Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1

 
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Half Dome


Yosemite Valley, California USA


Trip Report
North West Regular on Half Dome goes (updated)
Saturday September 5, 2015 5:15pm
On monday Aug 31 2015 matt and I set off to the base of half dome to try our hand at north west regular. We brought supplies for 5 days. A little iron and left the bolts and hammer in the car.

day one we humped loads to the base and fixed to pitch 2 before the sun went down.

day 2 we made it to the top of pitch 9 and set up the ledge for a very cool and comfy night.

day 3 the fun began. i linked the robins traverse and the half of the next pitch to the bottom of the new bolts. i believe it was 7 rivets with hangers and 3 large bolts. a fun pendulum gets you to the far end of a 20 ft or so ledge that leads to the 5.11 crack. i caught the ledge and had to do about 15ft of traverse climbing with no feet where part of the ledge was very sloping with lose rock. back cleaning the whole way i was able to aid quickly to the first bolt with some lower out tat that went to the old ledge you could fallow to the next anchor. that ledge is now gone and it is about 25ft to the anchor which has one large block under it that looks like it will not be there for much longer. i attempted to pendulum / tension traverse with no luck. there is another bolt about 15ft higher but the crack thins out and i used a green C3 to a small cam hook to a small pecker to reach it. from that bolt i attempted to pendulum / tension traverse again with no luck and a now bleeding shin from the left facing corner. 10 ft higher is a 2 bolt anchor for what i am guessing is another route. i lowered out from there and started throwing rope to finally catch the crack just under the chimney. pulling my self over i was able to finish the pitch.
I got the idea to try rope throwing from Robbins book "Advanced Rockcraft" where he states "if you can lasso a tree or get a knot stuck in a crack to save the use of putting in bolts then it is in the finest style"

Another option would be to possibly free straight up the 5.11 corner for another 200 ft skipping the chimneys all together. the lighter colored rock scar is exceptionally smooth and i did not see something that could go free but i am by no means a 5.13 climber so i cannot say for sure.

we made it to the top of 16 on day 3 and toped out just before sunset on day four. Surprisingly cool days for early september and very little smoke made for an amazing ascent. All the rock seamed stable and we did not hear any strange noises up there.

If some one were to put more bolts in to make it so you didn't have to through rope i would guess 2 bolts around the corner from the old lower out bolt could get you there. the main issue now is the current bolt is on the wrong side of the corner making it very hard to get any momentum.

I hope this helps, be safe up there!

Follow me on instagram @alexrsaunders if you are into that kind of thing

[photoid=426249
bringing the whole kit!
bringing the whole kit!
Credit: alexsaunders
Matt cleaning pitch 12
Matt cleaning pitch 12
Credit: alexsaunders
at the top of pitch nine just below the robbins traverse
at the top of pitch nine just below the robbins traverse
Credit: alexsaunders
the new bolt ladder on pitch 12
the new bolt ladder on pitch 12
Credit: alexsaunders
top of pitch 16 night 2 on the wall
top of pitch 16 night 2 on the wall
Credit: alexsaunders
matt looking classy on thank god ledge!
matt looking classy on thank god ledge!
Credit: alexsaunders
just before the new pendulum
just before the new pendulum
Credit: alexsaunders
attempting to make my way across the ledge on pitch 12
attempting to make my way across the ledge on pitch 12
Credit: alexsaunders

  Trip Report Views: 15,859
alexsaunders
About the Author
alexsaunders is from des moines, iowa.

Comments
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Sep 5, 2015 - 05:33pm PT
Cool. I like your improvisation with throwing the rope until it sticks in the crack and pulling yourself over.
It sounds like several parties have gotten stopped there, so it could be very useful beta!
SteveW

Trad climber
The state of confusion
  Sep 5, 2015 - 07:25pm PT

Ya just can't help and wonder when the
next piece is going to drop of that face. . .
cuvvy

Sport climber
arkansas
  Sep 6, 2015 - 01:25am PT
Report to office for IQ test
climbski2

Mountain climber
The Ocean
  Sep 6, 2015 - 07:03am PT
Iowa?

Does any other variation perhaps further over right seem viable?
clinker

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, California
  Sep 6, 2015 - 07:09am PT
The Ding Swing.
Johannsolo

climber
Sandy, UT but miss Woodson and Suicide
  Sep 6, 2015 - 07:10am PT
Pingie?
Gnome Ofthe Diabase

climber
Out Of Bed
  Sep 6, 2015 - 07:43am PT

Well, it needs more . . .

And more pics.
TREED

Trad climber
Gunks
  Sep 6, 2015 - 08:14am PT
What if you forget to bring your pingie?
looks easy from here

climber
Santa Cruzish
  Sep 6, 2015 - 10:12am PT
Lasso technique sounds, um, "entertaining". ;)
Wayno

Big Wall climber
Republic, WA
  Sep 6, 2015 - 10:24am PT
Reminds me of the "nut throw" on the Trip. It goes with hooks, though.
the goat

climber
Mazama, WA
  Sep 6, 2015 - 10:50am PT
and a couple of pingie's.
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Sep 6, 2015 - 02:48pm PT
I was thinking the same thing Wayno.

