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Lurking Fear 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b C2

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, 19 pitches, 2000', Grade VI
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b C2 [details]
FA: Dave Bircheff, Phil Bircheff, and Jim Pettigrew, 1976 FFA: Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, 6/2000
Page Views: 19,414
Submitted By: Michael Schneiter on Feb 21, 2008

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The airy pitch 7 traverse. Ryan M staying cool.

Description 

Lurking Fear is the easiest aid climb on El Capitan. The aid is straight forward and the free climbing is excellent. The entire free climb checks in at 5.13c (FFA: Tommy Caldwell and Beth Rodden). Despite the moderate grade of this route, it doesn't see nearly as much traffic as The Nose or The Salathe. There is a fair amount of terrain that can be free climbed at a moderate grade and the aid on terrain harder than that tends to be mostly C1. The vast majority of the route seemed to haul easily. The SuperTopo warns about bad hauling on the upper pitches but we didn't find anything overly difficult or frustrating. There are few, good natural ledges on this route for bivying, besides Thanksgiving Ledge. The top of the route features seemingly endless slabs hence it is also popular to rap the route. This route is a good candidate for wall climbers looking for their first El Cap route. It would be difficult to give pitch-by-pitch beta so consult a topo such as the Yosemite Super Topo book.


Location 

Lurking Fear is on the far left side of El Capitan. Hike to the base of the wall, as you would for the Nose, and then skirt the base of the wall, hiking up the long slope beneath the face. The approach feels long, particularly when carrying a haul bag and comparing it to the Nose. It makes you realize how big El Cap is, as you traverse underneath a lot of rock on your way to Lurking Fear. There is a few hundred feet of 3rd and 4th class ledges to negotiate, shortly before the start of the route. It is probably advisable to haul bags or fix lines on some of these sections. The start of the route is about 100 feet from the corner of the buttress and starts in a left-facing corner.


Protection 

Double set of nuts, including small nuts. Triple set of cams up to red Camalot and double set of cams to old #4.5 Camalot. A selection of basic hooks, cam hooks and rivet hangers. Can also bring few heads in case any are missing.



Photos of Lurking Fear Slideshow Add Photo
Phil Bircheff leading on the first Ascent of Lurking Fear, 1976
Phil Bircheff leading on the first Ascent of Lurki...
Below the airy pitch 12 roof
Below the airy pitch 12 roof
Bivying on top of pitch 9, party pig in tow.
Bivying on top of pitch 9, party pig in tow.
Another beautiful splitter half way up Lurking Fear
Another beautiful splitter half way up Lurking Fea...
Pitch 7 of Lurking Fear. A fun, airy and exposed pitch.
Pitch 7 of Lurking Fear. A fun, airy and exposed p...
Pitch 12 of Lurking Fear. One of my favorite pitches on the route.
Pitch 12 of Lurking Fear. One of my favorite pitch...
Start of pitch 4
Start of pitch 4
Pitch 18 on Lurking Fear.
Pitch 18 on Lurking Fear.
Ready to hike to Lurking Fear. RJ and I lost the "roshambo" and got to carry everything while the other two got to start climbing.
Ready to hike to Lurking Fear. RJ and I lost the "...
Nothing like chilling on a big wall. Pitch 2 (?) on Lurking Fear.
Nothing like chilling on a big wall. Pitch 2 (?) o...
Top out slabs.
BETA PHOTO: Top out slabs.
Pitch 15 on Lurking Fear.
Pitch 15 on Lurking Fear.
Mac lowering out on the Window Pane Flake early in the LFIAD run.  <br /> <br />Photo: Corey Gargano
Mac lowering out on the Window Pane Flake early in...
"Lost World" bivy ledge, off route, reached via a hard swing from the middle of pitch 10, or rapping down and right from the top of 11 (better option)  Comfortable for one... very tight for two
"Lost World" bivy ledge, off route, reached via a ...
Looking down at the Pillar of Despair at the top of pitch 9 - would be a very poor bivy without a ledge.
Looking down at the Pillar of Despair at the top o...
leading the eleventh pitch.
leading the eleventh pitch.
Pitch 2 (I think) of Lurking Fear.
Pitch 2 (I think) of Lurking Fear.
Pitch 19 - continue past bolted anchors to ledge up and right (gear anchor)  Endless low 5th class/4th class slabs above to reach the rim.  One of the worst pitches of hauling on the route.
Pitch 19 - continue past bolted anchors to ledge u...
The (wet) first pitch (normally) free variation.
BETA PHOTO: The (wet) first pitch (normally) free variation.
Comments on Lurking Fear Add Comment
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By nbrown
From: western NC
Aug 20, 2010

Great route! As of Aug 2010 there were no rivets without hangers, they were all bolts with hangers. Also, didn't see any real need for the fixed heads anymore; it appeared that maybe bolts had been added nearby, but who knows, maybe not. The one head we did use was at the beginning of pitch 3, but that one could probably could have been bypassed by top-stepping in the aiders. Also, much of the "hooking" mentioned on supertopo is easily avoided with a little tension traversing.

By Luke Stefurak
From: Mountain View, CA
Jul 15, 2011

If rapping the route I would suggest going from the P8 belay (at the top of the 4" OW all the way to the P6 belay. This can be done with double 60m ropes with 5-10 feet left to spare.

You will still have to swing a ways to the left but you can use all of the bolts on the P7 traverse to get you there. A touch of sideways aiding on rappel.

This also avoids the semi crappy rappel anchor at P7 (The free climbing anchor below this is good).

By Andyfin
Oct 31, 2011

Trip Report on our 2011 ascent. Trip report

By Osprey
From: ...
Jan 21, 2012

FFA: Tommy Caldwell, Beth Rodden, 6/2000

By Lucas79
From: Malden, MA
Jul 28, 2012

The topo says something about an 80' swing around the arete to reach the bivy ledge from the top of pitch 10. While I suppose you could get to the bivy ledge from the top of 10 if you HAD to....it would be a real hassle. Just plan on climbing to the top of 11 and rapping down to the ledge....save yourself some trouble.