Type: Trad, 500 ft, 5 pitches
FA: FA: Tom Frost, Bill Feuerer (1959) --- FFA:Pat Ament (1971)
Page Views: 1,370 total · 16/month
Shared By: Bryan G on Dec 23, 2011
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details


This is a fun route which used to be a lot more popular until a major rockfall scared everyone off. Unlike the East Chimney route, the West Face is more directly under the fall zone. There's no flattened hangers, rock scars on the wall, damaged trees, or any other signs really of rock hitting the route. So I think most of the rockfall maybe impacted the slabs higher up Middle Brother and deflected out away from the wall. Due to the lack of traffic in the past 20 years, nature has begun to reclaim this one. Expect to climb through some brush filled cracks, although overall I'd say it's cleaner than the East Chimney route.

The route begins to the right of a small pillar just below the big arching right-facing corner. The climb follows cracks across the face, turning the right side of the roof at the top of the corner, and then enters the big left-facing dihedral that leads to the summit of Rixon's.

Pitch 1: Start with steep hand/fist jams in a corner and then move right to fingers up a flake. This thin flake felt pretty tough for 5.9, first thing in the morning with cold fingers. Above move right on slabs to an old bolted anchor (best backed up by a cam).

Pitch 2: The crux pitch. Climb up the left side of a flake to a high piton. Clip it and then downclimb a few feet and traverse right across the face. This involves a wild stem which Don Reid calls 10c. In truth, this move could be anywhere from 5.9 to 5.12, depending on your height. I'm about 5'8" and 5.10+ felt about right for me, though it's difficult to grade such a thing. After this you cruise up easy cracks to another bolted anchor.

Pitch 3: This one was my favorite on the climb. Climb up some flared cracks until your up under the roof. The traverse under the roof is easier than it looks and it's pretty fun and exposed. Belay at another bolted anchor at a small stance after the traverse.

Pitch 4: Up the steep but feature corner to more jam-cracks. Belay at the tree on a ledge. We linked this pitch with the final one.

Pitch 5: A overhaning and somewhat awkward handcrack in the corner leads up to a final grunt up a chimney/off-width.

To descend, make 3 rappels back down the west face with two ropes. From the top of pitch of 5 we rapped to the top of pitch 3 and then straight down to an anchor consisting of 5 old bolts, 2 pitons and a whole mess of webbing.


Doubles to 2" and one 3" piece.


Christina Freschl
Berkeley, California
Christina Freschl   Berkeley, California
If you are looking at the Reid guide for more information, be careful if rappelling down the right side of the pinnacle. You will need two 70m ropes to get down. The two rap stations are brand new. Beware of the second rap. I advise bringing your rope down with you, because there is a rope eating crack on the face below. If you look into the crack, there are at least 5 cut lines in there.

It might be a good idea to rap the route. Nov 12, 2014
MisterCattell Cattell
South Lake Tahoe, Ca
MisterCattell Cattell   South Lake Tahoe, Ca
Did this route last week with a Camp 4 buddy. Awesome climb! I lucked out by getting all the good pitches (1, 3 and 5). I was definitely caught off-guard by the squeeze chimney on top of Pitch 5, but struggled through it and basked in the glory of the top of the Pinnacle. We decided it would be more efficient to rap the route (we were the only ones there). All anchors have been replaced and are stamped with a comforting ASCA stamp. Very well protected, very fun. No evidence of large rockfall on this route, either. Do it. Nov 16, 2014
Ryan K.
Ryan K.  
Great climb. Most of the pitches, while short, were full value for their grade. The 10.a hands last pitch was particularly stout. Save energy for it. Mar 21, 2015
Boulder, CO
Renaud   Boulder, CO
Just a word of warning about rock fall on this route:
My friends and I were racking up at the base of this route, last Sunday (May 3rd 2015) when a football sized rock detached from underneath the huge arching roof, smashed down onto the wall right around the 2nd anchors and exploded into smaller pieces that came raining down on us near the base.
My friends managed to run away from the wall in time while I hid into the wide crack right where the route starts. A couple of smaller pieces of rock, a few inches across, landed about 3 ft away from where I was standing.
Needless to say, we packed up our stuff and left pretty quickly.

I don't know if this was just unlucky timing or if rock falls are very frequent on this wall (although, judging by the amount of "fresh" looking rock on the ground I would be inclined to think the latter may be true).

In any case, I just thought I'd let other climbers know about this. Had we been standing at the 2nd anchors when that rock fell, we would almost surely had been hit pretty badly. May 4, 2015
Jake Ramsey
Yosemite, CA
Jake Ramsey   Yosemite, CA
Holy hell this thing was sandy in early April. Mostly everything was dry with just a little bit of seepage. You can rap the whole route with a 80m rope. Rap from the top of the pinnacle down to the top of 2nd pitch anchors. From here you can do two more rappels down the direct route. Apr 16, 2018
John RB
Superior, CO
John RB   Superior, CO
I climbed this route in 1990 with Eric Doub (the same guy who authored the Doub-Griffith). I was a beginner and struggled up the first pitch, only to marvel at Eric's maneuver on the 2nd: a near-full-splits stem, then reaching across to grab the crack near his far foot. I guess it's 10c?! I remember thinking "I'll never be able to climb something that hard." And in fact, I fell on the move and swung across.

I remember the last pitch being pretty hard, but really good. I was sad to hear a few years later that rockfall had closed the route and that no one would be doing it any more, in all likelihood. May 28, 2018