Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1

 
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Half Dome


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome
Sunday July 29, 2012 12:28am
I’ve wanted to climb Half Dome for a long time now. My partner Holden could have done the route five years ago off the couch (read: super strong with Titanium balls). I was holding up the show. My head was not going to let me near the route until I’d cleared up some unknowns and knocked down some hard climbs. Sleeping on a wall, aid climbing, big exposure...

I’m probably not the only climber with a good case of OCD when it comes to preparing for a climb. Luckily, my wife is very patient. I spent the last year training, sleeping on small ledges, and climbing some great lines: East Buttress of El Cap, Touchstone, Moonlight Buttress, Epinephrine, the Pirate at Suicide.

We showed up in the Valley Thursday morning psyched and ready. We picked up a bear can, a back country permit, and we were off.

Credit: Nate101

We took the death slabs approach. Very strenuous, but no death.

Credit: Nate101

We free climbed up to about 10c. The Metolius alpine aiders came out on pitch 4 for the 5.11 and the bolt ladder.

Credit: Nate101

Credit: Nate101

We left our back pack with four quarts of water and our descent shoes at the top of P5. We fixed the 8.9mm 60m lead line to the top of P3, an 8mm 60m static to the top of P1, and another 8mm 60m static to the ground. Try not to drop the iPhone.

Credit: Nate101

The bivy spots at the base are great, but I didn’t sleep a wink. No dread or other bad thoughts, just anticipation. I woke up Holden at 3:45 am to the sound of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” blasting on the iPhone. We were jugging lines by 4:30. Right on schedule.

Holden led pitches 6,7, and half of 8. He took the awesome 5.9 hand crack on pitch 8. Sure he was off route. We prefer to call it “extra credit”.

I took over and led through the Robbins Traverse. Holden led P11.

Credit: Nate101

Credit: Nate101

I was back on the sharp end for P12. Our plan was to take the 11c/aid line, but I didn’t see an easy way to step across. I wound up going into the 5.9 squeeze and out the hole onto the face. There is a nice crack that goes up for a bit. Getting back left to the belay across the face proved to be the crux of the route for me. I placed a hook on a nice one inch ledge, climbed to the top step of the aider, but couldn’t reach the rail. I lost my balance and was soon hanging upside down by my daisy. I repeated this one or two more times. My memory is a little foggy, but the hook was solid. I finally stuck a dyno off the hook and was able to hand rail over to the belay. Holden free climbed the pitch and didn’t mention any trouble getting across the face...

I should note that at some point in the middle of the route both of my forearms were cramping. All of the training didn't quite prepare me for the 560 feet of jugging and hours of climbing.

Credit: Nate101

I linked P13,14, and most of 15 with the 60m. I ran out of slings and setup a belay with about 30 feet of chimney remaining.

Credit: Nate101

Holden led the rest of P15, 16, and 17 and we were on Big Sandy by 11:45 AM. He found some wide extra credit somewhere on P17. We were both glad to have the #4 and #5.

Credit: Nate101

I aided the zig zags and took us up to Thank God Ledge.

Credit: Nate101

Holden led across the ledge and up the squeeze in good style.

Credit: Nate101

Credit: Nate101

I led the bolt ladder on P22. A Metolius Orange/Yellow offset came in handy here.

Credit: Nate101

Credit: Nate101

One last easy pitch and we were on top!

Credit: Nate101

Credit: Nate101

I want to thank my partner Holden for being super patient these last few years as I trained and got my head together. A big thanks also to my wife Kristin, who made brownies for us to eat on the summit! She understands my love of the rock. Although she did give me a hard time today for watching videos and reading trip reports of the Nose!

Thanks also to Al Moreno, Chris Wittwer, Larry Beausoleil, Stan Wolosik, Olin Burrow, Greg Howland, and Mash Alexander for helping me train and sending good vibes. I couldn’t have done it without you!

  Trip Report Views: 2,675
Nate101
About the Author
Nate101 is a trad climber from Aliso Viejo, CA.

Comments
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eKat

Trad climber
  Jul 29, 2012 - 12:30am PT
FABULOUS!

TFPU!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Jul 29, 2012 - 01:38am PT
Rock on guys! Great send. Way to get out and live a dream. Thanks for the inspiring report. Soak up the trip and enjoy some time back with the family. What's next?
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
  Jul 29, 2012 - 01:42am PT
It is a classic and beautiful route. Congrats!

