Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1

 
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Half Dome


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Quick and dirty Reg Route on HD report with above average ending
Wednesday October 1, 2014 8:27pm
On Thursday, June 26th, a friend and I left UC Berkeley at 2p with the hope of placing our order at El Agave by 4p, being on a shuttle out of Curry by 7p, at the base of p1 by 9p, and in bags sawing zzz's by 10p.

And I'll be damned if that wasn't exactly how it went. Friend hardly slept a wink though, jittery thoughts about the big old face looming overhead like a lidded eye keeping him up.


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Hummingbird in starlight

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Wildlife present at the spring

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Good morning Yosemite Valley, up and at 'em. We had both the bivy and the route completely to ourselves, continuing a long-running lucky streak on the big classics.

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Learned how to jug in a 10-minute session at the Ironworks a few days earlier.

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End of block 1. This man was chugging away on zero winks.

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Biggest route yet for him. Waltzed up the Steck-Salathe with me last year without much chimneying or wide climbing experience. This year we did it again as two parties of two and in his team he led just about every hard pitch on it. They make 'em tough back East. Here he's gazing back to Earth.

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The nicely exposed pitch after the bolt ladder. That sequence of moves before the ledge is more like "5.9+" than 5.9, isn't it?

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Change in character for the route once you gain this spot, depending on the variation you choose

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The granite is so ludicrously beautiful in this stretch. I wouldn't judge a person for licking it. Not that I did!
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We tried the keyhole route but couldn't figure out which window to punch through? So down he came and sent the .11/French pitch to the left of the squeeze. He thought the step across was dodgy. I'd led it a few years ago and also remember thinking I didn't want to fall there, and pulling pretty hard to gain that crack.


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Ain't that some sh#t

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With a 70m the chimneys go in one pitch, making for imo the best pitch of the day.

This is also a grand pitch, just before the double cracks. Corner in the sky

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I didn't know it yet but some cool stuff was about to occur here:

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Does this image ever get old? And I cannot see it now without pondering Honnold. The TGL is up top, not that stubby ledge down low.

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I read that with a 70m and lots of back cleaning, we could link the first two zig zags, then short fix more than half of the third. That sped things up. I'm a woefully slow aid climber. We were through the zz's in about 2.5 hours. Would have been much worse without the linking and short-fixing.


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I didn't know it yet but some cool stuff was about to occur here, too:

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He did a bang up job on the jugs. Exposure never really got to him.

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This picture is a favorite because even though he was incredibly solid on the jugs, it was his first time that high up on a big old wall, and there was a feeling in the air that he would be glad to leave the steeps of the zig zags behind him, get the hell off of the fixed line, and get clipped into the anchor. Additionally look at those pipes!

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Coffee please

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A hallowed pitch if ever there was one

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Did you see that recent pic of the climber buck naked no harness no rope on the Thank God Ledge?

How did he do that?

If he climbed up to the ledge, then took his clothes and harness off - there's just no way, too balancey, too sketch. So took off the harness and clothes at the semi-hanging belay, then fs'd up there? That's a bit insane. I can't get my head around it. Somebody lemme know if that was a Photoshop job.

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At this point I was straining to hear voices above me, but all was quiet. Nice. Maybe no one's up there? Summit to ourselves would be righteous.

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Then I hear a calm voice: Im going to aim for that ridge. Someone going to throw a Frisbee off of the summit? Hit a golf ball? You hear about people doing stuff like that. Maybe Ill grab the camera.

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This was one of the wildest things Ive seen in my life. Three jumpers. Quiet as door mice. I could not f*#king BELIEVE how far they went up Tenaya canyon before maneuvering a massive u-turn and heading back (I guess?) to Mirror for the landing (is that right?). From my perspective it looked like the boldest of them passed within 15 ft of the ridgeline leading to HDs sub dome.

I have probably thought about the experience of seeing this go down, the visual sequence of it, every day since June 27th. It was really something beautiful. Humans gracefully and silently falling through the air.

It was thrilling but also disorienting to see. People falling like leaves. I death-gripped the hell out of the cam Id just placed while watching. It brought up in me the memory of the Falling Man image and article from 9/11. It also brought up the sick feeling Id had when reading this haunting TR (http://www.supertopo.com/tr/Death-on-the-NW-Face-of-Half-Dome/t11134n.html); about the death of a person who fell, or leapt, from the Visor. There was something about the quiet of it. Once theyd passed beneath us, I couldnt help but feel that particular vicarious distress of watching another person who may be close to death. But then imagine the feeling of delivery once that canopy opens Maybe in the next life Ill try it. Not this one.

A few quick mantles and I poked my head over the rim to see if anyone was there. Not a soul. We did get the summit to ourselves. Righteous.

