Trip Report
Salathe and Nose Link-up in 22 Hours
Saturday September 15, 2012 11:03am
June 2012

Our trip started out after Tim gave an inspiring graduation speech at his high school. He puts in 60-80 hr weeks teaching and managing the Palmdale High School Health Career Academy, where the students get to work side by side with doctors and nurses. Students going through Tim’s program have a 100% acceptance rate to college compared to the 24% average for the non-academy students at the school.

Since Tim was at graduation, his wife JJ graciously offered to pick me up in Burbank allowing me to get the direct flight from Colorado where my day started at 3AM California time. Since I had a couple of hours to kill, I picked up Tim’s honey-do-list which had me landscaping his yard and fixing things such as broken sprinklers. Deciding I had done enough damage, JJ suggested she take me to Starbucks in Palmdale where Tim met me after work. We bolted for Oakhurst.

Plans for Saturday’s climbing were discussed. Inspired for some time by our role model’s link up of the Salathe and the Nose in 25 hours, we wondered if we had put in the training.

Tim’s typical rock climbing training schedule in between Yosemite trips is 100% consistent. Consistently nothing that is, because there is no local climbing gym, crag, or boulder. He does do a few pull-ups though.

But on the drive to Oakhurst, Tim informed me that his training schedule in the last few weeks consisted of two trips to the climbing gym, which he squeezed between meetings at out-of-town conferences. And during his last 2 hour sprint at the gym, his belayer made the comment “with a little more training you will make a great outdoor climber someday,” as she taught Tim how to tie in and belay properly.

This information might normally send chills down the spine of a climber that pays close attention. But all I heard was “two trips to the climbing gym” and “great outdoor climber.” Plus the weather forecast was splitter. Plans were set.

Boosting our confidence were our January ascents of the Nose and the Salathe over two separate Saturdays. The Nose was bone dry. Even more amazing, the Salathe was too, except for a couple drops of water on Sewer pitch. For both trips, temps were perfect in the mid 50s, and we had the entire Valley to ourselves with Curry Village closed for one of these trips!

As we approached Oakhurst, thoughts turned to our only sponsorship deal, which consists of discounted food items at Raley’s grocery store. Since we present the deli staff with a gleaming pre-EC ascent smile that is hard to miss, the price is negotiable. Competition was on between Tim and I, as last time Tim was only able to pull off a 10% discount. We knew things were rolling this trip when I walked out with two triple meat sandwiches for the price of one, scoring on a 50% discount.

The half-off discount reminded us of the encouraging words of a Half Dome hiker last summer. We had just climbed Quarter Dome and had to pass up the link with the Reg on Half Dome due to lightning.

Hiker: “What did you guys do?”
Tim: “Quarter Dome, it was fun.”
Hiker: “Half a Half Dome, you’ll get it next time!”

This topped the quizzical looks of some dudes that had just climbed Snake Dike who couldn’t quite figure out why we would need gear to make it up Quarter Dome as they had just climbed the entire Half Dome with a few draws and cams.

Tim Descending the Gully to the Base of Quarter Dome
Tim Descending the Gully to the Base of Quarter Dome
Credit: J Wells

Tim on Quarter Dome, Pegasus
Tim on Quarter Dome, Pegasus
Credit: J Wells

Tim's Got Energy to Spare after Topping out on "Half a Half Dome", aka...
Tim's Got Energy to Spare after Topping out on "Half a Half Dome", aka Quarter Dome
Credit: J Wells

We rolled into our Wawona campsite in YNP at 7pm. Our luck had definitely changed. It was serene. Birds were chirping and the sound of the rushing river was in the background. No other noises, nor neighbors. It was too peaceful for a Yosemite campground. Something was wrong.

Fortunately, soon after setting up the tent and climbing into our sleeping bags, the music blared from a Mercedes SUV, bear boxes were slammed and Girl Scout troop 401 pulled in with an arsenal of junior high age, first time camping activists who quickly established a campfire, commune, and fully stocked bathroom in 4 hours flat.


The Salathe

Note that we didn’t have our camera for these routes, but I added some pictures from other times we have been on the routes.

The alarm sounded at 4:00am. Coffee brewed, food prepared and the tent packed, we hopped in the car at 4:20. We jumped on the Salathe at 5:45, Freeblast was behind us in under 1:45, whooping, hollering and short fixing the whole way. Things were definitely on a roll, going smoothly and feeling easy. Upon pulling into Heart, a way cool party of 3 told us that TC and Honnold had already gone up to do FR on their way to the triple link up of El Cap, HD and Watkins. Headlamps were tracking quickly near the summit of the Salathe/Free Rider on our approach to the base of El Cap around 5:30am and we had wondered who it was. Yeah!

