Trip Report
Not your typical Trip Report, RNWF of Half Dome
Wednesday July 29, 2015 8:12pm
Our high camp for a few days!!! <br/>
And this is where the photos end. Ma...
Our high camp for a few days!!!
And this is where the photos end. Maybe we will retrieve the rest someday!!!
Credit: Bivi Brothers
The topo for those who have not seen yet!! :&#41;
The topo for those who have not seen yet!! :)
Credit: Bivi Brothers
Looking up from the Robbins Traverse bolt ladder at the blankness!
Looking up from the Robbins Traverse bolt ladder at the blankness!
Credit: Bivi Brothers
Pitch 3 belay!!!
Pitch 3 belay!!!
Credit: Bivi Brothers
Howard leading P2!!
Howard leading P2!!
Credit: Bivi Brothers
Howard jugging P1. The blast zone is quite obviouse in the back ground...
Howard jugging P1. The blast zone is quite obviouse in the back ground!!!
Credit: Bivi Brothers
The morning of blast off!!
The morning of blast off!!
Credit: Bivi Brothers
[photo
The Big Stone!
The Big Stone!
Credit: Bivi Brothers
id=420836]So I pretty much don’t even really know where to begin. This whole event and how it unfolded for us I still can’t even quite put into words. I guess I can start by sharing that from a relatively early age I fell in love with a certain chunk of rock through a drive for adventure. Shortly thereafter I learned that this place had held a strong place in many adventurer/ pioneers hearts before me. People like Mendenhall/ Wiltz/ Robbins/ Chouinard/ Frost and many many more from an era not so long ago. Then the next generation to follow in the footsteps of these giants (the Stone Masters) I don’t even need to name drop there! The name of such a mythical and legendary place I speak of that has become such a part of who I am, would be Tahquitz rock, of course!
Wow, if only to be around to see the sh#t they were pulling off back then, it blows my friends and me away every time we go up there. Then, obviously these stories and the people that go with them are even richer and stronger in the alpine wonderland that is Yosemite Valley. I don’t have nearly the relationship with the spirit of this place as Tahquitz. None the less, like many of us, I cannot help but be drawn to the valley, its giant walls, rich history, climbing lore, and legend that will forever echo and resonate in the hearts of people like myself.
At this point in the game let’s just say I’ve done my fair share of suffering high above the Valley floor. Why we keep coming back for more is beyond me. I always come back to Warren Harding’s famous quote when topping off the Dawn Wall “Cuz we’re insane!” Really though, it has always been about the spirit of the adventure and just how far do you have to push your spirit for them both to coalesce and you are able to make the impossible possible!
Two weeks ago, like many of us, I was in shock to hear part of pitch 11 on the most historic big wall had fallen, and might no longer be passible. This route out of most in the valley is very special to me. It was my brothers and my first Grade VI in a day, (nothing new there)! As news quickly spread about the monolithic flake that fell off, I became possessed with the possibility of the unknown and what was to be newly discovered across this blank virgin section of one of the most historic routes on the planet. I quickly put together my arsenal of gear and was soon putting my feelers out there for someone crazy enough to join me on such a mission. I soon learned one of my climbing acquaintances Scott Sinner and his partner were the first to discover the ledge/ flake system had fallen. He gave me some beta but still seemed impossible. To top it off, on such a historic route, I knew we had to keep it as real and true to the Robbins’ ethics of climbing as possible. So who did “we” end up being, you ask? One of my super motivated Tahquitz partners, Howard Ballou. Howard is the type of partner that will go for anything. To top it off he has a great attitude, no matter how bad the suffer-fest gets. Out of all the years I have been into this, Howard is one of only a few partners I have ever had that fall into a much different category. The rest of you know who you are and know how much you were with us on such a magical journey.
From the moment it was decided that two average Joe climbers from SoCal’s Tahquitz rock would be the first stupid enough to try and link together the fallen sketch pitch on one of the most iconic routes in the world, we knew that not only living up to Robbins and Golden age ethics and style of climbing would be one of many cruxes. We also knew trying to make it as safe and proud as possible was one of infinite unknowns. From the beginning we both really emphasized not trying to force anything. If it ever did feel forced it probably was not safe and was just not meant to be. This we were okay with and went into it with the mindset that it was all about the adventure and not the destination itself.
And so it went on Sunday, July 19th we drove to the valley and organized our kit at the Happy Isle Trailhead. Weather was forecasted to be lightning and thunder storms for the next 3 days, but knew then we would have a window. The following day Howard and I hiked up the Mist Trail around the back 7.5 miles of suffer-fest with 75 lbs. loads, toting the porta-ledge between us. Typically we would take the Death Slabs but chose this option to mitigate the risk of death by rock fall, and to follow in the footsteps of the FA party, as this is the route they followed. We arrived at the base just in time before getting hit by what sounded like Megatron coming over the mountain and all hell and hail broke loose. Typical afternoon Sierra thunder storms I have dealt with my whole life. It was then apparent that where the established 5-6 bivi platforms at the start of RNWF had all but pretty much been obliterated by the fall, we decided to build a new bivi platform higher up on the shoulder in the trees. It ended up being quite a nice spot with a better view of what lie ahead for us for the next several days. Howard and I decided we had to go ground up “obviously” no fixing to the ground. We also planned on 5 days of rations, set a high camp right at the Robbins Traverse, and see how many days it would take us to put the pieces together. We did the next two days of exactly that; getting into position, inspecting what it might take, and experiencing the super eerie phenomena of raining gravel on us nonstop every night, even though we were to the left of the fall zone. The fear of it all was definitely very real and prevalent in our minds the entire time, but still everything was going smooth and nothing had felt forced. On the second night knowing there was a new passage way out right we couldn’t sleep a wink, anticipating how the next day might unfold, combined with the constant bombardment of gravel, around 1am Howard, probably sensing I was not asleep, says “Holy sh#t bro, do you feel that?”, “What is it?” I ask, hearing the fear in his voice. “The whole wall is vibrating”, he points out. Sure enough in the midst of raining gravel the wall did seem to be vibrating in a rather unnerving harmonization. Holy sh#t that is scary and about puked as it vibrated through our porta-ledge. Out of nowhere *POP*, our ledge flips sideways and all about spits us out of it. I think we both about sh#t ourselves and decide it had to have been loaded slightly off center and just fell back asleep sideways in the ledge, rather than climb in the dark and try to fix it.
At first light it was game day. I was to climb up through pitch 9 to do what is left of 10, try to analyze if the frightful, but clean splitter system works out right. It definitely looked intimidatingly loose and could definitely go free. As I climbed back up and left towards where the existing free variation came down to the missing ledge at the start of pitch 11, two huge microwave size blocks dislodge out of nowhere below me off into the abyss, exploding on the talus below. It was close, but not that close. As I mantled up through 20’ of new terrain I notice what looks to be a new anchor that I did not remember from before. Coming off of this anchor was a rivet ladder, 7 rivets deep, top steppy as sh#t and trended up and right into nowhere land. They did however lead you close above the existing anchor of pitch 11 now out in space on a never ending extremely blank section of rock. I knew that if I could get up the rivet ladder and investigate this could be the cleanest safest option. I yell back down to Howard to take as he lowers me and I tram my way back across the Robbins Traverse to camp.
At this point it’s 9am, I tell Howard the game plan which is to blast back up to said new mystery anchor, fully loaded with our arsenal of everything we could need, climb the rivet ladder, and see where it takes us. As I carefully top step my way up the suspiciously new ladder I see I can pendulum from the last rivet to the old anchor way out in space, I also see that the ledge coming off the bottom left of the 5.11 corner is even closer. Howard and I discuss and decide it was pointless to pendji over to the old anchor and then pendji out right to the new death flake of a ledge. I had just climbed over there and saw how death defying it seemed. What did seem very obvious and not too over the top was to top step that last rivet and start drilling. This was my first bolt I have ever placed in the valley and to be honest did not feel wrong nor right but did make me want to puke. An hour later it was done. Howard and I took turns all day, but Howard really shined being able to hammer ambidextrous and could bang a bolt out in 20 minutes. With a small number of four bolts now in place off the sketch rivet ladder. Howard lowers in place for what became one of the coolest pendulums I have seen next to the King Swing. Left then right again Howard tries to slam dunk dyno off the high point of the pendji to catch the ledge that makes up the start of the 5.11 corner, and then back on route. But he misses, and misses again, then lowers down. By this time we are both cooked, we are running low on rations and if we can’t just link this one section that seems to be perfectly set up for us, it would still have been an amazing adventure. The bolts however would have been in vain. Howard and I decide one more bolt will get us there for sure, investigate to make sure all still looks safe and bail back to camp. Howard the Hammer goes back up and puts in the 5th bolt and sends with the air Jordan dunk to the 5.11 corner off the end of the pendulum.
So basically what links the missing blank section is a 7 rivet/ button head bolt ladder, 5 additional 3/8” bolts, total of 12, to a rather ridiculous pendulum. We did not climb the variation way out right but investigated and concluded it would be 3 more pitches compared to 1. Only a bit more difficult than what the existing rating is, but definitely sketchy loose in some sections and super solid splitters in others. The two main hazards, being a large death flake to start off of and a large hanging death flake where you would finish back into the chimney.
I have included a topo of the variation that Howard and I bolted and the variation we investigated out right. I feel we investigated both pretty thoroughly and made the safest choice. The climb is still rad and although does not have the chimney keyhole pitch anymore, the new path is quite fun and we tried to keep it as true to the roots of this route as possible.
I hope everyone enjoys the work we did up there. The route felt as if it definitely lent itself to us and hope all can share in the adventure of the spirit of the stone that we have embraced for so many years.

