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Westie Face 

YDS: 5.13- French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E7 6c R

Type:  Trad, 8 pitches, 1000', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.13- French: 7c+ Ewbanks: 29 UIAA: IX+ ZA: 29 British: E7 6c R [details]
FA: Leo Houlding, Jason Pickles
Page Views: 468
Submitted By: Max Tepfer on May 15, 2017

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The final crux on Pitch 5.

Closures for Peregrine Falcon Protection MORE INFO >>>


The Westie Face is one of the best mostly-free routes anywhere. The movement is stellar, the protection just reasonable enough, the rock immaculate, and the position is simply brilliant. Additionally the fact that it's relatively short and low commitment makes it easier to work than many of the other routes in the area. That being said it's quite sustained and only has one pitch that isn't 5.12 or harder. Lastly, many of the pitches are a little heady to climb. This can be more or less true depending on the condition of the fixed gear.

See the aid route description for approach and traditional descent beta.

Pitch 1: 5.10 A0, 200' This is basically a bolt ladder with either a single hook move or a mandatory 5.10 pull to get to a crack that you can slot a red or yellow C3 in. If you're projecting the route it's nice to fix this pitch to facilitate more efficient ingress and egress. All in all kind of a chore.

Pitch 2: 5.12, 45' Some simple liebacking to start with feels like an inadequate warm up for the crux that hits early on in the pitch. Engaging stemming and palming lead to good holds and some easier moves up the corner. Take what rest you get and save some gas for a final punchy move before scrambling to the belay.

Pitch 3: 5.13-, 60' After some engaging stemming off the belay, (there was a fixed beak here when I did it) sprint up a section of liebacking to a stance below a small overlap. Fire off a punchy crux on good face holds and follow aging bolts to an excellent rest. Continue up the bolt ladder via more edging and face climbing until you end up on a slab with a final boulder problem guarding the exit to Guano Ledge. The boulder problem is thin and technical.

Pitch 4: 5.12-, 60' From the belay climb down and right by down-mantling a large jug rail. (not the chalked sloper to the right) Traverse right passing a fixed pin followed by some good gear. Execute a final hard move right onto positive holds and mantle up onto a rail via a lieback crack. Don't fall mantling as you'd wing back into the slab to your left. Place a good piece and then do a final airy edging move to gain the right-slanting rail and good gear. Savor the wild position as you sprint up and right on jugs, slopers, and heel hooks. There are a lot of fixed pins of varying quality here that can be supplemented with thin cams. Punch it through a final crux and mantle into a short vertical flare that takes you to the belay.

Pitch 5, 5.12- R, 40' Runout easy climbing on smooth rock allows you to gain the bolt ladder. Clip the first or second bolt and then downclimb left to execute a hard rock-over move on a good left foot. Follow this up more easy face climbing until you can clip one more bolt and gain a very thin, hollow flake up and left. I've always hand traversed the flake (which feels a little scary) but my partner traversed underneath it without too much difficulty. Regardless, you end up at a slightly less hollow flake ~10' below the belay. This is the mental crux. Build a nest of small cams in the flake and seam above and punch it up decent edges to the chains. Apparently the nest has held at least one whipper from the chains. This belay is fully hanging and kind of sucks.

It's easy to climb the bolt ladder to suss out moves and/or extend a bolt with a few runners so that you can clip it and eliminate the head crux. That being said, there is decent small gear and the moves are relatively easy and secure if you're strong enough to send the route.

Pitch 6, 5.11, 140' A long and awesome pitch and the only one on the route that feels like proper Yosemite crack climbing. Carefully pull around some wedged blocks to gain the corner crack above and enjoy varied crack climbing and engaging movement for the length of the pitch. This thing eats up medium stoppers.

Pitch 7, 5.12, 130' Start up some easy flare climbing on a slab until you can hand traverse up and right to an optional belay. (terrible stance) Above here I've climbed two different ways to get to the slab below the roof above: Option one is to climb straight up from the bolted anchor via a flake wedged in a flare and some sideways jugs. This has a hard move at the very end of the sequence to the slab and the protection is poor. It's also the thuggier of the two paths. Option two is traverse further right clipping fixed pins and finessing past a couple small edges on the slab. This is certainly easier to dog and depending on the quality of the pins is better protected. Once on the slab, get back what you can, clip a high bolt and power into and out of the huge roof above. Wild climbing on good, albeit pumpy holds will take you to the belay on an awesome ledge above.

Pitch 8, 5.12-, 100' The last pitch. Climb up on good holds in the corner past a cool beak jug out and right. Scramble back into the main corner and sprint up decent lie backing to a hand crack flare. The corner takes stoppers well. Crank up the flare on good hand jams and do one last tenuous move to get established at a good stance below the final roof. Dance out left under the roof until you can step onto Dano Ledge and collapse in a heap. Easy scrambling from here takes you to the wild summit ridge.

I've always rapped the route. It's advanced rappelling and if you need specific beta to figure it out, you should probably just walk down the traditional gully descent, but the whole thing can be rapped with an 80. It helps to fix pitch 7 with your tag line and if there's a fixed rope on pitch 1. The top half wasn't equipped for rappelling so we ended up having to leave slings and carabiners at the top of pitches 6, 7, and 8.


Double rack from green C3-#1 C4, single purple C3, #2 and #3 C4, 14 draws/slings, and tiny to medium stoppers.

Photos of Westie Face Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 2.
Pitch 2.
Rock Climbing Photo: Pitch 5.
Pitch 5.

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