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Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome
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jcd82


Oct 23, 2011, 8:28 PM
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Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome
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I'm in my 20s and have been climbing for about a year with one season outside. Quite simply I love it, and my buddy and I have set our sights on the NW Reg. Face of the dome. We were playing around with the idea of trying it late next season, but my main question is would we be able to top out?

We're pretty dedicated - usually two days a week of climbing. I've led moderate multi-pitch (5.7ish) (sport is in the 10s range), but I feel the only thing separating me from leading the higher grades is actually trying it.

I've looked into other walls, but nothing seems to hit quite like Half Dome. Plus, a trip to Yosemite is kind of a one-time deal (at least for the next two years).

I guess these are my thoughts:

-We would train...a lot. I would like to be a solid 5.10 leader before we head off
- I'm really bad at route finding, but it has always worked out
-We would learn how to aid climb and definitely do a practice climbs with a bivy and lots of aid/hauling

If I'm being an idiot please let me know. This is something my partner and I really want to do, and would train as hard as we need to to do it, but there's definitely a line in climbing between boldness/confidence and stupidity which I would prefer not to cross.

Thanks in advance.


moose_droppings


Oct 23, 2011, 9:24 PM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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jcd82 wrote:
I'm in my 20s and have been climbing for about a year with one season outside. Quite simply I love it, and my buddy and I have set our sights on the NW Reg. Face of the dome. We were playing around with the idea of trying it late next season, but my main question is would we be able to top out?

We're pretty dedicated - usually two days a week of climbing. I've led moderate multi-pitch (5.7ish) (sport is in the 10s range), but I feel the only thing separating me from leading the higher grades is actually trying it.

I've looked into other walls, but nothing seems to hit quite like Half Dome. Plus, a trip to Yosemite is kind of a one-time deal (at least for the next two years).

I guess these are my thoughts:

-We would train...a lot. I would like to be a solid 5.10 leader before we head off
- I'm really bad at route finding, but it has always worked out
-We would learn how to aid climb and definitely do a practice climbs with a bivy and lots of aid/hauling

If I'm being an idiot please let me know. This is something my partner and I really want to do, and would train as hard as we need to to do it, but there's definitely a line in climbing between boldness/confidence and stupidity which I would prefer not to cross.

Thanks in advance.

Well within your reach, go for it.


patto


Oct 23, 2011, 9:36 PM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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There is more than one route on Half Dome. What route do you want?

Snake Dike is pretty cruisy but you gotta have your confidence. Cool


giza


Oct 23, 2011, 10:07 PM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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If you go to Yosemite and your balls don't shrivel up into little acorns from just simply looking at El Cap or Half Dome then you may be ready. If you make it as far as doing the approach to half dome with all your gear, and you stand at the base of the route without giving in to the urge to bail then you're likely ready for the route. If I were you I'd spend a lot of time climbing multipitch granite getting your systems dialed before considering it.


skiclimb


Oct 24, 2011, 8:28 AM
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Re: [giza] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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IF you get a lot of hauling practice in and at least 100 pitches of proper aid climbing in and can lead some 5.10 trad on granite you could be ready for the RNWF.

If you have not hauled alot it is a route that will cause you hauling problems unfortunately.

Next question will be planning 1 night on the wall or two? Hauling comes into play here. 2 nights gives you probably a better chance of success but definitely increases haulbag size and weight.

And yes most people have that ball shriveling experience when first visiting the valley. Because they have never walls that big and sheer before.

In any case it's a fantastic trip and a great route that is technically one of the easier walls in the valley.

Sadly a highly experienced guide died on it due to loose block cutting his rope this year.

That said the route is generally solid and well protected. Although there are a couple of slightly tricky unprotect 5.9 moves with a nasty fall potential at beginning of pitch 10 if you use the reids bigwall standard route.

Its definately an ambitious first wall. For most folks it is probably not gonna be successful. But if you REALLY practice all wall elements for a year and truly get them dialed it is doable.

I'm of the opinion it is better to take your best shot at your dream wall than settle for something like washington column or leaning tower. You are no more likely to get in real trouble tha anyone. Worst case you bail and go do one of those.

It will be an awesome trip no matter what.


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Oct 24, 2011, 8:37 AM)


majid_sabet


Oct 24, 2011, 10:12 AM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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jcd82 wrote:
I'm in my 20s and have been climbing for about a year with one season outside. Quite simply I love it, and my buddy and I have set our sights on the NW Reg. Face of the dome. We were playing around with the idea of trying it late next season, but my main question is would we be able to top out?