Joshua Reinig


Post Script
As the story, myth and legend of this route goes I apologize for not having more photos. Basically the camera we were using was lost to the Merced. Overall it was an amazing adventure and cannot wait to go back up the Big Stone already.
Now somebody get up there and work that free variation! 

  Trip Report Views: 25,207
Bivi Brothers
About the Author
Bivi Brothers is a trad climber from Oceanside California.

Comments
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limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Jul 29, 2015 - 09:24pm PT
First! Ok, now I have to read it...

Edit: holy crap, gravel raining down below a recent rockfall and your ledge tips! I would crap myself! Thanks you for sharing, looking forward to the story behind the rivets and what lies above. Good job up there.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 03:31pm PT
Thanks, Joshua.

Weird about the gravel showers - not sure what's going on there.
Maybe some animal digging at night, directly above you?
Was it windy at night?

So somebody else added the new anchor and 7 rivets/buttonheads above it.
Then you and Howard placed 5 3/8" bolts above that.

Did you top out? If not, what was your high point?
It looks like these were the 5 days?:
1. (7/20) hike in, camp in hailstorm
2-3. (7/21-22) climb and haul to p9
4. (7/23) drill 4 bolts
5. (7/24) drill 1 more bolt, pendulum to ledge at base of 5.11 corner.
Then rap and hike out?

P.S. I think I would have done about the same if I went up there and found what you did.
This was probably the minimum amount of bolts to reconnect the climb,
and very similar to how the Robbins Traverse pitch was done just below.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Jul 29, 2015 - 08:39pm PT
Really cool my friend! Sounds like an awesome adventure, good on ya for scouting out a possible free variation for the mutants. I'm totally on board with the fix and think it is the wisest choice and many will appreciate the hard work you put in!!
jose gutierrez

Trad climber
sacramento,ca
  Jul 29, 2015 - 09:29pm PT
How was the tension traverse at the top of the 11c corner on pitch 12? It appears from the photos of the rock fall that the old belay ledge at the top of pitch 12 is gone, which could make it difficult to get to the chimneys when swinging around the corner.
Erik Sloan

Big Wall climber
Yosemite Big Wall
  Jul 29, 2015 - 09:37pm PT
Hi Gang!

Wow, exciting story here. Half Dome still sounds very dangerous. The wall vibrating is crazy scary. BEST TO STAY OFF HALF DOME FOR ANOTHER MONTH OR SO.


RE: the new anchor and rivet ladder - Yosemite District Ranger Jack Hoeflich and longtime Yosemite janitor Zach Mulligan drilled the new anchor and bolt ladder. They may have climbed to the top afterward though I'm not sure about that.

Did I update the topo correctly?

Regular Route topo
Regular Route topo
Credit: Erik Sloan

Woot!
Erik
erik@yosemitebigwall.com
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Jul 29, 2015 - 09:44pm PT
Interesting.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 29, 2015 - 10:16pm PT
Fantastic. Points to you lads for your bravery in risking the unknown terrain and the even more unknown possibility/probability of internet slander for your effort. What a memorable adventure. Congrats for weaseling your way up there first and into the history(guide)books! Well done. Alas, I also want to know....did you top it out?

Scott
CCT

Trad climber
  Jul 30, 2015 - 06:30pm PT
Great to read about your adventures up there! Watching this unfold is almost as much fun for the arm-chair spectator as the Dawn Wall. Thanks much for your work on the route.

Was the wall really vibrating, or was it just your portaledge? Also, gravel showers outside the fall zone sound sketchy as heck and make me wonder what else up there might be about to break loose.

Anyone got the story on the party that drilled the rivet ladder and what route, if any, they took to the top?


edit: To be clear, I am not equating the achievement to the Dawn Wall. I am equating the level of spectator entertainment to the Dawn Wall. In fact, the armchair entertainment value might even be higher, as the guessers and second-guessers weigh in with expertise ranging from decades of FA's to wild speculation.
MisterE

Gym climber
Small Town with a Big Back Yard
  Jul 29, 2015 - 11:20pm PT
This is great stuff - thanks for pushing through in a respectful way.
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:12am PT
so long story short, you went up there, found that someone else had already established or was working on re-establishing the route, and decided the best thing to do was drill 5 more 3/8" bolts with hangers above a 1/4" button head rivet ladder that was "sketch"...????
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Jul 30, 2015 - 01:19am PT
Jul 30, 2015 - 12:12am PT
so long story short, you went up there, found that someone else had already established or was working on re-establishing the route, and decided the best thing to do was drill 5 more 3/8" bolts with hangers above a 1/4" button head rivet ladder that was "sketch"...????

As long as they were Californians, what else matters? Great work.
Don Paul

Social climber
Washington DC
  Jul 30, 2015 - 06:41am PT
On the one hand, it's great that this route will still be available for noobs to climb half dome. But what a huge insult to Royal Robbins, and then to use bolts that have to be replaced. Two NPS employees did this, one of them a park ranger. (who doesn't have sympathy for the janitor guy, Yosemite outhouses must be horrible on an industrial scale)

I was thinking, that all it would take would be for one graffitti artist to paint something incredible on the base of El Cap, then the next thing you know the whole base would be covered in graffitti from people wanting to make their mark on El Capitan. So what seems like a small thing can have major effects on what is considered acceptable. The rule that was broken here is to respect the wishes of the FA, one of whom was the voice of 'clean climbing' back in his day. I don't think this compares to the Dawn Wall at all. What was that other route, Wings of Steel?
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
  Jul 30, 2015 - 06:55am PT
We also knew trying to make it as safe and proud as possible was one of infinite unknowns.

"Proud" and "safe" are two words that are seldom used together to describe the same route.

