Type: Aid, 2400 ft, 28 pitches, Grade VI
FA: Robbins, Pratt, Chouinard, Frost
Page Views: 17,004 total · 139/month
Shared By: Ryan Huetter on Nov 28, 2008
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin ., Vicki Schwantes

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12 Opinions

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Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


An old school classic, the NA Wall was the first route to be climbed on the Southeast Face of El Cap, and skirts the large diorite blob resembling North America. This also means that it follows a rather wandering line up through the black diorite. There is loose rock, sketchy free climbing, and some funky aid, but all in all, this is a great line which visits some amazing places on the wall. Big Sur Ledge, Cyclops Eye, and the Igloo are all good bivies. Be prepared for many penjis and lower-outs, and have your free climbing hat on for many pitches. It's a bit heady in spots.


Southeast face of El Cap. Walk up from the Nose, past the Alcove, route starts from flat grassy area out of the trees.


2-3 baby sawed off angles for handplacing
a few peckers
hooks, bring big hook
alien offsets
cams to 5"
Extra lower out line (minimum 150ft.)
Rob Dillon  
This route's reputation for loose rock is a bit behind the times. You can find it, but the only time I felt like there was loose stuff of consequence was when we were dragging our bags across the bottom of the Cyclops' Eye with a party 1500' below. The adventuresome feel comes more from the wandering line and frequent switching between free and aid climbing amidst the vast architecture of the North America feature. And from the detritus of 40+ years of ascents- there's some funky old stuff up there! Jan 15, 2009
Russ Walling
Russ Walling   www.FishProducts.com
I've posted some vintage pics (see above) from when we (Me, Mike Lechlinski and John Yablonski) did this route.
The year had to be like 1981/2? Fairly uneventful except for the fact when Yabo joined the crew he brought no food or water and the stuff in his haul bag was just clothes and personal items with no caloric or hydration value. Needless to say we ran out of food and water fairly quickly, oh, and it was a heat wave that week as every day was well over 100 in the Valley. We thought we were gonna die.
After about 2 days of only getting a tuna can full of water twice a day, we ended up tossing all our bivy gear at about pitch 20. This jettison included ledges, extra ropes, sleeping bags, and everything else not needed to actually climb. Now was the time for a mad dash for the summit. We made it to the top that evening, even though on the summit slabs Lechlinski had to basically free solo off, completely without a belay, trailing two ropes tied together since we were off route.... and then finally lower the cords back down to me an Yabo as we waited, with exactly zero ropes or gear, on top of the Igloo Block.

Besides all that, it was fairly casual and I would recommend the route. May 18, 2010
FCA: Dougald MacDonald, Chris McNamara, 1997 Jan 21, 2012
Karsten Duncan
Sacramento, CA
Karsten Duncan   Sacramento, CA
As of 9/2012 there was not the loads of fixed gear I was expecting. The route was much more involved than what it looks like on paper. We hand placed a few sawed-offs, one tomahawk, and hammered back in one "fixed" lost arrow on the last pitch. The aid is never too difficult but there are some do-not-fall places that have less than inspiring gear. There is loose rock but it is pretty easy to avoid most of the time.

To the above rack would agree on having a #5 camalot or equivalent, 1 large hook, a bat hook, and a 100ft lower-out line for the bags. We used a long piece of 6mm cord to lower out as the 2nd on many pitches.

A classic line with many classic features and bivies. Besides a few amazing exceptions the climbing is 'meh'. Sep 11, 2012
Chris N
Loveland, Co
Chris N   Loveland, Co
Larry Bruce and I started up the route, we got up a couple of pitches and fixed them for the next day. Larry was allergic to water at that time (after taking a bath on the upper third of the Nose)and we decided that if the route had any water on it we would bail and write it off to "just fooling around". What we didn't know was Jack Roberts had sniffed us out and and was determined to go with us on El Cap the next day. That night he cornered us and cried, wheedled & invited himself in. We were up nice and early the next day and when we got there the route was just pouring water, you could tell that we weren't going to be climbing this today or in the next week. So after we rapped back to the bottom Jack started a conversation about how dry the Zodiac was and how Larry and I should drag our gear over there. This turned into a huge argument between Larry and Jack with me looking on.
Right at that moment something strange started happening, I wasn't sure what it was; it was more like I sensed something and those two guys were oblivious to it. I quickly looked around, then looked up. My first impression was that they were the size of a house and a car and they were getting louder and closer quickly. I yelled "ROCK!!!" and ran straight uphill to a little overhang. Their landing was surprisingly quiet "thump, thump". I looked around and didn't see Larry or Jack. "Holy Shit, they are under the ROCKS!!! But a few seconds later I looked far down into the woods and there was Larry & Jack peeking out from behind the trees. When they got back up to where I was at and we were talking about the size of the rocks (they were just the size of a recliner and a sofa) I started laughing and they asked me what I was laughing at and I told them "Look at the front of Jack's T shirt". There was a perfect impression of Larry's tennis shoe right in the middle of Jacks chest. And no we didn't go climb the Zodiac. Jul 18, 2015
MisterCattell Cattell
South Lake Tahoe, Ca
  5.11c C3
MisterCattell Cattell   South Lake Tahoe, Ca
  5.11c C3
Scariest pitch for me was leaving the Cyclop's Eye. Don't worry, that flake is good. Just pull down, not out. Jan 25, 2018