Tim and I at Heart Ledge
Tim and I at Heart Ledge
Credit: J Wells

Pitch after Heart Ledge on the Salathe
Pitch after Heart Ledge on the Salathe
Credit: J Wells

Top of Pitch after Heart Ledge on the Salathe
Top of Pitch after Heart Ledge on the Salathe
Credit: J Wells

Courage was summoned to lieback the entire Hollow Flake, but that plan fizzled soon after it was hatched. The easy way was taken on the next pitch, the 5.7 chimney, by staying on the outside, exposed part of the chimney and stepping out early and well before the chockstone. There is a bombproof #0.3 Camalot where you should move left. The alternative, which you might think I have only heard about and never experienced, is to grovel deep inside this chimney, turning it into a 5.10 squeeze. At this point, tunnel vision is assured and instead of stepping out early, one climbs the whole thing, including past the lose chockstone, which is tempting to grab since at that point you still have no gear and are 40’ above the shark tooth talus. A couple more super fun 5.10 pitches and we arrived at the base of P19.

Chimney after the Hollow Flake
Chimney after the Hollow Flake
Credit: J Wells

A fun 5.10 pitch below the Ear on the Salathe
A fun 5.10 pitch below the Ear on the Salathe
Credit: J Wells

Another Really Fun 5.10 Pitch on the Salathe
Another Really Fun 5.10 Pitch on the Salathe
Credit: J Wells


Now P19 is so dang hard that the only person recorded to have sent the pitch without breaking it in two just so happens to be the same person that took his 12 year old daughter up the Regular Route on Half Dome in the winter. Both seem equally unattainable. So the sharp end quickly goes to Tim for this pitch, because to quote Tim, watching me try to put my feet in aiders is like watching a cow trying to cross a cattle grate. Tim scampered up the pitch, we changed leaders again and the 5.10 OW was dispatched, but this time it felt 5.7, which was nice because there is no dependable gear for this short OW unless you bring a #5 or #6 Camalot.

Tim on P19
Tim on P19
Credit: J Wells

Tim on P19 of the Salathe
Tim on P19 of the Salathe
Credit: J Wells

The psych high and feeling fresh, we arrived at the top of the Spire, or guidebook pitch 20, in 3:45. Temps were perfect and we were going to remain in the shade for a while. Tim took over the lead and crushed it to the base of the Sewer where I took over for the next three guide book pitches. The sewer pitch was super fun this time and linked with the next one that leads to the block. It turns out that without gear where the roof ends above the sewer pitch, there is no rope drag and the splitter section to the block is as fun as it looks. The pitch above the block is one of the scariest on the climb, but this time it went down without the typical whinging. Making this experience especially sweet were multiple prior ascents of this pitch that always seemed to have me cramping and so run-out I thought surely I would to take a 60’ fall.

Tim on the Pitch above the Spire, Salathe Wall
Tim on the Pitch above the Spire, Salathe Wall
Credit: J Wells

Tim on the aid variation, one pitch below the Sewer on the Salathe
Tim on the aid variation, one pitch below the Sewer on the Salathe
Credit: J Wells

Tim took over the lead again at the picture book dihedral, short fixing all the way to Long Ledge. I’m guessing Tim has the record time on this section done aid style, or dang close to it. In usual style, he flew up this section. The bolted pitch above Long Ledge was finally redpointed. A couple years ago I took a 40’ fall trying to climb this pitch for the first time and in the dark. It turns out that there are a couple small cam placements (a blue metolious TCU or #0.3 camalot) before that first far-away bolt if you want them.

Tim, Picture Book Dihedral, Salathe
Tim, Picture Book Dihedral, Salathe
Credit: J Wells

Tim, Salathe Roof
Tim, Salathe Roof
Credit: J Wells

Free variation above Long Ledge, Salathe Wall
Free variation above Long Ledge, Salathe Wall
Credit: J Wells

The final two pitches went quickly, and before we knew it we were standing on top grinning ear to ear, 9:10hrs after starting the route. The temps were perfect with highs in the mid 70s in the Valley; we didn't get sun until two pitches below the headwall. It was even chilly in a perfect way on Long.

An hour later and we were back at the car around 4:00pm. Dinner was delicious: the usual tortillas, chips and salsa, canned fish, peanut butter and honey sandwiches and Starbucks in a can. We changed clothes and hit the river. Made a couple sandwiches and re-racked for the Nose. I think some fatigue was setting in because it took me a long time to put the rack back on my harness.


