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Lurking Fear 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b C2

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, 19 pitches, 2000', Grade VI
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b C2 [details]
FA: Dave Bircheff, Phil Bircheff, and Jim Pettigrew, 1976 FFA: Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, 6/2000
Page Views: 27,330
Submitted By: Michael Schneiter on Feb 21, 2008

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Another beautiful splitter half way up Lurking Fea...

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Lurking Fear is the easiest aid climb on El Capitan. The aid is straight forward and the free climbing is excellent. The entire free climb checks in at 5.13c (FFA: Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden). Despite the moderate grade of this route, it doesn't see nearly as much traffic as The Nose or The Salathe. There is a fair amount of terrain that can be free climbed at a moderate grade and the aid on terrain harder than that tends to be mostly C1. The vast majority of the route seemed to haul easily. The SuperTopo warns about bad hauling on the upper pitches but we didn't find anything overly difficult or frustrating. There are few, good natural ledges on this route for bivying, besides Thanksgiving Ledge. The top of the route features seemingly endless slabs hence it is also popular to rap the route. This route is a good candidate for wall climbers looking for their first El Cap route. It would be difficult to give pitch-by-pitch beta so consult a topo such as the Yosemite Super Topo book.

Location 

Lurking Fear is on the far left side of El Capitan. Hike to the base of the wall, as you would for the Nose, and then skirt the base of the wall, hiking up the long slope beneath the face. The approach feels long, particularly when carrying a haul bag and comparing it to the Nose. It makes you realize how big El Cap is, as you traverse underneath a lot of rock on your way to Lurking Fear. There is a few hundred feet of 3rd and 4th class ledges to negotiate, shortly before the start of the route. It is probably advisable to haul bags or fix lines on some of these sections. The start of the route is about 100 feet from the corner of the buttress and starts in a left-facing corner.

Protection 

Double set of nuts, including small nuts. Triple set of cams up to red Camalot and double set of cams to old #4.5 Camalot. A selection of basic hooks, cam hooks and rivet hangers. Can also bring few heads in case any are missing.


Photos of Lurking Fear Slideshow Add Photo
The airy pitch 7 traverse. Ryan M staying cool.
The airy pitch 7 traverse. Ryan M staying cool.
Phil Bircheff leading on the first Ascent of Lurki...
Phil Bircheff leading on the first Ascent of Lurki...
Bivying on top of pitch 9, party pig in tow.
Bivying on top of pitch 9, party pig in tow.
Mac lowering out on the Window Pane Flake early in...
Mac lowering out on the Window Pane Flake early in...
Below the airy pitch 12 roof
Below the airy pitch 12 roof
The natural bivy accessible from p11
The natural bivy accessible from p11
Start of pitch 4
Start of pitch 4
leading the eleventh pitch.
leading the eleventh pitch.
Pitch 15 on Lurking Fear.
Pitch 15 on Lurking Fear.
Pitch 19 - continue past bolted anchors to ledge u...
Pitch 19 - continue past bolted anchors to ledge u...
Pitch 12 of Lurking Fear. One of my favorite pitch...
Pitch 12 of Lurking Fear. One of my favorite pitch...
Nothing like chilling on a big wall. Pitch 2 (?) o...
Nothing like chilling on a big wall. Pitch 2 (?) o...
Pitch 18 on Lurking Fear.
Pitch 18 on Lurking Fear.
Top out slabs.
BETA PHOTO: Top out slabs.
Looking down at the Pillar of Despair at the top o...
Looking down at the Pillar of Despair at the top o...
Ready to hike to Lurking Fear. RJ and I lost the &...
Ready to hike to Lurking Fear. RJ and I lost the &...
"Lost World" bivy ledge, off route, reac...
"Lost World" bivy ledge, off route, reac...
Pitch 2 (I think) of Lurking Fear.
Pitch 2 (I think) of Lurking Fear.
Pitch 7 of Lurking Fear. A fun, airy and exposed p...
Pitch 7 of Lurking Fear. A fun, airy and exposed p...
The (wet) first pitch (normally) free variation.
BETA PHOTO: The (wet) first pitch (normally) free variation.

Comments on Lurking Fear Add Comment
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By nbrown
From: western NC
Aug 20, 2010

Great route! As of Aug 2010 there were no rivets without hangers, they were all bolts with hangers. Also, didn't see any real need for the fixed heads anymore; it appeared that maybe bolts had been added nearby, but who knows, maybe not. The one head we did use was at the beginning of pitch 3, but that one could probably could have been bypassed by top-stepping in the aiders. Also, much of the "hooking" mentioned on supertopo is easily avoided with a little tension traversing.
By Luke Stefurak
From: Seattle, WA
Jul 15, 2011

If rapping the route I would suggest going from the P8 belay (at the top of the 4" OW all the way to the P6 belay. This can be done with double 60m ropes with 5-10 feet left to spare.

You will still have to swing a ways to the left but you can use all of the bolts on the P7 traverse to get you there. A touch of sideways aiding on rappel.

This also avoids the semi crappy rappel anchor at P7 (The free climbing anchor below this is good).
By Andyfin
Oct 31, 2011

Trip Report on our 2011 ascent. Trip report
By Osprey Overhang
From: ...
Jan 21, 2012

FFA: Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, 6/2000
By Lucas79
From: Malden, MA
Jul 28, 2012

The topo says something about an 80' swing around the arete to reach the bivy ledge from the top of pitch 10. While I suppose you could get to the bivy ledge from the top of 10 if you had to....it would be a real hassle. Just plan on climbing to the top of 11 and rapping straight down to the ledge.
By J. Manning
From: Seattle, WA
May 19, 2015

Beautiful route through pitch 12 or so, afterwards it changes from exposed clean splitter face to rambling alpine gully feeling. Even with a light bag, hauling becomes very taxing after 13. Fixed heads indicated in supertopo are shiny bolts save one which you could hook or free climb past. 18 and 19 do not link with 60m rope (30-40 feet short) per supertopo (if aiming for bolted station at top of 19, gear belay was fine though). Top out slabs were longer than expected and one of the fixed lines indicated in the Sloan topo was not present. Definitely some 5th class above pitch 19. Many pitches were 10-25 feet longer than indicated as well - never an issue but added to the overall big wall feeling for sure. Great route and an excellent experience.

Really nice medium volume spring just past the route base was running as of early May 2015.
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