South Face C1 5.8

  • Currently 4.0/5

Washington Column

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
SF Washington Column - 2 chicks have a go... (pics)

by cleo
Thursday June 12, 2008 12:08pm
Given all the WC threads, and the fact that we saw some of the other parties up there, I thought I'd add to the fray.

Drinking beer in Berkeley, about a month ago, Kate corners me and says "Do you want to climb Washington Column?" YEA! "Ok, when?"... "uh, er, um... June?" No more talking, we're gonna go do! I'm scared - I don't know what I'm doing, so I think it's gonna be hard. Kate is not so worried. Luckily, WC is a total noob-fest, so we fit in with all the noob-dudes (and one other dude-ette).

Sadly, we didn't take as many pics as I'd have liked, but on day 1 we reached Dinner Ledge, rested, and started up P4 around 3pm. HA! The Kor roof proved to be tricky, and by the time I reach Kate (who led it!) around 7pm, she was FREEZING and very unhappy. So we rapped to the ledge. I think I was asleep by 7:30pm.

The next morning, I'm worried, so I wake up early. Here is Kate, and me getting ready to jug up. Kate looks MUCH happier.

Oh Yea, I look the part. Don't let it fool you, I'm still a noob!

Kate led P5 too (the book says some about a move being difficult for a midget... well, I'm kind of a midget, but Kate is tall, so Kate takes P5). Luckily for me, this puts her in a position to take pictures of me looking really tough. Here I am figuring out how to follow traversing leads on jumars.

By the time I get to the belay at the top of P5, we've gotten into a rhythm... Kate has figured out how to lead, and I've figured out how to follow (and gotten over being scared of penduluming). Unfortunately, while under the Kor roof the day before, I got spun in the wind about 20 times, putting a twist in the rope, which gets horribly bunched up while trying to pull it through the pendulum rings, and is then STUCK!!! We are both tired, and finally we decide to just go up one more pitch P6 and rap down to unstick the (other) rope. Since we're tired and have gotten into a rhythm ... that, and I'm a wimp, Kate leads again. She is such a rockstar. Also, I have pee really, really bad.

At the top, she has time to take a cute picture of herself while I follow. She has set pro on a ledge above herself, and the only thing I can think is "Can I pee on that ledge?"... not, "Can I downclimb to the anchor from there?" Oh, the things one has to sort through while aid climbing...

We finish P6, rap, unstick the rope, rap to Dinner Ledge, and enjoy the remainder of our afternoon there. It is so nice, we decide to spend the night. We also think of other ways to unstick the rope... in retrospect, we had options.

We got to sleep in the next morning.

And then I learned how to rappel and kick a pig down the mountain. Fun fun! I got my butt kicked, but somehow, I think I'll be back. But I need to practice first.

We ran into these guys heading up.

  Trip Report Views: 7,773
About the Author
cleo is a social climber from Berkeley, CA.

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Trad climber
San Diego, CA.
  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:17pm PT
Great post and great TR girls... I'll be in your shoes later this summer and am so excited that I can't sit still!

From what I've learned, all of aid climbing is a learning experience. Great job! Can't top out every time, right?

Russ Walling

Social climber
from Poofters Froth, Wyoming
  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:19pm PT

Big Wall climber
  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:30pm PT
nice effort ladies, get back out there and send!

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:37pm PT
Sounds like a good time out!
susan peplow

Joshua Tree, CA
  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:38pm PT
Way to go girls!

Kor Roof spin around. Gee that's never happened to anyone (wink wink)

No lower out on the pitch above? I'm not sure I completely understood how you did the traverse. Just a flat pendulum fly away?


Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Author's Reply  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:45pm PT
On the pendulum, Kate passed a bite of rope through and lowered, and then fixed the ropes across (you can see them in the picture of me "looking tough"), and I was able to clip into those and pull, so no pendulum for me. It all worked ok, pretty good considering she figured it all out on the fly, until we tried to pull the bite through.

I don't really know what the "correct" method is... time to start reading!!

Just livin' the dream
  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:53pm PT
Cleo Girlfriend--

YOU ROCK!!! (Your partner, too!)

Loved the TR, and those, did they tell a great story. You almost convinced me that pooping in a tube would be fun. :-)

Thanks for the refreshing know...;-)

Post more, post photos, climb more, take lots of photos...your gig is what the Taco is all about.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:54pm PT
Nice work gettin' it done ladies!

No need to hit the library... you got about a bazillion years of big wall know-how here on this site. I'm sure you'd get all kinds of useful advice if you but ask...

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:55pm PT
Awesome to see folks getting out there and figuring it out! One of these days I'll become an aid bumbler.

  Jun 12, 2008 - 12:59pm PT
Nice effort! One thing PLEASE dont pee on the ledges as they are nasty enough on these really popular routes. Please use a 'lady jane' and pee into space or in a bottle which you can pour out later. Ever wonder why some ledges seem kind of sticky/ tacky well its the pee.

