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Mt. Conness
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South West Face (Harding) Route 
West Ridge, Mount Conness 

South West Face (Harding) Route 

YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII British: E2 5b

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, 9 pitches, 1200', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Warren Harding, et al
Page Views: 6,585
Submitted By: Alex Shainman on Jun 25, 2007
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nearing the summit plateau

Description 

Considering the rock quality in a couple sections, a few insecure moves and the wide crack, that would be a burly solo! I can't decide what is more sick...Peter Croft's onsight solo or Walt Shipley's after doing the route roped and knowing what to expect!!

The route is exciting and physical and a must do for the High Sierra tick list.

Pitch 1: 3 options...Center option is a groove to a roof (slightly loose) (9+, 115').

Pitch 2: Easiest free version is to step down and traverse right on the lower crack approximately 20' where its possible to move back up to the upper crack at a good jug in between. Clip a pin and wiggle up to a roof. Fun finger/hand crack changes to a lieback to a sloping ledge where you can go left or right to end on the upper ledge with multiple 3rd pitch options (10, 200').

Pitch 3: If on the right side of the upper ledge...Go up a flake to a broken left facing corner and a piton belay on a ledge (8+, 120').

Pitch 4: Pick the easiest run out path to the corner chimney (which you don't really chimney, stay outside) (7+, 110').

Pitch 5: Hand and fists in the corner to a 6-7" OW/stem over a bulge passing old bolts. Continue up the 7-8" OW/Squeeze with a lonely old bolt to a a good ledge (10, 150'). #3 and #4 BigBro's may be nice.

Pitch 6: Go right on the ledge and up the obvious left facing corner with two bolts. At the second bolt make a wild traverse right to the finger cack groove with a squeeze finish to a jumbled ledge (10-, 190').

Pitch 7: Move right and up a bizarre corner system with a strenuous lieback. Follow broken rock to a sloping ledge under a flared goove (9+, 190').

Pitch 8: Up the groove and follow the natural weakness for a 190' pitch (5.5).

Pitch 9: 200+' fourth class loose grooves to the summit.


Location 

Approach from the back of Sawmill campground on a nice trail and past the Carnegie Institute. Still on a trail, trend left and up the creek drainage. Crossing talus and snow, aim for the natural rock tongue-weakness which borders the snow up to the skyline of the left edge of the east face bowl. Follow the ridgeline to the north on a worn trail all the way to the notch/view of the awesome south face of granite (stay on the trail). Drop your packs and descend the mostly solid gully. The route starts at a point left of center on the main wall. Locate the "Goodrich Memorial", a plaque bolted to the rock in a right facing corner up and right of the route's first pitch.

Descent from the summit is quick and simple thanks to cairns and built-up steps followed by a worn trail down soft dirt which leads back to the descent gully/notch and your packs.


Protection 

Nuts/hexes, 3/4" cams to 8" tubes, runners, 60M rope.



Photos of South West Face (Harding) Route Slideshow Add Photo
Dave Goldstein negotiates the first of the wide sections of pitch four -- further OW looming
Dave Goldstein negotiates the first of the wide se...
the 10b traverse on P5 (even spicier with wet shoes)
the 10b traverse on P5 (even spicier with wet shoe...
P3
P3
Mike starting P5
Mike starting P5
Starting the sixth pitch (P7 in Supertopo)
Starting the sixth pitch (P7 in Supertopo)
The Goodrich Memorial at the base of the SW Face
The Goodrich Memorial at the base of the SW Face
Last 5.9 section before summit gullies
Last 5.9 section before summit gullies
looking toward Yosemite
looking toward Yosemite
Luke enjoys the amazing alpine granite on one of the upper pitches of the Harding Route on Conness.
Luke enjoys the amazing alpine granite on one of t...
Pitch 1 is wet
Pitch 1 is wet
Looking down to the SW Face from the Conness descent
Looking down to the SW Face from the Conness desce...
final corner on P7
final corner on P7
The Harding Route in it's entirety. Two climbers are visible atop the first pitch, in the lower left hand corner of the photo.  July 2010
The Harding Route in it's entirety. Two climbers a...
Mike leading the crux pitch; sustained 10 but not grovelly
Mike leading the crux pitch; sustained 1...
approach from Sawmill
approach from Sawmill
Mike on the first of the 3 P4 offwidths
Mike on the first of the 3 P4 offwidths
approaching via the E Ridge
approaching via the E Ridge
more of P4
more of P4
starting the corner on P5
starting the corner on P5
more P5
more P5
first glimpse of the route from the top of the approach gully
first glimpse of the route from the top of the app...
looking down the last and most grovelly of the offwidth sections on P4
looking down the last and most grovelly of the off...
looking down P1. To avoid most of the wetness I climbed an overlap to the right of the cracks then traversed back left to reach the corner. This was runout but better than wet mossy rock.
looking down P1. To avoid most of the wetness I cl...
wet mossy bit on P5
wet mossy bit on P5
looking toward the W Ridge
looking toward the W Ridge
descent
descent
Comments on South West Face (Harding) Route Add Comment
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By david goldstein
Jul 3, 2007