The Nose

At 5:15pm or so we set off for the base of the Nose. At the base, we met up with Cheyne Lempe, who gave us some hoots as we climbed and he 4th classed the first four pitches of the Nose, rope solo.

We started the Nose at 5:43pm, and it felt hard this time for me, but I was having so much fun that it took me a minute to realize why. Oh yeah, we just climbed the Salathe! Tim, of course, was his typical “100%!” We savored the golden evening light, perfect temps and splitter, calm weather. There can be an edge to the first route of a link up, but the second route feels downright serene.

Tim and I met up for the first time since the ground after the swing toward the Stovelegs where I pulled the rope through the lower out point while Tim re-racked me. Near the top of Dolt we caught up with some cool guys practicing for NIAD. They offered the pass, but I hung back chatting with them for a bit in the now gorgeous evening light. We reached the top of Dolt in 2hrs, where we paused for a snack and fluids and I got all the gear from Tim for the second time, knowing I wouldn’t meet up with him again until the base of the great roof.

Darkness fell as I was leading up the Boot, which has one of the best 5.10 handcracks anywhere. Though the Jardine variation that bypasses the Boot is quite fun, with a finger crack in a dihedral. Really, you can’t go wrong either way. The King Swing went down on the first or second try and I proceeded to climb back to near level with the top of the boot where I short fixed and continued using the remaining 20’ of rope. Tim quickly jugged to the top of the boot and then nearly horizontally to the belay where he pulled the rope. I was off again, doing the bolted traverse at 5.10 A0 and running the rope over to the ledge below C4. Tim followed with flawless rope management, which is quite difficult on this section. At the ledge below C4 we met three super cool guys eating their dinner. I think they were more psyched for us than we were. Their cheers definitely helped.

I ran out of rope right at the time Tim arrived at the ledge/anchor to provide more rope. Things were going smoothly. Tim arrived with me at the base of the GR and it had been 4.5hrs or so since we started.

Tim took over the lead and dispatched the great roof in under 30min, leaving a couple pieces for me to clean. By the time I got to the next belay, Tim was past the pancake flake and ready for more rope. Tim kept short fixing and was flying. But when I got to camp 5, he was standing under the 5.12 pitch on the ledge. He had popped a nut and taken a digger, hitting the ledge, tearing a flapper on one finger and dislocating another. This of course meant it was my turn for the sharp end, but before I could protest twice, Tim led up the next three pitches faster than I could have with my un-injured hands. I don't know how he did it, but knowing that we could probably come in well under our 24 hour goal probably helped.

We topped out on the Nose in 10:02 hrs at 3:45am. We were completely worked, but satisfied and very psyched. It had been 22 hrs from the start of SW to top of Nose. We descended in the growing light and watched the sun rise on El Cap as we walked and weaved our way back to the car, waving our thumbs at passing cars.

Credit: J Wells

Sunrise on El Cap
Sunrise on El Cap
Credit: J Wells

Successful in our thumb waving efforts, we got back to the car at 6am and jetted to Wawona for a quick shower and the 5.5hr drive to BUR, with a Starbucks stop. Tim had to make it to Orange County for a wedding and I the only nonstop to Denver at 1235. I offered to take the first shift and didn't understand why Tim declined until I remembered the last double EC when my first shift lasted 4 minutes. At the Burbank airport I jumped out of the car and Tim punched it for Orange County, where he cruised the trip crux: borrowing shoes, pants and a shirt from three different people to make it on time to the wedding! I was home in time for dinner with Jen, my daughter Mia and Jen's parents to round out another stellar weekend with not one minute wasted.

Rope and Rack:
70m Petzl Fuse
23 biners
7 slings
5 QDs
offset nuts: red, orange, yellow, green (x2), blue
purple C3 camalot
Metolious offset purple/blue (great on p2 of the Nose), yellow/blue (x2), yellow/orange
#0.3, #0.4, #0.5, #0.75 (x2 for Nose, x3 for Salathe), #1 (x3 for Nose, x2 for Salathe), #2 (x2), #3, #4 camalots

  Trip Report Views: 4,105
J Wells
About the Author
Jason Wells is a trad climber from Boulder, CO.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
Loose Rocks

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
  Sep 15, 2012 - 11:33am PT
Awesome work. Thanks for sharing the fun.
Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Sep 15, 2012 - 11:52am PT
Wow man. I'm not sure what's more impressive, the linkup or the fact that it was bookended with work and air travel.

Ok, the linkup.

Proud!

I never thought I'd say this, but hopefully you have an office job to recover at.
hoipolloi

climber
A friends backyard with the neighbors wifi
  Sep 15, 2012 - 01:07pm PT
Hell yeah! Nice work!