Social climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 12, 2008 - 01:05pm PT
Nice going cleo! Good photos and report.

Gunnison, CO
  Jun 12, 2008 - 01:06pm PT
Great work gals. Best way to learn is just to get out there, I think. As long as you stay safe that is.

One of my early walls (#2 or #3 I think) was over there on WC, Ten Days After... or is it Ten Years--I get them confused. Anyway, I royally screwed up a lowerout and had to cut loose on a huge pendulum. That was one way to learn my lesson... I sure didn't do that again.

I predict you all will be up top before fall. Enjoy it!!


Social climber
San Francisco
  Jun 12, 2008 - 01:08pm PT
Val and Kate, well done! Thanks for the report. When Erick and I were there in April I remember self-belaying on pitch 5 and looking down occasionally to see Erick spin wildly under that roof. I couldn't stop laughing for a while.
susan peplow

Joshua Tree, CA
  Jun 12, 2008 - 01:11pm PT
Lowering out is an interesting tool to use. I too had never done one before, I ask Russ how to do it but we had some creepers coming up our ass so he launched off and told me not to worry about it.

When I got to the spot to lower out, he gave me a few tips over the radio, by the time he asked me how I was doing, I had lowered out and was well on my way to cleaning the crack up to him.

Side note: How those old-school type ever survived on yell-net alone I'll never know.


Social climber
Lida Junction
  Jun 12, 2008 - 02:26pm PT
how does one do a lower out? I forgot.

Boulder climber
Institute of Better Bouldering-DirtbagDad Division
  Jun 12, 2008 - 02:32pm PT
Nice! Thanks for the inspiration. One of these days I would like to be one of those noobs. :-) Gotta convince some cranky old-timer or some moderately experienced noob to go with me.

First I gotta do laundry and clean up after me kids... :-)


climber's near nevada...
  Jun 12, 2008 - 02:36pm PT
oh man - chicks, rock, ropes...could be best TR ever ;-)

Phoenix, AZ
  Jun 12, 2008 - 04:29pm PT
Heck of an effort, ladies! Looking forward to the next TR where you get revenge. ;-)

Lynne Leichtfuss

Trad climber
Will know soon
  Jun 12, 2008 - 05:38pm PT

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 12, 2008 - 06:13pm PT

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 12, 2008 - 06:13pm PT
tho the cigarette is optional


Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Author's Reply  Jun 12, 2008 - 06:24pm PT
Ah yea, lowering out... I did just figure all that out in my head. Of course, that's not what we did :). Thank you!

What we did was (I think), the leader (Kate) passed a bite through the rings, tied the end to herself, and had me lower her. Then, when I arrived, the rope that I was jumaring on actually went through the rings (e.g. I couldn't have freed it by simply unclipping a biner). So I clipped in and pulled (w/ jumars) across the flatish ropes, like a Tyrolean, but up against the wall. This would've worked beautifully, had the bite not become a mess!

I'm not sure if that would've worked on the Kor Roof... we had reg. slings attached to 3 of the bolts, and I used that little loop of rope (difficult to reach... barely, and with much effort for me) as a grab loop to induce swinging, then on the upswing, tried to release the biner. At least one jumar was above the piece (I moved it), which helped. But this was quite tiring - I'm not that strong. Cursing helped too (f$*@)&@g biners with teeth!)

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Jun 12, 2008 - 06:38pm PT
Hey Cleo

Great try anyway! Love the smiles.
You'll get 'er next time!!!

Sport climber
Boulder, Colorado!
  Jun 12, 2008 - 08:56pm PT
Excellent! I look forward to the next adventure - take lots of photos.

  Jun 12, 2008 - 09:18pm PT
Good going, gals! Thanks for the humble and honest report.

  Jun 12, 2008 - 09:51pm PT
Good job!
Thanks for posting.
Route Loser

Trad climber
Lake Almanor/Chico, CA
  Jun 13, 2008 - 12:06am PT
Hey Cleo nice job! Thanks for the P6 beta. At least you made it over half way.
We should make a friendly wager: Who of us is going to make it to the top first? Winner gets a virtual high-five.
Just something for a little motivation ;)
My partner figured the "lower out" thing for P5 kind of on-the-fly, but I had read about it in the Big Walls book so I was able to walk him though it, giving us a little advantage. But way to go to your partner for problem solving and making something else work.
Hope to see a "top out" report from you in the near future.
Good luck with your aid climbing.

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA/Joshua Tree
  Jun 13, 2008 - 01:33am PT
Nice TR.

You had Dinner Ledge to yourself at this time of year?? That's shocking.

Then again I went up the Column 2 years ago 4th of July weekend and shockingly my partner and I had it to ourselves (weather was nice too). I went back again the following October (first weekend) and there were TEN people that ended up sleeping on the damn thing that night (and 2 on that ledge above). We were on Dinner Ledge before noon but a very slow party doing the Kor Roof pitch literally backclogged the place to where party after party came up and were stuck (a few bailed, but most stayed). By evening, it was clusterf&ck central. But everyone was cool and got along. VERY tight sleeping quarters though.

