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The Nose - Sustained climbing or isolated cruxes?

Original Post
Ian Miller · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2018 · Points: 0

I've been scouring the internet for detailed beta for The Nose. Most topos show only a line for the route with a single grade for each pitch. The Supertopo shows the most detail, with maybe 2 or 3 difference grades for each pitch and brief description like "10c fingers", but no indication if that's a 4' crux of 10b fingers or a 60' stretch of it. I'm wanting to know, since if for example the Pancake Flake pitch is sustained 10a, depending how tired I am by hopefully late on day 2 when I get there, I might be best off aiding the whole pitch, but if it's mostly 5.8 with a few 4' sections of 10a I would definitely plan to just free climb it and French free the cruxes to save energy. I know it's more detail than some people will want, and more than I "need", but I'm the type that would like to plan things as much as I can if it means moving more efficiently for a better chance of success. Anybody know where I can find this level of detailed beta?

ikmortu · · People's Republic of Chicago · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 5

I have no personal experience, but there was a recent episode of the Sharp End podcast that talked about pancake flake in pretty good detail.

John Clark · · San Francisco · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 477

Maybe you should prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and go on an adventure.

Ross Goldberg · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 50

Just go climb the damn thing

EDIT: And have fun doing so

Sirius · · Oakland, CA · Joined Nov 2003 · Points: 616

In our planning before blast off I saw it as a given that I'd free the Pancake Flake considering the grade. I was looking forward to a romp up that pitch, and generally wondering whether I'd free the .11s or not.

This was my first time up El Cap, and though I didn't know it yet, I had so much exciting learning ahead of me.

ScoJo · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 171

For almost all of the pitches (Boot Flake being the definite exception), you should start off with your aiders bunched up on your harness and free/french free. If it gets too hard, just take out your aiders and get it done.

Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Between yesterday and today. · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 148

Given the extra work AND the generally sustained and strenuous pitches over many hours to days I'd say most solid 5.11 trad leaders are aiding the upper dihedrals on the regular despite some "only" being 5.10...

Doubly expect this if you've been hauling for 3 days.

I dont recall a single one move wonder pitch. It's all Yose crack enduro thuggery.

crag cat · · San Diego · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 16
Sirius wrote: In our planning before blast off I saw it as a given that I'd free the Pancake Flake considering the grade. I was looking forward to a romp up that pitch, and generally wondering whether I'd free the .11s or not.

This was my first time up El Cap, and though I didn't know it yet, I had so much exciting learning ahead of me.

^ +1 On any big wall expect to onsite/red point at LEAST 1 number grade below what you usually climb. i.e. if you onsite 11s, expect to onsite 10s.

If you really want all the beta you can ask people in the meadow. Reconsider needing to know every section of the climb, there are more important things to focus on to ensure success. Best to practice a mix of aid and free. NOT one or the other, you will go a lot faster that way.
Jplotz · · Wenatchee, WA · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 1,245

The Nose is the biggest sandbag on Earth.

revans90 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 50
Harumpfster Boondoggle wrote: Given the extra work AND the generally sustained and strenuous pitches over many hours to days I'd say most solid 5.11 trad leaders are aiding the upper dihedrals on the regular despite some "only" being 5.10...

Doubling expect this if you've been hauling for 3 days.

I dont recall a single one move wonder pitch. It's all Yose crack enduro thuggery.

Lol your extensive free climbing efforts of the regular?? What back in 19beforeiwasborn??

Edit: defiantly sustained climbing
Edit edit: c1 thuggery
Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Between yesterday and today. · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 148
revans90 wrote:

Lol your extensive free climbing efforts of the regular?? What back in 19beforeiwasborn??

Edit: defiantly sustained climbing
Edit edit: c1 thuggery

The person you would be really amazed to talk to is my friend and sometimes partner Bill Price. He and his partner did The Nose when they were 14 and 15...in 1974. They still hold the combined team age record afaik.

Only pins, stoppers and hexes of course. At age 14.

Think about that.
Marc H · · Longmont, CO · Joined May 2007 · Points: 255
Harumpfster Boondoggle wrote:


Only pins, stoppers and hexes of course. At age 14.