How far did you get on the right hand variation?
justthemaid

climber
Jim Henson's Basement
  Jul 30, 2015 - 07:02am PT
Great story guys. Sounds like the whole cliff is still settling in. Yikes!

It's pretty much assured that anyone who establishes any type of route up there is going to get a shitstorm of commentary from every armchair critic in the universe BTW. Put on your thick skin fellas...

Does anyone else find it amusing that the first guys up there were a ranger and a janitor? Adds sauce to the roast LOL.

Someone needs to get up there with a giant pair of pliers and yank that death tooth so the variation can go free.

the best thing to do was drill 5 more 3/8" bolts with hangers above a 1/4" button head rivet ladder that was "sketch"...????

Um...At least they did something with the rivit ladder to nowhere... Rivit guys should have left a note if this was a work in progress IMO. Seems like a reasonable solution and looks pretty fun to boot... and yes we are pleased it was Californians.

.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Jul 30, 2015 - 07:18am PT
What a strange tale. Were there any wooden dowels on that sketch ladder? Mi dios!

DMT
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:50pm PT
The Big Stone!
The Big Stone!
Credit: Bivi Brothers
. . . . .and then . ..? .great write up thoe really cool!
JLP

Social climber
The internet
  Jul 30, 2015 - 09:14am PT
This was my first bolt I have ever placed in the valley...
Seriously? WTF were you doing up there?

+1 to Erik's comment. I have no interest in that formation for the next few years. Vibrations enough to kick your portaledge around + constant raining granite? Seems like a good idea to spend 5 days in that? Cool story, bros, glad to hear you didn't roll snake eyes.
The Alpine

climber
The Sea
  Jul 30, 2015 - 09:29am PT
While I appreciate the effort, something inside me keeps cringing.

To be honest, this seems like some pretty lame spray.

The question remains Bivy Bros: did you top out???
Slabby D

Trad climber
B'ham WA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 09:31am PT
I don't really want to pile on but....raining gravel is a well known sign of imminent rockfall. See the recent collapse in Squamish, Greg Child's Great Trango story and so forth. I guess rock climbing is about accepting and managing a certain level of risk but Wow! I can't imagine the thought process to stay up there when all signs indicate the wall is still actively shifting. Wow!
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jul 30, 2015 - 10:58am PT
"From the beginning we both really emphasized not trying to force anything. If it ever did feel forced it probably was not safe and was just not meant to be."

"game plan which is to blast back up to said new mystery anchor, fully loaded with our arsenal of everything we could need, climb the rivet ladder, and see where it takes us."

"Howard and I decide one more bolt will get us there for sure"

Glad it wasn't forced and the climb is still "rad." Phew!
ECF

Big Wall climber
Ridgway CO
  Jul 30, 2015 - 10:53am PT
Inevitable.
Too much of a trade route for there not to be a bolt ladder someday.
Whole thing might end up at the base after this winter.
Not a big deal either way.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 11:58am PT
I have a hard time with the criticism leveled against the Bivi Brothers. Insulting to the first ascent? And you know this because?

As for the criticism that drilling your first Valley bolt on an iconic big wall means you shouldn't be there, I presume you were aware that Pratt drilled his first bolts on the first ascent of Watkins? Are you saying that he shouldn't have climbed that, the Salathe Wall, or any of his other big first ascents?

If anything, I have a much harder time with the idea of using a rivet ladder on a route so likely to see heavy traffic. From Robbins' comments about his ascent of Tis-a-ack, I rather suspect he'd prefer the entire ladder to be 3/8" bolts.

I'm sorry, but this looks like criticism based on envy to me.

John
mikeyschaefer

climber
Sport-o-land
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:04pm PT
I'm still a bit baffled by why anyone would go up there so soon after such a large rock fall. It really makes no sense to me and honestly makes me question anyones judgement that does. I probably wouldn't touch that thing till next summer if it was me.

And regarding the 1/4" or 5/16" rivets put in by zack and jack. The bolts will indeed rust and get sketchy at some point but I highly doubt they are right now. I regularly use 1/4" bolts for projects and new routes and have taken many whippers on to them. They are fine. The huge benefit they have is that they are really easy to remove if needed. Given the state of the route and the unknown it's not a bad idea to use a bolt that can be easily removed. If 3/8" wedge bolts were used they'd be way harder to pull and patch. And when the 1/4" bolts are replaced it would only take a day of work to do so.

Regardless, I have no idea why anyone is even up there at this point. Maybe I've just dodged enough rock fall at this point in my career that it is something I try to avoid at all cost.
k-man

Gym climber
SCruz
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:03pm PT
^^^ +1 for JohnE.
FrankZappa

Trad climber
Durango
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:05pm PT
Five days to go up there and drill 5 bolts?
Am I missing something?
Classic:
What did seem very obvious and not too over the top was to top step that last rivet and start drilling.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:16pm PT


Jul 30, 2015 - 12:05pm PT
Five days to go up there and drill 5 bolts?
Am I missing something?


Yes. Did you even read the report?
Alpamayo

Trad climber
Davis, CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:20pm PT
Five days to go up there and drill 5 bolts?
Am I missing something?
Classic:

The initiative to do it yourself?
JLP

Social climber
The internet
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:30pm PT
"big first ascents"
Whoah!! Crack me up with that strawman, this pair of n00bs wouldn't have gotten 40 feet up a new route of this magnitude, no f'n way. If they had that kind of moxie, then I might trust them to figure out a bolt, too.

Fact is, as well, most of the bolts those old dads placed are for-sh!t and were replaced long ago.

Yes, count me among the many here who feel this job should have been saved for someone WAY, WAY more qualified to do the clean-up and maintenance of one of the Valley's most trafficked trade routes.

I'd also say most of those guys aren't going up there anytime soon...

couchmaster

climber
  Aug 3, 2015 - 01:50pm PT


I have nothing negative to say. Anyone that does should probably just go up and see for themselves first.

Meantime, thanks for the honesty Bivi Bros. You'll get some haters, but hopefully not as much as when Ammon used a pin placement (ONE piton placement) on a speed ascent of a wall that had once gone clean. I seem to recall some that seemed to be calling for the death penalty for using the piton. That thread went close to 500 angry acrimonious monkeysh#t-slinging posts, but some were deleted later.

Shakes head^^^, and thanks for getting the route back in play.
TheTye

Trad climber
Sacramento CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:52pm PT
lots of empty criticism from the bored onlookers...

hater-ade must be on sale at the co-op...
survival

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jul 30, 2015 - 12:53pm PT
Bivy Bros, you probably did just fine.

It will all get sorted out just in time for the next big piece to fall off.

Nothing remains the same.

Only the strange remain.
Trashman

Trad climber
SLC
  Jul 30, 2015 - 01:01pm PT
This whole episode kind of reminds me of all the people who gleefully shout "First!" on comment sections.

Edit: kind of like the first comment on this trip report. "First! Now to find someone to go up and do a proper restoration, worthy of the 100s of ascents this route sees in a typical year."
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 01:24pm PT
ECIYA:

Maybe that "sketch" rivet ladder was spaced because Jack was free climbing the obvious flake feature to the right and clipping those for pro? I don't know, that's why I'd love to hear Hoeflich's input here.


I don't think we've seen any pics of the rivet ladder, or anything of the new ground. This pic with the flake is the Robbins bolt ladder, unless my memory is shot? It's hard to tell with the missing ledge and all that rock gone up there:

FrankZappa

Trad climber
Durango
  Jul 30, 2015 - 01:08pm PT
The initiative to do it yourself?

I wouldn't consider myself qualified to do it....but it's not about me.

