Type: Trad, Aid, 1000 ft (303 m), 11 pitches, Grade V
FA: FA: Warren Harding, Al MacDonald, Glen Denny (help from Les Wilson, Chris Westphal, George Whitmore) - 1961; FFA: Leo Houlding & Jim Pickles - 2001
Page Views: 45,264 total · 235/month
Shared By: Jordan Ramey on Jun 20, 2008 · Updates
Admins: Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer Ski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Description Suggest change

11 Pitches of overhanging exposure! A continuously steep and strenuous route with some of the best exposure around. The route is technically easy, but can be mentally wearing due to the nature of the climbing. From the very start there is instant exposure. An awesome wall to cut your teeth on.

Every pitch can be linked with a 60m rope and the hauling is really easy since the bag is almost always free hanging. Link pitches 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 for sure and it's much quicker. These take very little actual gear. The route goes completely clean unless any fixed heads blow.

P1: C1F 120' - STEEP! Follow the bolt ladder straight up to a short C1F bulge that requires some small gear (cams, nuts, cam hooks, to 1"). Continue up the bolt ladder to a hanging belay.

P2: C1 80' - STEEP! Continue up the bolt ladder with a few 0.4-1" placements to an OK/poor stance belay.

P3: C2F 5.7 80' - Follow the crack past a few random bolts to a great small ledge belay. Mandatory free move to get onto the ledge itself or a hook move or two. Not to bad, just awkward.

P4: C1 5.6 80' - Continue following the crack up off the right side of the ledge and finish up on a bolt ladder that curves left to a mandatory 5.6 free finish onto Guano Ledge. If bivying on Ahwahnee Ledge, move over there and haul from those anchors. If continuing straight up, haul from Guano Ledge. Ahwahnee is a great ledge that slopes into the wall slightly with several good bolts along it for fixing a line. PLUSH

P5: C2 100' - From the Guano Ledge anchor make a free move up to clip a high pendulum bolt. Swing right around a corner to aid up a C2 crack. Follow that up to a right leaning small ramp that joins a vertical C1 crack. Follow that straight up to the belay. Don't haul here!

P6: 5.7 C1 - Mandatory 5.7 moves off the belay for 20-30' no pro. Not hard, but can be scary in aid boots. Can't bypass with cheat stick unless you've got an extended "Lovetron" (ha!). Follow the bolts as they curve left to a hanging belay. No cams needed on this pitch. Do a single haul from Ahwahnee or Guano Ledge.

P7: 5.10 or C1 140' - Longest pitch on the route. Straight up the crack off the belay. Gotta back clean a lot or you'll never make it. Only 1 bolt on the pitch and it's sorta shady. Finish on the slab at a poor stance belay.

P8: C1 50' - Follow the crack up to the slab to the roof and follow up to the nice anchor. Easy and short

P9: C1+F 90' - STEEP and strenuous. IMHO the best / most fun pitch of the wall. Follow the fixed gear straight up a crack and up the roof. Finish on some mandatory 5.6 after clipping some semi hidden pins to get into easy terrain. Finishes on long sloping poor bivy ledge.

P10: C2 80' - Break out the 4.5" (#4 and/or 5 camalot) and be ready to backclean it. This pitch takes all size gear from micro to huge. Finish on a horizontal roof traverse and keep your rope extended so it doesn't wedge in the roof for your second. Finishes on an awesome bivy ledge for 3+. Fix the rope well for your second. The good anchor is 30' from the roof, but there are some intermediate bolts and pins to clip so no one takes the big pendulum ride.

P11: 4th class 40' - Easy scramble up and right to the top. Wonder around and find the rap slings off the back after any Hero Shots have been snapped.

Other info:
  • The bolt ladders are NOT reachy (Harding was a short dude)
  • It is 430' from the start of the route at the dead tree to the ground (the Supertopo is incorrect and undershoots it by 30'). You'll need a minimum of a 60m + 70m rope and that will just barely make it (so I'm told)
  • Many cracks are filled with birds and nests (swifts?), hence the guano on Guano ledge.
  • If you hang out on Guano Ledge, you WILL be pooped on.
  • The birds are in their cracks at night, dawn, & dusk, which adds a degree of excitement while climbing past them. They mostly just squawk at you though. Don't smack them around!
  • The route is mostly sheltered from storms, except Ahwahnee Ledge.
  • Rapping the route is not that hard, but requires some down aiding and swinging (mostly the first 2 pitches)
  • This is a VERY popular wall, so expect other people.
  • The route goes mostly free at 5.13b (gotta aid the first 2 pitches) - Freed by Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles in 2001
  • Most "mandatory free" sections can be skipped with hook moves, but those would be substantially harder than freeing 5.7
  • portaledges are generally unnecessary

Here is an old Fish Products topo and info (by Russ Walling):

Location Suggest change

The West Face starts right at the dead tree and the super obvious bolt ladder just after the 4th class on the catwalk. Just follow the bolts, heads, fixed mank, and such all the way to the summit, heading right off of Guano Ledge.

Protection Suggest change

This route has TONS of fixed gear on it, so free biners really speed things up.

Standard big wall rack:
Cams: 2-3 each 0.5"-1"
2 each 1.25"-2.5"
1 each 3-4.5"
nuts: 2 each (offsets helpful)
Micro Nuts: 1 each of the 3 biggest sizes (not mandatory, but helpful)
Hooks: 1 cliffhanger or grappling (talon works, but not ideal)
Cam Hooks
3 Heads: 1 each #2-4 in case fixed ones blow (or a cheat stick)

Lots of free biners for linking pitches and clipping fixed gear