The purpose of this page is mainly to provide an accurate
cumulative record of the facts on these climbs.
Many details on style are given here, which have not always
been accurately reported in the magazines.
These facts have also been widely scattered
in magazines over many years. The intent is not to be negative
or trivially critical of the climbs and climbers. Just a
plain presentation of the facts is intended. If people
want to make a comparison of new ascents by themselves or
others, they can refer here to a full set of details about what was
involved in the previous attempts and ascents.
Golden Years - 5.12a ** (10p: 4 5.11, 1 5.12)
- FA - Tom Davis, Kelly Rich, David Rubine, Jeff Gorris, 5/79
- 2 pitch finish to rim added later. by Davis and Rubine?
Camp Four Wall
- Camp Four Terror Free - 5.12a (16p)
- FFA - Cedar Wright, Lucho Rivera, fall 2001 or 2002 or summer 2004?
- free variation to Camp Four Terror
- Misty Wall - 5.11d A0 *? (16p: 3 5.11, 3 pendulums, 90% free)
- 90% FA - Walt Shipley, Kevin Fosburg, early 1990s
- L’Appât - 5.13a *? (12p: 1 5.11, 4 5.12, 1 5.13)
- FA - Nicolas Favresse, 9/05
- no new fixed protection, mostly gear belay anchors, some runouts
- pitches: 5 x 5.10, 5.12d, 5.12b, 5.12c, 5.12d, 5.11b, 5.13a/b, 5.10a.
- crosses Summerland and Reckless Abandon
- route name translates roughly to "the lure"
- belayed by Chris Van Leuven
photo essay by Chris Van Leuven
- Lost Arrow Chimney + Tip - 5.12b ** (13p: 1 5.12)
- FFA Lost Arrow Tip - Dave Schultz, et al, 5/84
- FFA Lost Arrow Chimney - Chuck Pratt, Frank Sacherer, 1964
- ABC Route / Lost Arrow Chimney - 5.11 *? (13?p: 1 5.11)
- FA - Ron Kauk, Jerry Moffat, 6/85 (included Arrow Tip)
- topo in '87 guide
- Min-Ne-Ah - 5.11d *? (11p: 3 5.11)
- FA - Scott Cosgrove, Walt Shipley, 6/90
- Arrowhead Arete East Wall - 5.11c R (10?p)
- FA - Cedar Wright, Lucho Rivera, summer 2004
- onsight with no bolts or pins
- God Told Me to Skin You Alive + The Shining - 5.12 **
(10p: 4 5.11, 3 5.12)
- The Cobra - 5.11a R * (18p: 1 5.11)
- FFA - Tobin Sorenson, Tim Sorenson, 1975
- Many bad bolts. The belay in the corner below the final crux pitch
has a good (ASCA) bolt, plus 2 buttonheads. Also, the first pitch
has 6 new bolts where there were formerly none (apparently added when
a new route was done off to the left of The Cobra).
- Bulging Puke - 5.12a A0 (12p: 4 5.12)
- FFA(99%) - Bob Jensen, Jake Whittaker, 2003-4
- seasonally wet
- free variation p5-7 out right of original line. Moves on p7
freed but not linked on lead.
- details on free pitches from
supertopo.com forum, 9/09
- The Odyssey - 5.11 (14p: 2 5.11)
- FA - Ray Jardine, John Lakey, 5/76
- bad bolts
- South Central - 5.12 or 5.12+ (?p)
- South Face V10 (5.14a) - (10p: 3 5.12, 1 5.14)
- FFA - Matt Wilder, 10/3/02
- start with 2 pitches to Dinner Ledge, using a 60 meter rope
- p3 (Kor Roof): 5.8 to 5.10 move to V10 (crux boulder problem at roof)
to 5.11a diagonal crack above the roof.
- p4: face climb right of the aid line (towards Skull Queen), 5.11b,
then back left across the aid line and make a thin undercling
left on a small feature, 5.12c.
This brings you to the base of the long diagonal dihedral
halfway through the old aid pitch. Belay there to reduce rope drag.
There is a good stance a little below the belay which could be
used for a complete rest, but belaying in the middle doesn't
affect the difficulty.
- p5: left-leaning dihedral, about 5.10b, then 5.12a through
the thin part, and 5.8 at the end.
