Trip Report
Onsight Nose in a Day
Monday May 14, 2018 4:19pm
I, like thousands of my climbing brothers and sisters, have dreamed of climbing the Nose ever since learning about the route, its history, and reputation years ago. Over the course of 6-7 years, I went from "let's climb it!" to "let's try to do it a few days!" to "let's do the NIAD!", and finally "let's onsight it!". Finally, we had our chance to give the big stone our best effort. So we racked up and started climbing Thursday morning.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my original friend and partner for the climb who was undoubtedly the catalyst behind us even being in the valley. We trained together and kept the stoke high over the winter in an effort to keep each other psyched, and strong. Unfortunately, he had to pull out at the last minute for personal reasons. I'm thankful for everything he contributed toward our partnership, and wish he could've been up there with me.

I was lucky an acquaintance of mine, Dean was also in the valley who was experiencing partner issues of his own. So we decided to team up for the Nose while our respective partners followed their hearts around the valley. A very lucky, and fortuitous turn of events for the both of us.

Credit: Grippa

About 40 feet up Dean's right front gear loop broke unexpectedly (read: his harness was a POS) raining cams and stoppers down atop a few kids bivying at the base. Needless to say, he was super bummed. But before any negative energy could permeate our climb I lowered him to belay 1, pulled the line, fixed it, rapped down a full 70m rope to retrieve 4 cams, and jugged back up to allow Dean to start pitch 2 again! We lost a 0.5 and our large stoppers in the process, but the stoke was still high so we motored up the stove legs.

Tons of fixed cams on the stove legs made for fast climbing.
Tons of fixed cams on the stove legs made for fast climbing.
Credit: Grippa

Forgot to turn my headlamp off until El Cap tower...hahaha!
Forgot to turn my headlamp off until El Cap tower...hahaha!
Credit: Grippa

Regrouping at a quiet Dolt Tower I looked down to see this poor little mummified Bat.

Credit: Grippa

Dean leading the pitch off Dolt.

Credit: Grippa

The bottom pitches are supposed to be the crux, but even with our pitch 2 snafu we were on El Cap tower in 4.5 hours (Thanks Dean!). We had some great momentum at this changeover where I took the lead and passed 2 awesome parties on El Cap Tower/Texas Flake area. Seems like everyone was having a super good time on the Captain Thursday. Tons of smiles, laughing, and great climbing had by all parties on the nose.

The king swing went down 2nd try for me, and 3rd try for Dean on follow. We used the double swing method for our ascent where I chucked a coil of rope to him seconding the swing. That method worked super well, and was very fast. He simply jugged up to the last bolt on the Boot bolt ladder, went in direct so I could bring up all the extra slack in the rope, swung over, and viola, we were onto the next few pitches. The following 3-4 pitches were some of my favorite on the route. The 10c off Eagle had great climbing (bouldery!), and the Lynn Hill traverse was very memorable for me as I climbed almost the entire pitch self-belayed. We luckily ran into another party of 2 who were bailing upwards onto the Nose from the shield (via the 3D). They had jolly ranchers for us, and a couple extra monkey hoots to fuel our stoke upwards.

Jolly Rancher Boys! - Dean's photo
Jolly Rancher Boys! - Dean's photo
Credit: Grippa

Grippa climbing the Great Roof.
Grippa climbing the Great Roof.
Credit: Grippa

Taking a moment at triangle ledge for Hans. Sure would stink getting hurt up there. I'm glad he's ok for the most part!

Credit: Grippa
Dean's Photo
Dean's Photo
Credit: Grippa

Above Pancake we swapped leaders again where Dean would take us up above the changing corners. We were starting to get pooped here, but a friendly reminder to each other "leave no pocket snacks uneaten!" kept us from the brink of bonking. Dean crushed his leads up through camp VI where we passed our last party of overstokers. These leads were definitely physical, and Dean was waning in stoke but definitely not strength.

My wife's photo.
My wife's photo.
Credit: Grippa

I took over above the fingers to hands pitch above the changing corners for the final C2 pitch, and bolt ladder. I turned on my headlamp, looked down the route before the sun finally went over the horizon, and started up the final 2-3 pitches. We summited together with a final time of 19:35.

Descending was fairly uneventful, and we even found some bailed water atop the area around the NA wall.

Overall I thought the Nose was fairly easy climbing wise. The C2 was either fixed or easier than expected compared to other aid I've done whether in the Valley, Zion, or locally in SLC. The free ratings were spot on for what we were used to.