I thought this was a better route than Red Dihedral on The Incredible Hulk. Pitches two through seven are all quite good.

Notes:
I thought following P1, which I followed, was the crux -- wet, loose, freezing and not overly protected.

We had a 4,5 & 6 C4 Camalot. The 5 & 6 came in handy, the 4 was basically dead weight. If you're really concerned about weight, you could leave the 5 at home, but I strongly recommend having the 6 which, if you're willing to walk it along as you climb, protects most of the harder wide parts of P4; otherwise, your protection for the last 100+' of this pitch will be a few 1/4" bolts, most of which are about 50 years old.

We found the SuperTopo pitch lengths to be consistently short.

The approach from the east is easy to screw up at several points. The correct notch from which one descends from the summit plateau can be hard to identify. We incorrectly interpreted an obvious saddle about five minutes walk south from where we'd gained the plateau as the notch; while this way we went was easy, it probably added at least 20 minutes to our approach. From the base of the route we identified what was probably the correct descent: it is pretty close to the summit, one can see the entire SW Face route from it and it faces north.

By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Aug 21, 2008

supertopo pitch lengths were definitely short. We took a 4 and a 6 camalot, no 5, and that worked well.

The corner to chimney after that .10b traverse pitch was a sleeper crux!

I led the first pitch in late August of a light snow year and the first pitch was a little wet but not bad, .9 felt about right and pro is decent.

By Nick Stayner
From: The Magic City
Sep 8, 2008

We carried a double rack from blue TCU-#3 camalot, and a #6 friend (the big one), which was placed twice. The four and the five camalots are unnecessary (yes, they really are, despite the offwidth). The bolts are better than one would think, possibly retros from the 70s or some other bygone era? Physical, demanding day. The first pitch, even in mid-August, was still soaking and probably the worst pitch I climbed in the High Sierra all summer. Have fun!
Wonderful route.

By Luke Stefurak
From: Mountain View, CA
Sep 21, 2009

We had a double rack from Purple TCU to #2 Camalot and then a single #3, #4 and #6. As Nick noted the #4 was not needed and we didn't miss the #5. The #6 was nice even though the 2nd part of the O/W was at least 8" and too big for a good placement.

The bolts are old Star Drives with awesome ring piton hangers... My partner clipped them but I doubt they would hold a fall and should be replaced.

Approach beta can be found here:
www.dreaminvertical.com/2009/09/mount-conness-approach-beta/

By x15x15
Sep 26, 2009

a 70 meter rope seemed to be a natural fit for this route. we used a hand drawn topo copied from the reid and falkenstein guide, and were on top in 7 pitches. 3 pitches were full 70 meters. a really, really, fun route.

By fossana
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 18, 2012

This was the most sustained route I've done in the Sierra, as Jon O'Brien would say, full value.

By Eric and Lucie
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 6, 2012

We got seriously sandbagged on the approach to this route: I think most people should expect between 4 and 6 hours carrying full gear for this route as a team of two...

By trying hard
From: Sierra East Side
Jul 14, 2013
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b

Linking pitches is key. This is a quick send if you link. Alternate start on pitch one was about 10c. Stoked to have a "6" on multiple pitches.