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One Hand Clapping 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 4 pitches, 500'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Peter Hann - 1972
Page Views: 10,514
Submitted By: Paul Rezucha on Jun 25, 2005

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Sallie at the top of the first pitch.
Raptor Nesting MORE INFO >>>


One Hand Clapping starts on a ledge on the main Black Wall face below an obvious tall, twin crack system slanting right. Climb the twin cracks requiring good hand jamming techniques (5.8) and continue up to a belay with bolted anchors. Climb the steep, thin crack above to a slab. Continue up and left (a little runout here) and continue up and left through a steep, weird, intimidating, slanting left flaring corner. Getting around the end of the corner, over the bulge, and onto the face is the 5.9 crux. From here you can continue up and left on easier face climbing to the large Lizard ledge. A fun alternative is to step right to a cool, small, exposed ledge and belay. We had 4 people on this ledge which was very cozy indeed! Climb straight up on a fairly difficult crack/slab to Lizard ledge. The final, long 5.6 pitch has a surprising, tricky section about 50' up. This is a must do climb! Lots of good solid fun climbing! I would say though that the leader should be a very solid 5.9/5.10 climber as there are sections that are strenous, tricky, and a little difficult to properly protect!


This route is fairly well protected using a standard rack. Belays have adequate anchors and/or placements. The second pitch is a bit runout on the face after the short thin crack. It's not too difficult but care should be taken.

Photos of One Hand Clapping Slideshow Add Photo
Naoko working up the crack on the first pitch.
Naoko working up the crack on the first pitch.
A shot at the left slanting flared corner on pitch two. Doesn't look too bad but it's an intimidating place to be and the 5.9 crux is exiting the corner at it's end.
A shot at the left slanting flared corner on pitch...
First part (thin crack) of P2, photo by Mike Henderson
First part (thin crack) of P2, photo by Mike Hende...
Paul on pitch one approaching the 5.8 steep hand jamming section.
Paul on pitch one approaching the 5.8 steep hand j...
Naoko just starting the first pitch crux section.
Naoko just starting the first pitch crux section.
Two happy campers now that they've topped out the route!
Two happy campers now that they've topped out the ...
Photo shows belays with the optional belay near the end of pitch two.  You could belay here anyways and still climb up and left to Lizard Ledge on easier ground.
Photo shows belays with the optional belay near th...
Aerili warming up on One Hand Clapping. <br /> <br />May 2012 <br />Photo by Trent
Aerili warming up on One Hand Clapping.

May 2012
Comments on One Hand Clapping Add Comment
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By John Korfmacher
From: Fort Collins, CO
Dec 15, 2005
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

NOBODY has posted yet on this route?! That's amazing. I am honored to be the first sprayer. I first climbed (rather, I was hauled up) this route with Catherine Davis in 1998. I was a newbie at the time and swore if I could ever lead the crux, I would consider myself a real climber. I have climbed it numerous times since, mostly with Mike Henderson of Reno. I finally led it in 2001. We like the route so much we call ourselves the One Hand Clapping Climbing Club. If you only climb one route on Donner, do this one.

P1 is the coolest 5.8 crack you will ever climb. Be sparing with pro early on the first pitch, as it's easy to run out of #2-#3 Camalot size stuff toward the top. Save your #10 stopper for the bottom of the double crack system. Fun fun fun pitch.

P2 (crux) pitch is strenuous and scary, although the protection is very good. The reason for the name of the route will become obvious about halfway up. Stay on the 5.9 ground or prepare to pay the penalty; a friend of mine got off route, broke his ankle, and climbed no higher than the edge of his couch for the rest of the season. This pitch feels harder than it really is, and will raise the heart rate of even experienced leaders.

P3 is fairly easy, but fun also. Descend and treat yourself to Tacos Jalisco.

By 426
Mar 6, 2007

Super route. You can rap down to the anchors of Firecracker from the top of the second to get off easily...

By Aerili
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jun 21, 2009
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

For pitch 1, take doubles of #2 and #3 Cams. You may be tempted to use a couple of em on the initial easy but long rampy start, but try to hold back and save them for that steep headwall up higher and the finishing run toward the anchors (which is easy climbing but slightly least one #3 will probably be wanted there). Smaller pro can be found to the left of the 2-3" crack on the start.

By Sam Prentice
Aug 2, 2010

Agreed as above, P1 is among the best 5.8 crack pitches you'll ever climb. It can be rapped with two ropes.

By Scott T
From: Alpine Meadows, CA
May 6, 2011

I had nasty rope drag extending P2 to Lizard Ledge. Highly recommend the ledge belay just after the crux. Your experience may vary, though!

If just doing P2 then rapping off, I'd suggest shedding some weight and leaving a bunch of cams at the chains atop P1. I used 1 #2 Camalot, and doubles smallest cam to .5 Camalot on P2. No need for doubles of 1, 2, and 3 Camalots...which sure are handy on P1:)

From: Santa Monica, Ca.
Jul 5, 2011

Was just reading a thread over on Supertopo that said the FA was Peter Haan - 1972.

edit: oops! I guess it was Peter Haan, but not THE Peter Haan of Yosemite fame, from the horses mouth.

By Evan Riley
From: San Francisco, CA
Jul 20, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a

Topped out in 2 70m pitches. Not quite rope stretches. For P1 belay above the slab below that weird corner crux thing. P2 goes all the way to the rap rings on the summit. When climbing P2 use double length runners (or 2 single length slings) on your pieces through the crux and it will go clean with little rope drag. We walked off. Would love some descent beta, the Manzanita thrash on the way down was hilarious.