Think about that.

I can’t believe someone would slam iron into The Nose. That’s terrible!

Harumpfster Boondoggle · · Between yesterday and today. · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 148
Marc H wrote: 

I can’t believe someone would slam iron into The Nose. That’s terrible!

Every free route up el cap depends on pin scars.

You can thank us old dads if you ever do one. ;p
revans90 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2013 · Points: 50
Harumpfster Boondoggle wrote:

The person you would be really amazed to talk to is my friend and sometimes partner Bill Price. He and his partner did The Nose when they were 14 and 15...in 1974. They still hold the combined team age record afaik.

Only pins, stoppers and hexes of course. At age 14.

Think about that.

Bills one nice guy! Inspiring!

The kor, roper ascent in 3 days is also amazing with the gear had. 
kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 581
Marc H wrote:

I can’t believe someone would slam iron into The Nose. That’s terrible!

Exactly! Why didn't they use cams that didn't exist!?! Or at least ballnuts that didn't exist, or offsets that didn't exist!?! I bet they didn't even use sticky rubber shoes that had not been invented yet either. Idiots. Such a horrible misuse of our precious natural resources! I hope they hang their head in shame and make sure they put an asterisk next to their ascent tick on MP. 

John Clark · · San Francisco · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 477
kevin deweese wrote:

Exactly! Why didn't they use cams that didn't exist!?! Or at least ballnuts that didn't exist, or offsets that didn't exist!?! I bet they didn't even use sticky rubber shoes that had not been invented yet either. Idiots. Such a horrible misuse of our precious natural resources! I hope they hang their head in shame and make sure they put an asterisk next to their ascent tick on MP. 

Exactly, better to go slam iron into lesser known routes like Free Jericho or something less historically valuable 

Ross Goldberg · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 50
John Clark wrote:

Exactly, better to go slam iron into lesser known routes like Free Jericho or something less historically valuable 

And with that, the real fun on this thread begins

Adam Stackhouse · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2001 · Points: 13,375
Ross Goldberg wrote: Just go climb the damn thing

EDIT: And have fun doing so

I beg to differ.  If one is asking whether it is 100' of 5.10 or 10' of 5.10 one should definitely stay off the big wall.

Ryan Arnold · · SLC · Joined Jun 2012 · Points: 596

Yo Ian.  Both my partner and I climbed 5.11 trad regularly when we went after the Nose.  I found I could free all my 5.9 leads but either hung a bit or french freed through a lot of 5.10 and 5.11.  The important thing is being efficient, and knowing how to switch from free to French free to aid, whatever will get you through. But to answer your original question, the first 4 pitches have several shorter cruxes, whereas the Stovelegs and the upper 5.10 dihedrals are more sustained, with 50-100 foot stretches of pumpy climbing.

Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 420
Adam Stackhouse wrote:

I beg to differ.  If one is asking whether it is 100' of 5.10 or 10' of 5.10 one should definitely stay off the big wall.

I completely agree. 

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 581
John Clark wrote:

Exactly, better to go slam iron into lesser known routes like Free Jericho or something less historically valuable 

Ignoring the fact that your response effectively has no relation to the post you quoted... who, pray tell, has done that kind sir?

A in the future, those doing aid on Jericho would follow the Horns start which is not part of the free climb, next up would be pitch 2 and 3 on the new topo of which Free Jericho follows a variation to bypass except for the section where they meet which is C2, after that there's the end of pitch 7 where beaks are required (oh nooooo!)... wait, the free route follows a variation around that section as well! Finally, the last section of pitch 9 is beaks again(the horror!) oh wait, those are hand-placed beaks for any competent aid climber (such as the party that did the second ascent of the wall)

Everything else is clean aid soooooooooooo what's your beef with aid climbers messing up the free VARIATION of the original route.
Maybe that the route was put up with iron to begin with?
You're welcome.

Maybe it's something where free climbers are miffed because their free route avoided all of the nailing cruxes of the original aid route?
Sorry can't help you with that.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Big Wall and Aid Climbing
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