Great picures. Thanks for bringing us along!
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
  Jul 29, 2012 - 01:45am PT
Yahoo! nice TR, way to go guys.
Quasimodo

Trad climber
CA
  Jul 29, 2012 - 01:45am PT
Great trip report and photos.
10b4me

climber
  Jul 29, 2012 - 01:47am PT
way to go
Corky

Trad climber
Newport Beach, CA
  Jul 29, 2012 - 01:48am PT
Nate, great report! You and my bro Holden are an inspiration to all climbers. Great pic’s and soul felt narrative.
Semper Fi my bro’s! 7
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
extraordinaire
  Jul 29, 2012 - 02:26am PT
Vinyl sealed topo on harness is a nice touch.
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Jul 29, 2012 - 02:32am PT
Very cool! I'm thinking about getting on this soon so thanks for the photo and beta!!! Summit brownies?!?! How cool is that. Good job!
mooser

Trad climber
seattle
  Jul 29, 2012 - 08:31am PT
Very nice TR, and congratulations!!
Captain...or Skully

climber
in the oil patch...Fricken Bakken, that's where
  Jul 29, 2012 - 08:36am PT
Nicely done. TFPU.
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jul 29, 2012 - 09:29am PT
BZZZzzzNummp!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jul 29, 2012 - 11:59am PT
YEAH, great TR!

thanks,
WanderlustMD

Trad climber
New England
  Jul 29, 2012 - 02:59pm PT
Nice work, man, it's an incredible place.
Prod

Trad climber
  Jul 29, 2012 - 04:06pm PT
Great TR.

Congrats.

Prod.
Dos XX

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
  Jul 30, 2012 - 08:10am PT
Flawless style, excellent TR! Inspirational.
lars johansen

Trad climber
West Marin, CA
  Jul 30, 2012 - 09:44am PT
Nice TR! Thanks

lars
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jul 30, 2012 - 03:08pm PT
My memory is a little foggy, but the hook was solid.

You took a fall on a hook and it held?!

Great job on your big goal. I would be way to anxious to sleep too.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jul 30, 2012 - 06:13pm PT
Good stuff! Thanks for sharing.
Wannabeclimber

Trad climber
North Shore, HI
  Aug 9, 2012 - 02:12am PT
This TR was so good that no one has dared to make any ridiculous or trolling remarks. Well done. I hope to get on it next summer and have a lot of preparing to do. Thanks for the inspiration and taking time to document this adventure for us to enjoy.
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
  Aug 9, 2012 - 10:44am PT
How long did you guys take?
You look pretty relaxed but also pretty fast.
Good job!
Nate101

Trad climber
Aliso Viejo, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 9, 2012 - 11:59pm PT
Thanks for all of the nice comments. It took us 12 hours to top out from the time we started jugging. It took about three hours the previous day to fix five pitches.
One thing I didn't mention in the report was that we estmated the time it would take to climb each pitch and we put target times on the topo. I estimated 20 minutes for the easiest pitches, 45 minutes for the 5.9 to 10c, and 1 hour for the aid pitches. We fell behind schedule by about an hour during the first half, but made up time by linking the chimney pitches and some of the zig zags. We topped out at 4:30 pm, 30 minutes ahead of our estimate.
We spent some time on the summit, were back at the base by 6 pm, and down the slabs and back to camp in Upper Pines by 8 pm. I was pretty exhausted when we got back to camp. The slabs are strenuous with heavy packs.

edit: to Vitaliy, I fell on that hook at least two times, maybe three. The top of the hook was wedged in a little seam. I had to flick my daisey pretty hard to pop it out. I was pretty gripped at that point!

Nate
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Aug 10, 2012 - 12:41am PT
Great TR, thanks for it. What a magical place to be. Did you have it all to yourselves?

PS - Wow! Two daisy falls on a hook, and it held?! Did the daisy falls hurt?
Nate101

Trad climber
Aliso Viejo, CA
Author's Reply  Aug 10, 2012 - 09:50am PT
We had the route to ourselves both Thursday (fixing pitches) and Friday. No one was in line behind us either. This made it easier to drop the ropes after jugging. I was still dark at that point.

We saw hikers on top while in the zig zags, but no one was there at 4:30pm when we topped out. Two hikers came up the cables about 10 minutes later. One was our friend Kerry that we hadn't seen in a while.
I was surprised that the daisy falls did not really hurt. I made the dyno off the aiders easier the last time by attaching both aiders to the hook. This helped my balance having both feet side by side.
Nate
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Aug 10, 2012 - 11:38am PT
Now that's style! Way to get after it you Turks :)

I led the pitch 12 and yeah... was funky. hehe.
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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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