our rack was spot on for us, but I wouldn't bring as many nuts next time. Maybe 4 or 5 nuts total.

We started jugging our line around 6am (I think?), and reached Big Sandy around 6pm. I had burned about an hour fixing up the sketchy pendulum at the Robbins Traverse. We also burned an hour on the ledge before the double cracks, eating and thinking about lightning (I was also gassed at that point and needed the rest). IAD seems totally doable for a fit team, but sleeping on Big Sandy, soaking up the exposure of the top pitches, and topping out in bright sunshine were highlights for me.

Linking through the chimneys was the best pitch on the route for me. A 70m (or 20 ft simuling) would let you reach a cush belay spot on top of the chimneys, better than what you get at the pin when your 60m pulls tight.

Burn your offerings to the wx gods before you go - anything coming out of the south is going to take you by surprise. Forecasts are great but they ain't promises.

Edit: though longer, I thought RNWF was physically and psychologically less of a stomper than other climbs like Steck-Salathe, Ab Free to Hawkman's. It doesn't really have a mean pitch on it, it's just beautiful. One of the best climbs I've done, top 3.
Ihateplastic

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
  Aug 22, 2011 - 12:22pm PT
One of the best-documented TRs I have ever seen. Nice work boys!
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Aug 22, 2011 - 12:38pm PT
The cloud pics were spectacular. Bryce, you should post up more of those!

Good effort, nice documentation :)
PellucidWombat

Mountain climber
Berkeley, CA
  Aug 22, 2011 - 12:51pm PT
TFPU!
do

Trad climber
New Zealand
  Aug 22, 2011 - 12:52pm PT
one of the best TRs I've seen - and congrats!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 22, 2011 - 01:07pm PT
Remembered one other bonus of bringing a backpack - lets you haul out some of the trash that has accumulated on route.

Here's a pic of the shaft at the alcove belay, after the 2nd zig zag:







Compared with Camp 6 on the Nose:



Seamstress

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
  Aug 22, 2011 - 12:58pm PT
You stoked the desire to do that route. Great report.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Aug 22, 2011 - 01:04pm PT
I don't think I'll ever tire of TR's of this climb, but this one was outstanding.

Thanks much.

John
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Aug 22, 2011 - 01:05pm PT
Nice work!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 22, 2011 - 01:20pm PT
Last f'ing contribution to this thread and I have to work damnit!

Two videos and two pics of the somewhat (5 or 6/10) sketchy state of the fixed pendulum on top of the Robbins Traverse. Vids go to Picasa:

The tat:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/g_c897ak3hf5lIOhDOMT5A?feat=directlink



The pin:
https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/8TdaDLHulYqAg5VKUjdJJg?feat=directlink




Blown tat aside, the single pin that held the fixed pendy had lots of wiggle/play to it and needed a few good blows from a hammer. I'd thought of just monkeying across on the fixed line while leading up, but decided to keep truckin'. Glad I did!

The next pin up above the loose pin that holds the fixed line - the highest - was bomber.
cmclean

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
  Aug 22, 2011 - 02:40pm PT
Loved the shot of sunset light on the west side of the dome. Great photos and nice send too!
Dave Johnson

Mountain climber
Sacramento, CA
  Aug 22, 2011 - 03:51pm PT
Nice job, lads. Takes me back to the summer of '79 when I did it. What a beautiful piece of rock!
tahoe523

Trad climber
Station Wagon, USA
  Aug 22, 2011 - 06:33pm PT
YES! Congrats to you both, Matt and Bryce!

As climbers, we not only dream, but we obsess, train and most importantly, execute. I'm happy that it worked out and that you came, you climbed, you conquered!

DWSDog

Trad climber
Sheffield
  Nov 1, 2011 - 03:26pm PT
Fantastic trip report, some of the best photos of the rought, very inspiring
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Nov 1, 2011 - 03:49pm PT
One of the better TR's I have read. TFPU
Did you like this Trip Report? Got something to say? Don't hold back...
Comment on this Trip Report
Go
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
Other Routes on Half Dome
Half Dome - Snake Dike 5.7 R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Snake Dike, 5.7 R
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

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.
Tis-sa-ack, A3 5.9
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Half Dome - Zenith A4 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Zenith, A4 5.8
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

The first part of the route is hidden.
Half Dome - Blondike 5.11b R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Blondike, 5.11b R
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Blondike is the red line and Two Hoofers is the Blue Line.
Half Dome - Two Hoofers 5.12 or 5.10b A0 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Two Hoofers, 5.12 or 5.10b A0
Half Dome
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Two Hoofers follows the blue line.
More routes on Half Dome