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losinghand's Logbook (82 ascents)

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Routes: North America: United States: California: Yosemite National Park: Yosemite Valley: Half Dome: North Face

Regular NW Face popular Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.9 A1
  Safety Rating PG13
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Second Second ascent by: losinghand on 2011-08-06 (View Climbing Log)

5 out of 5 stars First Big Wall!

Did the RNWF last weekend, my first Big Wall climb. We topped out on Saturday 8/6/11. A few thoughts and tidbits of advice:

We were a party of 3, with a haul bag. 1 had climbed the route before, and was fairly experienced on walls. 2 of us were not - both competent moderate trad climbers, and I had a solid background in rigging, hauling systems, jugging etc (I've worked as a rigger professionally).

We did the Death Slabs approach at first light on Wed, and it took us WAY longer than expected (like 6 hours). Part of this was having a friend as sherpa who wasn't a climber, and part was getting a bit lost on the slabs - but the approach was much longer and steeper than any of us expected. With heavy packs/haul bag, we found the approach pretty tiring and long. Still maybe better than hiking around - but not the easiest approach either.

Due to the long approach - we only ended up fixing the first 3 pitches (we had hoped for the first 5). 2 60m ropes did the trick. Both springs were running solid - so we pumped water for a while - about 33 liters total for the climb. We started up the fixed ropes just at sunrise - and had 2 BASE jumpers in squirrel suits surprise us overhead - pretty cool.

We were moving SLOW - largely due to hauling issues, and sorting out some rope management issues with the 3 of us. We hadn't really thought through good systems with the 3rd - so it was a mix of jugging the haul line, lowering out the bag/3rd at times, 2nd cleaning and re-clipping pieces etc. We learned some systems quick - but still only made it to Pitch 11 late for a bivy. Pitch 11 will fit 3 people, but isn't the coziest bivy ledge.

The next day, we had lots of hauling issues on the Chimneys and some traverses. Even slower moving than the day before, and we hit Pitch 16 at nightfall - getting ourselves a bit off-route. The Supertopo shows the top of pitch 16 as having a horn, with a single bolt below and right (correct belay), or a pair of bolts above and left (incorrect belay). We only saw one bolt on the left, so assumed that was the right spot. WRONG. We headed up right from, and a HUGE house-sized flake is extremely loose. The giant thing flexed under the weight of an aid move on a large (#3?) cam, and is a serious disaster waiting to happen. It spit the cam back out at us, scaring the pants of us, especially given the late hour. We eventually realized we were off route - and downclimbed to the correct belay, and made it to Big Sandy way, way, late (like 2am).

Big Sandy was a great, but short sleep, and we headed off in the am. We were moving better, but still hauling was slow and tedious. The chimney after Thank God Ledge seemed more trouble than it was worth, so we traversed further and aided around the left of the chimney. I cleaned TGL, and took a little tumble when the ledge tapers in and becomes narrower. The final pitch was trickier than 5.7 I felt - especially having to clean the traverse. On the final pendulum before heading up right on the 5.5 finish I had a cam pull - so ended up taking quite the scraper across the slab.

We topped out around 7:15pm - enough time for a bite to eat, some re-packing, and to get down the cables/steps before nightfall. A long hike back to the car, and we hit the Curry Village showers at 1am.

Booty call? We lost a Link-Cam somewhere in the middle (can't remember the pitch), our 3rd dropped a smaller BD cam at one point, and a #4 C4 should be stuck near the end of Thank God Ledge (none of them were placed by me, thank you very much!).

Great experience, I realize I probably should have trained more for it (endurance, jugging etc), and we needed to work out our rope management and systems better. But all in all, super glad I did it. And now happy to go back to some more moderate multi-pitch stuff for a while.


Added: 2011-08-12

Routes: North America: United States: California: Lake Tahoe: Lovers Leap: Lower Buttress

Surrealistic Pillar popular Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.7
  Safety Rating G
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: losinghand on 2011-07-05 (View Climbing Log)

4 out of 5 stars Nice route, good exposure

Fun climb, varied. Pitch 1 was a mix of cracks, dikes, and some flakes. Pitch 2 was more dikes and slabby - though I used the off-width crack a bit (5.8 variation). We got off route at the end, and went a little too high, and had to traverse back left on the start of Pitch 3 to regain the arete. Fun climb for sure.

Added: 2011-07-05

Routes: North America: United States: New York: Adirondack park: Keene Valley: Chapel Pond Slab

Regular Route popular Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.5
  Safety Rating PG13
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: losinghand on 2011-06-22 (View Climbing Log)

4 out of 5 stars Fun route, totally wandered

Great route, beautiful views. We had no clue where we were going - just went up and wandered. It was all fairly easy, a little runout in places - but on easy terrain. With a 60m rope we did it in 5 pitches - sort of randomly picked intermediate belays (mostly, because we were wandering). Plenty of options on this one.

