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Silent Line, The T 

The Silent Line 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b C1

Type:  Trad, Aid, 8 pitches, 1000', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b C1 [details]
FA: Layton Kor (of Gold Wall). FA of Silent Line: Werner Braun and Rick Cashner. FFA of Silent Line: Dean Potter.
Page Views: 6,633
Submitted By: Scott Bennett on May 20, 2010

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Vitaliy cruises the SPLITTER hands of P4 on Silent...

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


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.

Photos of The Silent Line Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Taken on lead.
Taken on lead.
Rock Climbing Photo: burly
Rock Climbing Photo: A decent view of El Cap from high on the Gold Wall...
A decent view of El Cap from high on the Gold Wall...
Rock Climbing Photo: Vitaliy leading up into the maw. An amazing chimne...
Vitaliy leading up into the maw. An amazing chimne...
Rock Climbing Photo: Silent line Richard Shore following P2
Silent line Richard Shore following P2
Rock Climbing Photo: Julian Poush on the 3rd pitch traverse
Julian Poush on the 3rd pitch traverse
Rock Climbing Photo: Gold Wall in red. The Silent Line splits off to th...
BETA PHOTO: Gold Wall in red. The Silent Line splits off to th...

Comments on The Silent Line Add Comment
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By Scott Bennett
May 20, 2010

Excellent TR with photos here:
By Sirius
From: Oakland, CA
May 25, 2010

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.
By Michael Ybarra
From: on the road
Aug 25, 2010

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.
By Rob Dillon
Sep 2, 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!
By Luke Stefurak
From: Seattle, WA
Dec 12, 2012

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.
By Dustin Stephens
Jul 23, 2013
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c C1 of the best handcracks in the Valley. Do NOT attempt to walk off!!
By erik rieger
From: Ridgway, CO
Oct 21, 2013

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.
By Richard Shore
Jan 13, 2015

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!
By Vlad S
Mar 16, 2015
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c 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.
By anthony.
From: Mountain View, CA
Nov 4, 2015

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.

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