- p6: The last aid pitch is a beautiful thin splitter and goes
at about 5.12b. That brings you to a ledge, and you keep going
up a 5.11d technical double crack and finally make it to the anchor.
- p7-p10: 5.10 or easier to the top, as shown in the regular topo.
- preparation: worked the moves in June, and made a speed ascent
of the route at that time.
- "Crosstown Traffic" (Electric Ladyland) - 5.13 (13p: 6 5.12, 1 5.13)
- FFA - Alex Huber, 5/24/02
- style: redpointed first over 2 days. Then a few days later,
redpointed in 10 hours.
- starts with 2 pitches on the Prow, then 5 1/2 on Electric Ladyland,
a 5.12c traverse past Afroman, and a 5.11c pitch linking to Astroman
just below the Changing Corners pitch.
- crux 3rd pitch has a single 5.13 move
- called "Crosstown Traffic", but there
is already an aid route with this name, between Astroman and
- Climbing #215, 9/02
- Huber photos
- Astroman - 5.11c *** (11p: 4-6 5.11)
- FFA - John Long, Ron Kauk, John Bachar, 5/75
- not a continouous free ascent, but all pitches were freed
individually during 2 separate days
- one day: Kauk had spied the enduro corner, and went over with
Bachar to try it. Bachar led the boulder problem (p3), and then
Kauk led the enduro corner (p4) with no falls. This was the
first time these pitches had been freed.
- another day: Kauk and Bachar returned with Long. They jumared
a fixed rope to the top of pitch 4, to get out in front of
some parties which were aiding the route. They freed from pitch
5 to the top, with many of these pitches being freed for the
first time. Pitch 5 (5.10) had previously been freed by
Mead Hargis. John Long had also previously freed pitch 5 and
a 5.10d pitch above Changing Corners during a mostly aid ascent.
- 2nd? FA - Ray Jardine, Vern Clevenger, Spring 1975
- 3rd? FA - Ron Kauk, 6/1977
- led all pitches; Werner Braun jumared
- up to the last pitch by 11am
- 4th? FA - John Bachar, 6/1977
- led all pitches; Rick Piggot jumared
- 5th? FA - Dale Bard
- led all pitches; partner jumared
- 6th? FA - Max Jones, Mark Hudon, Fall 1977
- 7th? FA - Tobin Sorenson, 5/1978
- The Quantum Mechanic 5.13 - (15p: 5 5.12, 1 5.13)
- FA - Rob Miller, Jay Selvidge, 4/02
- FFA - Rob Miller, 6/2/02
- starts on Terminal Research. Crux is 2nd pitch, 5.13
traverse left out roof from end of Terminal Research.
The pitch is known as "Planck's Constant"; it involves
Shares several pitches with Mideast Crisis.
The meat of the route is 3 roof pitches- 5.12b, 5.12d, and 5.12c,
at the level of the Changing Corners pitch on Astroman.
Protection is almost entirely gear; only 3 bolts for protection
on the route.
- style: Miller redpointed all the 5.11 and harder pitches
in a day (and followed the others free). One fall was taken
on the wet 4th pitch, but the rope was pulled and it was redpointed.
Selvidge freed all pitches except for two during the FFA push;
a fall on the wet/traverse pitch, and on the lieback pitch.
- Climbing #215, 9/02
- Alpinist #1, 11/02
alpinist.com (archive) description, topo
- 2nd FA - Yuji Hirayama, 9/02
- Dakshina - 5.11 * (15p: 2 5.11)
- FA - Daniel Dingle, Ken Black, 8/83
On the FA, the only aid was a couple of rests/hangs on
pitch 6, a steep, 15-20', slightly flaring hand crack.
p7 has a 5.11 friction move. The route was bolted on
lead in a 2 day push.
- FFA - Ken Black, Ian Cummings, 6/84
- Milestone (aka Orion) - 5.12b (19p: 1 5.12, 14 5.11)
- FA: Kevin Worrall, Sean Shannon, 5/2004
- 2nd A - Bob Jensen, Jake Whittaker, 2011?
- The Twisted Road - 5.12- (19p)
- FA - Paul Turecki, Kristen Kremer, Greg Collins, 2002?