Added: 2011-06-22

Routes: North America: United States: New York: Adirondack park: Keene Valley: Beer Walls

Seven Ounces Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.7
  Safety Rating G
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: losinghand on 2011-06-22 (View Climbing Log)

3 out of 5 stars Fun route

It's short, but fun. Protects well, nice crack with a few face features on either side.

Added: 2011-06-22

Routes: North America: United States: New York: Adirondack park: Keene Valley: Beer Walls

Sword Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.6
  Safety Rating G
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: losinghand on 2011-06-20 (View Climbing Log)

3 out of 5 stars Followed up after RedRum

This was a nice climb. We did RedRum for the first pitch, then traversed left into the corner for The Sword. There's a single bolt halfway up, but a few spots to protect (small to med) along the way. Fun climb

Added: 2011-06-22

Routes: North America: United States: New York: Adirondack park: Keene Valley: Beer Walls

Redrum Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.5
  Safety Rating G
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: losinghand on 2011-06-20 (View Climbing Log)

3 out of 5 stars 1st pitch fine, then move to Sword

The first pitch was quite simple and easy. We finished near the tree, then traversed left to the The Sword.

Added: 2011-06-22

Routes: North America: United States: New York: Adirondack park: Keene Valley: Beer Walls

3.2 Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.4
  Safety Rating G
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: losinghand on 2011-06-20 (View Climbing Log)

2 out of 5 stars Easy warm-up

Nice warm-up for our first route in the 'Dacks. A little wet in spots.

Added: 2011-06-22

Routes: North America: United States: California: Central California Coast: Pinnacles National Monument: Discovery Wall

The Big Pucker Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.10d
  Safety Rating G
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: losinghand on 2011-04-24 (View Climbing Log)

4 out of 5 stars Nice climb

TR'd it after Wet Kiss.

Added: 2011-04-25

Routes: North America: United States: California: Central California Coast: Pinnacles National Monument: Machete Ridge

Regular Route Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.5
  Safety Rating PG13
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: losinghand on 2011-04-24 (View Climbing Log)

4 out of 5 stars Fun adventure

This route is also known as "Old Original"

This is truly more of an “adventure” that a traditional rock climb. Not much of it is vertical, not a whole lot is 5th class, but it’s all quite fun, and very beautiful. Route-finding was definitely the challenge of the day – both on the approach, as well as throughout the route. I printed out a slew of trip reports/beta from various websites and we still stumbled around a bit to find our way. Various reports rate this 5.3-5.7 – I felt there was definitely not a move harder than 5.5. Hopefully this beta will be some of the better stuff out there – and help get you spending more time on the route, and less time trying to find it.

We did this in a team of 4 (with 2 ropes), and had 1 person tie in short on the 2nd rope. We simul-rappeled a few times to speed things up – generally the rappel stations were bomber and modern. (if simul-rapping, please be aware of the added risks and concerns). We left the parking lot at noon, and were back to the car by 6, including a fair amount of time wandering around on the approach semi-lost, casual climbing (with 2 folks who had minimal experience outdoors), and a nice lunch up on top. Pack layers – it can be alternately windy/cold/shady/hot based on where you are along the route.

<b>Gear</b>
I would highly encourage carrying two ropes (we brought 2x 60m). We passed a lot of intermediate belay stations that likely would have allowed for a single-rope raps, but 2 ropes gave us a lot more options, and sped things up. There were a few places where shorter rope might have gotten you to a decent spot, but longer ropes allowed us to get on the most secure ground possible.
Everything is bolted – so a half dozen draws should suffice – we brought a few pieces that never left the pack and just added weight. There were very few spots for other protection anyway, just be prepared for easy but runout terrai. If you wanted to climb Middle Tower, a couple medium pieces to anchor a better below wouldn’t hurt.

<b>Approach </b>
Follow the directions on the main page to west side of the park – taking Hwy 146 from Soledad. Jump on the Balconies Trail from the picnic/parking area, and walk about a half mile, passing most of the west face of Machete Ridge. There is a big obvious sign that says “Machete Ridge climbing access” to the right, just before a footbridge (maybe the 3rd or 4th bridge).
Follow this trail up to the base, and head right (moving south), doubling back the way you came along the base. Continue to follow this trail ALL the way around the south side of Machete Ridge, and then back up around the back side (east) of the rocks. We had a hard time finding this – because we kept thinking we had gone too far. It feels like you almost do a complete lap around of the ridge – but after passing much of the east face, you’ll see two large pine trees up to the left between a saddle. There wasn’t much of a trail, and you pass lots of confusing trees along the way – but these are 2 pines that are pretty much on their own, right up in the notch.
Alternately – you could hike in from the east side of the park, meeting up with the Balconies Trail. Haven’t done this – but should be possible, and would take a few hours.

