/ Yosemite natural bivvy routes

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AndyCook - on 04 Feb 2013
Hi. I'm planning my first trip to Yosemite later this year and trying to plan some routes in advance of getting there. Can anyone recommend some multi-day aid lines which make use of natural bivvy ledges rather than using a portaledge? It will be our first aid climbing trip so we're not after anything too extreme, but we like a challenge too. We're a group of competent climbers, regularly climbing 6b+ and HVS.

Any recommendations or other info on climbing in Yosemite would be great.
Thanks, Andy
(PS I don't keep my logbook up to date so it doesn't reflect my current climbing competency).
IPPurewater on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook: The South face of Washington column V 5.9 C2, was one recommended to us when we went there. We didn't end up doing it though.

The suggestion was to bivvy at the dinner ledge, fix rope over the Kor roof and then retreat to the bivvy, doing the rest of the route the next day.



Enty - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to IPPurewater:

The classic easy one is The South Face of Washington Column.
Climb the first 3 pitches to Dinner Ledge then fix a couple of pitches from the ledge.
Bivvy on the ledge then blast the route the next day.

(I've not done it)



E
Enty - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to IPPurewater:

double post!

E
Mark Collins - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook: I'm lead to believe that The Nose has all natural bivvy sites, but on the down side have also heard that it's very long and scary.
jon on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

If you don't screw up, Salathe has. But if you do, it hasn't.
John P - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to IPPurewater & Enty:

That was the most impressive double post I've seen on here; right down to the wire on 21:37.
David Coley - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to Enty:
> (In reply to IPPurewater)
>
> The classic easy one is The South Face of Washington Column.
> Climb the first 3 pitches to Dinner Ledge then fix a couple of pitches from the ledge.
> Bivvy on the ledge then blast the route the next day.
>
> (I've not done it)
>

I have done it, and it is as Enty said. Leaning Tower is another, and I thought better, option for a first aid route.

There are some free multi day alternatives: snake dyke, VS, bivy below the route, lunch on the top; or, Royal Arches (long VS) bivy at the top and walk over to north dome (E1) the next day.

oliwarlow - on 04 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:
You don't need a ledge for the west face of leaning tower, you can bivi on the Awahnee ledge and if you have fixed the next pitch or two you should make the top no problem on the second day. If you don't fancy the rappels late in the day there is a good looking bivi ledge just below the top, or you can bivi right before the rappels (the top of the route is a ridge so not a good bivi spot).
As Enty has said, the south face on washington column is a classic 2 day route where you don't need a ledge. You don't need a ledge for the nose, but it is a big step up from the other two.
You don't need a ledge on the regular route on half dome, this is longer than the column and leaning tower but has much more free climbing.
All of these routes are going to be busy in peak season, basically because they are moderate grade, of excellent quality and you don't need a ledge.
GeoffG - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to oliwarlow:
The Nose has plenty of natural ledges. Very easy aid. All clean/no hammer needed. Sack hauling is the issue with any wall. Back breaking on low angle/off the deck. Getting stuck behind other parties can screw you up!
Geoff.
dj_brigham05 - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to GeoffG: You could do it without hauling ;)

Ian Parsons - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

South Face of Watkins and Half Dome Direct are both adequately supplied with natural ledges, assuming you're not halfway between them when it gets dark. If you fix a couple of pitches and are fairly nifty then I would imagine The Prow probably is as well, assuming that Tapir Terrace is suitably roomy - which I believe to be the case, but can't personally verify.
Ian Parsons - on 05 Feb 2013
A couple of further thoughts.

You say you're a "group". I presume at this stage that you may not have an exact idea who will end up climbing with whom, and whether you might do a wall as a party of three; bear in mind that people tend to judge bivvy ledges on their ability to accommodate two people! Having said that, the better ledges on Salathe, HD Direct and Dinner generally have ample room for more than two, but the final one on Watkins (a pitch from the top) is essentially a one-man affair. This latter instance leads to the suggestion of taking a hammock - weighs and costs very little compared to a portaledge, but can be very useful when a natural ledge is fine for sitting down, eating and getting organised, but is a bit on the small side for actually lying down and going to sleep.
Enty - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

Bear in mind that the ledges on The Nose after El Cap Tower are pretty grim. I can't imagine sharing Camp 4, 5 or 6 with another party.

