/ Big wall climbing advice
Thanks for your help and beta would be good, I would like to to free as many pitches as possible but only climb E1,
> Thanks for your help and beta would be good, I would like to to free as many pitches as possible but only climb E1,
Post over on SuperTopo.com and you'll get dozens of suggestions and at least 3 "yer gonna die" shout-outs!
I say do some longer freeclimbs, then the West Face of Leaning Tower and then the Nose or Salathe or Lurking Fear on El Cap.
Out of your shortlist I've only done Watkins, but would definitely recommend it. I don't know how much you managed without aid on Half Dome Regular, but quite a lot on Watkins goes free at up to and including 5.10 (E1-2, as I'm sure you know). By contrast, although I've not done it, I would imagine you'd have to be pretty solid at 5.11 to even make an impression on Leaning Tower. I did Watkins about a week after The Salathe and, to be honest, found it almost as good and just as enjoyable - which, after all, is what it's all about; although on a storm-aborted attempt (on Watkins) a few years earlier I had been chased along the bottom terrace, and repeatedly stung, by a large and angry hornet family - top tip: don't rattle the rope around in a manzanita bush if it's quietly buzzing!
In 1984 we probably had one Friend #4, or maybe two - plus perhaps the odd Tube Chock; take a couple of these cams and a slightly larger one for the wide-crack 4th and 3rd pitches from the top. The second from the top is one of the best pitches you'll ever climb - like Left Wall or Outer Limits (pitch 1) two thousand feet off the deck!
And, if you're looking at El Cap routes with substantial free climbing potential, Salathe is usually easier to get on than The Nose.
That could depend on your footwear. These days I generally use La Sportiva Miuras or Katanas, which I like to think the odd passing wasp or similar might mistake for a giant - albeit wingless - and keep well away.
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