West Face C2F 5.7
Trip ReportWestie Face First Ascent News Article
The Westie Face of Leaning Tower
By: Chris Van Leuven
"West Highland White Terriers, commonly known as Westies, are a breed of dog known for their distinctive white coat. Originating in Scotland, the breed was used to seek and dig out foxes and badgers." -- Wiki
When Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles, two of Britain’s finest trad climbers, "freed" Leaning Tower—the steepest wall in the US—via the Westie Face ( E7 6c, A0) in May 2001, they established one of the finest little big wall free climbs in the Valley. By updating the traditional name from West Face (V A2) to The Westie Face (the face of a cute Scottish dog), they showed that free climbing is fun, and not to be taken too seriously. Though the initial 200-foot bolt ladder was not freed -- teams are actively attempting a free start via Jesus Built My Hotrod (A4) via 5.14+ climbing-- the rest of the line goes free; one could consider the initial bolt ladder to be merely part of the approach.
E7 6c roughly translates to 5.13b with a little pucker factor built in. Scary sections can easily be aided/top roped, allowing teams to safely work the route before attempting a complete redpoint. The Westie is 800 feet tall, with actual free climbing totaling 600 vertical feet. Today, the Westie is one of the most popular, demanding, mid-size free climbs in the Valley and makes a great stepping-stone towards free climbing Half Dome and/or El Cap.
Pitch rating breakdown:
P1 A0 (200 feet) Green Alien, Talon (if fixed head is missing) only pro on pitch
P2 (5.12d) Hard stemming. Can also be linked to P3; 5.13b (150 feet total)
P3 (5.13b) Sustained 5.12 leads to brutal final move
P4 (5.12a) Traverse
P5(12b R/X) Runout can be avoided by aiding and lowering off nearby bolt ladder. Can also be linked with P6 (this is common) for a 230 pitch.
P6 (5.11d) Steep, pumpy trad
P7 (5.12c) The roof pitch
P8 (5.12a) steep fingers/stemming
1 set RP’s and Nuts
Double set micro cams from .33-1”
Single set cams 1.25” to 3.5”
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