Salathe Wall 5.13b or 5.9 C2

 
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El Capitan


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
Three Days on the Salathe
Tuesday April 30, 2019 6:45pm
KC and I climbed the Salathe Wall in three days from June 22 to 24, after pre-hauling our bag to Heart ledges on the 21st. This was his first route up the captain and my second route. The Salathe Wall is an incredible natural line with lots of fun free climbing. After my first time climbing El Cap via The Nose over six days, climbing the Salathe in three felt was a tangible improvement in my big wall skills for me. Mostly everything went smoothly and we had an absolute blast. This was my big goal for the summer and was my last route before I left the valley, which made the top out pretty sweet. Enjoy the photos!

Day Zero

We woke up at four and hauled our one bag to Heart Ledges. We were very efficient and were down by 9am for work. Feeling nervous and excited!
We need to bring THIS with us?
We need to bring THIS with us?
Credit: Miles Fullman
Day One

I took the first block of the freeblast, and was a bit anxious having never climbed it before and it only being my second route on El Cap. The first pitch was really lovely despite my jitters and after linking to the top of pitch two I was warmed up. I aided the undercling traverse but the climbing afterwards was very enjoyable and quite mellow. The "10d tricky pro" pitch was a bit exciting, and the bolted slabs were a ton of fun. Free climbing on El Cap is so awesome!

KC led the half dollar with some grunting and took us up to Mammoth. We made it to Heart Ledges at 2pm! The lack of wind and the very hot sun turned the heart into a microwave. We considered continuing on to lung ledge but wanted to sleep comfortably on heart. KC managed to rig the sleeping bags into a kind of shade and we waited until the sun passed. KC fixed pitch 12 and we ate dinner. After staring at the heart so much from the ground it was pretty sweet to be sleeping in it.
Our mascot Mooseolini joined us on Heart
Our mascot Mooseolini joined us on Heart
Credit: Miles Fullman
Day Two

We got up at four and started moving after a quick breakfast. KC showed the hollow flake who was boss with one cam! I led the next chimney with one cam as well. I found it very exciting but fun in its own way. I almost slipped out pulling the finishing bulge but made it to the anchor safely. The next couple 5.10 pitches were very fun, though I still felt like a fish out of water free climbing on El Cap. It was a liberating experience to be doing so much free climbing on a big wall for me.
Hollow Flake
Hollow Flake
Credit: Miles Fullman
Cleaning the ear was probably the worst part of the whole route, incredibly awkward with a LOT of swearing. KC could hear everything through the crack at the top and was laughing away. Aiding the long pitch right of the monster to the alcove was easy but time consuming after so much free climbing. I french freed the crack behind the spire and stemmed over onto the top of it. SUCH a wildly awesome position on top of the Spire! Another one of those ledges I had drooled over photographs of as a restless kid. I was here, me, standing on top of El Cap spire in the sunshine. KC fixed the next two pitches in one lead and we celebrated big time on the spire, both of our spirits soaring.
Almost to the Spire!
Almost to the Spire!
Credit: Miles Fullman
El Cap Spire!
El Cap Spire!
Credit: Miles Fullman
Get loose for the moose!
Get loose for the moose!
Credit: Miles Fullman
Day Three

