Gold Wall C2 5.9

 
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Ribbon Fall Wall


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Silent Line Variation of Gold Wall-First wall story
Wednesday June 13, 2012 1:02pm
It rained all day Saturday. After some one-pitch aid practice at the base of El Cap by 8 p.m. Bryan and I were trying to come up with a plan for the remaining two days we had left to climb in the Valley. "Do Silent Line variation on Gold Wall. Don't think about it, just do it! It has awesome free climbing and some good aid for beginners," said the guy we met in Yosemite cafeteria 30 minutes prior. Most people plan their first big walls over a long period of time, gathering gear, getting copies of topos, researching pitch by pitch analysis from online experts. The thought of jumping on an unknown big wall (one I had never heard of) seemed a bit bizarre at the moment, but I like bizarre, and apparently so does Bryan. By the time the cafeteria closed we took a photo of the wall's topo and were set to attempt our first C2 5.9 wall with a resume of four combined C1 pitches under our belt.

Ribbon Falls
Ribbon Falls
Credit: Vitaliy M.

We had some offset Master cams, a few ropes, two sets of ladders and a few jugs. We decided to fix the first three pitches on day one and see how far we could make it on our second day.

Looking at the first pitches
Looking at the first pitches
Credit: Vitaliy M.

One thing I've never understood about big wall climbing is why these guys are carrying such huge backpacks while alpinists could survive a week with a pack that is under 40 lbs. Now it was obvious. Two ropes, tent, stove, a huge combined rack, sleeping bags/pads, food, and tons of water. With backpacks of easily over 60 lbs each we started hiking up the trail toward the great unknown. The approach would not be bad at all if we did not have to carry huge packs. The trail is easy to follow as long as you are not approaching in the dark.

Bryan jugging first pitch
Bryan jugging first pitch
Credit: Vitaliy M.

After we hiked up and had a snack we decided I would take the first pitch. I have no idea why I wanted this pitch since it turned out to have mandatory 5.9 face climbing with funny pro above it, a bolt ladder, topped with a c2 move at the end. Since I especially suck at face climbing it took me a bit of time to figure out the crux while being weighed down with the aid rack and bulky ladders on my butt. After I did figure it out, the protection I placed in the seam did not inspire any confidence. My pieces were; a half engaged green alien, and one of the smallest offset brass nuts. However, I got through that and the aid section above was straightforward.

Stunning view
Stunning view
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Since the guys ahead of us recommended our best free climber take the second pitch, Bryan did. This pitch was a tough one. We spent the majority of the day on it (the guys that did this wall in a day on our day two combined the first two pitches into one, faster than our party of three jugged the lines!!). This pitch starts with straightforward aid in a seam, or 5.10/5.11 free climbing, and ends with an awkward flare at the top. Even cleaning the gear from the flare was annoying. Pitch three was not long and featured a 10c step-across that both Bryan and I pulled through on gear and then a 10b finger seam/crack to the belay ledge that we both free climbed clean. We fixed these three pitches with no desire to do any more that day. The guys that were in front of us bailed from the top of the third pitch and said "We will go climb something else." We felt morally exhausted and fairly bummed that we were slow, but then I pointed out "At least we are learning. This is exactly why we are here." In addition, the views were drop-dead gorgeous.

Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil fall
Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil fall
Credit: Vitaliy M.

When we got down, to our surprise there was another group of two that came up to do Silent Line (in a day) on Monday (they were awesome to watch since they were a few levels above us). They informed us that a bear broke into Bryan's car. Turned out we forgot to take out some of the fruit that was in the car when we dropped the rest of the food in bear boxes. Since I had to meet Amy in the Meadow I volunteered to check it out. When I got down I discovered no car in place. Since the car was broken in the rangers decided to tow it. After getting the car out and meeting up with Amy we parked it outside of Yos.
Bryan on pitch 4
Bryan on pitch 4
Credit: Vitaliy M.

On Monday we woke up early and did not let the break in to stop us from climbing. After we jugged the first three pitches and let the super fast guys pass, we began the best part of the wall. Our plan was to switch leaders and have both leader and followers free climb from pitch four up. From pitch four, the Silent Line variation features the best five pitches of moderate free climbing I have climbed in the valley. It was so good that even Central Pillar of Frenzy paled in comparison.

Me leading a 5.9 perfect hand crack
Me leading a 5.9 perfect hand crack
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Pitch four resembled a slightly dirtier version of Lunatic Fringe- cool finger locks, hand jams and other moves. Bryan was on top of it after getting through the first part of hard climbing. Next pitch was called by me even before we got on the wall. It turned out to be better than I imagined. A perfect 2-3 inch 5.9 splitter crack with a few pumpy moves. The quality of it was even better than Reeds Direct IMO.

team gumby
team gumby
Credit: Vitaliy M.

