West Face C2F 5.7

  • Currently 4.0/5

Leaning Tower

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
WFLT Solo In A Day
Wednesday February 27, 2013 9:17pm
Just read the other WFLT Trip report...mine is much less epic. :( and I dd it in fall...I learned my lesson about climbing in winter on el cap.

Here's the TR...
I was recently presented with an excellent dirtbag opportunity to join some friends on a quick 2 day trip to the valley. All I had to do was bring my gear, my food and water and solo whatever route I intended to do as my two friends were planning on climbing the East Buttress of El Cap. I had heard from a certain, Cheyne Lempe, that soloing the West Face of the Leaning Tower was not only doable but fun.

We arrived in the valley around 4 and after saying hi to our friends and racking up at their house, Ryan and Chris drove me to bridalveil falls parking lot. They waved goodbye as I started up the trail with my headlamp on. It was 7pm.

I hustled the approach in 50 minutes and after scrambling the pretty darn exposed 4th class to the base of the route I started up the first pitch. The WFLT has LOTS of bolts. I linked the first two pitches, a long 230', without much incident. I cleaned on rappel taking swings each time and pulling my self back into the wall to get the next piece. After cleaning the pitch and the anchor I set up my jugs and leapt off the ledge. I swung out into space and started frog jugging, a style of jumaring the rope on a totally free hanging line.

The WFLT can be linked into 5 very loooong pitches. Normally it is 11 but linking makes it go faster. I linked the first two pitches then pitches three and four to awahnee ledge. The ledge is a bit to the left of where the route goes but it looked nice. I got to this anchor around two in the morning? There were a couple dudes sleeping on the ledge that I had a pleasant one sided chat with while they snored away. "Oh yes, thanks for asking, I am having TONS of fun!"

Credit: jcory86

I linked the next two pitches, maybe the crux if the route? And then rapped and cleaned. I got quite good at deciding which pieces to leave in to make jugging easier and when to clove hitch the rope just under a sharp edge.

I was cleaning the fourth pitch above awahnee ledge (2nd pitch above when linking) when it got light. The dudes on awahnee were awake and yelled up to me that they were in fact awake last night when I passed them so they had a good laugh and a show. They said I ran it out pretty good on the pitch right above them and they thought if I fell I'd end up on the ledge with them! Maybe....but those leapfrogged cams were bomber!

Credit: jcory86

I cruised up the last couple pitches totally re-energized from the new day. I reached the top of pitch 10 and made an anchor. I rapped, cleaned and jugged. I sat for a minute then gathered my rope and rack and scrambled the last pitch to the summit!!! I reached the summit at 11:30 am approximately 16.5 hours after I had been dropped off in the parking lot!

I knew I'd make it in a day now. I stood on top hollering at Chris and Ryan over on the east buttress. They said later that they could hear some distant yelling but thought I was too far away!

I racked up and made the first rappel into the notch. My 70m rope proceeded to get me from anchor to anchor in style the whole descent. Not having a pig helped tremendously. I was worried about some downclimbing I had heard about near the bottom but I must have missed it with my awesome 70m because I ended up rapping to the ground with rope to spare.

A quick trip down to the base to gather my stuff and repack it all for the hike down and I was off. I felt like I was floating down the descent, super amped on what I just did. I stumbled into the parking lot at 1:30pm. 18.5 hours car to car for a 5.8 C2+ route...not bad! I started walking back toward the bridge to meet a friend and wait for Chris and Ryan. Not many people want to stop and offer a ride to a guy with a helmet and haulbag on. Wish I had Sara with me...

The climb was a success and the trip itself was memorable and fun. I got to see great friends again and push my personal limits in climbing! Thanks to Cheyne for getting me psyched to do it. Next time it will be closer to 12 hours!

Notes: the rope bag was key and I had backup knots every twenty feet or so to minimize slack that could fall through the system.
I did not need free shoes for the route
I will set up a better frog jug for my next solo as my current setup worked only o.k.
It was dark most of the time so pics were minimal and then the battery died. Weak sauce. I'll add the summit shot shortly

Gotta love a weekend trip to the valley!

Credit: jcory86

  Trip Report Views: 3,167
About the Author
jcory86 is a big wall climber from Grass Valley, CA.


Trad climber
  Feb 27, 2013 - 09:29pm PT

all righty then... well done!

A long way from where I started
  Feb 27, 2013 - 09:45pm PT
You make it sound pretty casual. What do you do when you get really fired up?
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Feb 28, 2013 - 11:28am PT
Get 'er Done!
Paul Brennan

Trad climber
  Feb 28, 2013 - 11:29am PT
Good work man, you blazed up that!
John Mac

Trad climber
Breckenridge, CO
  Feb 28, 2013 - 11:50am PT
Nicely done!

Big Wall climber
Grass Valley, CA
Author's Reply  Feb 28, 2013 - 11:57am PT
When I'm all fired up...well that would be bailing off the nose after taking a giant upside down whipper and grinding my face down half of pitch 3, then finishing pitch 3, setting up my ledge incorrectly and havin it slide up the wall on me with most of my (noobie style unclipped) sh#t falling to the deck. Cell phone included.
Making a pay phone call to the wifey about coming home
Sleeping like sh#t
Waking up and making another pay phone call
Humping my loads down from the base of the nose
Repacking and approaching the prow with 1 load
Soloing the prow in 2 days.

Getting fired up now= soloing zodiac in a push this year.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
On the road.
  Mar 1, 2013 - 09:59am PT
He's an Everyready freakin' Bunny! He doesn't stop!

  Mar 1, 2013 - 10:22am PT
Good job! Nice TR.

Trad climber
  Mar 1, 2013 - 10:27am PT
Impressive! Thanks for posting up! I used to live in Nevada City, but don't know if we knew each other.

Trad climber
100% Canadian
  Mar 2, 2013 - 02:23am PT
Stoked after reading this TR

Awesome Congratulations

Trad climber
Valles Marineris
  Mar 2, 2013 - 07:41am PT
Great trip report.

4 Corners Area
  Mar 2, 2013 - 08:08am PT
16.5 hours to summit! Badass and respectable.
Good Job!
oli warlow

Trad climber
  Mar 2, 2013 - 08:10am PT
Nice Justin!

Trad climber
  Mar 2, 2013 - 02:16pm PT
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Mar 2, 2013 - 02:44pm PT
Strong!, Thanks!!!

East Bay, CA
  Mar 2, 2013 - 04:50pm PT
yeah dude, NICE!
Leaning Tower - West Face C2F 5.7 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
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Photo: Corey Rich
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