- 7 pitches up the slabs left of Hook, Line, and Sinker, and then
12 pitches up the SE arete of Higher Watkins Pinnacle.
Descent by rappelling the route.
- Mt. Watkins - South Face - 5.13 ** (19p: 5 hard pitches, 2 5.13)
- FFA - Brooke Sandahl, Steve Sutton, 6/1996
freed all but 1-2? aid moves in one push, then returned
from the top to free the last pitch separately
photo caption in Spring 2002 Mountain Gear catalog, p.92:
"Brooke Sandahl following high on the South Face of Mt. Watkins
during its first free ascent. Grade VI 5.13a"
5.11d/5.12a direct variation to initial pendulums
p13 5.12c/d Pendulum Bypass
p15 5.13+ (V8/9) huge dyno boulder problem
last pitch 5.12a slab var.
full story supertopo.com
- 2nd FA - Leo Houlding, Dean Potter, 5/08
- "almost" onsight - Houlding took a 40 foot fall on an easy pitch
- fixed first pitch, then did the rest in one day
- 3rd? FA - Tommy Caldwell, 5/2010
- near FFA? - Dave Schultz, Peter Croft, 1997?
freed all but 1-2? aid moves
- near FFA - Max Jones, Mark Hudon, 10/79
freed all but the pendulums (at start and middle of route),
and 7 aid moves (5 on the bolt ladder, 2 on the last pitch).
- topo in '87 guide
- Escape From Freedom - 5.12c? perhaps ** (18p: 3 5.11, 3 5.12)
- FA - Urmas Franosch, Bruce Morris, 7/88
- originally 5.11d A0 (1 pendulum, 2 tension traverses,
2 points of aid, 99% free)
- They ran out of water, food, and climbing shoes on the route,
and had a real epic at the top.
- 2nd Ascent - Urmas Franosch, Elliott Robinson, 88
Elliott took a 50' fall on this ascent!
- 3rd Ascent - Greg Murphy, Paul Kallmes, 89
first one day ascent
- All pitches freed - Tom Addison, 10/99
- free version:
- p7 - easy traverse right into an overhanging 5.12b corner
- p13 - freed slightly under tension traverse at 5.12a
- p14 - freed slightly left and under bolt ladder to
tension traverse at perhaps 5.12c
- p16 - 5.10d on original line
- style: p7, p14 were pinkpointed with draws in place on the bolts.
- route has not been freed in a continuous push yet, but that is
- 75% of the bolts were replaced with 3/8" x 2.5", including some
on the Rabbit Ears rappel approach.
- Bolts were added at one belay, with permission from Morris.
- Austin-Cantwell - 5.11 (15p)
- FA - Dave Austin, Chris Cantwell, 6/81
- on East Face of Mt. Watkins/Yasoo Dome, below start of Golden Dawn
- p2 crux face climbing, reaching 3rd bolt
- could be linked with Escape From Freedom for 33p
- could be linked with Golden Dawn for 24p
- The Chief - 5.12b *** (15p: 4 5.11, 1 5.12)
- FFA - Al Swanson, Ben and Bernie from the deli, 2 days
- FA - Al Swanson, Arthur James Foley III, Brian Warshaw, 8/92
(with 10' of aid)
- 2nd 99% FA - Al Swanson, Jimmy Hayden, in a day
- 3rd 99% FA - Peter Coward, Greg Murphy, 6/99, in a day
East Quarter Dome
- Pegasus - 5.12 ** (17p: 1 5.11, 1 5.12)
- photo overlay
- FFA - Max Jones, Mark Hudon, 1979
- p1-p4 are currently strewn with loose rock, due to a rockfall
in July 1997.
- p11 is runout because Hudon and Jones brought no bolt kit with them.
A person later died on this pitch, when he did the mantle
but then fell over backwards.
- style: after climbing a few pitches, Mark and Max bivvied at the
base and then climbed to the top in a day (their first time on the
route). All the pitches were freed onsight.
Incidentally, the next day, they did a "free as can be"
(and first time) ascent of the NW Face of Half Dome,
using about 10 points of aid.
Bill Wright's Quarter Dome is Full Adventure trip report.
