A hike up to the bace of el Cap to get to routes as the Nose is an easy stroll over a couple of minutes.
Which also means that it seems a big number of people trying to ascend routes like the Nose, even if they don't have anything to do there. Meaning you can be hooked up behind a number of teams in a line of just waiting.
But there is a couple of routes which are less known and harder to get to, like the West Face on el Cap.
A brilliant route over 19 pitches. But suited on the far end of the wall being hit with little sun and a little more adventurous to get to with not even a spectacular name it sees much less traffic. The climbing is typical for the area, full on with most of everything. But always well protected, most of the time at least. You should be stabile at the grade and to finish the route in a day, including the 2hour descent back to valley, you have to be quite quick.
But the weather was typical Californian, sunny and dry, so we could focus on our main goal, climbing. After packing up the packs we stored the food away in one of all the bear boxes and drove to the melonée. Parked the car and started the hike up towards El Cap. Finding the way up was as easy as we thought and soon we stood at the base of the climb. But where was it? The only thing I saw was a blank wall that looked more or less impossible to place any pro and super hard to climb. The first bit was said to be 5.5. And to me that is pretty close to walking, but this!! We saw a couple of bolts high up on the face but getting to them just looked impossible. I just lost interest and after a big bite of cussing decided to walk of it. Sending us back down to the car and changing goals for the day, climbing something totally else. But since this was Yosemite, finding a route to climb is not difficult.
But, walking of the previous route could not leave me untouched. I was furious about it and could not stop thinking of that West Face route. I must have missed something obvious!
After doing a little more investigating I talked Anna back into giving it a new and this time harder try.
Now a bit more relaxed since we had cheeked out from the Pines and had a much nicer camping spot just outside the park. To get a little more relaxed climb wise we took a tour up Rostrum North Face in between.
And a couple of days later we where back at el Cap parking lot.
|Second pitch on West Face/Photo alpinemadness/Arkiv|
Over all the West Face of El Capitan is a most spectacular and solid free climb. With pitches 2, 8 and 13 as the most memorable ones. A must on the tick list!"
50m rope, one set of cams 0.33-#3 ( extra of mid size), 1 set of nuts (off set useful), 10 QD's (a couple of extendable useful).
There are fixed belays on most of the pitches but not always obvious. As on pitch 6 and after the travers on pitch nine.
P2 35m 5.11c
P3 40m 5.10a
P4 20m 5.5
P5 40m 5.10a
P6 25m 5.10a
P7 40m 5.11c
P8 35m 5.11c
P9 45m 5.7
P10 45m 5.10b+
P11 48m 5.10b
P12 35m 5.9
P13 35m 5.9
P14 40m 5.10d
P15 45m 5.10
P17 40m 5.7
P18 40m 5.6
P19 35m 5.5
P20 60m 5.8
P21 4th class to summit