<b>Pitch 1 - 5.3:
</b>From the notch with the pine trees, scramble up the rock just before the 2nd pine. You will find a grassy ledge about 50 feet up, with a small pine tree on the north end. Just left of the tree you can see a small patch of bush/grass about 15’ feet up on the left – with your first (fairly high) bolt just above that. Head up and left to that bolt, then move right to a 2nd bolt at your feet. Just above this you’ll fine 2 bolts at eye-level for the belay. Very short pitch.

<b>Pitch 2 – walk (3rd/4th class):
</b>You can walk about 30 feet to a small notch on your right (before the tree). Don’t climb down the notch – but hop up on the ridge to the right of the notch, doubling-back the way you came but on higher ground. Follow the exposed ridge down, with few (if any) options for protection. It might be possible to belay someone from the top of P1 bolts – but you wouldn’t be able to see/hear each other well (the rope would start below the ridge, and go up and over the other side). We walked it – but it is exposed, and you have to down climb a bit on the last 25 feet to get to a gully, which is the start of Pitch 3.

<b>Pitch 3 – 5.5
</b>There is a notch here with 3 bolts – 2 newer solid ones, and a 3rd on an old/homemade hanger. This pitch involves a few short exposed moves moving right around a bulge. You can see the first bolt from the belay. Once you get around the bulge, you have a crouching traverse (at least for tall folks like me), past a 2nd bolt at your feet. It’s an easy walk past the 2nd bolt, but I stayed roped in. 40 feet later the ridge flattens out, and you can climb an easy 8’ notch up to the obvious grassy area with a few small Manzanita trees. I belayed from here off a manzanita (and we ate lunch).

<b>Pitch 4 – walk (3rd/4th class):
</b>From the manzanitas – walk up and over the ridge to your right, following the ridge down to nice set of chains. It’s an easy walk, but once again very airy and exposed. If you are concerned, you could belay from the Manzanita – but it would be mighty runout, and no real protection along the way.

<b>Pitch 5 - rappel
</b>From these chains, we did did a double rope (60m each) rap to the NW gully below. It’s a low-angle rappel on class 3 and 4rock (could be downclimbed easily) for most of it, but the last 30’ or so are overhanging and a free rappel. We passed 2 intermediate rap stations that I would assume would allow for a single rope rappel.

<b>Pitch 6 – scramble/rappel
</b>From the gully, you can either walk around right, or scramble over to another obvious gully. You’ll see a U-shaped notch (not the W-shaped notch to the right). You can climb the notch (easy 5th class – but not 3rd class the way some guides state) Find a single bolt in the notch (left hand side), and either rap down, or downclimb the lichen-covered rock to a protected gully. You can scramble out of the gully, and over to the base of Middle Tower – where there is another rap station that ends the route.

This is the “official” end of the route, but Middle Tower can be climbed as a side-excursion (2-bolt 5.5), or possibly traverse farther out towards the other towers.

<b>Descent
</b>The descent isn’t hard – but it does take some time. From the final bolts at the base of Middle Tower – rap down the eastern gully (NOT the west face towards Balconies – there has been at least one death from this attempt). The gully (and the face) can be fairly wet and lichen-covered. You could downclimb most of the gully but if you want to avoid slippery lichen and poison oak – rapping is MUCH faster, and more enjoyable. With 2 60m ropes – we were able to rap most of it, just scrambling a final 40’ or so to a small tree with some slings and a rap ring. A single rope rap here dropped us to a big grassy area overlooking the Balconies Cave area, and a much larger tree with more slings and a rap ring. Another double-rope rap took us down the grassy area, over another lichen-covered wall, and to the “Ground” below. A short scramble through some talus dropped us into the Balconies Caves, and back to the trail. Most of this could be downclimbed –but rapping it felt MUCH safer, and much faster – especially in wet conditions.


Added: 2011-04-25

Routes: North America: United States: California: Joshua Tree National Park: Indian Cove: Corral Wall, The

Ranch Hand Average Rating = 0.00/5 Average Rating : 0.00/5

Ratings
  Difficulty 5.6
  Safety Rating G
  Exposure
  Rock Quality
  Scenery
  Fun Factor
Onsight Onsight ascent by: losinghand on 2011-01-04 (View Climbing Log)

3 out of 5 stars nice lead

Fun climb, while there's a nice crack most of the way, I found a lot of it flaring, and all a pretty consistent size (.75-1 or so), or I wasn't able to protect it as well as I had hoped). There's a bolt anchor up top with rap rings.

Added: 2011-01-04

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