Type: Trad, 1300 ft, 11 pitches, Grade V
FA: May 1962- Robbins, Frost FFA: Oct. 1996- Kevin Thaw, Adam Wainwright
Page Views: 1,496 total · 44/month
Shared By: Shelton Hatfield on Jul 2, 2016
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Access Issue: Yosemite National Park climbing closures and conditions Details

The Climb

An adventurous and scruffy line up one of the coolest rocks around. The Direct N. Face is a perfect route for the been-there done-that Valley regular. Not quite as well traveled as some other Sentinel offerings, expect this one to be a tad rough around the edges. Most of the climbing is exposed and the position memorable.

Most belay anchors consist of two newish large buttonheads. Some have just a single newish large buttonhead and old 1/4" mank, but can be backed up with gear. There are two belays without any bolts. One being the slung block belay before pitch 9, and the other being the gear belay on the summit.

P1. (5.11-) After locating the useless belay-mank bolt that marks the start, head up the jagged twin hand cracks above, traversing right at their end into another crack system, heading up and aiming for a small roof. Pull the roof with jams and follow cracks to a bolted belay.

P2. (5.11) Follow cracks, jamming and laybacking your way up, eventually pulling yourself onto a small sloping ledge with a belay anchor.

P3. (5.12-) Head up and left from the belay past a pin, following the thin crack to its end, at which point you blast upward through slopey blobs and into a hand crack. Above, climb a shallow and overhanging wide crack to the top of a pillar and the next anchor.

P4. (5.11+) Climb up from the belay, into the obvious corner feature, eventually busting up and left into a steep layback. Cracks lead you to a decent ledge and the next anchor.

P5. (5.12-) Bust moves straight right from the belay, traversing until a "good" piton in a flake is reached. From here, the climber has two options, either climbing down and right, or up and right, both leading to the same crack which is climbed up to a good stance. Climb into and up the obvious right facing corner until things look bleak. Spot jugs to the left and use them to leave the corner, traversing left around the arete and onto the face. Slopey scoops lead up to the next anchor.

P6. (5.12-) Move up and right into a scoop from the belay, pulling out of the scoop and following cracks up. The crack pinches down about halfway up the pitch, providing what may likely be the hardest sequence on the route. More crack climbing leads to the the next anchor, just below massive roofs.

P7. (5.11+) Climb up a widening thin crack from the belay, until an obvious traverse right to pitons is dispatched. Then execute a less obvious traverse further right, eventually stemming out to the wall to your right. Use holds to pull onto the massive arete, heading up and right into a fun juggy lieback up a massive flake that takes you to a large ledge and the next bolted anchor.

P8. (5.6) A short pitch. Traverse right along the large ledge, crossing a pillar, belaying off a large block near the end of the ledge. I believe this pitch would link easily with the one before it, using a 60m rope.

P9. (5.10+) This pitch is a bit of a sleeper. On a route packed with many harder pitches, it would be easy to assume this pitch to be casual by comparison. I advise you to take this pitch seriously. Word on the street is that this pitch was altered in 2012 by a large rockfall. Step right from the belay, around the arete, and into the large right facing corner. Follow the corner a long ways to its end, reaching a plush ledge on the left with a tree and the anchor.

P10. (5.11+) Flared jams off the belay lead to more crack climbing, eventually passing some harder flared finger jams. Cracks lead up to a ledge and the last bolted anchor.

P11. (5.9) Climb straight up a large, wide, left facing flake. At its top, follow a ramp up and right, eventually heading up blocky ledges to the summit. Build a gear anchor on top.

Descend via the standard descent, off the back (south) side, and around the left (east) side of the formation. Watch out for loose rock and consider staying close to your partner. Far more detailed descent beta can be found on the Steck-Salathe page.

The Location

This route is located on the north face of Sentinel Rock, to the left of the Chouinard-Herbert. Scramble further along ramps, up and left past the CH start. Look for a HUGE steep scoop of rock (~400ft tall) capped by roofs. The Direct N. Face goes up the left side of this scoop feature. The route starts at a rusty belay bolt located near eye level, below splitter twin hand cracks.

The Gear

Doubles from #00 cam to #3 C4, one #4 C4, offset nuts

A second line of some kind would be useful for retreat.

Consider bringing a knife, tat, and leaver 'biners, because the current (as of June 2016) tat situation is pretty gross.