What was ahead seemed intimidating since we got on the wall. It was a 5.9+ flaring OW followed by a chimney into a huge roof. Although I told Bryan I would lead it, when Amy came up she decided to take the pitch. At the moment I was fairly happy to follow this thing. At this time the guys that did it in a day were already rappelling the route.

Wild flight over the roof
Wild flight over the roof
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Rappels above the roof looked wild! They told us it is not worth it to go past pitch eight and that is where they rappelled from. These guys were fun to be around and their presence was enjoyed. After that we decided to follow their advice and avoid last mungy pitches.

Amy leading the flaring OW
Amy leading the flaring OW
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Amy kicked ass and got to the top of the monster pitch six. It turned out to be one of the most original pitches I've climbed in my life. One word to describe it would be 'WILD!' After you finish the flaring OW and chimney, you come close to something that looks like a dead end, and to your surprise you get up to a window with a great view of El Cap and Cathedral rocks. You CRAWL through the window to the other side, flip over on your back, and start climbing up a perfect hand crack FROM LAYING ON YOUR BACK. Wow. That was cool.

You crawl out through that!
You crawl out through that!
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Credit: Vitaliy M.

At the top of the roof chimeny pitch we had some snacks and enjoyed the views - El Cap, Cathedral rocks, Leaning Tower and Bridalveil Fall. These views only got better as we advanced higher.

Views
Views
Credit: Vitaliy M.

The next pitch was mostly a 5.9 hand crack with one 10b roof to pull. Bryan led without problems. This pitch was a joy and included a variety of cool moves.

Bryan getting over 10b roof
Bryan getting over 10b roof
Credit: Vitaliy M.

The last pitch we wanted to do was mine and although by this point I was a bit tired I had the energy to enjoy this pitch, which was also a 5.9.

Amy enjoying herself
Amy enjoying herself
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Although we technically did not 'top out' we got exactly what we wanted to get out of it- learn a bit more about aid, have fun, and do some cool free climbing in a spectacular setting.

Sunset
Sunset
Credit: Vitaliy M.

Final thoughts: Trust random dudes in cafeterias. And if you want to climb something- JUST DO IT.

Ze big one
Ze big one
Credit: Vitaliy M.

  Trip Report Views: 1,636
Vitaliy M.
About the Author
Vitaliy M. is annoying gym climber from San Francisco.

Comments
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Comment on this Trip Report
karodrinker

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
  Jun 13, 2012 - 01:15pm PT
Sweet! thanks for the pics
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 13, 2012 - 01:25pm PT
has ANY food in their car is to leave it in the bear boxes (that are non-existing even in El Cap meadow


huh? they moved the bear boxes from the Bridge area?

Yeah, come on V, you know the story about bears in Yos.


Still, great job on going all the way back up there after that to push your high point! That OW up high looks intimidating. Nice pic of the window tunnel through!

Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 13, 2012 - 01:57pm PT
I guess they are there, but while driving around we were not able to spot any obvious ones munge...I would hope they install more bear boxes around the park in the future.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Jun 13, 2012 - 03:29pm PT
The bears, the rangers, they are all are players on the Yosemite Valley Stage.

You've been raided and read the riot act, and got a Grade V (with appropriate asterisk-ing).

Go forth and do no wrong.

Excellent Tripping, mon!



Zoo

climber
Fremont, CA
  Jun 13, 2012 - 03:45pm PT
I love the views of Cathedral rocks, Leaning Tower and Bridalveil Fall.

Thanks for posting.
Ron Anderson

Trad climber
Relic MilkEye and grandpoobah of HBRKRNH
  Jun 13, 2012 - 04:03pm PT
Nice job! climb an TR!
Bryan B

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
  Jun 13, 2012 - 04:30pm PT
Another great trip report Vitaliy. You always get the best photos.
slidingmike

climber
CA
  Jun 13, 2012 - 05:42pm PT
Vitaliy,

Well done! Thank you for sharing this.

Cheers,
Mike
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 13, 2012 - 06:28pm PT
Nice Job Vitality, you sir are a lucky man!
Thank you!!!!
crack-a-holic

Trad climber
CA
  Jun 13, 2012 - 08:57pm PT
thanks for posting v :) it was fun!

and munge, the lack of bear bins in the valley is quite notable... seems like they only supply them for campers!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Jun 13, 2012 - 09:18pm PT
Nice trip report, great pictures.
Zander

climber
  Jun 13, 2012 - 10:20pm PT
Sweet!
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jun 13, 2012 - 10:57pm PT
Nice!

Burly pitches for sure.