I do remember climbing up to this spot in a few hours though, which is why I don't understand the 5 day mission to drill 5 bolts.
I applaud the effort though....as Largo said on some other thread the folks up there are making the decisions (something like that). It's probably the most sensible way, and if it's not someone else will go up there and un-fµck it.

This is classic internet armchair bs. BITD, it would have gotten done and approval/disapproval would have based on climbers opinions after having climbed the new variation and actually talking about it face to face. Now we have an overly detailed trip report with selfies and folks ripping on them. They should have just done it and said nothing.
guyman

Social climber
Moorpark, CA.
  Jul 30, 2015 - 01:12pm PT
Way to go, thanks for the TR.

If the stone I was on started vibrating.... I would be so out of there.

so what could make that happen?

Plate tectonics????

limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 01:23pm PT
This whole episode kind of reminds me of all the people who gleefully shout "First!" on comment sections.

Edit: kind of like the first comment on this trip report.

#jelly
skcreidc

Social climber
SD, CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 01:32pm PT
From the TR;

“The whole wall is vibrating”, he points out. Sure enough in the midst of raining gravel the wall did seem to be vibrating in a rather unnerving harmonization. Holy sh#t that is scary and about puked as it vibrated through our porta-ledge. Out of nowhere *POP*, our ledge flips sideways and all about spits us out of it.

Imagine this VVV happening on a grander scale.




I'm curious about all the negativity. Seems to me somebody needs to go up there (when it is safer) and see it in person, then comment. I freely admit I have no experience in the valley, but other than the route being a famous trade route how do you know they didn't do a decent job on it.

To be honest, I'm just glad Josh made it back alive. That's some scary stuff he was talking about happening each night.
RP3

Big Wall climber
Newbury Park
  Jul 30, 2015 - 01:44pm PT
Well, I am happy you guys made it back alive. I'm with Mikey on this one. Perhaps I have been around enough rockfall that I have learned not to tempt fate. However, everybody has different thresholds for the amount of risk they are willing to accept. In my opinion, you guys are very lucky to be be in one piece!

I will also repeat what several others have said upthread. DON'T GO UP THERE UNTIL THINGS SETTLE DOWN!There has been too much unnecessary death in the community of late. Don't add to it.

-Roger Putnam
Jim Herson

climber
Emerald Hills, CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 01:51pm PT
I don't think we've seen any pics of the rivet ladder, or anything of the new ground.

Here's a photo of the new rivet ladder. No free climbing possibilities. The first two rivets are far apart so you have to lever out on the first to reach the second thus shortening the useful life of the first rivet.

-Jim

Credit: Jim Herson

rincon

climber
Coarsegold
  Jul 30, 2015 - 02:21pm PT
H.D. is not "The Big Stone".
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 02:28pm PT
There it is - great pic of what everybody's next trip up the route is going to look like. Plus, with time, some thickets of tat.

Now then - who's going to criticize Herson for going up there before we've had a guarantee from on high that no more rocks will be falling? [Crickets deafening roar of crickets]

Personally hoping to go for it some time before 2022,

le_bruce
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 02:33pm PT
Personally hoping to go for it some time before 2022,

Those of us who are old and have nothing left to live for may not wait that long.

;>)

John
HeldUp

climber
Former YNP VIP Ranger
  Jul 30, 2015 - 03:14pm PT
Kudos to the Bivi Brothers for their work, especially in the conditions they described, and knowing full-well of the crap storm they would have to endure afterward.

I'm curious to know, on a route that is as classic and known around the world as any other, why wasn't there a more "official" plan to fix it? I completely concur they should be from California. Should it be first-come, first-served (as in this case), death by committee, or something in-between? I would assume others were planning to do this, as well. As for the Ranger and the Janitor? Sounds like a song by Jason Lytle/Grandaddy :)

On a more technical note, I'd like to know how they drilled those holes (cordless drill with diamond hard bit?) and how deep did they drilled (4" bolt?).
Jim Herson

climber
Emerald Hills, CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 03:00pm PT
Now then - who's going to criticize Herson for going up there

To clarify, we never intended to climb the chimneys. We had hoped to climb out Arcturus after somehow -- and, admittedly, this part was not very well thought out -- swinging into the corner on pitch 12. Unfortunately, after finding the rivet ladder we became disheartened and bailed.

-Jim
rincon

climber
Coarsegold
  Jul 30, 2015 - 04:00pm PT
I became possessed with the possibility of the unknown and what was to be newly discovered across this blank virgin section

Was anyone ever in doubt that it would be a bolt ladder?
This trip report is hilarious in so many ways :)

I'm sorry, but this looks like criticism based on envy to me.

I'm sorry, but what exactly are we supposed to be envious of?
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Jul 30, 2015 - 03:25pm PT
Jim, it sounds like you were just on a recon. No harm in checking it out and then bailing.
Hubbard

climber
San Diego
  Jul 30, 2015 - 03:31pm PT
Josh and Howard are solid climbers from Southern California. They have good first ascents under their belt and are well qualified to go up on Half Dome or any other cliff and do what they think is right. They are also aware that if you do something of value there will often be someone who will criticize the effort. Josh and Howard did what they wanted to do and showed they are leaders and not followers. That's just the way it is. I'm stoked for them.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 03:54pm PT
Jim,
Did you go up before or after 7/23?
(Before, there would be just the 7 buttonheads from Jack/Zach, and not the 5 3/8" added by Joshua/Howard that enable reaching the 5.11 corner).
Actually I think I see 9 bolts in your photo plus one anchor bolt, so that implies you were there after 7/23.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 30, 2015 - 04:22pm PT
Yall don't know how close I am to inventing five or six troll posters to keep this fabulous thread alive in the event it starts to simmer down. Here would be some of my usernames:

TheHater510: his posts tread the fine line between narcissism and loneliness with hints of jealousy sprinkled into his posts which border on threats. His hallmark moves are the "namedrop" and the "downgrade" though he enjoys the subtle mention of how "it only took us a couple hours to get up there" style comments.


Sportboy514: lots of mis-spellings and grammar issues in his posts. Haven't really thought much about this one.....


Olmanhasbeen: constantly mentions Robbins, Pratt or Rebuffat. Holds on to old school "rules" like they're the Talmud and despises addition of bolts though all his old school trade routes contain at least one bolt ladder. The Nose. The Kor Roof. NE Buttress of Middle. You mention it, he'll change the subject or go silent and stop posting for a day.


LimbaughCoulter: will probably just call you names. May or may not be a climber.


SickponyA6: probably has the street cred to back up his point. May or may not be stoked for you. Will either salute your rad effort or flame you for your ineptitude. Either way is fine by you because he spent 300 nights last year in a portaledge and has the gingivitis to prove it.


Oh man the list goes on. So tighten up you chinstraps BivyBro's, I'm loggin onto a fresh IP address and comin' after you!

And by the way Limpingcrab. Solid grab on the first post. Well played brother.
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 04:32pm PT
I'll be sure to criticize Jim Herson, but it will be face to face like I always do.
WBraun

climber
  Jul 30, 2015 - 04:37pm PT
So they followed Jack and Zack previous work, added 5 more bolts that Jack and Zack were gonna do later anyways and then they claimed first?

You helped repair a bridge that's all ......
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jul 30, 2015 - 04:42pm PT
Finally, somebody said it ^^



Trashman

Trad climber
SLC
  Jul 30, 2015 - 05:09pm PT
And by the way Limpingcrab. Solid grab on the first post. Well played brother.

Good point. I thing Limpingcrab deserves a credit on the re-fa as well. Sure the bivi bros did a bit of the work beforehand, but he was the first to go back after and do the last bit.
jsb

Trad climber
Portland
  Jul 30, 2015 - 05:15pm PT
Sounds like Werner is jealous!