In his report, Bill speculates that several sections of the route
may not have been freed, including the jump from the All Time
Finger Crack. He describes this as a 10' gap. In June 2006,
I did a rappel recon of the route, and found the gap is really only
5.5' (I can bridge across it with my legs). So I have no doubts that
the route was freed by Mark and Max. See my
- Arcturus - 5.13c (22p: 7-9 5.12, 1 5.12+/5.13-, 2 5.13)
- FFA - Mike Anderson, Rob Pizem, 2007
- hoping to have a topo for this soon. In the meantime, here
are some nice pitch-by-pitch descriptions from Rob, off the top of
- p1 5.12- 100 feet right of Regular Route, ledge anchor
- p2 5.11- up thin crack to easier terrain
- p3 5.11- or 10+ up wider easy crack traverse left at top through face to corner and anchor
- p4 5.11 long starts thin then perfect hands and wider forever!
- p5 5.12- follow a bolt or two up perfect short corner to traverse inside massive chimney to ledge belay (no bolt anchor)
- p6 5.12- climb up chimney out roof to right and up 20-30 feet to belay
- p7 5.11 up corner to bolts
- p8 climb up ledges to do 4 pitch variation of Regular Route or the 1 pitch variation to Regular Route. your choice
- p9 start on Regular Route's 5.11 pins in corner and continue up through 5.13 arete crux
- p10 5.11+/12- perfect corner
- p11 5.12- corner through roof
- p12 11+/12- left leaning overhanging hand crack
- p13 5.12 crack and face (2 bolts) up the Robbins Rod
- p14 5.10 offwidth corner with bolt
- p15 5.13c/d out easy roof (don't protect - you'll lose gear when you fall), back clean roof part, crux left leaning corner
- p16 5.12- corner pin and bolt
- p17 5.12 face climb out right from anchor (don't worry - there is natural gear) ends after super thin traverse with bolts (traverse is crux)
- p18 5.12+/13- bolted pitch, traverses right, ends after slab
- p19 5.8 finish on Regular Route to summit
- Rock & Ice #165
- Regular NW Face - 5.12 *** (24p: 6 5.10, 5 5.11, 1 5.12)
- FFA - Leonard Coyne, Dennis Jackson, Doug Lorrimer, 5/1979
- Used a low left traverse to avoid the final A3 pitch.
- Climbed over 3 days.
- Coyne's 3rd time on the climb.
- Mountain 60
- variation to Robbins Traverse freed - 5.12c / hard slab, 2007?
"From the normal anchor there head left into a corner
[with some bolts], then traverse back right across the face
[bolts and pins].
The crux is a campus-y type traverse across a
thin dike. It's awesome." Bolted by Matt Wilder.
[from a post on supertopo.com]
- HuberHedral free variation, Alex Huber, Scott Franklin, 2002
- bolted variation right of final old A3 pitch added by Todd Skinner, 1992,
while working on the Direct NW Face
- near FFA - Jim Erickson, Art Higbee, 1976
- established free variations, and freed the Zigzags
- were stopped by the final A3 pitch
- efforts over several years
- Mountain 51
- Erickson went back later (1977?) and toproped the last
pitch free. Maybe via the traverse variation.
- Direct NW Face - 5.13c/d ** (23p: 7 5.11, 3 5.12, 4 5.13)
- FFA - Todd Skinner, et al, 1992
- First 12 pitches redpointed over 55 days and fixed,
by Skinner, Paul Piana, Nancy Feagin, Scott Franklin,
and Steve Schneider.
- Final 12 pitches redpointed over a 2 day push, by
Skinner, Steve Bechtel, and Chris Oates.
- Skinner redpointed all the 5.12 and 5.13 pitches, and
led or followed the remainder free.