 Overall camp 4 to camp 4 time was just a hair under 24 hours.
 1 rope, double rack to #4, single set of metolius offset cams.
 7 liters of water and 2000 calories per man.
 We dropped 4 cams total, 1/2 set of stoppers, and 1 biner :(
 Passed 5 parties

  Trip Report Views: 3,722
About the Author
Grippa is a wannabe living in Salt Lake City, UT.


  May 14, 2018 - 04:24pm PT
Nice work! Sounds like a blast.

Just livin' the dream
  May 14, 2018 - 04:39pm PT
Way to live the dream!

Congrats and thanks for the excellent TR.

Trad climber
  May 14, 2018 - 04:44pm PT
Good job! Nice to keep the stoke going amidst the early minor setback.

Wow, 7 liters of water total or per person? How did you distribute that weight? Monster camelback in a backpack or hauling?

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  May 14, 2018 - 04:51pm PT
The Lynn Hill traverse bypasses the penji in the grey bands. The Jardine traverse bypasses texas and boot flakes. That's your confusion.

NutAgain! The follower jugged with one 30L cilogear worksack that contained 2 extra tiny ascenders, 1 alpine aider, 7 liters of water total for the team, 4000 cal of food, 1 pair of walk off shoes, 1 pair of climbing shoes, and an extra jacket. The pack probably weighed somewhere in the ball park of ~25lb.

Trad climber
  May 14, 2018 - 05:11pm PT
Hey that's great!!!! Congrats!




The Good Places
  May 14, 2018 - 08:24pm PT
can we get semantic abouut the word onsight?

jsut kidding, thanks for sharing your righteous deeds!

Boulder climber
Andy Cairns
  May 14, 2018 - 09:04pm PT
Sounds totally doable. And fun and interesting.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
  May 15, 2018 - 07:31am PT
Good job guys! I always wondered what the passing situation would be like on the Nose. I don't like to impose on people.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  May 15, 2018 - 08:01am PT
Nice. Very cool to progress to Onsight NIAD.

right here, right now
  May 15, 2018 - 08:08am PT
We summited together with a final time of 19:35.
Just a hair over our time for our first trip up the Long Climb at Tahquitz!
(okay, not really)

Your wife's cell phone picture of the upper section is a storytelling bonus.
Thanks for the report!

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  May 15, 2018 - 12:03pm PT
eeyonkee the passing situation was much easier than expected. All parties were so fired up to be climbing on the captain on such a splitter day that two guys short fixing their way up the route didn't seem to be much of a hindrance at all. Plus we got lucky only passing one party while they were on lead. All other passes happened at a belay stance where everyone was comfy, and happy to chat.

Oakland, CA
  May 15, 2018 - 01:04pm PT
Hell yeah Grippa! Hell yeah.

I just added some of your info to my NIAD Beta gdoc. Been caretaking that doc for years now. Will one day pass it on to my daughter so she can redeem me.

Hardest* day of climbing you've put in?

*most exhausting, mentally and physically
steve s

Trad climber
  May 15, 2018 - 06:13pm PT
Nice job Grippa! We did the same thing awhile ago....on sight in 21 hours. Pretty memorable day. Didn't bring enough water but found a 2 liter bottle of Gatorade on Dolt tower. Plus Another liter somewhere else . Both bottles unopened! Did the whole thing in T shirts. Topped out at 2:00 am with a huge bear eyeballing us from about 50 yards away. Great partner and a way fun experience. Thanks for the trip report. Cheers.

  May 16, 2018 - 12:13am PT
Thanks for the report. What is a "jolly rancher"?

Trad climber
  May 16, 2018 - 10:31am PT
Firstly, strong work, Greg! My partner, Sasha, and I bumped into you and Arthur two or three years ago on the shuttle across Redfish after climbing at the Elephants Perch. The NIAD is on my bucket list, but I still fall well short of the ability to pull it off. A couple questions: How was the free climbing, and how much did you free? Did you mix in french free with a lot of it, or was there a specific grade at which you broke out the aiders?

