Many would agree that the Bachar - Yerian (5.11c R/X) on Medlicott Dome in California's Tuolumne Meadows is one of the finest routes in the world, on the most perfect sheet of golden granite, in one of the most beautiful alpine areas in the world.
The Bachar - Yerian takes a stunning and knee-trembling line up this vertical 500ft face, protected by 9 bolts (a #4 Friend and slings over knobs), all placed on the lead by John Bachar. The climbing is characterised by pulling on a sea of chicken-heads or knobs, often the size of peanuts, that stick out from the rock.
The route was first climbed by John Bachar (UKClimbing.com profile) in 1981 when he was at the height of his powers as a fierce proponent of ground-up climbing. He set off up this imposing wall with some slings, skyhooks, some bolts, a hand drill and a willing partner in Dave Yerian. The bolts were hand drilled whilst hanging off skyhooks.
The Bachar - Yerian has drawn climbers from all round the world since 1981 but only the best succeed on a much coveted onsight ascent of this testpiece and it has spat off such luminaries as the late Wolfgang Güllich who famously took a 60ft tumble and landed on his belayer. A crystal broke on Güllich at the third bolt on the second pitch whilst attempting the second ascent. Several Brits have made onsight ascents including Tom Briggs, Nic Sellars and John Dunne amongst others. One of those others is James McHaffie who told us that the route would warrant a 'UK E6 6b grade, but the climbing is blind and technical'
George Ullrich, Bachar- Yerian Without BoltsAnother recent ascent was by the Lake District climber, George Ullrich, the 19 year old from Kendal who has made a name recently repeating a handful of Dave Birkett routes - including Impact Day E8/9 6c on Pavey Ark and Dawes Rides a Shovel Head E8 6c on Raven Crag, Langdale. George is on a climbing trip to California with his friend, the filmmaker Dave Gill of Steep Media.
On a high from his onsight ascent of the Bachar - Yerian George as Dave says, "got psyched to try it without fixed pro. So spent the day before the attempt climbing it on bolts and eyeing up placements (mainly poor slings round chickenheads)."
Here's a short clip by Dave Gill of Steep Media, introduced by Ron Kauk, of George's attempt at climbing the Bachar - Yerian without bolts.
Dave Gill carries on the story, filling in some details.
"George got through the first two pitches all fine. Last main pitch, he was about 6ft from the belay and had to clip a bolt. He was belayed and followed by Mason Earl. Mason was clipped into belay bolts. They lowered off after pitch three. The main pitches are the first three."
James McHaffie commented the Bachar - Yerian would probably be about E8 without the bolts.
An exceptional effort by George Ullrich. I think it will only be a matter of time before someone accepts this challenge and succeeds.
Read what they think in the USA of George's attempt at THIS Supertopian thread
George is sponsored by Metolius, Evolv and Prana.