- Total days of work: 61
- Climbing #140
- 2nd FA - Tommy Caldwell, 10/07
- linked pitches 3 and 4, for a 150' 5.14a 88-degree slab crux
- fell twice on this crux pitch, before taking almost an hour to
- a pitch above the crux was grassy and dirty with bad gear
- 24 hour push
- belayed by Beth Rodden
- preparation: spent 2 days working the crux; had not been above
pitch 4 previously
- Rock & Ice #165
- Dreamscape - 5.11+ ** (10p: 4 5.11)
- FA - Scott Burk, Tory Elbrader, Jeff Folett, 5/88
- The Fast Lane - 5.11+ ** (12p: 1 5.11)
- FA - Dimitri Barton, Scott Burk, Chris Hash, 6/86
- shares crux with Autobahn
- Autobahn - 5.11+ ** (12p: 1 5.11)
- FA - Charles Cole, Rusty Reno, John Middendorf, 4/85
- bad bolts; need replacing
- Growing Up - 5.13a A0 (21p: 7 5.11, 7 5.12, 1 5.13,
60' bolt ladder, tension traverse, 97% free)
photo overlay of Lost Again, Growing Up, South Face, Southern Belle
- FA - Sean Jones, Sarah Watson, 7/07
- up largest left-facing arch (South Face route goes up next crack
system to the right) to 1000' upper slab
- arch established on lead by Sean Jones, Sarah Watson and Ben Montoya;
free efforts were stopped by a smooth headwall, and they left
fixed lines in place while they considered options for finishing
- upper slab was rap bolted by Sean Jones and Doug Robinson
- upper slab was redpointed by Sean Jones and Sarah Watson after
ascending the fixed lines
- Rock & Ice #165
- 2nd A of arch & traverse - Chad Suchoski, Mike Cane?, 3/09
- Southern Belle - 5.12d / 5.11 X *** (14p: 6 5.11, 4 5.12)
- FA of pitches 1-3, with some hangs (only one set of cams!) -
John Bachar, Rick Cashner?, 1986
- FA - Dave Schultz, Walt Shipley, spring/86
- used some aid on a few pitches
- FFA - Dave Schultz, Scott Cosgrove, 7/88
- 7 days, spread over 3 weekends
- fixed ropes on p1-p6, then one more day to the top
- Schultz did some bolt replacement prior to the FFA
- Climbing #110   online version
full story by Scott Cosgrove
- 2nd FA - Dean Potter, Leo Houlding, 10/06
- freed in a day, on their second ground-up attempt
- (Climbing #205, in the biography of Walt Shipley, said
it has had one repeat; perhaps this meant the FFA in '88)
- Alan Lester, Hank Caylor, 7/94
Caylor broke his ankles on a 60' fall on p8
full story by Hank Caylor
- Peter Croft, Dave Schultz (two attempts, prior to 7/94)
Did not get past p5
- Climbing #147, p.66
- Karma - 5.11d A0 *? (13p: 8 5.11, 7 aid sections, 90% free)
photo overlay of Growing Up, South Face, Southern Belle, Karma
- FA - Dave Schultz, Ken Yager, Jim Campbell, 7/86
- Mahtah - 5.13a (16p: 6 5.12)
- FA - Cedar Wright, Lucho Rivera, 5/2013
- free link up of several routes
- p1-2: Original SW Face
- p3-6: Bad Moon Rising, corner pitches 5.12, 5.12+, 5.12+, 5.12+
- p7: Direct SW Face 5.12+ roof
- p8: straight left on Bad Moon Risking, Crack of God 5.11 180'
- p9-p14: Original SW Face with vars., 5.11
- p15: 5.12b slab
- p16: hard 5.8 slab
- 14 days of work
Glacier Point Apron
- Regular Mouth + Mouth to Perhaps - 5.11b (10p: 1 5.11)
- Hall of Mirrors - 5.12c *** (16p: 7 5.11, 5 5.12)
- FA - Chris Cantwell, Scott Burk, 9/80
- added the final pitches 13-16
- 5 days on continuous ascent
- a couple of short sections of p13 were toproped,
instead of led. In these sections, the bolts were placed as
aid ladders, then the leader lowered to free the moves,
but left the rope clipped in from the aid high point.
- 2nd FA - Jonny Woodward, John Bercaw, 10/92
- 1 day on continuous ascent
- Preparation (10/92): 2 days, mostly for bolt replacement (p13-16)
- Preparation (5/92): 4 days, including establishing
the "Springtime Dry Variation", Jonny Woodward and Darrell Hensel.
- 3rd FA - Alex Honnold, 10/2011
- 1 day on continuous ascent
- all onsited except Unfinished Ninth
- Preparation (a few days before): climbed to pitch 9.
