Type: Trad, Aid, 2000 ft, 21 pitches, Grade VI
FA: Sean Jones
Page Views: 2,293 total · 117/month
Shared By: Ben Lepesant on Jun 13, 2017
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


There are two arches on the south face of Half Dome, Growing Up climbs the bigger one. It climbs the leftmost dihedral inside the arch, right next to the Harding route to its right. Further right is Southern Belle.


We approached from Lost Lake. We continued on the Snake Dike approach until you are a bit above the lake (maybe 5 minutes up from the stream that exits LL) and heading right towards a "forest" above the lake seems logical. Continue up and right, eventually slightly back up left to a ravine. There are cairns. Follow the cairns through the little bushy ravine up to the slabs and the base of the immense face. From here, head up and right. It's best close to the wall, but sometimes you have to veer right. From Lost Lake, this might take as long as two hours - the manzanita is thick, it is probably hot, and there are more ways to get lost than you'd think.

Two Germans, Tobias Wolf and Thomas Hering, who have repeated the route this year said they took water from the base of Southern Belle. As of early June, this had dried up. We found no other water spring or stream and had to get water from Lost Lake. An arduous operation. The Germans climbed the route over two days after fixing and rappelled the route, read about it here: kayakandclimb.blogspot.co.a…

If you know of a better approach, or any source/spring near the base, post up :-)


The rack in the book says 2 ea. from 00 TCU to 2.5" and 1 ea. 3 and 4"
I would recommend 2 00 C3, 3 ea from 0 C3 to 0.75 Camalot, 2 ea #1 and #2 Camalot and 1 ea. 3 and 4", unless you eat 5.12 corners for breakfast in which case triples are only needed to finger size.


This climb has to climb some of the best stone that there is. Its FA was done ground up until the bolt ladder, the rest was equipped from above. It is however not a sport climb, and also not "easy". Some of the dihedral pitches are stiffly graded and burly. It is accurately described by VI, 5.13a A0 (the same rating than the more sustained El Nino on El Cap has, for instance...) It has apparently been repeated at least twice, once by Wolf/Hering and at least once by Honnold. According to Katie Lambert, who has repeated the route to at least pitch 15 with Ben Ditto, it might be possible to free the A0 bits at 5.14.


Incredible route with a wonderful juxtaposition in styles. The 5.10 dike pitch up high is unreal, and the crux is reminiscent of Pyromania's finale.

Pitch 7 seeps in the spring, which makes it harder than 12a, although it wasn't prohibitively wet for free climbing.

Pitch 9 seems to have changed. There is a rock scar to the left, so perhaps a flake feature fell off? Unless we somehow missed something, this pitch had the hardest moves on the entire route, with a devious boulder problem in the 12+ or 13- range.

The route will likely go free, but require some additional bolting. Looping up to the arch and back down to avoid 4 bolts of horizontal A0 on pitch 13 looks quite reasonable, and free possibilities exist, both to the left and right, on pitch 15, but will likely be hard.

Rack: no wires, a double set from #000 C3 to #2 C4, with an optional #3 C4 and #4 C4, 12 sport draws, 6 alpine. 60 meter ropes are mandatory, and 70 meter ropes were nice for the rappels. A few cams are needed for pitch 14, but after that no pitches require any gear.

You can link pitches 1 and 2, and pitches 10 and 11 relatively easily.

We climbed and rapped the route at a casual pace in about 18 hours, after fixing the first three pitches day one.

A sitting bivy would be possible atop pitch 13, but that's the only "decent" ledge.

Rapping the route is fast and straightforward.

Spring seems like a good time to attempt the route. Cloudy days are more frequent, the giant arch shades itself until 11am-ish, the entire route is shaded at 4pm, and there is water available at the base.

The "Snake Dike approach" between Liberty Cap and Mount Broderick is the quickest. Go up the final hill to the forest bivy just northwest of Lost Lake to avoid the majority of the bushes. Do not go all the way to Snake Dike and follow the base back to the route, or traverse in from the trail up to the Cables. (The latter works, but is long!) Apr 6, 2018
Ben Lepesant
Innsbruck, AT
  5.13a A0
Ben Lepesant   Innsbruck, AT
  5.13a A0
Thanks for all the info!! Apr 12, 2018
Salamanizer suchoski
Janesville Ca.
Salamanizer suchoski   Janesville Ca.  
The first 13 pitches of this route are absolutely amazing and very well protected. If this thing didn't have such a long approach it would definitely see a lot more traffic. Apr 13, 2018