REI Community
Half Dome
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Autobahn T 
Blondike T 
Deuceldike T 
Eye in the Sky T 
Growing Up T 
Regular Northwest Face of Half Dome T 
Snake Dike T 
Southwest Face, The T 
Two Hoofers T 

The Southwest Face 

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

Type:  Trad, 7 pitches, 800', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: John Salathé & Anton Nelson, 1946
Page Views: 20,852
Submitted By: Doug Hemken on Jun 19, 2008

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (4)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Stephen Schmid & Andy Davis tearing down the third...

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


The first modern climbing route on Half Dome, and the first grade V in Yosemite.

Freed in about 1964 by Sacherer, Kamps, and Lichtman, this climb was popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but fell out of favor with the rise of clean climbing. With recent advances in clean gear, the protection is again reasonable (G to PG) with the exception of the belay stations.

The topo and photo in Reid are excellent.


About 400 feet to the left of "Snake Dike", and just left of "Blondike."


Standard rack to 4", plus extra micro nuts and micro cams.

Photos of The Southwest Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Andy with a grin.  (2004)
Andy with a grin. (2004)
Rock Climbing Photo: The lower pitches of the Southwest Face route.
BETA PHOTO: The lower pitches of the Southwest Face route.

Comments on The Southwest Face Add Comment
Show which comments
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 20, 2008

Thanks for adding this, Doug! A friend of mine has an epic story of climbing this with a beginner. Something about marginal anchors and lots of hanging on the rope.

"the protection is ... reasonable ... with the exception of the belay stations."

This doesn't sound too good ... is there any way to split up the piches so the anchors are better?
By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Jan 24, 2009

Any possibility of putting in some good belay anchors for this sucker? It would be a fantastic historical climb.
By Doug Hemken
From: Madison, WI
Jan 26, 2009

It would take two bolts, one at the belay on top of p2, the other at the belay at the top of p4 (and link p3 & p4). You would need to pull the bolts that are already there.

I've been thinking about the question of alternate belays, because it would be cool to have a totally clean route on Half Dome. If you stopped p2 before the traverse out of the dihedral, you could possibly build a hanging belay from good gear. And if you then climbed to the foot of the crux (partway through p4), there would be a ton of gear there. Might be worth the somewhat cramped stances to have the route go completely on clean gear ... never heard of anyone doing it that way!

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About