Secondly, tongue-in-cheek... man Supertopo is getting soft to let you get away with "onsighting" the Nose. Flashing it would be hard enough! The onsight must be the most difficult to pull off climbing feat I've heard of. I blew my chance at onsighting The Nose in the 90's reading about Lynn Hill climbing the Great Roof and Changing Corners. It must have been tough for you, all those years of stuffing your fingers in your ears anytime someone mentioned Warren Harding's FA, Lynn's FFA, Largo, Billy and The Bird doing it in a day. Thumbing past those articles in the climbing rags featuring Dean or Hans talking about how to move fast on the Nose. Forgoing the entertainment of watching clips of Tommy, Alex, Dean, Beth, Jorg, Hans, Yuji, Sean, Timmy et al climbing The Captain. How long did it take you to figure out you needed to pendulum from Boot Flake never having heard of the King Swing before?

Seriously though, congratulations! Your stoke is feeding my stoke, and if it stops raining I am headed to the Valley tomorrow!

Cheers, buddy!

Big Wall climber
  May 16, 2018 - 11:51am PT
I went from "let's climb it!" to "let's try to do it a few days!" to "let's do the NIAD!", and finally "let's onsight it!"

Wow, way to haul (your) @ss!

4 Corners Area
  May 16, 2018 - 03:41pm PT
Doing that onsight IS Proud!!!

Monterey, Ca
  May 16, 2018 - 05:23pm PT
Trip reports like this Remind me that I am nothing. You are the true Badd asses

  May 16, 2018 - 05:47pm PT
Great, thanks for sharing!

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  May 16, 2018 - 05:55pm PT
le_bruce - I'm fairly used to big days ski touring, mountain climbing, and rock climbing. So I just fused my ability to suffer, and continually eat food for this climbing day! But I'd say prior to this my two biggest climbing days were "Western Hardman" linked with "Fin Du Monde" on Notch Peak (~2500-3000ft), and a link up of "Touchstone" with "Sheer Lunacy" in Zion (~1600ft). I've also done the Grand Traverse ski race from Crested Butte to Aspen that is ~36-40 miles and 7-8,000 vertical gain in addition to the Teton Grand Traverse over 2.5 days. I also climbed Half Dome 4 years ago in 13 hours, and have roughly 10-12 zion walls under my belt.

Ryan - The free climbing wasn't too bad. The Perch is way harder! People hype up the climbing on the nose because they freed stuff with a wall rack, haul line, etc hanging on them. But you don't have any of that stuff when doing a NIAD. We freed up to ~10b/c down low when we were fresh. Up higher we freed up to 10a/b consistently to the top (*if we had a real belay). But in reality we would usually be halfway up the next pitch by the time the jugger go the leader back on belay. If it was tricky climbing we'd just pull on gear to keep moving.

mcreel - A Jolly Rancher is an American hard candy that is delicious when your mouth is dry.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  May 16, 2018 - 06:21pm PT
How long did it take you to figure out you needed to pendulum from Boot Flake never having heard of the King Swing before?

That was funny. I was thinking the same thing. I kept waiting for a bunch of slander about you claiming an "on sight". Super topo is indeed getting soft.

I was gonna ask you how you knew it was called The Great Roof if you didn't have a topo......which you wouldn't have if you were on sighting.

All kidding aside, rad send and way to get after it. You guys should be proud.

Jim Hornibrook

Trad climber
Redwood City, CA
  May 17, 2018 - 05:56pm PT
Jolly Rancher??

Isn't that someone who's climbed both the Jolly Roger as well as Wyoming Sheep Ranch ;)

Great job onsighting the NIAD!!

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  May 17, 2018 - 10:01pm PT
Onsight can be beta filled.
But true a vue needs no beta.
Nice sends IAD deserve all props!
Well done!

Trad climber
East Wenatchee, WA
  Jun 4, 2018 - 09:02pm PT
Most definitely an onsight and even more definitely badass!!!

Whatís with the POS harness though? How about do the climbing world a favor and tell us what brand it was?

Trad climber
  Jun 4, 2018 - 10:34pm PT
SICK, love the stoke

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Author's Reply  Jun 5, 2018 - 07:50am PT
It was a petzl harness. I guess the French donít di many squeeze chimneys.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Jun 5, 2018 - 11:03am PT
Nice work! Thx for sharing!
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Jun 5, 2018 - 12:45pm PT
Excellent climbing and report!

Trad climber
  Jun 5, 2018 - 02:59pm PT
I once dropped cams at the top of a route when my Petzl gear loop broke. Won't ever buy Petzl again.

Nice send!

Trad climber
Guernsey, British Channel Islands
  Jun 6, 2018 - 07:35am PT
Jolly Rancher = a type of sweet/candy.