Dapper Dan

Trad climber
Menlo Park
  Sep 15, 2012 - 01:42pm PT
Dude how old are you ? you are ripped , congrats ...
WBraun

climber
  Sep 15, 2012 - 01:50pm PT
Salathe and Nose Link-up in 22 Hours.

Unreal

You guys are animals ......
enjoimx

Trad climber
SLO
  Sep 15, 2012 - 02:09pm PT
What in the world? I am confused as to your training schedules...do you guys climb alot? It sounded like Tim makes it to the gym only occasionally? Were you guys doping?

AWESOME job!
Roxy

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Sep 15, 2012 - 02:26pm PT
stout!!
Blakey

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
  Sep 15, 2012 - 03:08pm PT
I don't know what to say when I read this stuff.....it all seems so unattainable!

Amazing,

Steve
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
  Sep 15, 2012 - 03:24pm PT
Pretty fricken wild!
couchmaster

climber
  Sep 15, 2012 - 10:03pm PT
Holy crap, you were blazing....great trip report. Wow.
climbski2

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
  Sep 15, 2012 - 10:09pm PT
Nice to see the serious stuff here

Hmm It will be interesting to see what happens when folks like this head to the big mountains.

Catch the weather and conditions right and.. wow
Gagner

climber
Boulder
  Sep 15, 2012 - 10:24pm PT
SWEEEET!!

Nicely done....

Paul
mountain dog

Trad climber
over the hills and far away
  Sep 15, 2012 - 11:17pm PT
Proud.
Marshall

climber
bay area
  Sep 16, 2012 - 03:17pm PT

damn. inspiring!
Walleye

climber
The Hot Kiss on the end of a Wet Fist
  Sep 16, 2012 - 03:20pm PT
Great job and a great trip report.. Anybody remember what time Dave and Peter did it in on the very first one-day of these routes???
J Wells

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Author's Reply  Sep 17, 2012 - 10:39am PT
Thanks for all the awesome comments.

Enjoimx, it is unusual for Tim to make it to the gym or climbing outside between our Yosemite trips. He lives in Palmdale, where there's no gym. There's no rocks to climb nearby either. He's a naturally gifted athlete. On the other hand, I get to climb all the time -- midweek and on weekends -- and really have to work at it. We did make it to the Valley several times in early 2012, including two trips in January up the Big Stone. Cheers, Jason
splitter

Trad climber
SoCal Hodad, surfing the galactic plane
  Sep 17, 2012 - 10:42am PT
Great report & pics (and of course linkup)! Thanks for taking the time to share it with us!!
MisterE

Gym climber
Bishop, CA
  Sep 17, 2012 - 11:03am PT
Just amazing levels of psych and energy. Wow!
G Murphy

Trad climber
Oakland CA
  Sep 17, 2012 - 12:37pm PT
Awesome work guys!
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Sep 17, 2012 - 03:35pm PT
The psych high and feeling fresh, we arrived at the top of the Spire, or guidebook pitch 20, in 3:45.

You did what?! Does not compute...

Thanks for the TR, incomprehensible though it may have been in terms of scope of objective and ability displayed.

Does planet Earth require some sort of passport for you visiting beings?
Don Paul

Big Wall climber
Aurora Colorado
  Sep 17, 2012 - 04:24pm PT
Really impressive, congradulations!
Jim Herson

climber
Emerald Hills, CA
  Sep 17, 2012 - 05:26pm PT
Outstanding!!! 70 perfect pitches of granite snuck in between hectic work schedules. It doesn't get any better than that!

Well done on both the climbing and reporting.

-Jim

Climbing these routes in pleasant, dry conditions kind of counts as an onsight for you guys, no?
msiddens

Trad climber
  Sep 17, 2012 - 05:21pm PT
inspiring thanks for posting this.
Leggs

Sport climber
Made in California
  Sep 17, 2012 - 05:27pm PT
Fantastic TR and photos... very inspirational. Thanks for sharing!

~leggs
Double D

climber
  Sep 17, 2012 - 05:46pm PT
Speechless...
part-time communist

Mountain climber
Bishop, CA
  Sep 17, 2012 - 06:04pm PT
I don't know about anyone else, but I want to see more pics of that dudes bangin' body. Damn! lol
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Sep 17, 2012 - 07:56pm PT
amazing !! great job. i'd take your half day to lunch as a resounding success
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Sep 18, 2012 - 07:58am PT
I am tempted to try to make a joke about how common it has become for weekenders to climb two El Caps routes in one 24 hour period, or how far gym climbers have come: "...during his last 2 hour sprint at the gym, his belayer made the comment 'with a little more training you will make a great outdoor climber someday,' as she taught Tim how to tie in and belay properly," or some other nonsense.

