The Southwest Face
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BETA PHOTO: The lower pitches of the Southwest Face route.
The first modern climbing route on Half Dome, and the first grade V in Yosemite.
Freed in about 1964 by Sacherer, Kamps, and Lichtman, this climb was popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but fell out of favor with the rise of clean climbing. With recent advances in clean gear, the protection is again reasonable (G to PG) with the exception of the belay stations.
The topo and photo in Reid are excellent.
About 400 feet to the left of "Snake Dike", and just left of "Blondike."
Standard rack to 4", plus extra micro nuts and micro cams.
Stephen Schmid & Andy Davis tearing down the third...
Andy with a grin. (2004)
|Comments on The Southwest Face
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 20, 2008
Thanks for adding this, Doug! A friend of mine has an epic story of climbing this with a beginner. Something about marginal anchors and lots of hanging on the rope.
"the protection is ... reasonable ... with the exception of the belay stations."
This doesn't sound too good ... is there any way to split up the piches so the anchors are better?
|By Christian "crisco" Burrell|
From: PG, Utah
Jan 24, 2009
Any possibility of putting in some good belay anchors for this sucker? It would be a fantastic historical climb.
|By Doug Hemken|
Jan 26, 2009
It would take two bolts, one at the belay on top of p2, the other at the belay at the top of p4 (and link p3 & p4). You would need to pull the bolts that are already there.
I've been thinking about the question of alternate belays, because it would be cool to have a totally clean route on Half Dome. If you stopped p2 before the traverse out of the dihedral, you could possibly build a hanging belay from good gear. And if you then climbed to the foot of the crux (partway through p4), there would be a ton of gear there. Might be worth the somewhat cramped stances to have the route go completely on clean gear ... never heard of anyone doing it that way!