- partner (jumared): Stacey
- crux protection bolt on Steel Wall missing (very runout there)
- bolt conditions and some details
- Note: all old and missing bolts replaced, 10/2011, 6/2012
- Method and Madness - Evolution of Yosemite Face-Climbing Standards,
American Alpine Journal, 1982, by Bruce Morris
- Hall of Mirrors,
Mountain 69, by Bruce Morris
- Smoke and Mirrors, Climbing #141, 1993,
by Jonny Woodward
Early pitches freed
- p9-12, started p13 - 5.12c - Chris Cantwell, Scott Cole, 1979
- p3-8.5 - 5.12b - Dave Austin, Chris Cantwell, Bruce Morris, 1978
- p1-2 - 5.11a - Mark Wilford, 1975
- Galactic Hitchhiker - 5.11b ** (39p: 1 5.11)
- FA - Lou Renner, Matt Brooks, 10/95
- FFA, 2nd Ascent - Karl Bralich, Mark Albosta, 8/97
- 3rd? Ascent - Karl Bralich, David Andersen, 8/99
- 4th? Ascent - Theresa Ho, Tom Lambert, 6/03
- 5th? Ascent - Tom McMillan, Ken Zemach, 6/07 (10 hours)
- Psychedelic Wall - 5.12c (11p: 1+ 5.11, 3+ 5.12)
- FFA - Cedar Wright, Jake Whittaker, 7/14/2002
- 2nd? FA (onsight) - Yuji Hirayama, 9/2003
- Has a burly 5.11+ offwidth/roof pitch, and several 5.12
face pitches. The route is in the vicinity of the Psychedelic
Wall; may not follow its original pitches.
- Several R rated pitches, including some 5.11 R.
- "the crux ... was the 5.11d, one pitch below the top."
- Climbing #216, #219 (rated 5.12d)
- www.climbing.com climbing news 9/26/03 (rated 5.12c)
- Medicine Wall, aka Uncertainty Principle - 5.13a (13p)
- FA - Cedar Wright, Jose Pereya, 2002
- 2nd? FA (onsight) - Yuji Hirayama, 9/2003
- Alpinist 2,
Spring/2003, article by Cedar Wright, cover photo
- Direct North Face - 5.12a *? (11p: 6 5.11, 2 5.12)
- FFA - Kevin Thaw, Adam Wainwright, 10/94
- Note: serious topo error on p9. A full 60m rope may reach.
Watch for rope drag.
- Climbing #150
- Chouinard-Herbert - 5.11c ** (15p: 3 5.11)
- FFA - John Long, Pete Minks, Eric Erickson, 1976
- story in Yosemite Climber
- West Face - 5.12b A0 ** (11p: 1 5.11, 1 5.12, 1-2 aid moves, 99% free)
- 99% FA - John Bachar, Mike Lechlinski, 1983
- using original undercling
- six aid moves in corner above
- 99% FA - Jonny Woodward, Scott Cosgrove, 1993
- added second bolt to variation which avoids undercling and corner
- one aid move at bolt
- How the West Was Won - 5.12b *? (16p: 3 5.11, 1 5.12)
- In Cold Blood / West Face
- FA - Scott Cosgrove, Bob Gaines, 7/95
- Climbing #156
Higher Cathedral Spire
- The High Life (free var.) - 5.11d or 5.10 (10?p)
- FA(original) - Brian Kay, Josh Thompson, Jamie Mundo, 4/2003
- FFA(free var.) - Rob Miller, Jay Selvidge, 6/2003
- goes through the middle of a large copper stain
- continuous 5.10 climbing from north toe of the spire
- crux is a 5.11d horizontal hand crack near the top, which can
be avoided at 5.10 on some poor rock
Higher Cathedral Rock
- Gravity Ceiling - 5.12c (10?p)
- This is the large roof above the main corner of the Northeast Buttress.
- FA - Cedar Wright, 2002? or fall 2001?
- style: preplaced gear on roof
- 2nd FA - Rob Miller, 5/2004
- style: redpoint
- first complete ascent of the entire route from the ground
- partner: Mike Anderson, who freed all pitches except for 2
hangs on the roof
- preparation (Miller): one attempt a week earlier with
Chris Van Leuven. Van Leuven flashed the roof on toprope.