E
David Coley - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to Ian Parsons:
> (In reply to AndyCook)
>
>The Prow probably is as well, assuming that Tapir Terrace is suitably roomy - which I believe to be the case, but can't personally verify.

If you fix the first few pitches, the Prow also makes a good day route and will give you an idea of what you can do per day.
George Fisher - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

I did South Face of Washington's as a three. None of us had aided before and I'd only been leading trad for a week.

We did the normal plan. Climbed to dinner ledge, plenty of space for 3/4/5 people. Fixed 2 more pitches that day. Hung out on the ledge eating tinned beef Stew. Jugged the lines to our high point in 90 degree heat the next morning and then a thunder storm made us shit ourselves and rap off.

It was awesome in every way. That's my only big wall experience so I recommend that one. Oh and I did a poo in a brown paper bag.
Ian Parsons - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

For something a bit further into the "challenge" category, Tis-sa-ack is doable using the natural ledges - although one of them only has room for one lying down so would require the above-mentioned hammock or a bit of overcrowding; you would need to get the timing right, and fix the odd pitch or two off most bivvies ready for the following day. Unlike most/all routes mentioned so far it probably still requires a bit of nailing, and a couple of 5.9/5.10 offwidths are rather more than HVS unless you take enough large cams to bring them down to C1. Best do something easier first, though!
dj_brigham05 - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

It really depends on how much you want an adventure I would say. If you feel you want a big challenge then something like the Nose is completely achievable. Try not to get too focused on ledges.

South face WC is a great starter route. It's not something that you necessarily have to sleep on however if you are worried about ledges. It's only 300m long so with an early start its very doable in a day. It was our first big route in valley and we did it in a day. Albeit with a late start (0900) so we slept on the top but it was completely manageable if you don't mind suffering a bit. Again we did the Nose with one sleep on a rubbish ledge just below Camp 4 as everywhere was totally mobbed. Not comfortable i will admit but it allowed us to do the route.

Obviously having a ledge allows you to go at your own pace and not worry but if you are motivated, adaptable and don't mind suffering a bit some really cool stuff can be done.

Leaving Tower and NW face Half Dome are completely doable with his strategy as well.
oliwarlow - on 05 Feb 2013
The Prow probably is as well, assuming that Tapir Terrace is suitably roomy - which I believe to be the case, but can't personally verify.

The bit of Tapir terrace on the line of the prow does not look very comfortable, I would class it as emergency rather than a planned bivi spot. there is another bit higher up and off route which might be more comfortable though, but I havent been to it.
As has been said routes on the column and leaning tower can be done in day pushes, which is nice not having a big bag, however sleeping on a wall is definitely an experience you want to have while you are over there!
AndyCook - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

Thanks everyone. A great response in a short amount of time. West Face of Leaning Tower was definitely on the list, but it seems there are plenty of options to get up for a few weeks. We're a group of 3 or 4 so will either climb together or as a couple of pairs I imagine. It would be good if there were any routes of a similar grade which run next to each other (great photo opportunities!)
AndyCook - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to George Fisher:
Bold work going straight to Aid after such little trad climbing! Nicely done.
PS I hope the brown bag isnt still there :)
Chris Sansum - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

Look out for mice on that ledge on Washington column! We had a mouse sharing the ledge, and I understand the first ascentionist had some of his kit eaten by one!

The ledge is big - there were two of us, 3 Koreans and 2 US climbers when we stayed on it. And still plenty of room.
kevin stephens - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

Surprised nobody has mentioned the Regular Route on NW Face of Half Dome.
Commodius laedge (Big Sandy) for a 2 day ascent, plenty of A0 climbing above the ledge interspersed with a lot of HVS free climbing. Not exactly a full blown aid route but a grand couple of days out and surely a great way to get tuned in for more full-on aid routes
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George Fisher - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to AndyCook:

Yeah, it was fairly interesting, I learnt to jumar by somebody shouting instructions down from the top of the first pitch.

The bag was carried out and I was very glad to drop it in the first bin I came to!

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