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First wall recommendations for already competent aid climbers?

Original Post
Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 210

So me and buddy have September 1-8 to do a trip. We want to do walls. We are pretty competent aid climbers from our desert tower adventures (A/C3 or so), but have never hauled or spent the night on a wall. We have all the equipment to do so however. We were thinking Zion because its closer to us, but it could very well be too hot to be successful there. Does anyone have any recommendations for walls in the Valley (or elsewhere?) that 1) Will not be to hot to climb 2) Not be incredibly crowded (maybe a trickier route?) and 3) Be somewhat friendly to a party learning to implement the logistics of vertical camping?

Thanks!

Allen Sanderson · · On the road to perdition · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,188

If you head to Yosemite the SW Face, Prow, or Skull Queen on Washington Column is SOP for learning walls - though a competent party tend to do it in a day. Definitely do it mid week as it can be busy.  The NW Face of Half Dome is another std route. 

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

Washington Column's right faces (nothing that goes through dinner ledge) will not be too hot (gets shade in the after noon)
- prow (clean) 
- ten days after (mostly clean)
- afroman (highly recommended)

Standard climbs:
El Cap (hoooooot down low but cooler as you get higher abd the wind blows, I'm in the valley every weekend and the walls are empty)
- Zodiac (duh) (clean)
- south seas to po wall (avoids the hot darker rock of North America wall) 

Off the beaten track cooler climbs: (full disclosure all of these are my routes so I'm biased)
Jericho Wall
Epidemia de Opiáceos 
Spaghetti Western
Blood and coin (shaded in the morning, but hot in the afternoon, brutal approach)

J F · · The Mountains · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0

Do an overnight on the Prow. South Seas as a first wall is a horrible recommendation haha 

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 581
J F wrote: Do an overnight on the Prow. South Seas as a first wall is a horrible recommendation haha 

It wouldn't be his first wall. 

They've got A3/C3 aid under their belt on desert towers which is going to make Yosemite walls feel like a cakewalk. 

The crux for this team is not going to be the difficulty of aid, it's going to be the systems for moving gear up the wall. 

With over a week on their schedule,  figuring out those systems on the wall is not going to be that hard (as anyone competent in desert tower aid climbing is also going to be proficient in researching technique and system ahead of time. Hauling ain't hard to understand and the cluster of Bigwalls is irritating, but each new issue makes the team faster overall.

#readingcomprehensionisimportant


Tbh, an already competent team is going to be bored on the Prow.
Perry Norris · · Truckee · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 45

I don't see a difference in having a first bivy on the prow or el cap. It's a live and learn either way.  If you're comfortable with C3 or A3, there's a big world of walls out there.

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 210

Thanks for all replies guys! I've been aiding for years, but never really thought I'd try anything in the valley until the last day, so it's awesome to actually think I could make it happen.

And yes, my main concern is hauling. We're going to practice our systems before getting on the wall (with help from Kirkpatrick's Higher Education as well as helpful posts from Marc, Skot, and you Kevin), and hopefully be prepared.

The mention of Zodiac has got me really excited. If we're going, might as well be ambitious right? I was thinking about getting on something less crowded out of courtesy for others, but that route just seems to cool to not try. We have a pretty high tolerance for suffering, so as long as its not outrageously hot we might as well give it our best shot

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

Zodiac for sure. Time to get on El Cap.

:)

Use early morning and night to your advantage to beat the heat as needed.

MacksWhineturd · · Squaw · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

Get on the Zod!  It was my first el cap route - only fifteen pitches you'll have a blast!  

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

“The crux for this team is not going to be the difficulty of aid, it's going to be the systems for moving gear up the wall.”

Damn, Kevin! My job is done here!

Glowering · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 5

I think it's a good idea to get your logistics dialed (especially traverses) on a grave V (or possibly a shorter VI like Zod). When you are dialed you climb/clean/haul faster, you need less food and water. You spend less time hauling, sitting at hanging belays, etc. and you climb more in the same amount of time. You have more time to relax at the bivy and enjoy where you're at.

Washington Column or West Face of Leaning Tower are the typical places to start. Both are beautiful. LT gets morning shade. Both have really good bivy ledges so you don't need to haul a portaledge. 

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 210
Mark Hudon wrote: “The crux for this team is not going to be the difficulty of aid, it's going to be the systems for moving gear up the wall.”

Damn, Kevin! My job is done here!

We practiced your our 2:1 system today using all the components listed in your "latest and greatest" thread (even got a wire draw from Skot). Went really well, so thanks for posting that Mark! 


I really appreciate all the feedback from this thread, sometimes MP really can be helpful. I think we've decided to go to Zion though (much less driving), and do an obscure wall that would almost surly not be recommend for a first wall where we'll be hauling, but I'll let y'all know how it goes and maybe even do a write up if we are successful.
Fat Dad · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 60

Can we please stop calling it “Zod”?  Hauling is a pain, but it’s a necessary evil.  If you’ve done multipitch and change overs competently, you can figure out hauling.  South Seas would be a stout first Captain route, aid experience notwithstanding.  Maybe the Shield would be a better bet? You could figure out your hauling on the fixed lines to Heart.  By that time, you’re pretty high off the ground and will benefit from the cooler temps. 

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 581
Mark Hudon wrote: “The crux for this team is not going to be the difficulty of aid, it's going to be the systems for moving gear up the wall.”

Damn, Kevin! My job is done here!

Well who the hell do you think I learned it from!?!

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 581
Fat Dad wrote: Can we please stop calling it “Zod”?  Hauling is a pain, but it’s a necessary evil.  If you’ve done multipitch and change overs competently, you can figure out hauling.  South Seas would be a stout first Captain route, aid experience notwithstanding.  Maybe the Shield would be a better bet? You could figure out your hauling on the fixed lines to Heart.  By that time, you’re pretty high off the ground and will benefit from the cooler temps. 

Heart ledges lines are a great idea for dialing in the haul. 


But ima keep calling it Zod (makes me think of superman villains)
Mark Hudon · · Lives on the road · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 420

Systems, baby, systems. Get them dialed and don’t stray from that path.

Although something long, the Shield or SS, would be proud as a first wall (seriously proud for SS), I wouldn’t recommend it. The greater time required increases your load and puts a greater strain on your efficiency. You’ll be hauling up the slab pitches (a lot of them!) on the Shield, going a little bit slower than expected, looking up at the Shield, and doubt will enter your mind. On Zodiac or Tangerine Trip (maybe Virginia), you can suffer some wasted time and still pull it off. 

Robert Rowsam · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2012 · Points: 210

Well we attempted to climb the Thunderbird wall in Kolob canyon in Zion. We didn't send, but we learned a ton. The major factor in retreating was water. Temps were high, and because the approach is pretty heinous we only brought a gallon per person per day, no extra. In retrospect, we should have shuttled a couple more loads. That wall is a lot of work. The hauling went well overall with a 2:1 and after a couple of pitches we had our systems pretty much worked out. Overall still a fun vertical camping trip

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Big Wall and Aid Climbing
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