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Half Dome
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Autobahn T 
Blondike T 
Deuceldike T 
Eye in the Sky T 
Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome T 
Snake Dike T 
Southwest Face, The T 
Two Hoofers T 

The Southwest Face 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 7 pitches, 800', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: John Salathé & Anton Nelson, 1946
Page Views: 17,052
Submitted By: Doug Hemken on Jun 19, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (3)
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BETA PHOTO: The lower pitches of the Southwest Face route.

  • Half Dome, South Face Closure MORE INFO >>>
  • Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    The first modern climbing route on Half Dome, and the first grade V in Yosemite.

    Freed in about 1964 by Sacherer, Kamps, and Lichtman, this climb was popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but fell out of favor with the rise of clean climbing. With recent advances in clean gear, the protection is again reasonable (G to PG) with the exception of the belay stations.

    The topo and photo in Reid are excellent.


    About 400 feet to the left of "Snake Dike", and just left of "Blondike."


    Standard rack to 4", plus extra micro nuts and micro cams.

    Photos of The Southwest Face Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: Stephen Schmid & Andy Davis tearing down the third...
    Stephen Schmid & Andy Davis tearing down the third...
    Rock Climbing Photo: Andy with a grin.  (2004)
    Andy with a grin. (2004)

    Comments on The Southwest Face Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By George Bell
    From: Boulder, CO
    Jun 20, 2008

    Thanks for adding this, Doug! A friend of mine has an epic story of climbing this with a beginner. Something about marginal anchors and lots of hanging on the rope.

    "the protection is ... reasonable ... with the exception of the belay stations."

    This doesn't sound too good ... is there any way to split up the piches so the anchors are better?
    By Christian "crisco" Burrell
    From: PG, Utah
    Jan 24, 2009

    Any possibility of putting in some good belay anchors for this sucker? It would be a fantastic historical climb.
    By Doug Hemken
    Jan 26, 2009

    It would take two bolts, one at the belay on top of p2, the other at the belay at the top of p4 (and link p3 & p4). You would need to pull the bolts that are already there.

    I've been thinking about the question of alternate belays, because it would be cool to have a totally clean route on Half Dome. If you stopped p2 before the traverse out of the dihedral, you could possibly build a hanging belay from good gear. And if you then climbed to the foot of the crux (partway through p4), there would be a ton of gear there. Might be worth the somewhat cramped stances to have the route go completely on clean gear ... never heard of anyone doing it that way!

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