KC led us through the boulder problem which I eyed up as I jugged past. As a boulderer, it looked like a ton of fun. I'll have to rap in and try it out sometime! The Block was also a really cool ledge, which we made it to quickly thanks to having fixed a couple pitches. The Sous Le Toit was the only hiccup of the route. KC got suckered in too far right by some tat and we ended up having to lower out on some slings around a massive chockstone wedged behind a flake. I remember this terrifying me.
Enduro Corner !!!
Enduro Corner !!!
Credit: Miles Fullman
I took over here and led the stunning enduro corner. It is some truly beautiful rock in a gorgeous location. The roof was also one of the most fun pitches, immediately putting me out in space over the route. And then... the headwall. Hands down the wildest position I have ever been in as a climber. I cannot fathom what the Shield must feel like. I enjoyed every minute being in this position, and felt like a true climber not being bothered by the exposure but actually embracing it, cherishing it, laughing into it. I felt pure joy and led the pitch with a stupid grin on my face the whole time.
The headwall
The headwall
Credit: Miles Fullman
Long ledge was where we had anticipated spending the night but we still had some daylight and plenty of energy so we decided to gun it to the top. The pitch off of long ledge was pretty serious, KC pulled a nut and almost took a pendulum fall but was saved by a .5 attached to his daisy. Pretty shaken and with a bleeding shin, he got back on the horse and finished what looked to be a gripping lead when I followed it. I think KC was starting to feel pretty done with the wall after this pitch.
Staying stoked on Long Ledge
Staying stoked on Long Ledge
Credit: Miles Fullman
Luckily, a bunch of our friends were partying down in the meadow and started monkey calling up to us and cheering us on, giving us the much needed final burst to take us to the top. I distinctly remember the final sting in the tail of the Salathe: a burly and awkward little squeeze chimney before the very last pitch. It isn't over till its over! I climbed up the juggy crack to the finishing slabs gleefully in the dark. We celebrated on the summit and slept in the rock ring.
Mooseolini enjoying the summit sunrise
Mooseolini enjoying the summit sunrise
Credit: Miles Fullman
My second route on El Cap in three days. Awesome!!! We literally ran down the east ledges descent to jump into the river and crack beers in the meadow. Life tasted sweeter after this route.
Cumbre!
Cumbre!
Credit: Miles Fullman

  Trip Report Views: 1,061
Miles Fullman
About the Author
Miles Fullman is 20 years old and is looking forward to graduating so he can climb more.

Comments
Levy

Big Wall climber
Calabasas
  Apr 30, 2019 - 07:14pm PT
Nice job, your photos are sweet!
L

climber
Just livin' the dream
  Apr 30, 2019 - 08:09pm PT
Killer TR...and Moosolini made me laugh.

Thanks for sharing the stoke!
Zay

climber
Monterey, Ca
  Apr 30, 2019 - 09:13pm PT
You guys are beasts, TFPU
Mike.

climber
  May 1, 2019 - 07:28am PT
Way to get it done handily, guys.

Without that pesky bivy gear you'd be up it in one go. Maybe Zodiac first.
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  May 1, 2019 - 07:33am PT
Nicely done! The Salathe was my first El Cap route too...48 years ago.
Gunkie

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
  May 1, 2019 - 09:22am PT
Fantastic!!!!!!
skywalker1

Trad climber
co
  May 1, 2019 - 09:31am PT
TFPU! I enjoyed the photos and your stoke!

Cheers!

S...
NutAgain!

Trad climber
https://nutagain.org
  May 1, 2019 - 10:23am PT
The stoke shines through! Gave me a big smile.
BLUEBLOCR

Social climber
joshua tree
  May 1, 2019 - 07:35pm PT
Cool Beans Dudes!!
Hot Shots!!!
SICK 🤙
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  May 1, 2019 - 08:33pm PT
hey there, say, miles... wow, thanks for sharing...

say, neat mascot, too!


:)


near looks real, on that cliff there-- if we did not know the
famous area... :)
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  May 2, 2019 - 02:37am PT
Nice! If you pull off graduating so you climb more, let me know how you did it. Graduation from undergrad had the opposite effect for me.

John
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  May 2, 2019 - 03:47am PT
Quality photos,
The stoke is high
Awesome!
Roger Breedlove

climber
Cleveland Heights, Ohio
  May 2, 2019 - 04:27am PT
Nice. The Salathe was my first El Cap route, probably the same season Donini climbed it. Cool pictures.
okay, whatever

climber
  May 2, 2019 - 05:11am PT
Glad you had a good time, and took some nice photos! Like a few other old-timers who have posted on this thread, I did the Salathe many years ago... 38 years ago, in 1981, in my case... and remember what it was like to this day. As we all know, when climbing El Cap you will encounter something that seems very difficult or impossible, but you're already, say, 2000 feet up, so you kinda HAVE to figure out how to do it, because retreat would be so, so, much worse! Unless, of course, you're Alex Honnold....
Miles Fullman

Big Wall climber
Author's Reply  May 7, 2019 - 01:21pm PT
Thanks for all the kind comments!
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El Capitan - Salathe Wall 5.13b or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The Salathé Wall ascends the most natural line up El Cap.
Photo: Mark Kroese
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