/ Easiest CLimb on El Cap

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Boulderdash86 on 09 Oct 2012
Afternoon

Out of interest what is the easiest climb on el cap - I have done a google and the 2 which keep coming up are East Butress and The Nose...but which one is it and what grade does it relate to trad? This is for a pub quiz question, and for interest.

Thanks for your help
mike kann - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86: The East Butress. The Nose may have lowish grades if you use lots of aid, but its hardly a push over...
Simonfarfaraway - on 09 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:
Just checked my Yosemite guide and it may be 'Left side' on Southwest base of elcap. grade 5.3 (?vdiff)(1 or 2 pitch route). But I guess you don't mean these single pitch routes on el cap? Lots of routes don't go all the way up!
MikeC_000 - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

Im looking at similar routes as a project to go over next year !!
The East Butress is 5.9, trad equivilant HVS/E1 from what I can work out and is about 14 pitches ( got detailed info if you require).
The Nose is graded 5.10 A2. This puts it at about E1/E2 grade with aid pitches. As previously said on the Nose you could aid more to drop the grade. It all depends on what you are looking for.
Hope this helps and if you want further info on East Buttress then just holler !!!
steveej - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86: most people wouldn't consider the east buttress as a proper rout up el cap.

its not on the main cliff, but more up a subsidiary buttress of rock miles over to the right.

The concensus is that you don't get an el cap tick.

The easiest 'Real' el cap route is supposed to be lurking fear
francois - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to MikeC_000: out of interest, if you climb around 5.10, how many pitches would you end up aiding on the nose?
mike kann - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to francois: 9, if you can climb 5.10d and you can climb it after the previous 29 pitches.
jon on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to mike kann:

Yes, and that makes MikeC's << The Nose is graded 5.10 A2. This puts it at about E1/E2 grade with aid pitches >> seem just a tad naïve. Translating numbers really doesn't work that well in this case. Added to that, Yosemite grades are famously harsh. I hadn't been to Yosemite in quite a while till this September. Standing there under El Cap brings home the enormity of Florine's and Honnold's 2:23 dash!
In reply to francois:
> (In reply to MikeC_000) out of interest, if you climb around 5.10, how many pitches would you end up aiding on the nose?

The problem is if you climb 5.10 (a-d are quite a ways apart) you may start of with the intention of free climbing as much as you can, but with the heat, the relentless nature of the climbing, all the gear you are carrying/hauling - most teams end up aiding most of the route.


Chris
mike kann - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to jon: Indeed - that was my deftly made point. I know I would be struggling with VS after 30 pitches of anything, let alone the 5.10c at pitch 29...
In reply to Boulderdash86:

The East Buttress is the line between sun and shadow on the far right. (2nd pic down).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Capitan

I thought is was about HVS/E1. It is mostly pretty steady but there is bit of a nasty offwidth on it. It took us about four hours iirc.


Chris
SteveSBlake - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

Mindful of what Steevej said about the East Buttress not being a proper El Cap route, well it is (and isn't!) regardless of that argument it's a great objective and IMHO very doable for a visitor comfortable on E1. Fantastic views accross the wall to Zodiac and beyond....

As has been said the Nose and Lurking Fear would probably be the easiest 'Big Wall' routes for you to contemplate, but they are a significant leap beyond the East Buttress...

For the stronger free climber the West Face is a cracking objective, but again is often dismissed as 'not an El Cap route'. Don't get too hung up on these distinctions, or you could dismiss a fantastic experience.

