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Sespe Gorge (Black Wall)
Routes Sorted
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Bee Line T 
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Chips Block T 
Edge of Night T 
Ending Crack T 
Glory Days S 
Half Ascent T 
Pipe Cleaner T 
Roadside Cracks T 
Tree Root T 
Wasp/The Sting, The T 
White Spider, The T 

Half Ascent 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b R

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 220'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Chip Carron & Friend (1967)
Season: Spring/Fall
Page Views: 759
Submitted By: John Knight on Nov 22, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
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Kathy Boussina belays her son Aaron up Half Ascent...

Description 

In my opinion, Half Ascent is the best route on the left side of the cable platform. It's rating is somewhere around 5.5/5.6 and it's currently a bit runout. There are 2 existing bolts (circa 1970) but one of the hangers is missing. If the bolts were replaced, I'd give it a 5.6 PG Rating. Begin directly below the tree and the corner of the big overhang. Look for the clean rock and the rusty, old 1/4" bolt (w/Leeper Hanger). Head straight up toward the sharp(!), yucca thing, then work your way left till you get to the belay tree. Rap here (off 2 ropes) or work your way up and left.


Photos of Half Ascent Slideshow Add Photo
I give Half Ascent a 5.5/5.6R rating. If the 2 existing bolts were replaced it would go to PG. The 2 bolts are found about 20' to 30' up (1/2 way to the overhang). Even though it's runout, the rock is solid and the protection is there if you look for it. Besides, it's only 5.5/5.6 and you'd have to actually pass out to fall off it.
BETA PHOTO: I give Half Ascent a 5.5/5.6R rating. If the 2 exi...
The line of red dots is a reasonably protected lead.  I believe this to be "Half Ascent." <br /> <br />The line of orange dots is a run-out face climb past a sketchy bolt on licheny rock.  I believe this might be "McTavish."
BETA PHOTO: The line of red dots is a reasonably protected lea...
Carolyn nears the top of pitch-1 of Half Ascent, on the Black Wall of Sespe Gorge.
Carolyn nears the top of pitch-1 of Half Ascent, o...

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By Matthew Fienup
Administrator
From: Ventura, CA
May 28, 2008

Half Ascent is 120 feet tall (to the rappel tree) and requires 2 ropes to descend.

There is a variation of Half Ascent that is quite well protected. It climbs intermittent cracks to the left of the aging bolt mentioned in the route description. In addition to reasonable pro, this variation has much cleaner rock than the variation that passes the aging bolt. It also feels closer to 5.5. For a topo, click here

Could this be the original line? Could the two additional bolts mentioned in the route description be "McTavish" (5.6), climbed by Yvon Chouinard &Bob McTavish in the 70s?
By John Knight
Apr 1, 2010

I climbed Pitch 2 of Half Ascent the other day. I climbed from the 1st tree to the 2nd tree and tried to stay left of the broken, rocky stuff. I think I would rate it 5.5"S". I added the "S" for Scary. Loose rock, sand, thick lichen, runouts, and marginal protection make is a challenging lead for a beginning leader. Save yourself the trouble and rap after the 1st pitch.

The first pitch is really cool so don't miss it. It's clean and protects reasonably well. I would rate the lower pitch as 5.6PG. It makes for a fun lead. Don't ruin your fun by heading up to the 2nd pitch.

John
By Richard Shore
Jun 29, 2011

Did this route a few years ago, and also suggest rapping after the first pitch. P2 seemed like 4th class dirt scrambling through a vertical forest of manzanita, complete with bee's nest, and the walk-off down the loose talus slope on the backside wasn't very pleasant either.

Maybe there is a good reason this route is called "Half" Ascent. It was put up in an era when attaining the top or summit was the ultimate goal, and I think it truly ends at the first tree.