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North Ridge of Half Dome


Original Post
Jonathan Croom · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 390

Has anyone climbed the North Ridge of Half Dome? All I can find is a topo in the guidebook and a few posts on the taco from a few years ago. By the looks of the topo, it would be a popular route; given its relative obscurity, I'm left wondering if it's not as great as it looks...does the R scare everyone away? There are some positive comments in the ST thread. Any beta would be appreciated. If I get on it this fall, I'll report back.

Jonathan

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 600

Go for it! 

I haven't done it, have eyeballed it several times while up that way. The position seems incredible. Found the TR on ST really intriguing. 

Jonathan Croom · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 390

It looks awesome, overlooking the whole NW face, and topping out at the diving board, but only in 10 pitches. My only concern is how the 5.10 face climbing will be. At least it looks like climbing an arete, not slab climbing. And a bolt at the crux.

One related question, for the descent, is it better to cut back around the base to go down the death slabs after descending the cables, or just take the hikers trail? I've never been up there, so I dont know what the terrain is like. A map in the guidebook shows a trail going from the end of the cables back around to the NW face, which cuts of A LOT of distance. If it's relevant, I'll only have a small pack, not a big haul bag.

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 430
Jonathan Croom wrote:

It looks awesome, overlooking the whole NW face, and topping out at the diving board, but only in 10 pitches. My only concern is how the 5.10 face climbing will be. At least it looks like climbing an arete, not slab climbing. And a bolt at the crux.

One related question, for the descent, is it better to cut back around the base to go down the death slabs after descending the cables, or just take the hikers trail? I've never been up there, so I dont know what the terrain is like. A map in the guidebook shows a trail going from the end of the cables back around to the NW face, which cuts of A LOT of distance. If it's relevant, I'll only have a small pack, not a big haul bag.


1. Its not the Diving Board. That is a feature above the Porcelain Wall west of HD. The lip on top of HD is The Visor.

2. Down to the base and down the slabs is fastest, unless in wet conditions. Then the trail is the call as they don't call them the Death Slabs for nothing.

Jonathan Croom · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2015 · Points: 390

Thanks for the correction, and the confirmation on the descent.

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

I wouldn't huff it all the way up there unless I knew I could dispatch Valley .10d confidently.  Your comment that the crux appears to be an arete vs. face makes me think you're envisioning  a sport climb.  I could be reading that incorrectly.  If it were me, if I wasn't comfortable on something like the NE Buttress of Higher Cathedral or Quicksliver (and those are only 5.9s), I wouldn't hike all that way to try a .10d R.  

Perry Norris · · Truckee · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 45

Is this the Embick route?

Matt Thomsen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 6

Not my photo, but half dome does have a diving board.... so, do does El Cap, porcelain wall, glacier point, and I am sure more....

Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

Scoop, for the obscure info win.  It is the Embick route. 

King Tut · · Citrus Heights · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 430
Matt Thomsen wrote:

Not my photo, but half dome does have a diving board.... so, do does El Cap, porcelain wall, glacier point, and I am sure more....


No, you are mistaken. That is the Visor on HD. I will say I have not heard of an official name for the feature on Glacier Point.

These features are all named and even though base jumpers use them, climbers named them originally. :)

Matt Thomsen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 6

No, I am not... But, whatever.

Andy Novak · · Golden, Co · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 370

^^^^^ You are both wrong and are both right. There is an official "Diving Board" named on USGS maps just west of HD that Tut is referring to (its where Ansel Adams took his famous shot of the NW face). Google it.  There is also an unofficial "diving board" which is a sliver of rock that precariously juts out from The Visor on the summit that Thomsen refers to (photos above). 

You can both Paypal me $5 for settling this dispute. Carry on.       

Life Guard · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Mikey Shaffer has done it. The 10d he said was full value, R rated and bring your balls. 

Matt Thomsen · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 6

Thanks Andy! I will sleep better tonight.

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 600

Mikey's comments on the route:

I have indeed done it, though not while guiding. I thought it was a great route. definitely a bit heads up on one of the pitches up high. I don't have a Yose guide book with me right now so i can't say what pitch exactly. I just remember a tooth pick looiking piece of rocks that was a few feet high at least that you have to climb around and if it went it would fall onto the lower pitches of the regular. If this thing has fallen off or was trundled it would be a lot safer.

The crux pitch is truly spectacular. i remember throwing some heels hooks on the arete while looking over the the whole NW face. pretty sweet! It deserves to see some traffic!

And ya bob I'm a lurker still. just don't chime in unless I've actually got something useful to add.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=35592&tn=0&mr=0

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/thread.php?topic_id=382460

Really good pic of the general shoulder area/line: http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1947939/Are-these-Half-Dome-routes

Credit: Mungeclimber @ Supertopo

Credit: Jiggler @ Supertopo

Start of p1 and profile from subdome:

Credit: RP3 @ Supertopo

Dave jr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0

Last i heard the block was still there, but that was years ago


~Dave JR

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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