Steve

Regards,
Andy Mountains - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

UKC logbook has The Nose as '1000m, 31 pitches. 5.8 C2 (HVS) to 5.14a (E9)'
jon on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to SteveSBlake:


I've never really understood this anti West Face and East Buttress thing (not you Steve). Both routes ARE on El Cap and are good routes (well, I've only done the WF but I believe the EB is too). I think maybe with regards to the EB, the very thought of lesser mortals being able to scale the Big Stone brings out the worst in the elitist Valley locals. But the West Face... so what if it's not in the middle of El Cap - it's only just a little further left than Lurking Fear - which IS accepted. At 19 pitches it's longer than quite a few other routes - like Zodiac - which IS accepted. Its climbing is very demanding - I know a few Brits (myself included) who rate the second pitch at E5. Maybe it's because it's generally climbed free and in a day - hmmm, so watch out Nose, you'll be down graded to a non El Cap route in the next twenty years... or sooner.






SteveSBlake - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to jon:

I agree Jon, it's largely local 'snootiness' at work methinks.

Steve
stu maci - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

Iv not done them but I believe Muir wall, lurking fear and triple direct are the 3 easiest.
Ian Parsons - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to MikeC_000:
> (In reply to Boulderdash86)
>

> The East Butress is 5.9, trad equivilant HVS/E1

Not sure where that comes from - it's normally rated 5.10b; only one pitch, low down, but depending on the gear you find/place and the general sweatiness it could feel fairly hard E1 and fairly solid 5c. Just my opinion, of course!

seankenny - on 11 Oct 2012
In reply to Ian Parsons:

It's bottom end 5c with very good gear.
Ian Parsons - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to seankenny:

Yes - I'm probably getting old; but I have to admit to having found it quite tricky. I can't remember much about the gear, although I seem to recall reading something fairly recently that suggested the available gear - fixed, presumably, or maybe potential placements - had altered in recent years. But of course it's probably still friggable, so 5.10b won't be its mandatory grade any more than 5.14a is the mandatory grade for the Nose.
Ian Parsons - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to Ian Parsons:

This must be what I had spotted. I'm (fairly) sure there was no bolt there in 2005, but the suggestion that good gear might be hard to place rings a bell - and is somewhat endorsed by SuperTopo's route database.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/1943635/East-Buttress-of-El-Cap-Crux-Bolt-Gone

and

http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/Yosemite-Valley-El-Capitan-East-Buttress
ads.ukclimbing.com
alpinist63 - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:
east butress is not considered a 'proper' el cap route as it's not the same style as the south east face and south west face routes ( aid climbing, multi-day climbs...); although today, quite a few of these routes are done in a day regularly.
the easiest routes on the main faces are zdiac and lurking fear, with lurking fear having easier climbing but much worse hauling... especially the upper third of the route.
zodiac has more challenging pitches but the hauling is easy from bottom to top and it's short.
The nose and triple direct are overall harder because of the logistics involved: hauling heavy bags over low- angled rock, traversing pitches etc..
LF and zodiac have no mandatory yosemite-style freeclimbing ( like the hollowflake or the ear on salathé)
the free climbing you would do on LF is no harder than HVS/E1, a higher free climbing grade will of course allow you to do some great crackclimbing pitches.
highcamp - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to alpinist63:

When speaking of El Cap, most folks are talking in terms of big wall climbing. The EB definitely does not fall into that realm; instead, being a long moderate trad route on relatively low angled terrain (as compared to the wall faces of El Cap).

In terms of climbing difficulty, the Nose, Triple Direct, and LF are well known as the easiest to get into. They have the lowest mandatory free climbing combined with the lowest aid climbing grades. As per alpinist63, Zodiac is definitely easier when it comes to pure hauling logistics, but the aid climbing at C3 is substantially harder than the C1 on the Nose (mind you, for aid climbing, the grades for "Clean Aid" rarely go higher than "C3+" very often). If you used pins, it would be a ton easier, but clean, it's an eye-opener right off the deck.

It's not advertised on the SuperTopo site anymore, but here's their supertopo for the Nose. Free. Enjoy...

http://www.supertopo.com/topos/yosemite/thenose.html

steveej - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to highcamp:

Zodiac is much harder than the Nose and even though half the length will take most people longer to complete because the climbing is that much harder.