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Ever see that incredible coffee table book by David Wilson called Above All? He used some super heavy, archaic but magical analog camera-like device to capture images of the Sierra in pre-dawn and maybe post-dusk light. In the pics, you get the distinct feeling that the light is emanating from the formations themselves rather than from some celestial body off frame. If you haven't seen that book, and you love to stare at images of the Sierra, get ON it. I was fired up about this next picture from my crappy point-and-shoot because it reminded me of the stuff from that book (pale semblance, but enough to please me)

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Good night!

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Credit: le_bruce

Afterthought edit: Though I've kind of written him up as a "keep-trying-little-buddy, you-can-do-it!" type character in this TR, the pard here climbs about three number grades harden than I do!

  Trip Report Views: 11,028
le_bruce
About the Author
le_bruce is a climber from Oakland: what's not to love?

Comments
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Oct 1, 2014 - 08:37pm PT
Great TR, and looks like a fantastic time. Thanks for posting.

John
ruppell

climber
  Oct 1, 2014 - 08:38pm PT
Righteous.
bluering

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Oct 1, 2014 - 08:47pm PT
Nice job!!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Oct 1, 2014 - 08:47pm PT


What a great write up!

yeah I saw that naked TGL picture...it's gotta be a shop job. right?

Grisly TR you linked, what a mix of mental juice to have souping while on route.
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Oct 1, 2014 - 08:48pm PT
leBRUCEE!!! You're the man! Here is an edit of your photo circled is the window you squeeze through for to avoid that shitty 5.11 french free corner.

Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Oct 1, 2014 - 08:49pm PT
Awesome!!!
this just in

climber
Justin Ross from North Fork
  Oct 1, 2014 - 09:10pm PT
So f*#king cool. Really great photos, not just of beautiful climbing and scenery, but some great capturing of friends living in the moment. Thanks Le Bruce, I've had a rough day and this made it all good.
rwedgee

Ice climber
CA
  Oct 1, 2014 - 09:12pm PT
I love it when a plan comes together.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Oct 1, 2014 - 09:43pm PT
Thanks all. Thanks, Grippa. So you chimney on up to it then.

Roxy, can't even imagine.

this just in - king of good photos and good vibes on the ST, if I can kick back to you even a little of the good sh#t you've shared with the rest of us I'm glad
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Oct 1, 2014 - 09:25pm PT
The_Bruce, you at once inspire and bum me out, brother. My knee has me sidelined from any proper adventures in the vertical world, so seeing you out there soaking up the mileage and experience is for me so bittersweet. I long for such days as these like the deer panteth for water. Congratulations on a fantastic day out and a big day for your buddy. Missions like these are the stuff of life. Thanks for the time you put into writing them up so we armchair mountaineers can dream of such places from the luxury of our homes. Keep sending.

Scott
Captain...or Skully

climber
Boise, ID
  Oct 1, 2014 - 10:09pm PT
Beauty. TFPU, ya'll.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Oct 1, 2014 - 10:39pm PT
Thanks again one and all.

Micro, man I'm counting on you to heal up so we can go do that Ski Jump, or maybe the Pohono Pinnacle, or I'd still love to do Lower Bro's SW Arete. Loggerhead Butt? That wooly old route left of Washington Column that Mucci wrote a badass TR about? Lots of grand adventures to be had without tweaking the knee any more than necessary.

Also man, you've got to get that chin up because Halloween is coming, and that is the season in which you produce your finest TRs. Don't make 2014 a year w/o a Micro + Macronut Halloween-themed seasonal TR, mmkay? Some of us depend on these things, man.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
https://nutagain.org
  Oct 1, 2014 - 11:38pm PT
Dooooood. You are chargin' hard! So good to see beautiful pics, the typical stoke of living in the climbing moment, and just getting up that little chunk of rock in a day like it ain't no thang.
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
  Oct 2, 2014 - 12:38am PT
I really enjoyed your TR. Thanks for taking the time and effort to put it together.

I did the route far too long ago, but reports like this keep it fresh in my mind. I couldn't agree more about the 5.9+ pitch. The position seemed wild (to me) I recall.

Grippa's beta about the crawl through is the first time I've heard of the crawl through that avoids the corner, good stuff.

Reading this plants a seed of perhaps doing it with my son - but Le Demande comes first.

Great write up, thanks again for posting.

Steve
RyanD

climber
  Oct 2, 2014 - 01:24am PT
Well done le_bruce!!!

You guys sure moved well.

Great shots, great psyche, great climbing. Thanks!
Jingy

climber
Random Nobody
  Oct 2, 2014 - 02:55am PT
Great TR!

I feel like I was there.

That's a treat.

Thank you, and until the next one, may you be safe.