(Am I doing this troll thing right?)
StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 05:25pm PT
The duck kind of has a point. 5 bolts and a penji? Bonus points for sleeping under a sh*t load of of potential devastation.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
  Jul 30, 2015 - 05:39pm PT
You helped repair a bridge that's all ......
My first thought was that the riveters got it done with 5 less holes and a different pendulum line, the bivybros had no clue retro-bolted it.
Hummerchine

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
  Jul 30, 2015 - 05:51pm PT
Awesome post micronut!

As to the original post...you guys are nuts! That sounds super dicey!

HOWEVER

I think it's super cool to hear that you helper re-establish the route. Of course somedogy would...had to be the first willing to take the risk!

I say right on!
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jul 30, 2015 - 06:13pm PT
Even if jacks team did it with the 7 bolt ladder, the bivouac bros deemed it impossible without 5 more.

Now, it goes for out of towners.


P.s. Rivets don't have hangers.
mtnyoung

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
  Jul 30, 2015 - 06:13pm PT

My first thought was that the riveters got it done with 5 less holes and a different pendulum line, the bivybros had no clue retro-bolted it.

My first thought was that people who make snarky statements based on partial facts sound like envious third graders.
Gene

climber
  Jul 30, 2015 - 06:18pm PT
Thank God no lions were killed.
Jeff P

climber
  Jul 30, 2015 - 07:20pm PT
I climbed this route in 1975 before cams and before harnesses and using old Robbins shoes, no sticky rubber. The traverse was a ladder of seemed aluminum pins stuck in shallow holes (very scary). There were few bolts, if any. I carried pitons but did not know how to use them, using entirely nuts. It took me three days and I consider it wonderful. I do not see the point of all this bickering. One upmanship I guess. Do try to keep the NW route available to 5.10c climbers.
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jul 30, 2015 - 09:27pm PT
Well the pendulum sounds fun anyway. The 1/4" rivets can be fairly easily replaced. And someday maybe after more rocks fall out someone will probly free climb the right hand variation.

I concur with Werner though. This TR is so full of name dropping and chest beating it's hard not to believe it's just a comical troll. But whatever. Go Team 5 bivis!

PS, the BD Double ledge has the tendancy to come apart on you if you don't fit that last corner in well and cinch the tension straps down hard. Now ya know!
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Jul 30, 2015 - 09:32pm PT
WINGS OF HALF DOME CONTROVERSY BREWING, BRA!!!!!!!!!!!


QUICK, GET YOUR MOVIE DEAL NOW FOR 2 CHEESEBURGERS AND A SHARED LARGE FRY!!!!!
Fogarty

climber
BITD
  Jul 30, 2015 - 09:54pm PT
Haters Gona Hate, Lovers Gona Love & Some just jump Lines & Help Build A Bridge?
WBraun

climber
  Jul 30, 2015 - 09:57pm PT
All routes are already there even the ones that have not yet been touched by mankind.

They are revealed to the First ascent according to the consciousness they've developed.

So in truth no route was ever "created" since they are already there ....
Daphne

Trad climber
Northern California
  Jul 30, 2015 - 10:15pm PT
And the award goes to Gene, for the best laugh so far.
Tamara Robbins

climber
not a climber, just related...
  Jul 30, 2015 - 10:28pm PT
DITTO! just got a seriously healthy chuckle looking back to see which post you were referring to. +1 more vote for Gene.....
big wall paul

Trad climber
tahoe, CA
  Jul 31, 2015 - 12:27am PT
Nice work, Bivi Bros, you guys deserve all the credit for getting this great route re-connected. I hope you can disregard all the negative feedback from many of the people on here. You guys took a risk and went for it, and now we got our route back!

John F: yes, what's up with those flimsy aluminum dowels? talk about dicey. At least there were actual rivets up there on this route!
Future parties can crowbar those out and drill the holes wider and put 3/8 bolts in their places. I concur: let's get that route dialed in for 10c climbers. Or 5.9 climbers like me (who like to French free everything beyond that!)

This reminds me: what happened to the standard practice of bringing a bolt kit on all climbs? I always had my A taper 1/4" drill with hammer with me, in case an existing bolt falls out, or a key piton is missing.
reason

Big Wall climber
Fort Collins Co
  Jul 31, 2015 - 10:31am PT
Thanks guys for taking into consideration the overall grade of the route and pragmatically doing what was right to keep the integrity of the climb. I had fears that some 5.14 rope gun would go up there and create something that Caldwell and Joergenson would have to work out with out the possibility of c1-2. Climbed the route twice and once had to bale due to bad weather. Might give it a go once again due to your efforts. THANK YOU!
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Jul 31, 2015 - 10:35am PT
Looks like a great adventure team. Way to go! I'm laughing at the comments about "unqualified"
T?S

Trad climber
Reno, NV
  Jul 31, 2015 - 03:47pm PT
So the new route, while in place, hasn't been climbed all the way to the top yet, correct? In theory, there could be more surprises higher up as no one saw, or even heard, the rockfall.

Thankful to the guys for making the effort, but technically the route hasn't been reestablished.... right or wrong?
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 31, 2015 - 04:46pm PT
My first thought was that the riveters got it done with 5 less holes and a different pendulum line, the bivybros had no clue retro-bolted it.

Haha too bad the riveters did not spray on the supertopo a little earlier...what a shame!

So the climb will go quicker now? Maybe I can go for the link up this fall! First post apocalyptic link up of HD and El Cap!

Psyched!

Saving the page and will read over the sh#t show in the backcountry! Can't wait, seems better than fishing...maybe not. In any case, I am impressed people were hungry enough to risk their life to be the first bolt ladder ascent of a new rock scar.

PS: don't take the negative comments to heart, I am sure you both are good guys and wanted to do the best thing.
ryankelly

climber
Bhumi
  Jul 31, 2015 - 05:32pm PT
I agree with Werner

All routes are already there even the ones that have not yet been touched by mankind.

They are revealed to the First ascent according to the consciousness they've developed.

So in truth no route was ever "created" since they are already there ....

Brahma the Four Face Creator already made the entire material realm....we are just discovering it, slowly
GoMZ

Trad climber
South Lake Tahoe
  Jul 31, 2015 - 05:55pm PT
Found this Alpinist article today

http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web15x/newswire-half-dome-rnwf-likely-climbable
ryankelly

climber
Bhumi
  Jul 31, 2015 - 09:14pm PT
I actually read this report now and man it sounds like a troll
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Jul 31, 2015 - 09:40pm PT
Topo should read: "Rather rediculous pendulum."
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 31, 2015 - 10:41pm PT
From the Alpinist article
Credit: micronut
Looks like a bolt ladder was already the intent by the local fellers.
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Jul 31, 2015 - 10:51pm PT
Credit: briham89

edit: thanks for that last post micronut ^
The Alpine

climber
The Sea
  Aug 1, 2015 - 01:44pm PT
Why the complete ignoring of the "Did you top it out!?" question??
Lambone

Big Wall climber
Ashland, Or
  Aug 1, 2015 - 02:17pm PT
Clearly they didn't or there would have been double the spray.

Can't say I blame em, who in their right mind would haul a 5 day kit including a BD Double and Expedition fly up that route.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Aug 3, 2015 - 09:13am PT
It sounds like you did the right thing. Robbin's bolts weren't very far apart compared to modern bolt ladders, but there was some 5.9 climbing just after the old ladder that felt like full value 5.9. Very good climbing.

I can't see anything wrong here. The flake that was previously used is now gone. Replacing it with a penji seems like it was the way to go, and as anyone who has done The Nose knows, the pendulums are fun as hell.

I just hope it isn't too hard. I think that the whole effort should have been to keep the rating down (I know that sounds weird) to a beginning wall climber's level, which the route has been for 50+ years.