On the upside, the awesome Hollyclimber was one of the people there with all of us so once the slower party got to the intermediate belay, she blasted up the route past them and fixed to pitch 6, that little asskicker that she is!! I think it took her about 10 minutes to do that (figuratively, not literally). She and her partner were outta the ledge before dawn.

Social climber
  Jun 13, 2008 - 01:40am PT
it took me 3 loads up the zodiac talus and 2 trips to Zion before I sent my first real wall. I like to think of it as training?
John Moosie

Beautiful California
  Jun 13, 2008 - 01:40am PT
This TR

Holly climbers TR

L's stories

Crimpies TR

The Chicks are kicking butt on Supertopo lately. Thanks...

Trad climber
east bay, CA
  Jun 13, 2008 - 03:01am PT
So where's the part about 2 chicks having a go? (with pics!)

(Nice going ladies!)

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Author's Reply  Jun 13, 2008 - 02:45pm PT
Oh no, we weren't alone! The first night we had 6 total (everybody on the lower ledge), and the second night we had 6 again (2 bailed, and 2 Brits came up and slept on the higher ledge). Plenty o' room, though I'd hate to be up there with 10!

Apparently, after we leisurely descended after our 2nd night, so did the other 4, which surprised me since the Brits looked experienced, and the other 2 had fixed to the top of P6. It was apparently too windy and chilly (but then Mike & Paul and some others were coming up).

  Jun 14, 2008 - 05:57am PT
Experienced or not, the Brits probably just wanted to share the ledge with a pair of tough, dirty aid chicks. Who wouldn't? Great pics, TR and 'tude. Dale

Social climber
CHC, en zed
  Jun 16, 2008 - 12:03pm PT
Bump for the hot and dirty chicks.

I'm sure you two will crush it next time.

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Nov 2, 2009 - 06:18pm PT
Well done dames...well done. Class act.
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
  Nov 3, 2009 - 07:34pm PT
My fourth wall.

Good for you, lassies, whats next?

BTW I don't like that technique for reversing penjies, requires too much rope, and I don't like running nylon against nylon (although practical experience says you can get away with it a bit).
Ray Olson

Trad climber
Imperial Beach, California
  Nov 12, 2009 - 11:40am PT
this is the type of trip report
I honestly wish there were more of.

have fun,
hope to read
more of your stuff
in the future.


Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Author's Reply  Nov 13, 2009 - 03:00am PT
*sigh* we need to commit to learning more.

maybe some aid practice down low, followed by another attempt, and lost arrow spire. been kayaking more lately, back to walls!

Trad climber
  Apr 23, 2010 - 12:23pm PT
I thought I posted a comment on this one way back- look like I didn't. Anyhow- good work ladies!

Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Apr 23, 2010 - 12:59pm PT
I missed this one too...

Good job Cleo!!
Please tell me you are going back!
Then, The Prow, and then, LEANING TOWER!!!

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  May 2, 2010 - 09:19am PT
Cheers from another noob!

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
  Nov 12, 2010 - 10:50pm PT
mark miller

Social climber
  Nov 12, 2010 - 11:04pm PT
I love that route thanks for the great TR and pics....Well done folks.

Trad climber
Central Coast
  Mar 3, 2011 - 06:20pm PT
Took me twice, you'll get it! Thanks for the post!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Mar 3, 2011 - 06:24pm PT
Good one!

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
  Jan 31, 2012 - 04:12pm PT
RE: Your lowering out technique: So that explains the multitude of ropes going towards Kate in one of the photos. Great TR Val!

Piton Ron - what method do you prefer then? I was lower out on some pendulums yesterday and was hating the idea of threading the rope through the nylon tat :-()

[Edit]I'm assuming the alternate method is untying from the end of the rope to thread it through the tat and then rapping off these strands?

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Author's Reply  Jan 30, 2012 - 09:07pm PT
LOL, yes, so Mark, we should practice some aid sometime :)

Trad climber
  Jan 30, 2012 - 09:12pm PT
This trip report always inspires me when I read it, good effort.

Mountain climber
Draperderr, Utah
  Jan 31, 2012 - 04:10pm PT
BACOD fun when you're in town? Or I can drop you a line one of the weekends I'm in the Valley and messing around with that stuff. Maybe we can have races on LeConte Boulder :-)
Tahoe climber

Davis these days
  Feb 7, 2012 - 12:44pm PT
fun tr
thanks ladies!
inspiring and beautiful
love the humble tone and the smiles

Trad climber
  Feb 8, 2012 - 07:35pm PT
Very good, nice work, congratulations and courage, exscellent trad climbers...

  Feb 11, 2012 - 10:05am PT
Nice work cleo!
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Washington Column - South Face C1 5.8 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The South Face of Washington Column.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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Astroman takes a brilliant steep and clean line.
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The steepest route on the Column.
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