We're pretty dedicated - usually two days a week of climbing. I've led moderate multi-pitch (5.7ish) (sport is in the 10s range), but I feel the only thing separating me from leading the higher grades is actually trying it.

I've looked into other walls, but nothing seems to hit quite like Half Dome. Plus, a trip to Yosemite is kind of a one-time deal (at least for the next two years).

I guess these are my thoughts:

-We would train...a lot. I would like to be a solid 5.10 leader before we head off
- I'm really bad at route finding, but it has always worked out
-We would learn how to aid climb and definitely do a practice climbs with a bivy and lots of aid/hauling

If I'm being an idiot please let me know. This is something my partner and I really want to do, and would train as hard as we need to to do it, but there's definitely a line in climbing between boldness/confidence and stupidity which I would prefer not to cross.

Thanks in advance.

Climbers die all the time and half dome has plenty of blood mark on it and recently a climber took 400 footer. the idea of climbing something big is great but once you stand on the bottom of the mighty rock, ohh it is a different animal


cragmasterp


Oct 24, 2011, 10:18 AM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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This was my first wall.

However, I went with an experienced and strong climber who could lead up to solid 5.11+ trad. I was leading hard 10's.

we took no bivy, only a small knapsack with food and water, and rain jackets. We hiked up death slabs for the approach, and slept at the base of the wall.

Started climbing 4 am, and hoped to top out in less than 24 hours. We ended up spending the night on Big Sandy after climbing the first two pitches of the zig-zags before it got dark. We were just too tired to finish the rest of the route in the dark.

the next morning we lounged around the ledge, finished off our remaining food/water, and jumared up to our high point. Then I got the honor of leading the Thank God ledge pitch. We were at the top before lunch. It was a great experience.

So you may consider the fast and light approach to eliminate all the hauling. But you will need to be in super shape with lots of trad under your belt before attempting this.

We also studied the weather systems carefully before hitting that wall. we knew we had a significant window of high pressure before blasting off. Retreating off of the RNWF is not easy once you are on the upper pitches.

I personally would recommend a trip to the valley to climb long multi-pitch trad classics before you attempt RNWF half dome.

Then give it a go once you have had time to hone your skillz.


(This post was edited by cragmasterp on Oct 24, 2011, 10:21 AM)


njrox


Oct 24, 2011, 10:49 AM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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http://www.mountainproject.com/v/cannon-cliff/105872275

maybe a warm-up before half dome?

good luck!


malcolm777b


Oct 24, 2011, 12:02 PM
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Re: [skiclimb] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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skiclimb wrote:
IF you get a lot of hauling practice in and at least 100 pitches of proper aid climbing in and can lead some 5.10 trad on granite you could be ready for the RNWF.

100 pitches of aid and be a 5.10 leader to climb something rated 5.9 C1? One of my friends did that route and had done only a handful of aid pitches before jumping on RNWF....he was a solid .10 leader, and ventured out on .11, so that might help.

But seriously, 100 pitches of aid? I would expect that response if asking about a A2+/A3 line up El Cap.


skiclimb


Oct 24, 2011, 1:38 PM
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Re: [malcolm777b] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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malcolm777b wrote:
skiclimb wrote:
IF you get a lot of hauling practice in and at least 100 pitches of proper aid climbing in and can lead some 5.10 trad on granite you could be ready for the RNWF.

100 pitches of aid and be a 5.10 leader to climb something rated 5.9 C1? One of my friends did that route and had done only a handful of aid pitches before jumping on RNWF....he was a solid .10 leader, and ventured out on .11, so that might help.

But seriously, 100 pitches of aid? I would expect that response if asking about a A2+/A3 line up El Cap.

remeber he is going with someone who will have no experience also. Is that what your friend did?

I basically recommended solid 5.9 lead with some 5.10 on granite.

If very solid 5.10 then less aid of course.

Aid is the thing that slows down newbie wall-climbers the most. That and hauling and anchor organization and just overall efficiency.. hmm thats about everything lol.

100 pitches of aid will help alot.. 50 at least very least.

If a person does 50+ pitches of aid and brings the haulbag along on at least half of that, gets mostly good on 5.10 trad granite.. they should be ok on RNWF...probably


We took a brand newbie person along on our trip of rnwf. but two of us had significant wall experience. the trip was a cruise and a blast.

That is a LOT different than two newbies trying their first wall.