The regular route was pretty heads up with a nice view of those splitters.
j-tree

Big Wall climber
Typewriters and Ledges
  Jun 13, 2012 - 11:59pm PT
Bear bins right at the meadow bridge for anyone doing el cap, bear bins at zodiac parking for el cap, bear bins at the base of Manure Pile Buttress and the parking lot too, bear bins at Ahwanee parking lot for Arches and the Column, bear bins at the Glacier Point/ heading up to HD parking lot, bear bins at Leaning Tower parking lot, etc... All benefiting climbers and hikers with no campgrounds in site.

Seems like all you have to do is prioritize the life of a bear above the few minutes it would take you to find and drop your stuff off in before parking.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 14, 2012 - 12:54am PT
I love the views of Cathedral rocks, Leaning Tower and Bridalveil Fall.

Yes, the views up there were kick ass. Stunning. Gorgeous. Etc. I loved it.

jtree, we did not leave a bag of food in the car on purpose. It was a couple of bananas and a box of blueberries that my friend forgot to unload to bear box in manure pile (when we dropped the rest of the food there). I was simply pointing out that I believe it would be nice to have more bins around the park if bears are a huge problem (based on looking around for them and not finding too many). In this case it was our own error of not unloading all the food though.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Jun 14, 2012 - 01:05am PT
Well said, j-tree. Directing complaints at the rangers or at Valley infrastructure after you've left food in your car and it's been broken into is misguided at best. That bear will most likely end up paying a steeper fine than you guys did. You blew it on that one - best to own that and not lay the blame elsewhere.

Except for the whining parts, great TR Vitaliy. We also had our hats handed to us by the Silent Line, though you guys did better than we did. And I also thought that endless handcrack was right up there with the standard Cadillac handcracks in the Valley.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 14, 2012 - 02:48am PT
I simply stated what happened and pointed out that IMO the regulations are too strict (like not being allowed to camp at the base of a route with a big approach-by yosemite standard at least). Read my last comment. I am not blaming the rangers for forgetting to take all our food out, le_bruce. I do not see it as whining...I could have avoided talking about this incident, but wanted to give an honest story...
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
  Jun 14, 2012 - 05:11am PT
Wow, that looks like a great route. Thanks!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  Jun 14, 2012 - 09:23am PT
Hey Vitaliy,

Now that you have crossed the threshold by climbing a long route on the basis of a coffee fueled, cafeteria recommendation and a Nike ad slogan, had fun, and took good pictures to feed the ST campers, you have moved into a new realm: it is bad form to whine about the NPS and regulations. The regs are whatever they are and the rangers are whoever they are--you master the boundaries and own your space the same way you master any other climbing related skill. That is what is behind all of the bear comments from old hands.

I have never climbed Silent Line, but I have always thought it was one of the prettiest lines in the Valley, even before it was done all-free.

Best,

Roger
Dirka

Trad climber
Hustle City
  Jun 14, 2012 - 10:32am PT
Excellent
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
  Jun 14, 2012 - 01:27pm PT
Final thoughts: Trust random dudes in cafeterias. And if you want to climb something- JUST DO IT.

Words to live by! Although, I don't like Nike...

That belly crawl section looked wild! TFPU
Elcapinyoazz

Social climber
Joshua Tree
  Jun 14, 2012 - 01:34pm PT
Good show. Very cool perspective on Bridalveil/Leaning Tower/hanging valley of b-veil creek from over there.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 14, 2012 - 01:42pm PT
+edited out the 'whining,' just facts now. : )



Words to live by! Although, I don't like Nike.

It was just what the guy told us. I did not want to quote nike myself haha.
To be honest he said he just got off from Lurking Fear and we told him it was on our to do list some day. He told us to get on that ASAP and 'just do it' but we opted for something a bit smaller that weekend. I thought Lurking Fear in 2 days total (without any big wall experience) would be a bit unreal! I like to jump on things that seem above my head but not when it looks totally impossible lol

belly crawl section looked wild!

That was insane. I may go back some day up there just to do that pitch again. It is seriously the coolest pitch I have ever climbed. Tunnel through a window, flip on your back and start a hand crack right from the tunnel was something I have never done before...
viejoalpinisto

Social climber
Pahrump, NV
  Jun 14, 2012 - 01:49pm PT
Superb! Thanks
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jun 14, 2012 - 02:24pm PT
Thanks for that excellent TR and beautiful pictures. I've never done anything near Ribbon Falls, but I find this TR and pictures so compelling I can hardly wait to head that way when I'm sufficiently recovered.

John
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Author's Reply  Jun 14, 2012 - 02:31pm PT
John, hope you recover well and I REALLY think EVERYONE should suffer through first 2-3 pitches and climb p4-8. Or at least to top of the chimney pitch. It is INCREDIBLE. And so are the views. CAN'T lose the excitement about it even 3 weeks after the climb! Seriously!

Most of the time I am not as excited about climbs I have done.
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Photo: Chris McNamara
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