The northwest face of Half Dome.
The route, approximately 2200 feet and 24 pitches.
Smokey skies at sunrise on drive in from Oakland.
Deer feeding in the Curry parking lot.
Rack: single green, red, yellow C3's; single blue, yellow, orange, red TCU's; single .5 BD; double .75 to 2 BD; single 3 BD; single 4 BD; set of nuts; 14 slings/draws. I'd leave out the nuts for next time. #4 BD optional.
Bryce and I were so engrossed in converstation that we missed the river crossing and had to find a log
With my heavy pack, I chose the safe but undignified route.
Bryce heading up the first part of the approach slabs.
....and we're lost.
But not for long!
*cue Darth Vader music*
Relaxing after making the approach. Washington Column is on the left, North Dome above it and El Cap way in the background
Getting ready to fix the first two pitches before blasting off in the morning.
View from the top of pitch 1
Bryce jugging pitch 1
Double checking the topo before pitch 2. We decided to lead the route in blocks for efficiency. I had pitches 1-9.
Our bivy spot at the base of the route.
Bryce modeling the brand new 7mm tagline we got especially for the route. Gotta go light!
Fixing pitch 2
Rapping the fixed lines back to the base. In the morning, we'll ascend them to get a head start on the route.
Food bag to keep it away from creatures.
Yosemite really could be heaven.
Half Dome: "YER GUNNA DIE!!!!!"
Next morning, we blast off!!
Bryce belaying at pitch 4?
We gotta loooong way to go...
Pitch 6, optional bivy. It acutally didn't look too bad.
One of the few anchors we actually had to make. Most belays are pre-equalized with good cord and fixed pins/bolts.
Bryce getting to the top of pitch 8
Switching leads. Go get em!
Bryce heading off toward the Robbins Traverse
Jugging up pitch 8 or 9.
Bryce heading into the Robbins Traverse, a bolt ladder followed by a cool pendulum to the right
Higher up the ladder
Bryce got to the pendulum point and found blown cord.....
....and a sketcy pin. Replacement cord and tying off a higher pin took some time, but Bryce did some good community service (and there was no way in hell we were swinging around on that thing).
Lowering out the traverse. Nice work, Bryce!
Right here, the exposure starts to kick in.
The start of the chimmeys. We were concerned about a 5.9R section and decided to aid a bomber crack to the left, which Bryce smoked in no time.
Bryce leading us into the chimmneys
Halfway up the aid corner. The sun peekind around means that it's about 1:30.
View looking down from the top of the 200-foot rope stretcher that Bryce linked.
At the end of the chimmeys, tired and one pitch from the bivy ledge. Snagged ropes on the previous two pitches held us up. Bryce was beat, so I took over the lead.
We'd been watching the sky, and were getting progressively more nervous as these thunderheads sped right for us. after some chat, we agreed that it would be smarter to reach the bivy and potentially wait it out than try ot rap 16 pitches in a storm.
I took over and lead us up the last pitch to the bivy, one of the most photogenic parts of the route.
Great hand jamming!
Big Sandy, our bed for the night.
Trying to squeeze in the first zig zag pitch before dark.
Miraculously, the storm hit the brakes about 10 miles away form us and receeded into the distance.
Happy that the clouds are leaving us.
Bivy gear in the sunset
Watching the sunset
Not long after dawn, we were up at it again. More T-storms were predicted for late morning and we wanted to get off quick.
I only managed to finish about half the pitch the night before, but Bryce graciously headed up to finish the last two aid pitches before the final traverse.
Bryce has done other walls and is much faster at aid than me.
Bryce cruising the upper zig zags.
Bryce's view from the top of the first two aid pitches.
2000 feet straight down!
At this point, it was my turn to bonk a little. Thanks for leading, Bryce!
Good thing that the view was incredible.
The visor looming overhead. We're close!
Me leading the Thank God traverse, so named by the first ascent party because it gave them a way around the huge, overhanging visor.
One of the coolest pitches I've ever done!
Bryce's view of Thank God while following.
Me heading up the bolt ladder on the second to last pitch.
Lowering out to the last belay and getting some summit fever.
"We just might pull this off!"
We rock/paper/scissored for the final lead and Bryce won.
So this is what the summit of half dome looks like!
We were hoping to kick back and enjoy our success, but we topped out just as the thunderstorms were moving in. Dammit.
Needless to say, we practically sprinted down the cables, but not before taking a picture with some nice hikers and accidently stealing water from some not-so nice hikers (that's another story).
At this point, Bryce was wishing we'd brought a second pair of boots.
I made it down safe to our bivy at the base....
...where I promptly collapsed.
Bryce hiking down.
The last stretch of fixed rope
Did we really just climb that??