Type: Trad, Aid, 1000 ft, 8 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Layton Kor (of Gold Wall). FA of Silent Line: Werner Braun and Rick Cashner. FFA of Silent Line: Dean Potter.
Page Views: 8,336 total · 80/month
Shared By: Scott Bennett on May 20, 2010
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

31 Opinions

Your To-Do List:

Add To-Do · View List

Your Star Rating:

     Clear Rating

Your Difficulty Rating:

-none- Change

Your Ticks:

Add New Tick
Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


The Silent Line is the free version of the Gold Wall. It has been freed in its entirety by Dean Potter at 5.13a, but since 99% of folks (myself included) will aid the crux, I've posted it here as 5.10 C1.

Once you've arrived at the base of the wall (see area description), look for a flake system with a slung horn about 25' up. Up and left of the slung horn, you'll see a line of bolts leading to a splitter crack system. This is the route. There is another partially bolted route in the vicinity, about 100' right of Gold Wall/Silent Line. This follows a splitter crack to a bolted arete to bolted anchor. I haven't done this pitch, but include it here as a reference point.

P1: Climb up flakes, past the slung horn/hole, and then traverse left to the bolt line. Climb the bolt ladder directly (A0), and then make some thin aid or free moves (5.11 or C1). I believe the free line clips the first bolt and then traverses right on some cool looking knobs. Looks difficult and bold. Either way, end at a 2 bolt anchor, 90'.

P2: A burly pitch, definitely the crux of the route if you're climbing at 5.10 C1. Difficult moves up a flaring crack with pins scars greet you just off the belay (5.11 or C1), and then an unrelenting flared groove provides insecure free climbing or awkward aid. Big cams (#4 camalots) might be nice if aiding. Ends at 2 bolts, 120'.
P1 and 2 Link with a 70m rope, and it's probably a good idea if you want to free the 5.11 at the start of the pitch, other wise you'd be whipping onto you're belayer.

P3. Climb straight up, pass right around a chockstone with a tree at the top, and continue up a flaring fist crack. Keep an eye out left, because you're going to leave the main crack system here and traverse left on face holds to a small RF corner. The 2 bolt anchor for "Gold Wall" will be above you, and the 2 bolt anchor for Silent Line is visible to the left. Make the fun traverse left (5.10), and gain the flared crack, following it to the anchor. 90'

P4: The Money Pitch! More tricky groove climbing above the anchor gives way to a beautiful splitter, starting as fingers, passing a large tree (optional belay) and widening to fists. Its mostly glorious hands, though, so enjoy it! 200', 5.10.

P5: Another wild and enjoyable pitch! Go up a flared hand crack and enter the maw above, a huge triangular chimney leading into the massive roof. Enter the dark recesses of the chimney, and when all appears to be lost, an exit appears! Slither out a slot, and pull up into a hand crack. Revel in the exposure, be amazed at how somehow you're rope doesn't get stuck (backcleaning gear in the final handcrack is advised), and enjoys this totally unique pitch! 2 bolt anchor, 90', 5.9.

P6: Up flaring hands, fists, OW and chimneys. Very fun, although you might be getting tired of handcracks. 2 Bolts, 90', 5.10.

P7: More of the same, 5.9, 110', to a small ledge with a tree and a fixed stopper anchor. P6 and 7 link with a 70m cord.

P8: Traverse left off up a groove, past some big flakes, and into a huge flake/chimney system. At the top of the chimney, the angles lessens as you scramble up easier grooves. When you get to the ledge with trees, traverse right to a slung tree anchors, and enjoy the spectacular view of Ribbon Falls. Even though you could hear it the whole time, and occasionally felt some spray in the air, the falls have been hidden for the entire route until now!

This is where we stopped, and I think most people will as well, especially if they plan to rap the route. If you want to continue, it looks like dirty, low-angle climbing.

Descent: We rapped the route. Supertopo mentions that there is another descent option if you want to top out, involving walking west and rapping a gully. Sorry I don't have more info.
To rap the route, you'll need 2 ropes, or a 70m and some shenanigans for the top rap.

First the beta for 2 ropes:
Rap from the tree atop P8, straight down to the fixed stopper anchor atop P7, 140'. Continue down the route, entirely on nice new ASCA bolted anchors. Passing the huge roof, you'll use 2 stations on Gold Wall, since Silent Line is too far left.

Beta for a single 70m rope: From P7 down, you're fine with a 70m, although be careful on P2, we had a skinny, stretchy rope and barely made it. If you rapped from P7, you wouldn't be missing too much climbing-wise, just a 5.9 chimney, but you would be missing the awesome view of Ribbon Falls. It is possible to rap from P8 with a 70m if you traverse hard left, back into the chimneys you just climbed, and get to a slung chockstone. One rap from here gets you back to the fixed stopped anchor atop P7.


You're rack depends on how much you plan on aiding. A party comfortably climbing Yosemite 5.11 can get by with a single rack to #3 Camalot, with doubles #0.4 to #2.
If you plan to aid the 5.11 and some 5.10, bring extra small gear (hybrid aliens useful), extra #2-3 Camalots, and a #4 Camalot.
Bring a full set of wires including RPs, again offsets are useful.
Scott Bennett
  5.10 C1
Scott Bennett  
  5.10 C1
Oakland, CA
Sirius   Oakland, CA
I lead p1 and wished I had linked to 2! The belay on top of 1 is hanging and pretty brutal; on top of 2 is a good ledge. May 25, 2010
Michael Ybarra
on the road
Michael Ybarra   on the road
Did this with the Reed topo and wondered when we got to the base why a party had fixed the first two pitches. I soon found out. 5.10, my ass. Aug 25, 2010
Bring a 70, and jugs. Link 1 & 2, then leave jugs/aiders at the p2 anchor. Pick them up when you rap. The hanging belay is a crippler! Sep 2, 2010
Luke Stefurak
Seattle, WA
Luke Stefurak   Seattle, WA
I had a 75M rope and the knots were just at the rings when rapping from P2 to the P1 anchor. I would suggest bringing two ropes and leaving the second one at the ground.