Sounds good to me. Good on ya.

As to vibrating rock, or raining gravel, you have to understand that the flake that fell was a part of the face. When it went, the stress and strain on existing flakes changed. It might take a couple of years for this to settle down. Maybe another flake will come off.

No way to know. Maybe Greg could inspect it and get a feel for the danger.

Moving the bivy site is a great idea. Those bivy sites right at the base were always unsafe. I know of at least one person who took a rock to the head from above, needing a rescue. Sleeping right beneath the route was always dumb.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Aug 3, 2015 - 09:17am PT
Another idea. Who ever goes up there now should take a crowbar to clean off loose stuff. Just make sure nobody is below and that you don't chop your own rope.

Loose blocks on trade routes are too much trouble. There was that block up high on the Nose that was held on by about a dozen faded slings. Finally somebody trundled it when nobody was below.

It is a trade route, but a GREAT trade route. Keeping it that way seems important to me. I'm glad that there isn't any A3 hooking, for sure.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Aug 3, 2015 - 10:42am PT
I just hope it isn't too hard. I think that the whole effort should have been to keep the rating down (I know that sounds weird) to a beginning wall climber's level, which the route has been for 50+ years

WTF? No, it wasn't a "beginner's" level for 50+ years. It was cutting edge when it was established. This kind of attitude is what gets you via-ferrattas up the Nose and gondolas from the meadow to top of El Cap...got to accommodate any no-talent hack that wants to pretend to have climbed something. Can't nut up with the required skills? Hike up the back.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Aug 3, 2015 - 10:29am PT
Awww come on. I will re-phrase it:

I'm glad that it didn't end up with mandatory 5.12. I'm glad that it didn't end up with mandatory 5.11. The route used to be 5.9 A1, and you could free as much as you felt like.

Pendulums are fun. They managed to avoid drilling a pitch full of bolts by using a pendulum for the route to move right into the chimneys. The Robbins Traverse used to be the method to move right, and it had a bolt ladder and a small pendulum, into the flake system which is now gone.

These guys re-installed the route without very many holes. Not too hard, from what it sounds like. Perfect.

In 2015, or 1980 for that matter, RNWF has been many people's first Grade 6 route. The route has changed, but appears to be about the same in difficulty.

I wasn't talking about a via ferratta. You must be high to even think that that was what I was saying.
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Aug 3, 2015 - 10:41am PT
Slippery slope B104. Start worrying about accommodating the masses, vs. actually climbing the features, whether A4 or 5.12 and you eventually get via ferratas and gondolas. In this case, sounds like it didn't matter, ended up with a blank wall with no features.

It's the attitude that's troubling, not this specific incident.
Captain...or Skully

climber
Boise, ID
  Aug 3, 2015 - 10:45am PT
Rediculous is a great color. Not my fave, though.
I agree with Mikey.
Mike.

climber
  Aug 3, 2015 - 10:50am PT
Credit: Stolen from W bryan

(L) Go to the trouble of placing a decent rivet, then some cliff diver puts a Curry Mountain Shop breakaway hanger on it.
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Aug 3, 2015 - 10:59am PT
Yeah, a #1 rivet hanger is almost never used, and will surely break in the majority of falls.

The right picture is what we install (I made those hangers) on split shaft bolts. 5/16ths x 1" Carriage bolts, ground down is what we use for "Rivets"

Funny how everybody gets sketched out when they hear "rivet".

Ask Plaidman how bomber my rivet was that caught is winger on Jericho...

Mike.

climber
  Aug 3, 2015 - 11:27am PT
Aye, mucci, good work.

People seem to love weak hangers. Like the ones some visionary designed (read: recycled design from another application) which aid in levering out/breaking off the rivet. Strong metal hanger; weak, failing design.

Most climbers don't seem to know that a rivet, in climbing context, is just hangerless bolt. Unless it's a rivet : )
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Aug 4, 2015 - 11:20pm PT
This TR is a classic. Very quotable! Love the "Proud and safe," and going up there with intentions to not do things that "feel forced." 5 3/8 bolt ladder on top of an already existing variation seems as far from proud and as close to forced as I can think of.
If I was going up there to patch up a damaged pitch of an existing popular wall I'd probably do the same thing, but brought it up in a much different tone.

What a circus. Fml.
nopantsben

climber
europe
  Aug 5, 2015 - 12:34am PT
never thought I'd comment on a TR with these words, but after finally reading this thing, I must.

What a bad TR.

Doesn't matter whether what you did was good or bad or should've been done by others or not and c., but the way it's written up is embarrassing.

edit. anyone sure this is not a troll? I could have drawn that topo being on a different continent, no need to climb the route for that.
seiha

Sport climber
cambodia
  Aug 5, 2015 - 12:09am PT
ohh my god





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BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Aug 5, 2015 - 08:30am PT
I was thinking that it would take a half pitch of bolts. As for replacing the rivets with bolts, whatever. You don't need rivet hangers. You can just slip the wire of your small stoppers over them. There aren't very many. What? 10 or so.

This route gets done so often. It gets almost as crowded as The Nose.

It was a miracle that the flake cut loose when nobody was on the route. July is perfect for HD. Nice and cool up there. It could have killed a couple of parties, easy. I did it once over 4th of July and there were maybe 5 parties on it. Kinda makes me shudder.

I'm still saying to trundle the loose stuff when someone has a chance.

So, has the whole route been repeated yet?

Don Paul

Social climber
Washington DC
  Aug 5, 2015 - 08:13pm PT
I was on the side of keeping it the same grade, until Royal Robbins' daughter posted on supertopo explaining that the route was gone now, and should not be artificially reconnected, and then she went back to him after I asked her, and he said what she wrote was perfect. So then you have to weigh the value of this as a 5.9 trade route, versus the value of preserving the clean climbing ethic.

It reminds me of the compressor route on cerro torre. The compressor route would have been the only way I could do it, but I totally support chopping it, even if it means I can't climb it myself. There shouldn't be a via ferrata up cerro torre. When I go to Rocky Mountain National Park, its a protected wilderness area (and still under NPS) and you can really feel the difference. We have no via ferrattas on our Diamond and everyone who climbs up there understands why.

I am not sure I believe all this about vibrating walls and raining gravel being a sign of rockfall danger. I'd say check with Greg or some other geologist before assuming that. My first guess would have been that it's like an avalanche - the rockfall got rid of the dangerous stuff and its safe again. The stresses that cause rockfall have been temporarily relieved. I'm not a geologist and don't know which is right. Another factor is the weight of the flakes that fell off. That could go either way, though. Possibility #1 is that the upper flakes were partially supported by the lower flakes that fell off. But possibility #2 is that the upper flakes are well-connected to the face and no longer bearing the weight of the lower parts that were hanging onto them. I don't think its true that rockfall leads to more rockfall, though.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 5, 2015 - 06:45pm PT
Still no clarity on whether the OP topped out or not?

This pic shows the top of the chimney pitches, after you emerge from the chimney proper and move up to the 5.9 double cracks pitch.



Could this long, thinning flake pictured here be fairly construed as the "top edge" of the massive flake complex that used to include the section that fell? As in, what fell was the feet and shins of the beast, the flakes that comprise the 3 pitches of chimneys the torso, and this sucker the head?

If anyone has been up there, is there anything to indicate the rest of the system of flakes has changed at all? What if it all goes? This is the stuff I lie awake and think about.

Feet and shins again:



[Paranoid edit: look at that flake left of the climbing line in the first pic, with the dark cavity behind it. Is that thing showing some buckling?!! I'll never go back up there!]
Oso Flaco

Gym climber
Atascadero, CA
  Aug 8, 2015 - 12:00pm PT
Reality check...