I will hopefully be seeing Royal in a few weeks and I think he would be pleased to hear that a knot throw is currently the key to success on his first big route.

Alex- Thanks for posting about your experience doing this route in it current condition. What do you think the climbing through the new section is rated?

If somebody was going to toss a nut rather than use a knot and biner, what sort and size of nut would you recommend they try?
overwatch

climber
Arizona
  Sep 6, 2015 - 02:39pm PT
That and a pingie
alexsaunders

Trad climber
des moines, iowa
Author's Reply  Sep 6, 2015 - 04:09pm PT
"Alex- Thanks for posting about your experience doing this route in it current condition. What do you think the climbing through the new section is rated?

If somebody was going to toss a nut rather than use a knot and biner, what sort and size of nut would you recommend they try?"

I would guess the climbing across the ledge is around 5.8 with some serious swing potential to go hang out with your belayer if you mess up!

a 12 or 13 nut would do it.
le_bruce

climber
Oakland, CA
  Sep 6, 2015 - 05:50pm PT
I got the idea to try rope throwing from Robbins book "Advanced Rockcraft" where he states "if you can lasso a tree or get a knot stuck in a crack to save the use of putting in bolts then it is in the finest style"

That's rad. Well done, dudes. Thanks for sharing.

How big is the block after the penji that you think is going to go relatively soon?
Pcutler

climber
Iowa
  Sep 6, 2015 - 06:14pm PT
Ha! Yea bro! Iowa reppin...

MisterE

Gym climber
Small Town with a Big Back Yard
  Sep 6, 2015 - 08:00pm PT
Now that is style. Pullin' old school Tactics for the win.
GDavis

Social climber
SOL CAL
  Sep 6, 2015 - 08:16pm PT
Right on ya done 'GUD'
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Sep 7, 2015 - 12:04am PT
Solid work on the "rope throw." I dig it. After hearing about that I was really hoping to see a photo of you two doing a "shoulder stand/stack" to unlock the upper crux. Now that would have been rad.

Iowa. Well boy howdy. You fellas dun showed up us Califernyans. Whoda thunk?

Proud send.

Scott

Brandon-

climber
The Granite State.
  Sep 7, 2015 - 06:35am PT
Strong work, from the flatlands to the steep. Proud.
ryankelly

climber
Bhumi
  Sep 7, 2015 - 10:35am PT
Yes! Finally!
jose gutierrez

Trad climber
sacramento,ca
  Sep 7, 2015 - 12:22pm PT
Great work guys! David Johnson and I were denied on the TT from the 11c corner on the 29th, we did not have any hooks or specialized aid gear to see us to the higher bolts. We figured if we got to that bolt we would have been able to do the pendulum, but it sounds like it was still pretty trick.

How low did you lower off of the higher bolt before trying to pendulum over to the chimneys? I agree that since the bolt is on the other side of the corner it is very difficult to get momentum up to get a good swing in, but we we hoping that you cold get to the very bottom of the new section off the higher bolt with a 25' pendulum radius.
David U. J.

Trad climber
Stanford, CA
  Sep 8, 2015 - 08:22pm PT
Good job guys! Thanks for a pleasantly written and informative tr!

As Jose G already said, we tried the route on August 29th, but had to turn around after not being able to complete the tension traverse or to aid further up the corner (we had no specialized aid gear). In addition to going higher, we had planned to try to stick place a cam into the block below the p12 belay (sketch for sure), but unfortunately we only had a 7 ft pole with us. A 20 ft pole would have done it. I wish we thought about the lasso technique!

Other potentially useful information:
*The p12 belay is actually higher up (3-5 ft) and 20-25 ft to the right of the old pendulum bolt
*We found the new pendulum easier than the pendulum on top of the Robbins Traverse
*We hiked the death slabs up and down - fixed ropes are up and in good condition
*Spring at the base was running strong

More pictures from the new section:

CCT

Trad climber
  Sep 8, 2015 - 08:32pm PT
Nice work! Thanks for getting it done, and posting up the photos. It's nice to hear about the creativity.
dindolino32

climber
san francisco
  Sep 8, 2015 - 09:17pm PT
Keep the mandatory lasso! Sounds awesome, different, and the first ascent team kept the climbing ethics pure! Great job Iowegians!
everythingistaken

Trad climber
billings mt
  Sep 9, 2015 - 08:09am PT
Alex and I's philosophy was to bring it all. we figured people were getting stopped because they didn't have the right tools or ran out of water and food before they completed it. We decided we were going to haul heavy and hard and stay up there as long as it took. I've got to give it to my partner for his ingenuity and creativity in unlocking that incredibly blank section of rock. I would not wish that hauling debacle on my worst enemy.
Matt
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Sep 9, 2015 - 09:02am PT
Again, great job guys!

Would you please post a photo of the crucial couple of pieces just so aspiring Domers don't get stopped up there.