It is easy to rap from P7 to P2 with a 70m rope. At the P2 anchor fix a single 70m and it will reach the ground. Have the first person rappel and tie the second rope (which you left at the ground) onto to the rope that you just rappelled. (60m or 70m should work for the second rope)

The person at P2 can pull up the second rope and do a 2 rope rappel to the ground. Dec 12, 2012
Dustin Stephens
  5.11- C1
Dustin Stephens  
  5.11- C1
Awesome...one of the best handcracks in the Valley. Do NOT attempt to walk off!! Jul 23, 2013
erik rieger
Ridgway, CO
erik rieger   Ridgway, CO
Freeing the 5.11 start to P2 felt hard. If you can't do the move (I sure couldn't!), a quick C1/C2 placement leads to good free climbing. Might be worth mentioning this route is essentially a water groove. Oct 21, 2013
We were able to descend from top of P7 all the way to the ground on a single 70M. Knots were right at the chains on top of P1, though, so bring that second cord and leave it at the base in case your rope isn't as long. Link 1&2, and start free climbing in the vicinity of the knobs after a few aid moves above the P1 anchor. Handcracks for days! Jan 13, 2015
Vlad S
  5.11- C1
Vlad S  
  5.11- C1
I came prepared to aid only the bolt ladder, so we didn't bring jumars, thinking we could pass aiders to each other the 2nd could just quickly run up the bolts. Well, big mistake. The 2nd pitch is a vile pile and not really worth the effort. Bring jumars, folks! The rest of the route is better, but a total grovel and a bit of a sandbag. Be prepared for some suffering on most pitches and consider taping up to your elbows if you have small hands!

The traverse left on the 3rd pitch felt WAY reachy. I had to ninja stem and stretch my body completely horizontally, then cut my feet and swing wildly. Probably a 5.11- move. My wife at 5'1" had to do some 5.12 face climbing on imaginary holds to span the gap. The finger crack at the start of pitch 4 also felt closer to 11- than 10a. The rest of the pitches would be worth doing if they were in the middle of a good route, but stacked on top of one another, it just felt like one giant human-grinder that you are squeezing through.

Hold on to the ends of your ropes when you rap. It seems like lots of parties got theirs eaten by the cracks. Mar 16, 2015
Anthony H
Seattle, WA
Anthony H   Seattle, WA
If you are weak like me and are planning to aid P2, here is some gear beta: bring a single set of offset cams (black/blue to yellow/red aliens), and don't bother to bring hooks/camhooks. With offset cams it's basically C1 the whole way and it can go fast. Start free climbing once you are in the chimney at the end of P2. Nov 4, 2015
This is an awesome route. That said, it is a route characterized by deep cracks, so it favors those with big hands, or those who wear rubber crack gloves (which make your hands bigger). There is also a bit of flaring cracks on it, where you have to reach deep for the best jams - another example of how the route is easier for bigger, longer-armed, folks.

Regarding rappelling: stations were added around 2015 to facilitate one rope rapping with a 70m rope. The rap from the first anchor (the first belay, right off the ground) is 125', so folks would fix the rope and have the first person rap to the ground, and then the second would rap to a horn (more like a big piece of the mountain you can tie webbing through) 15 - 20 feet off the deck, and make an additional, short, rappel to the ground. It sounds like someone has removed the webbing from the horn, so folks are lugging up a second rope, which they leave on the ground, and then have the first person rappel the fixed rope to the ground and attach this second rope, which the second person pulls up and two-rope raps from the first anchor to the ground. That works, though it seems easier to just bring a piece of webbing to leave on the horn - apples and oranges I guess.

Really amazing climb in a stellar location. Woot!

Rockclimbyosemite.com - Yosemitebigwall.com Aug 6, 2017
Tony Lobay  
As of June 17, 2018 there was a really aggressive crow (raven?) that appears to have made a nest or is otherwise occupying an area near the tunnel through on P5. My partner got about 20 feet up P4, and watched the crow land about 8' to his side. It kept crowing at him. It was not happy. It sat there crowing for a good 20 mins while we contemplated what to do. We lowered my partner to the belay, the crow flew away. Back at the belay (getting ready to rap) we could see the crow hanging out above the block at the tunnel through pitch. There seems to have been two or maybe three crows (we were Counting Crows for a while, but couldn't say for sure).

I've been chased off a route by a peregrine once. I've never seen an aggressive crow in 28 years of climbing in the valley.

This is a great route. I'd like to come back, but not get... murdered.

Also we left a really old green alien and a shiny biner up there. If anyone goes up there and feels like it, could I get my biner back?

Update: apparently this would have been a raven, not a crow. Nevermore. Jun 20, 2018
Dom R
Bend, OR
Dom R   Bend, OR
Really physical climbing up the whole thing. I thought the chimney was friggin stout, Kor you bastard. Aside from that it has some wild pitches, the handcrack is amazing, the 5.10 traverse is super wild, I found that climbing up above the flake you need to step left to and then down stemming out of the flare over to it to be the beta. And the belly crawl out of the chimeny is pretty unique and wild as well. worth a lap. Nov 18, 2018