Even though the hauling is easier.
Sambo - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86: What about FreeBlast that is the first 10 ish pitches of the Salathe and then abb off from Heart ledges?
shark - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to jon and SteveSBlake:


West Face whilst a stunning multi-pitch route doesn't have the same open and exposed feel as what little climbing I've done on the front (Freeblast and some of the Nose). Although when asked I have said I've climbed El Cap I always feel a bit phoney saying it and qualify it by saying I've just done the West Face, or to non-climbers, a route up on the left.
jon on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to shark:
> (In reply to jon and SteveSBlake)

> I always feel a bit phoney saying it and qualify it by saying I've just done the West Face, (...) a route up on the left.

Don't Simon. You could have done Lurking Fear which might not have been half as much fun for you as the West Face (being the excellent free climber you are), but you would still have to qualify it by saying 'a route up on the left'! I've also done Salathe, and whilst immensely proud of it and still enjoying it in retrospect some 30 years later, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt which one gave me the more pleasure at the time!
Ava Adore - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:

This thread title makes me smile :-). A friend has just come back from Yosemite and has showed me photos and video footage of his climb (a lot of it aided, yes) of El Cap. If that's the easiest climb, blimey!
SteveSBlake - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to shark:

Well, I have climbed 'El Cap' and if I did the West Face wouldn't disqualify myself from a third tick. ;-)

IMHO nor should you, there are probably more folks on here who have done the walls to the right, than the WF.......... You are therefore more exclusive and should bask in that comfort.

Cheers,

Steve
Baz47 on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to Boulderdash86:
I remember doing a single pitch route directly under the Nose called Pine Line at VS/HVS. This must be a contender for the easiest route on El Cap.
Enty - on 12 Oct 2012
In reply to Baz47:
> (In reply to Boulderdash86)
> I remember doing a single pitch route directly under the Nose called Pine Line at VS/HVS. This must be a contender for the easiest route on El Cap.

Yeah and it's a better way to get to the start of The Nose than scrambling up the ledges.

To OP - I thought Zodiac was hard. I took a pisser from under the Nipple. I had to dig the hammer out above The Nipple because it was going dark and I was gripped. Gently tapped a beak in. I think we hammered 3 times on the whole route which I'm proud of. C3 can be gripping and lines of fixed heads are'nt funny when you're the wrong side of 80kilos!

E
highcamp - on 14 Oct 2012
In reply to Enty:

Short clip of Jim Bridwell taking flight on Zodiac:

http://bit.ly/RXAYho
Simonfarfaraway - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Baz47: No ones really responding to the original question ;-). There's a bunch of easy single pitch routes at the base.
Fun post thou...
Ian Parsons - on 17 Oct 2012
In reply to Simonfarfaraway:
> (In reply to Baz47) No ones really responding to the original question ;-). There's a bunch of easy single pitch routes at the base.

I suspect that's probably because nobody thinks that's what the OP really means; to include the base routes in such a selection would surely equate to, say, deciding that the easiest route on Raven Tor was some relatively insignificant V3 somewhere near the start of Verbal Abuse, when actually the original questioner, perhaps unaware of routes left of Hubris, was trying to decide between that route, Indecent and Sardine! Of course, in the environment of a pub quiz the OP is immediately skating on thin ice if he gets it wrong, or arguably wrong. His request for a comparison in terms of trad grades almost suggest an unawareness of the fact that the overwhelming majority of routes on El Cap are substantially aid routes; on paper alone, how would you decide which of two routes with, for instance, mandatory grades of 5.9 A2 and 5.10 A1 was the easiest? It would probably depend on whether the individual was rubbish at free climbing, or had never done any aid. I would certainly think it a bit risky - if you want a quiet life - to set pub quiz questions on a slightly ambiguous topic of which your own knowledge is such that you need to post on an internet forum for the answer!

Ian Parsons - on 17 Oct 2012
Sorry; "suggests".

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