In rock-climbing, there is no such thing as being qualified or unqualified since there are no rules (aside from the exception of some park and area regulations). Freedom is the name of the game. One discovers via the climbing itself whether they are "qualified" (possess the skill set, mental prowess, physical shape, and spiritual peace) or not. Even though we have this freedom, it is wise to take into consideration what our choices may cause. We have the freedom to do as we want, but should consider it freedom to do as we ought.

It was immediately speculated after the rockfall and posting of photos of the area from which the rock fell that a bolt ladder would be necessary to link through the missing area. See it in this thread: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2651396/Half-Dome-Rockfall Disappointing? Yes. Surprising? No. But, really only disappointing since the climbing and ledge system through that area was awesome. People who do the route for the first time after this will never know what they missed, and the route will still be awesome to them. Sadly, not as awesome to those who got to climb what was there before it fell off.

Despite speculation, the only way to really know how the route would go was to actually go up there and figure it out. That's what these two teams did. It took a lot of effort and a lot of both actual and perceived risk and also some time and money.

It appears to me that in this thread, many have re-directed their disappointment toward this classic route being changed for the worse by natural forces, onto those who went and placed the previously suspected as necessary bolt-ladder.

The bolt ladder put in place appears to be done well enough to fulfill its intended purpose. Bolts can be replaced when needed. (Aside: The inevitable tat on the bolts is no big deal in this case given that it is not an eye-sore to passers-by since it's not visible to them. Climbers will just have to deal with it and accept the fact that some people are shorter than others.)

Placing a bolt ladder takes some skill, but is just a way to bypass otherwise impassible sections relatively quickly and easily compared to other options, or in the case that there are no other options. The free climbing possibility is still yet to be confirmed as an option. For the Bivy Bros, the free climbing possibility looked to have more risk than they were willing to accept at the time. No shame in that.

The fact is that this rockfall on an iconic route opened a door to new possibilities for a Yosemite first which caused a lot of excitement. These two teams were excited enough to get after it and be the first. No rules against that. The significance of this first will not be weighed the same in everyone's minds. However, no one can take it away from you. As the old adage says, "You snooze, you loose."

Free-climbing possibilities or more interesting climbing options still may remain. Stay hopeful and get out there an make it happen!

Thank you to the two teams who re-linked the route! Your efforts will be appreciated by many to come.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Aug 8, 2015 - 01:26pm PT
^^^^^^

Where's the fun in that??? I for one LOVED high school and would prefer to keep our Valley clique strong.
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Aug 8, 2015 - 02:00pm PT
Sh#t in one hand and type your opinion with the other.
The Alpine

climber
The Sea
  Aug 8, 2015 - 03:26pm PT
Hey Oso-

I'm pretty sure the issue people are having is not the bolt ladder.

First of all, the tone of the TR is one of triumph and sending the gnar.

Secondly, The OP (Bivy Bros) has gone completely silent and refuses to clear the ambiguity of whether or not they actually topped out.

Seems to me like they got called out. I guess the fact this thread hasn't been deleted yet is a positive.

Again, had this been presented as simple facts and information, no big D.

But that aint the tone of the TR is it?
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Aug 8, 2015 - 04:10pm PT
You called them out bro, hard. They won't get your acceptance!!!111

You should kick their ass behind the swing set after recess!
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Aug 8, 2015 - 05:39pm PT
Seems to me like they got called out.

Seems like they got off their asses and did something.




P.S. I think I would have done about the same if I went up there and found what you did.
This was probably the minimum amount of bolts to reconnect the climb,
and very similar to how the Robbins Traverse pitch was done just below.



ElCapPirate

Big Wall climber
Ogden, Utah
  Aug 8, 2015 - 07:29pm PT
Perfect!!!

I say, good on these guys for getting after it.

I personally wouldn't go up there without having drilled and bolted, at least, 50 perfect holes/placements before restoring an iconic climb like this. As far as I know, these guys have done just that, or more.

The TR does have a "chest beating" tone for just installing a river ladder, haha! But, what the hell... that's what monkey's do.

Btw, I was busy working when Chris Mac called me and asked if I was interested in restoring the route.

I told him he's out of his f'n mind... and, of course I'm IN.

It's good to be alive, get some!!
W.L.

climber
Edge of the Electric Ocean Beneath Red Rock
  Aug 18, 2015 - 03:02pm PT
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Aug 18, 2015 - 04:13pm PT
By afranke
From: Seattle,Wa
The route still does not go. While doing permit checks I have spoken to several groups who have bailed post "bivi brothers". The route doesn't go even after the new bolt ladder was added, there is rock still missing above where the "bivi brothers" bailed.
from
http://mountainproject.com/v/regular-northwest-face-of-half-dome/105912416
Secondhand / hearsay.
The photos don't show missing rock above the connection.
There is a feeling among some people that the climb might be at higher risk of rockfall at present.
So we don't know if this is filtering out the more skilled climbers and leaving the people who have a lower chance of success?
The explanation could be as simple as people seeing the end of the bolt ladder and not thinking of doing the pendulum to 5.11c corner, or being unable to complete the pendulum.
Bivi Brothers

Trad climber
Oceanside California
Author's Reply  Aug 18, 2015 - 06:52pm PT
Confidence is Silent, Insecurities are Loud!!!

Love you all, tis an amazing community in which we share the love for da stone!!!
Matt's

climber
  Aug 18, 2015 - 05:03pm PT
The group didn't top out, because they ran out of water:

http://www.climbing.com/blog/interview-joshua-reinig-on-restoring-half-dome/

bunch of clowns, in my opinion. It takes a competent party less than half a day to the route normally-- it takes these guys multiple days to climb much less than half the route, drill 5 bolts and bail...

I wouldn't normally care, but this is one of the most iconic climbs in the world...the climbing community deserves better than this.
Matt's

climber
  Aug 18, 2015 - 05:23pm PT
Bivi brothers-- you say confidence is silent, insecurity is loud-- is that why you are spraying all over the place about your bolt ladder to nowhere?
cat t.

climber
california
  Aug 18, 2015 - 05:10pm PT
what a mess. i love supertopo.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Aug 18, 2015 - 05:59pm PT
It takes a competent party less than half a day to the route normally
Matt,
Not really a fair comparison.
"normally" was when the chimney still existed, and no drilling was required, just clipping.
These guys chose to haul on the climb, to give themselves the best chance of connecting the climb over the damaged section.
They achieved their goal.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Aug 18, 2015 - 10:04pm PT
I was on the side of keeping it the same grade, until Royal Robbins' daughter posted on supertopo explaining that the route was gone now, and should not be artificially reconnected, and then she went back to him after I asked her, and he said what she wrote was perfect. So then you have to weigh the value of this as a 5.9 trade route, versus the value of preserving the clean climbing ethic.

Didn't he artificially connect the route for himself by installing bolts in multiple places? Like on the Robbins Traverse bolt ladder and the upper slab section bolt ladder? Or am I missing something and he did the route clean on the FA and the bolts were added later?
Matt's

climber
  Aug 18, 2015 - 10:07pm PT
Clint- I think the two Yosemite locals who went up before the bivy brothers did it with a more rational approach...
WBraun

climber
  Aug 18, 2015 - 10:40pm PT
So nobody has done the regular route on half dome yet.

Unbelievable.

Shows nobody knows how to climb anymore .......
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Aug 18, 2015 - 10:55pm PT
Clint- I think the two Yosemite locals who went up before the bivy brothers did it with a more rational approach...

As in let's get outta here.
Trashman

Trad climber
SLC
  Aug 19, 2015 - 01:02pm PT
Bump for those who missed this last night as I nearly did.