I still can't believe that nobody noticed when this all cut loose.
everythingistaken

Trad climber
billings mt
  Sep 10, 2015 - 07:10am PT
I don't know about free, but the crack system above the alternate anchor that we used did continue. That was our back up plan if Alex couldn't stick the rope throw. I think you could have continued up that crack system and possibly don't a pendulum into the chimneys. That's actually what I was thinking we would have to do until Alex pulled that crazy rope throwing sh#t out of his ass and stuck it. There are still a lot of really blank blank sections on that thing.
Matt
David U. J.

Trad climber
Stanford, CA
  Sep 10, 2015 - 08:22am PT
Yes, Arcturus and RNWF meet at the Robbins Traverse and split again at the top of the 11.c corner. Arcturus continues up past the 11.c corner and Matt and Alex aided one of the 5.13 crux pitches of that climb. So, Arcturus does not go free right now either.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Sep 10, 2015 - 05:40pm PT
Man, you guys aren't kidding about that long ledge being gone. I bivied there once. It was fine for two stretched out. Now it is a blank slab.

Weird that it is gone. There are many features on El Cap that seem less attached. Boot Flake, for instance. I wonder if I will live to see that one fall off. It will probably last for another thousand years.

Glad that it goes. I would wager that after the route gets done more and more that a bolt will sprout at the pendulum point. Always happens, hate it all you want.

The route didn't have much of a penji before, and they are the funnest things to do on walls. That one into the stovelegs where you jump the corner is great fun. I made damn sure I finally got that pitch last time I did it.

I thought that right there there used to be that unprotected chimney to the right, and a straight in 5.11 or A1 crack to its left. I didn't think that the crack was more than a pitch long.

It has been so long. I'm getting old and forgetful...

Still a must do climb, I hope. It was the perfect first grade VI route for many climbers, and the Robbins Traverse had some commiting (for 5.9) climbing on it. Too bad it is gone.
BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Sep 11, 2015 - 10:55am PT

Man. If you look at that flake system (I assume that this is where the chimneys used to start). It is ready to go. It isn't sitting on anything. It is just hanging there.
JEleazarian

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Sep 11, 2015 - 01:42pm PT
Good job, you guys! Robbins practiced what he preached. In addition to the nut throw on Tangerine Trip, he used a rope throw on In Cold Blood. Although I thought that section wouild probably go without the rope toss, it certainly made it easier.

John
hobo_dan

Social climber
Minnesota
  Sep 11, 2015 - 06:27pm PT
nicely
L

climber
Just livin' the dream
  Sep 12, 2015 - 04:28pm PT
Awesome job, youz guyz!

Love the photos.
cuvvy

Sport climber
arkansas
  Sep 12, 2015 - 10:18pm PT
An award is coming
T H

Boulder climber
ne'erdowell
  Sep 12, 2015 - 10:48pm PT
▒█░░░ ▀█▀ ▒█░▄▀ ▒█▀▀▀ ▒█▀▀▀ ▒█▀▀▀ ▒█░░░ ▒█░░▒█ ░▀▀▀▄ ░▀▀▀▄ ▒█▄▄█
Ryan Evans

climber
Mammoth Lakes
  Sep 14, 2015 - 09:33am PT
you guys should have brought a longer selfy stick...
Don Paul

Social climber
Washington DC
  Sep 15, 2015 - 05:45am PT
i caught the ledge and had to do about 15ft of traverse climbing with no feet where part of the ledge was very sloping with lose rock. back cleaning the whole way i was able to aid quickly to the first bolt

Great work guys, you've really added to the history of this route. Do you think the pendulum could still be called A1? It sounds like A2/A3 although I am just imagining it. If this is how the route is done in the future, it will be a great introduction to big wall climbing, with a tricky aid problem as the crux. But hopefully not too difficult to shut a lot of people down. As you may know, Royal Robbins' daughter was on this forum a few weeks ago, and that was a really great thing you did for him.
mountainpassion

Big Wall climber
Sweden
  Sep 28, 2015 - 12:27pm PT
Cool, great report and good shots!
radair

Social climber
North Conway, NH
  Sep 28, 2015 - 05:46pm PT
Great to see it done in fine style. Congrats
melski

Trad climber
bytheriver
  Sep 29, 2015 - 05:13pm PT
survival and the kieth/o/mizer were doing the direct when I was on the reg, chating through those flakey picthes going WOW E WOW,,cool to see EVOLUTION,,,new challanges,to old problems
phile

Trad climber
SF, CA
  Mar 24, 2016 - 01:01pm PT
Well done!
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
  Apr 9, 2016 - 03:47pm PT
This has to be the sleeper story of 2015. It's great. Legendary!
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Half Dome - Regular Northwest Face 5.12 or 5.9 C1 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The Regular Northwest Face.
Photo: Mark Kroese
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Snake Dike follows an amazing feature to one of the most incredible summits in Yosemite.
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The first part of the route is hidden.
Half Dome - Direct Northwest Face 5.14a or 5.10 C2+ - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
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The Direct Northwest Face.
Half Dome - Blondike 5.11b R - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click for details.
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Blondike is the red line and Two Hoofers is the Blue Line.
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