Portaledge on the South Face of Washington Column - is it safe (for others)?


Original Post
Seigi K · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10

Friends,

I need some advice.

My partner and I are planning on climbing the South Face of Washington Column this weekend, and would like to get some portaledge practice in (although this means we would regrettably be passing up on the Dinner Ledge experience...). I have a couple questions regarding this.

1) Since pitch 8 is supposed to be fairly loose, we are planning on setting up at 6 or 7. Given we don't do anything stupid and/or drop anything, I'm fairly certain that this doesn't pose a danger to those below us, i.e., on Dinner Ledge... am I missing anything? On the other hand, it sounds like hauling up 8/11 would be a bad idea. Is jugging with the haul bag on our back the best alternative? I'd appreciate any thoughts on either of these two things.

2) Any thoughts on setting up the ledge on Dinner Ledge and flagging it up the next few pitches? I understand it can be quite windy, which might make things difficult...

Thank you!

20 kN · · Hawaii · Joined Feb 2009 · Points: 1,128
Seigi K wrote:Friends, I need some advice. My partner and I are planning on climbing the South Face of Washington Column this weekend, and would like to get some portaledge practice in (although this means we would regrettably be passing up on the Dinner Ledge experience...). I have a couple questions regarding this. 1) Since pitch 8 is supposed to be fairly loose, we are planning on setting up at 6 or 7. Given we don't do anything stupid and/or drop anything, I'm fairly certain that this doesn't pose a danger to those below us, i.e., on Dinner Ledge... am I missing anything? On the other hand, it sounds like hauling up 8/11 would be a bad idea. Is jugging with the haul bag on our back the best alternative? I'd appreciate any thoughts on either of these two things. 2) Any thoughts on setting up the ledge on Dinner Ledge and flagging it up the next few pitches? I understand it can be quite windy, which might make things difficult... Thank you!
I would not flag the ledge on that route because you would completely destroy it. Pitch 1 is slab, pitch 4 is a massive roof, and others pitches have slab and other things for the ledge to get hung up on.

You can bring a ledge if you want, but it's totally unnecessary, it's going to create a clustershit and you're going to cause PITA for those behind you waiting for you to haul your stuff. I once sat on Diner ledge for four hours watching some dude trying to clean the Kor Roof. Three parties were stacked in front of me waiting for him... It was a complete show.. Dinner ledge is large enough for a 12-person tent and the ledge on pitch 8 is sizeable as well if I recall right.

My advice, skip the ledge. Practice everything else on the route, then go climb The Prow where the hauling is much easier and you actually need a portaledge. If you just want practice setting the ledge up, go to El Cap and climb P1 of Dihedral Wall, NA Wall or any of the other routes with moderate first pitches and crank out all the hauling and portaledging practice you want.

If you're content on hauling on SFWC, this is the way to do it. Haul to P4 and fix P5 and 6 on day 1. Rap back down to P4 and set up shop on the ledge. On day two jug 5 and 6, then run to 12 and rap the whole route. That way you only have to haul four pitches and you only need two days of supplies.

Also, dont jug with a haul bag on your back. For one, you probably wont be able to unless you're a cardio beast, but moreover you're going to get inverted and you'll be stuck upside down. Put the bag on your belay loop if you have to carry it directly, but jugging with a weighted haul bag is going to burn through energy and you're going to get worked. Just haul it as it's meant to be--much easier.
Seigi K · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10

Very insightful, 20 kn... thank you!

revans90 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 5

dude if your bring a ledge bring a grill and some beer up! Ill bring hotdogs.

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 200
revans90 wrote:dude if your bring a ledge bring a grill and some beer up! Ill bring hotdogs.
Wouldn't be the first time a team brought a hibachi grill up there.
David Coley · · UK · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 0
20 kN wrote: Put the bag on your belay loop if you have to carry it directly, but jugging with a weighted haul bag is going to burn through energy and you're going to get worked. .
An alternative is to hang the bag, if it is light, from your backup loop whilst jugging. Still hard work, but at least you are only lifting half the weight. Or clip it to the jug line below you with a microtrax, and lift the bag up every 4m.
Michael McNutt · · Boise, Idaho · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 0

When climbing sfwc, my partner and I hauled with a 50lb bag. We sucked it up on pitch 1, hauled to dinner ledge, and fixed the pitch above kor roof. The next day, we had no problems hauling until we got to the chimney, and had the second guide the bag to keep it out of the chimney. For the last pitch, I belated my second up who was free climbing with the haul bag. We bivyd up top, which was spectacular. Day three, we walked down.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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