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Oct 24, 2011, 1:40 PM)


csproul


Oct 24, 2011, 2:18 PM
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Re: [skiclimb] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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I've not done the RNWF, but I have been researching it a fair amount and been talking with others who have done it as it is something I'd like to do in the next year also. My research has led me to believe that hauling on this route would be a bad idea. I've been led to believe that it would be a better strategy to either do it in a push or have the 2nd jug with a small pack. Everyone I have talked to has told me to forget hauling. The other impression I have been left with is that there is very little real aid and a whole lot of French free. My friends who have done it said they only got into aiders for a couple of pitches and pretty much pulled through on gear the rest of the time it got too hard to free climb.


(This post was edited by csproul on Oct 24, 2011, 3:55 PM)


wrbill


Oct 24, 2011, 3:07 PM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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You did not say how long you would be in the valley for, if you are going to be able to stay for two weeks you might look at trying South Face of Washington Column. That is a great route to start on for aid and if you find that you go a great job there you could move on to HD. The route is a two day route with a bivy at the top of the third pitch. Check it out might be worth looking into.

Good luck and climb safe.


shimanilami


Oct 24, 2011, 3:20 PM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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It's a worthy goal, but you've got a long way to go before you'll be ready for that route. It'd be a pity to walk all the way up there and get shut down after only a couple of pitches.

If a trip to Yosemite is "one time deal" for you, then there are a lot of other routes to consider. I'd suggest you look at the guidebook and pick something you have a shot at actually finishing first.


tolman_paul


Oct 24, 2011, 4:52 PM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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How long are the moderate multipitch routes you've done? How long did it take you?

Personally I'd suggest considering many of the fine long free climbs in the YNP for your trip. Regular route on Fairview in Toulemne, Nucracker, E Buttress of El Cap, Reg route Middle Cathedral, etc. If you've never climbed in the valley, it takes some time getting used to climbing granite cracks. Best to set yourself up for a successful awesome trip rather than something overwhelming.

With the NWF of HD, it's not just that you'll be doing a 20+ pitch route. You'll be humping a heavy backpack 6 miles, at elevation, and an approach that is trecherous in areas. Then you have to climb the route, and then pack all that stuff off the dome and out of the woods. So in addition to climbing ability, you need some serious cardio and load humping.

If you're not a strong free climber, and by strong I mean climbing multipitch hard 5.11, then you'll be doing alot of aid, which is really slow. If you're aiding most of the route, you'll need a bigger, heavier rack, and more food and water because you'll be on the wall longer. More time on the wall means greater odds of being in a storm. Also it's a popular heavily traveled route, so if you're crawling up there, you're going to have people passing you.

It's great to have ambitous goals, but it's also a good idea to temper them with reality. Consider your first climbing trip to the valley as better spent getting in as many of the moderate and medium grade multi pitch routes part of your training for NWFHD.


ptlong2


Oct 24, 2011, 7:54 PM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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Nobody knows the answer because we don't know you.

The average inexperienced doofus will flail and just get in the way of everybody else if they don't bail in the first place. But there are other guys who will buck the trend and succeed. We can't be certain which one you are.

Lots of people haul. Yes the bag can get hung up in places but the idea that hauling is a complete nightmare is false.

You don't need to be a 5.11 climber to free most of the Regular Route. If you're solid at mid-5.10 you'll have to aid about five pitches, and it's pretty straightforward aid at that. If you can only climb 5.9 then you'll aid more but will still do the majority of the route free.

Although the topo shows 23 pitches it's easy to do the climb in 16-18 pitches with a 60m or 70m rope. So many punters do it in day now, it can't be that hard.

That's not to say you won't die up there. You might.


skiclimb


Oct 25, 2011, 6:04 AM
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Re: [ptlong2] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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Free Topo RNWF

http://www.mountainproject.com/...585_large_54293e.jpg

My recommended strategy for newbies. 5.9 c2 and 2 nights on the wall.

Approach and fix first 3 pitches. At least the first two. If this succeeds then you should be able to do the wall.

Be aware of your rope ends at many places on route. Due to traversing and low angle nature of many pitches this route likes to snag trailing ends or middles.

Take middle line for pitch 4.

Through pitch 8 is low angle meandering and easy climbing compared to the first 3 pitches. Although the hauling is predictably annoying due to low angle.

At 8 we went right can't tell you which way is best.

If you go right you will have a couple unprotected traversing 5.9 moves. Big enough fall potential to make you pay close attention :)

Camp at 12. looks like a crappy bivy but best you will get till big sandy. If have time (probably not) fix next pitch.

13 through 15. Hauling crux but fun leads. Bag will require tending from follower to shove it past numerous hangups in chimneys. Tiring but not that big a deal.