Wow, you can't make stuff like this up. To go with "We weren't going to force anything(until we drilled half of a bolt ladder)" we can add "We didn't bail because we were committed(to finishing the next pitch)"
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
  Aug 19, 2015 - 01:30pm PT
Need some alpine death-wishing bad ass to go up there and dry tool the gnar.

DMT
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  Aug 19, 2015 - 03:05pm PT
Confidence is Silent, Insecurities are Loud!!!
I think it is hilarious in context of this TR.
It is interesting that wrong writing stile and miscommunication can completely overshadow the climbing actions
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Aug 19, 2015 - 03:02pm PT
I think the two Yosemite locals who went up before the bivy brothers did it with a more rational approach...
Matt,
I think I know what you mean - it would have also been my choice, to go up without hauling, for one day on the climb and just drill the bolts. (Maybe stretchable to 2 days by jugging with a pack and bivvying at p6 if a second day was needed).
The weird part is that Jack and Zack didn't bring enough bolts (only 9) even though the 1/4" bolts they used are pretty light, and they go in fast.
But hauling did give Joshua and Howard additional time to check out the free climbing possibilities.
Nothing wrong with that.
My preferences for logistics are mainly based on my weak hiking, so I don't expect others to make the same choices.
Matt's

climber
  Aug 19, 2015 - 03:08pm PT
clint: "it would have also been my choice, to go up without hauling, for one day on the climb and just drill the bolts"

Exactly. Bivy way far away from the base; climb up to p11 in a few hours; see what can be done; top out or retreat.

The idea of spending all that time in the death zone is pretty crazy...

i'm starting to wonder if this is an elaborate troll. If so, well-played.
gonamok

climber
dont make me come over there
  Aug 19, 2015 - 03:24pm PT
some people are gonna slam anything, but none of them did anything, they are sitting at their computers playing monday morning quarterback.

The line fell down and two guys went up and helped push a new way through the section that fell away, whats wrong with that?

Dissecting their style down to the Nth is nothing but a bunch egobabble

Well done lads!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Aug 19, 2015 - 03:27pm PT
Matt,
Seems scary now, but they didn't know about the "gravel shower" when they headed up, I think.

One of the reasons it may seem strange is that people are not used to reading the details of doing a first ascent (even if only part of one pitch).
As my advisor once put it:
"People may be in for a shock when they find out how sausage is made."
Even though it can be plenty tasty when finished!
c wilmot

climber
  Aug 19, 2015 - 04:00pm PT
I worked in the Ahwiyah slide in front of half dome- and it was common to hear gravel "showers" coming down the face- 4 years later. I wonder if its any more dangerous than it will be years from now
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Aug 19, 2015 - 04:07pm PT
Is 7-bolt Zach the same spraytard who chopped the Serenity bolt? Cuz the irony of that guy racing to be the first to reinstall a bolt ladder is almost too much.
Alexey

climber
San Jose, CA
  Aug 19, 2015 - 04:58pm PT
yes he is, but grew up and 10 years older now
WBraun

climber
  Aug 19, 2015 - 05:10pm PT
Rhodo-Router

Zack did not race up there to be the first to reinstall the bolt ladder.

Him and Jack do the regular route of HD all the time and have more ascents then anyone of it by miles.

They wanted to fix the route so they could climb it again as they love doing the route on their only days off.

Rhodo-Router please stick to plumbing ......
CCT

Trad climber
  Aug 19, 2015 - 05:30pm PT
Can it really be true that no one has climbed the route yet? That seems so unlikely, given how many people come from all over the world to spend a summer in Yosemite. At least one of those folks must have been willing to risk it...

For that matter, why haven't Zack and Jack gone back up? They were willing to spend enough time in the danger zone to climb up there and drill a rivet ladder. Or heck, even the Bivy Brothers. Surely they've had another free weekend since their first adventure.

Maybe there have been a lot of ascents, and no Taco postings? Or maybe this is all a giant troll, and there is no rivet/bolt ladder. We've seen no photos.
Trashman

Trad climber
SLC
  Aug 19, 2015 - 05:31pm PT
The false claims of a "fixed" route may have something to do w that. The way internet access goes in the valley most probably see "RNWFHD fixed via bolt ladder" and head up w a standard rack. Sounds like you need a bit more than that right now.

But hey, on the up side, the bivi bras got their footnote in the next CF guide.
WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
  Aug 19, 2015 - 05:32pm PT
"We know of one group that has gone up there in the past week and they had to turn around because they couldn't get around the pendulum point at the top of the 5.11c corner close to the top of Pitch 12," Latham said. "When they pendulumed/tension traversed over, they were still unable to access the belay stance on the top of Pitch 12."

http://www.alpinist.com/doc/web15x/newswire-update-half-dome-rnwf
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Aug 19, 2015 - 05:51pm PT
It sounds like the pendulum from the 5.11c corner might be a little harder, but I believe Joshua's interview states they (Howard) were able to do it:
Describe the new section.
There are seven rivets off a new bolted anchor, followed by five new 3/8” expansion bolts at the top of the bolt ladder. Then you do a 20-foot pendulum. It’s similar to the size of the Robbins Traverse pendulum, but quite a bit more committing. You have to really latch a ledge at the end of the swing, then do a 5.4 mantel. From there you’re in the 5.11 corner. You do a little tension traverse to get back into the 5.7 chimney, and that was as far as we made it. My memory isn’t perfect, but I would say a little section of the pitch 12 chimney is no longer there. You climb the 5.7 double hand crack for about 20 feet, then you’re back in the chimney.
from
http://www.climbing.com/blog/interview-joshua-reinig-on-restoring-half-dome/

(photo by Greg Stock)
Actually from the photo, it does look hard.
Maybe I misunderstood how far Howard got.
If it's too hard, then the pendulum point could be moved up higher.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Aug 25, 2015 - 09:59am PT
This thread reads like youtube comments.
melski

Trad climber
bytheriver
  Aug 31, 2015 - 04:49pm PT
OK,kids,,Rule# 1,,can;t comment if you havent done the route,,Rule # 2 can;t comment if you havent drilled Grianite,,And Rule #3 means there are no rules,,First big wall for me ,,20 years reapeat,,now 20 years,again ,[after the dust settels ] I love penjis,,all the first guys had to try them out,,chow for now,,,,
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Sep 3, 2015 - 04:12pm PT
I just heard from an acquaintance (Jose G.) who got stopped at the former pendulum bolt in the 5.11c corner (in Greg Stock's photo above).
They tried to reach a higher bolt by aiding in the dirty seam in the corner.
(This is a 5.13 crux pitch on Arcturus).
However, they did not have camhooks, which may be required.
The tried aiding using the hooks on their nut tools and took several whipppers.

So anyone going up there is advised to bring (clean) aid gear for thin cracks, such as camhooks and beaks/peckers, besides the usual RPs and micro stoppers.

Another possibility if the aid is really desperate might be to add a couple more bolts up and right from the prior pendulum anchor.
(Enough to reach a higher pendulum point that makes the pendulum / tension traverse possible to the belay at the base of the chimneys).
limpingcrab

Trad climber
the middle of CA
  Sep 3, 2015 - 04:25pm PT
Or just dyno. Looks to be about 2 inches on my screen.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Sep 3, 2015 - 04:29pm PT

Photo with less horizontal foreshortening.
kingtut

climber
Jingus Newroutaineer
  Sep 19, 2016 - 09:49am PT
lol thank god that Robbins chimney is gone!

Always felt like a pussy for skipping it. Now I can say it was loose AF and only idiots went that way! :D Bombs away when that baby came down.

Props to the OP's for having more sack than your detractors to go up there and see for yourselves. Glad you didn't die lol. Seems worthy and in keeping with the original character.
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