But, instead, this is just very cool and very impressive. Well done.

From way down the mountain, hats off to you both.
marty(r)

climber
beneath the valley of ultravegans
  Sep 17, 2012 - 09:12pm PT
It's your world, we're just visiting.
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
  Sep 17, 2012 - 09:29pm PT
thanks.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Sep 17, 2012 - 10:33pm PT
Awesome looking biceps! Not too bad regarding climbing content neither. Really hope girl I am dating doesn't see those biceps though.... : )
RP3

Big Wall climber
Twain Harte
  Sep 18, 2012 - 09:06am PT
Well done!
David Wilson

climber
CA
  Sep 18, 2012 - 10:41am PT
read through again.......you really took the size down on those cliffs...inspiring
WyoRockMan

climber
Flank of the Big Horns
  Sep 18, 2012 - 10:58am PT
Strong work! TFPU.
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
  Sep 18, 2012 - 04:22pm PT
Awesome!! Could you provide a few details on how you approached Quarter Dome. Do you need to do any rappels down that gulley? I was told "Go to the notch south of West Quarter Dome, then down the gulley along the base of West Quarter Dome and East Quarter Dome."

About how long did it take from the Half Dome trail to the base of Quarter Dome?

Thanks!
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
  Sep 18, 2012 - 04:36pm PT
Wow!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 18, 2012 - 04:51pm PT
Amazing TR, Thanks!
S.Leeper

Social climber
somewhere that doesnt have anything over 90'
  Sep 18, 2012 - 06:19pm PT
Not of this world!!! How many times have you guys done the salathe and the nose?
iknowthedonreid

Trad climber
CA
  Sep 18, 2012 - 06:45pm PT
I am guessing that the time Tim spent at the climbing gym was the deciding factor! O yea and that he is a physical phenom. It is fun to tell guys that have climbed the nose in 5 days that your buddy climbed it and half dome in less than 24! Way to go!
J Wells

Trad climber
Boulder, CO
Author's Reply  Sep 19, 2012 - 10:37am PT
Cultureshock,

We approached QD as you describe, taking the "notch south of West Quarter Dome, then down the gulley along the base of West Quarter Dome and East Quarter Dome." We did not rappel, but there were somewhat sketchy 5th class sections (5.5 or less) to downclimb with some lose rock. I think we were hiking more than we were climbing that day. We used the Death Slabs approach to get to the HD trail. It is very quick from where the HD trail intersects HD to get to the top of the gully, but the gully is fairly time consuming. I think it took us 5 hours to get from the car all the way to the base of QD using this route, which would mean around 2.5 hours from HD/HD trail intersection to the base of QD. If we weren't planning on climbing HD afterwards, we both agreed the best way would be to use the Tenaya Canyon approach, which of course avoids hiking almost all the way to the top of QD then all the way back down.


S. Leeper, I think Tim and I first climbed the Nose together in 2004 and have since racked up 16 or so runs on it. That doesn't count some trips up TD. We have climbed the SW 9 times, 10 if you include a trip up FR. I hope we get to climb the Nose and the SW at least once a year it is so much fun.

-Jason
cultureshock

Trad climber
Mountain View
  Sep 19, 2012 - 05:27pm PT
Thanks for the beta! Some type of triple up next? Salathe + Nose + HD??

Have you guys climbed Watkins? I'm curious what inspired the double nose...

 Luke
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
  Sep 19, 2012 - 06:03pm PT
I knew it...

Every time I turn to a TR like this I'm reminded how aging gracefully sucks.

But so what, kudos, gentlemen, very impressive!



Blessed are the young people who push the envelope.
eagle

Trad climber
new paltz, ny
  Sep 20, 2012 - 07:19pm PT
good jog guys but i don't see the point in wearing helmuts on big walls in the valley. if a rock/boulder comes from above and clocks you're a gonner either way.
rodrigo MUJICA

Mountain climber
chile
  Sep 22, 2012 - 06:04pm PT
Amazing job! well done!
RyanD

climber
Squamish
  Jun 18, 2013 - 05:31pm PT
Damn! Off the couch masters.

That's a great report & some strong climbing. Infectious psyche. Way to go!
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
  Dec 17, 2013 - 10:13pm PT
much needed inspiration...
Kalimon

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Dec 17, 2013 - 10:29pm PT
Tim should work out more . . . nice report dudes.
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