Onward to 17 Big sandy 2nd camp AWESOME BIVY.

18 is the aid crux.. c1 mostly till the end where it sure seemed tricky to me getting over to the right. C2

21 TGL really fun very cool. Intimidating chimney at the end is better than it looks.

23 ..totally different than the way we exited ..could be better dunno. Route finding here is less than obvious.

again if you can fix the first two or three pitches the first day with approach you should succeed with the route. The first pitch will intimidate you right from the beginning. Its a good gatekeeper. If you get past it you will be fine.


(This post was edited by skiclimb on Oct 25, 2011, 7:17 AM)


patto


Oct 25, 2011, 6:33 AM
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Re: [jcd82] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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A lot of good posts here... Its almost not appropriate for rockclimbing.com Angelic


All of this is doable. But never forget that bad weather kills. If you are inexperienced, slow, and/or carrying insufficient or inappropriate gear then you could end up in such a situation.

Prepare appropriately and sensibly then if things get difficult then you just retreat and only your pride will be injured.


damienclimber


Oct 25, 2011, 6:40 PM
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tolman_paul wrote:
How long are the moderate multipitch routes you've done? How long did it take you?

Personally I'd suggest considering many of the fine long free climbs in the YNP for your trip. Regular route on Fairview in Toulemne, Nucracker, E Buttress of El Cap, Reg route Middle Cathedral, etc. If you've never climbed in the valley, it takes some time getting used to climbing granite cracks. Best to set yourself up for a successful awesome trip rather than something overwhelming.

With the NWF of HD, it's not just that you'll be doing a 20+ pitch route. You'll be humping a heavy backpack 6 miles, at elevation, and an approach that is trecherous in areas. Then you have to climb the route, and then pack all that stuff off the dome and out of the woods. So in addition to climbing ability, you need some serious cardio and load humping.

If you're not a strong free climber, and by strong I mean climbing multipitch hard 5.11, then you'll be doing alot of aid, which is really slow. If you're aiding most of the route, you'll need a bigger, heavier rack, and more food and water because you'll be on the wall longer. More time on the wall means greater odds of being in a storm. Also it's a popular heavily traveled route, so if you're crawling up there, you're going to have people passing you.

It's great to have ambitous goals, but it's also a good idea to temper them with reality. Consider your first climbing trip to the valley as better spent getting in as many of the moderate and medium grade multi pitch routes part of your training for NWFHD.

Your body can do more, than you mind thinks it can!

A climber can't die they come back as a mountain!




Now get back to baking those tolhouse cookies for the Palins.
C'mon if Sarah was fat you can take credit! Tongue


guangzhou


Oct 25, 2011, 6:43 PM
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Re: [skiclimb] Hypothetically...Would I Die? - Half Dome [In reply to]
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skiclimb wrote:
Free Topo RNWF

http://www.mountainproject.com/...585_large_54293e.jpg

My recommended strategy for newbies. 5.9 c2 and 2 nights on the wall.

Approach and fix first 3 pitches. At least the first two. If this succeeds then you should be able to do the wall.

Be aware of your rope ends at many places on route. Due to traversing and low angle nature of many pitches this route likes to snag trailing ends or middles.

Take middle line for pitch 4.

Through pitch 8 is low angle meandering and easy climbing compared to the first 3 pitches. Although the hauling is predictably annoying due to low angle.

At 8 we went right can't tell you which way is best.

If you go right you will have a couple unprotected traversing 5.9 moves. Big enough fall potential to make you pay close attention :)

Camp at 12. looks like a crappy bivy but best you will get till big sandy. If have time (probably not) fix next pitch.

13 through 15. Hauling crux but fun leads. Bag will require tending from follower to shove it past numerous hangups in chimneys. Tiring but not that big a deal.

Onward to 17 Big sandy 2nd camp AWESOME BIVY.

18 is the aid crux.. c1 mostly till the end where it sure seemed tricky to me getting over to the right. C2

21 TGL really fun very cool. Intimidating chimney at the end is better than it looks.

23 ..totally different than the way we exited ..could be better dunno. Route finding here is less than obvious.

again if you can fix the first two or three pitches the first day with approach you should succeed with the route. The first pitch will intimidate you right from the beginning. Its a good gatekeeper. If you get past it you will be fine.

Perfect advice here. Also sounds like your enjoyed the route.


scottek67


Oct 25, 2011, 7:12 PM
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http://www.reddit.com/..._half_dome_and_wins/


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