- Gemini - IV 5.12b (10?p)
- FA - Rob Miller, Lucho Rivera, 5/2003
- established over 9 days, with no fixed ropes - rapped at the
end of each day down Mary's Tears.
- on 9th day, Miller redpointed all pitches
- not sure where this is relative to the Gravity Ceiling and its
associated entire route
- The Crucifix (via Mary's Tears) - 5.12b *** (9p-11p: 2 "5.10",
4-5 5.11, 1 5.12)
- FFA - Peter Croft, et al, 1985 (freed 4 aid moves at start)
- 2nd? FA - Simon Parsons, John Fantini, 5/86
I climbed Mary's Tears and the Crucifix free in May 1986 with
John Fantini. I lead the crux 12b undercling second try, yoyo
(as was the style of the day). John had to lower off one of the
"5.10" OW pitches to retrieve one of our only 2 large cams
(No4 Friend was largest then), the other was probably in the belay
(we climbed then with doubles but no 1/2 sizes). Otherwise we had
no falls and each of us seconded free.
- nearly Free Ascent - 5.11d A1, Max Jones, Mark Hudon, fall 1979
- freed last 60' of aid on 2 upper pitches
- 4 aid moves at start remained; they did not think of freeing
them at the time.
- AAJ '81
- First Ascent (Mary's Tears) - 5.11b - Bill Price, Mike Borris, 1977 or
1979 (not in 1980; it was prior to fall 1979)
- First Ascent (Crucifix) - "5.10+" A1 - Jim Bridwell, Kevin Worrall, 1973
- all but 60' freed, on 3 pitches
- trip report - find out why those
"5.10" pitches shouldn't be taken lightly!
- At some point after 1995, a bolt was added to each of the belays.
This has changed the nature of the climb somewhat.
Prior to this, large (heavy) cams had to be saved on the rack
to make the belay anchors. Now it can be done with a lighter rack,
and retreat may even be feasible without leaving behind much gear.
- Power Point - 5.11c ** (11p: 4 5.11)
- FFA - Werner Braun, Scott Cosgrove, 4/86
- The Affliction - 5.11d A0 ** (11p: 7 5.11, 1 tension traverse, 99% free)
- FA - Walt Shipley, Scott Cosgrove, 7/90
- Loose and dirty. Might clean up one day into a good climb.
Middle Cathedral Rock
- Left Rabbit Ear + Turret 5.11 (12p: 2 5.11)
- FFA Left Rabbit Ear - Clint Cummins, Joel Ager, 5/89
- FFA Turret - Jim Donini, John Bragg, 1973
- Loose and dirty.
- Father Time - 5.13b (16p: 3 5.13, 3+ 5.12)
- 60 days of effort over 2 years, 113x, 2200'
- bolts drilled by hand, ground up, 1/4" then replaced with 3/8"
- 9 days on final push by Schaefer and Lucas, Schaefer redpointed every pitch
- 10 pitches to headwall, including some 5.12
- p11: V7/V8 boulder problem
- p12: 5.13 lieback, "Athletic 5.12c"
- p13: 5.13 lieback, "Index Corner"
- p14-15: 5.12
- p16: 5.9
- FA - Mikey Schaefer, James Lucas, Kate Rutherford, John Dickey, Sean Leary, Jeff Johnson, Josh Huckaby, 10/18/2012
story by James Lucas and Mikey Schaefer
- 2nd FA - Alex Honnold, supported by Stacey Pearson, 10/21/2012
- attempted FA - Tommy Caldwell, Jonathan Siegrist, 10/19/2012
Tommy redpointed to p13, and Jonathan did not redpoint that pitch;
- Mother Earth (to Gunsight) - 5.11c ** (11p: 1 5.11)
- FA - George Meyers, John Long, Kevin Worrall, Mark Chapman, 1975
- Smith-Crawford - 5.11d ** (12p: 4 5.11)
- FA - Jay Smith, Paul Crawford, 9/84
- Border Country - 5.12 (11p: 2 5.12, 2 5.11)
- FA - Mikey Schaefer, Dana Drummond, Jeremy Collins, 9/09
- Final Frontier - 5.13b, 9p
- FA - Dan McDevitt, Sue McDevitt, Penny Black, Brittany Griffith, 1999
- FFA - Nik Berry, James Lucas, 4/2013
- Romulan Freebird - 5.12c (10p: 4 5.11, 3 5.12)
- FA(w/ some aid) - Dan McDevitt, 1999 [original name: Romulan Warbird]
- FFA - Lucho Rivera, Spring 2012
prep: 2 weeks of work spread over 5 months
- 2nd FA - Alex Honnold, 10/2012
Sean Leary climbed with Alex and fell on the first and 7th pitches
- Vortex - 5.12 *? (10p: 4 5.11, 2 5.12)
- FFA - Chick Holtkamp, Eric Zschiesche, 5/82
- Wind Chill - 5.11 *? (10p: 1 5.11)
- FA - Greg Murphy, Elliott Robinson, 5/90
- The 5.11 can be avoided with a different start, so this
route is also in the moderate list.