Cheers
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
  Oct 2, 2014 - 06:53am PT
Excellent TR! Thanks!
couchmaster

climber
  Oct 2, 2014 - 07:46am PT
Real good stuff, thanks for sharing it. Great pics too. Hellaciously long day for your buddy who got no sleep beforehand. Wow. What time did you folks get back down? Did you take the trail or the death slabs....Or did you sleep over at the base?
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Oct 2, 2014 - 07:50am PT
Wow, great write up!

Bonus summit airmail has to be the best way to top out!

Looks like you moved on through at a good pace.

Cheers to your partner for stepping up on the big routes, no better way to learn.

Bravo!
kaholatingtong

Trad climber
The fake McCoy from nevernever land.
  Oct 2, 2014 - 07:56am PT
good times! I once got the non literal sh#t scared out of me when some people jumped over a buddy of mine and I one time at the leap. Sounded like rockfall at first, with some big black looking thing opening up in my peripheral... thanks for the reminder, hehehe.
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Oct 2, 2014 - 01:20pm PT
Le_B to the Ruce, the Ski Jump has our name on it this spring brah. And I'm thinking we wear 1960s Swiss Ski guide costumes for it. You in?
wayne w

Trad climber
the nw
  Oct 2, 2014 - 02:31pm PT
Great work on a successful and fun ascent, with no one else on the route! Thanks for the TR and stoke!!
yanqui

climber
Balcarce, Argentina
  Oct 2, 2014 - 03:36pm PT
Great report. Way to go after it! Plus you had solitude to boot. What an experience!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Oct 2, 2014 - 03:41pm PT
Very cool....great job of mentoring!
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Oct 5, 2014 - 09:57am PT
the stuff
great
story and all the pics
dkny

Trad climber
Boston, MA
  Oct 6, 2014 - 11:07pm PT
Awesome! TFPU!!!!
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Oct 7, 2014 - 08:43am PT
Very cool
Trevi

Trad climber
Golden, CO
  Oct 7, 2014 - 01:14pm PT
This was an awesome trip report. Thank you!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Oct 8, 2014 - 10:02am PT
...willing gear mule, jugger and belay slave..;^)

Ahhahhahaha, if only that were true!

I'm still looking to fill that particular position in my life - a good subman is hard to find, especially when you're a 5.10-climbing, Valley-commuting, once-a-monther like myself. What'd that be, a sub-subman to a subman?

This particular dude does not fit the description, alas. Climbs too hard. Cf. his onsite of the rowdy Incinerator pitch this weekend, which I could barely scrape up with one hang. Wait a minute... am I the subman?!
melski

Trad climber
bytheriver
  Oct 8, 2014 - 03:24pm PT
your timing looks to be impecable,,savour the momentum,,
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
  Oct 13, 2014 - 01:14pm PT
Fuk Yeah!!!!
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
  Oct 13, 2014 - 09:54pm PT
Schweeeet!
We were chasing the sunset on the last pitch so I set a quick anchor and back-cleaned the last pitch. Then I cleaned the anchor and ran to the top. I fixed the last pitch from the overhang directly above the last belay. My partner exited the belay directly into space and spent the last jug spinning under the visor. Beginner's luck I guess;)
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Oct 14, 2014 - 12:05pm PT
KILLING IT!!
stuv

climber
NL
  Oct 14, 2014 - 01:55pm PT
Awesome stuff, man! Someday.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
  Oct 15, 2014 - 10:32pm PT
Great photos, great TR, TFPU
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Oct 15, 2014 - 11:22pm PT
awwww yeah!
BFK

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
  Oct 16, 2014 - 09:21am PT
Nice work! I think I met your partner (Nick?) last weekend at Sentinel Creek cragging on Manana and Ying (no Yang).
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 5, 2015 - 08:37pm PT
Gone all gone, oh the humanity


Bolt's still there, ---- ^ ---- doomed to rust in no-man's land over the ages.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Aug 5, 2015 - 07:14pm PT
How did I miss this the first time around? Off the charts, off the wall, sir.
T H

Boulder climber
ne'erdowell
  Aug 5, 2015 - 07:32pm PT
Quick and dirty ...
lol priceless!!
Oso Flaco

Gym climber
Atascadero, CA
  Aug 9, 2015 - 08:56am PT
Stellar! Makes me want to get back up there! Nice job with all the photos!
NutAgain!

Trad climber
https://nutagain.org
  Feb 14, 2017 - 03:13pm PT
BBST
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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
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Half Dome - Snake Dike 5.7 R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
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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.
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Half Dome - Zenith A4 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Zenith, A4 5.8
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The first part of the route is hidden.
Half Dome - Direct Northwest Face 5.14a or 5.10 C2+ - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Direct Northwest Face, 5.14a or 5.10 C2+
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The Direct Northwest Face.
Half Dome - Blondike 5.11b R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
Blondike, 5.11b R
Half Dome
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Blondike is the red line and Two Hoofers is the Blue Line.
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