A few 8- and 9-pitch routes that nearly make it to this list:
- Hotline + Elephant Man - 5.12a (12p)
- FA - Cedar Wright, Renan Ozturk, fall 2001 or 2002 or fall 2004
- 6 new pitches on Elephant Man
- first pitch off Worst Error is a ground up bolted face, and can
be done without having to go to the top of Elephant Rock
- Ribbon Falls, Thin Line - 5.11c R ** (9p: 4 5.11)
- FFA - Werner Braun, Scott Cosgrove, 10/86
- Geek Towers, Freestone - 5.11b ** (8p: 3 5.11)
- FA - Jim Bridwell, Ron Kauk, Dale Bard, 10/74
A piton was used to widen a thin crack slightly on this route.
- Lower Cathedral Rock, Beggar's Buttress - 5.11c ** (9p: 2-3 5.11)
- FA - Kevin Worrall, Mark Chapman, 5/76
- The Rostrum, Regular North Face - 5.11c *** (9p: 2 5.11, using
Blind Faith finish; 5.12 or 5.13 for original finishing pitches)
- FFA (using Blind Faith finish) - Ron Kauk, John Yablonsky, 1977
- FFA (original 2nd-to-last pitch - The Excellent Adventure) -
Peter Croft, 1990s
- FFA (final pitch) - Ray Jardine, 1977
2nd FA of final pitch - Mark Hudon, Max Jones, ~1979.
They also attempted a FFA of the entire route, using
the original final pitch, but failed on this pitch.
- The Rostrum, Mad Pilot + Blind Faith - 5.11c ***
(10p: 5 5.11)
- FA(Mad Pilot) - Rob Rohn, Peter Croft, 5/81
- FA(Blind Faith) - Dale Bard, Ron Kauk, 10/75
Thanks to Jim Herson, James Lucas, Jeff Schoen and Mark Hudon for
providing many details
and corrections to this material. Some historical material was
drawn from the "Climbing History" section of the 1987 "Yosemite Climbs"
guidebook by George Meyers and Don Reid.
The title of this page was copied from Mark Hudon's 1981 article
Long, Hard and Free.
Any remaining errors (including interpretations) are my responsibility,
of course. For example, the term "free ascent" has perhaps been rendered
meaningless. I intended it to mean anything where the (non-fixed)
protection was placed free on lead, but the pitch was at least led
"yoyo from no hands rests". Of course "yoyo from the belay", "pinkpoint",
"redpoint", "flash", and "onsight" are increasingly better styles.
By this definition, Burk's ascent of the Nose is not counted
as a "free ascent", because the Great Roof was toproped.
However the first ascent of Hall of Mirrors by Cantwell and Burk
was counted as a "free ascent" even though some sections of p13
were toproped (clipped on aid, then freed). Then there are the
routes like the mid 90s ascents of Lurking Fear, Excalibur, and
Muir/Shaft where gear was
preplaced on aid. No doubt this was due to the many very hard pitches,
to cut down on the time required, to keep things fun and
logistically feasible. On the borderline are tactics like splitting
pitches or using variations to avoid certain pitches/sections.
Hopefully by providing the details, not much value needs to be
placed on my usage of "free ascent" -- you can draw your own conclusions.
Or better yet, go out and have fun climbing!
Please send any comments or corrections to Clint Cummins: