The Yellow Wall
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Some claim that The Yellow Wall is the best climb in the Gunks regardless of grade. I'm inclined to agree. It is awesome.
The Yellow Wall area is just right of Bonnie's Roof, and is easily identified as a towering, yellow, tidal wave of rock. The climb begins from a large pile of boulders (these boulders are about 100' right of Silly Chimney) - you can scramble to the top of these from either side and there's a nice belay area there.
The route was originally done in three pitches, but is best done as two, and if done in one, is absolutely amazing (as long as you're very careful about rope drag).
P1: Start up a right-facing corner, step around the corner to the left, and face climb up to a stance at a pin and horizontal. Belay here, or, if you were able to run it out to this point without gear, continue on. 60', traditionally rated 5.8 but I think it's more like 5.6.
P2: Climb up off the belay (PG) to a fixed pin which can be backed up with a wire. Step left and pull a roof at a modern bolt (put an extra long runner on this bolt or you will experience lots of rope drag, or, consider skipping it (dangerous), or back-cleaning it. Face climb back right to a second bolt under the "Mummy Roof" -- so named because it resembles a sarcophagus from below. Place the #3 Camalot and pull this roof (5.11c crux, with perfect beta it may feel easier, without the beta it may feel impossible). Climb up and left (PG) to a possible belay in the Mummy Cave. This was the original belay when done as three pitches, but do NOT belay here - if you blow the second crux you will factor 2 on the anchor. Place gear and reach up to a hollow flake (please consider not placing pro here - the flake is a crucial hold and has already broken once) over the roof, lieback and step up to a stance in the corner. Have your partner give you a bunch of slack here so if you fall you will drop into space below the Mummy Roof. This is rated 11b or c, but is probably 11-/10+. Climb delicately up the corner (PG13) to a crucial Yellow Alien/0.5 Camalot placement. Turn the arete to the right, and hand traverse 25-30' on easier climbing to a great belay stance (natural gear) at the top of the wall.
It's worthwhile to note that if the second falls off of this climb at certain points, it will be impossible to get back on (the falls are safe for the second, however). Additionally, if the second falls at the crux, the rope can be abraded by dragging across the lip of the roof.
Descend from a rap station 100' climber's left from the top out. Two 35-meter raps (a 60m involves some downclimbing); or use the old school descent, the chimney just left of the route (Silly Chimney).
Standard Rack. There are two bolts and a few manky fixed pins on the climb, but bring a light rack. Include a #3 Camalot (crucial crux pro).
BETA PHOTO: The Yellow Wall from the Bonnie's Roof area. Silly...
1975, grabbing the ear of the Mummy. Bob Richardso...
Pulling over the mummy roof on The Yellow Wall
Hanging from Yellow Wall
|Comments on The Yellow Wall
|By Ron Olsen|
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 21, 2006
Josh - Great description of The Yellow Wall; thanks for adding it!
|By John Peterson|
Feb 21, 2006
The old school descent is the chimney just left of the route (Silly Chimney). It's really quite reasonable - a lot less scary than it looks.
|By Ivan Rezucha|
From: Fort Collins, CO
Feb 22, 2006
The original free route went left from the optional belay and then straight up a vertical face with no pro with the 10a (or so) crux at the end of a 20' runout--facing a factor-2 fall onto the hanging belay (actually, you can place gear a few feet directly left of the belay and then do the runout, so it's a touch less than a factor two). The first time I did this, I bought a new rope and saved it for months for this runout. Once I got to the 10a crux and had to downclimb back to the belay. Getting to the hanging belay was a problem for the second since the piece you placed to keep the second from swinging left almost always pulled.
The route above the Mummy as described by Josh used to have a fixed sling on a flake at the second crux. This kept the second from swinging too far out into space. Some second ripped most of that flake off.
Kevin Bein and others once TR'd the Mummy from the very top from the farthest out point. The point being to take the biggest possible swing in the Gunks. And they did.
|By Jay Knower|
From: Plymouth, NH
Jan 30, 2008
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a PG13
This is one of the best climbs I have ever done, regardless or grade or area. The pro seemed adequate and the moves on the crux are such that you just have to go for it. For me, the crux section required total commitment. It's a special feeling to be trying hard in such an exposed and dramatic position.
From: Morrison, CO
Jun 14, 2009
rating: 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a PG13
This route was not at all what I expected. It looks sustained & pumpy, but is actually two very hard (for the grade) boulder problems split by great rests & easy (for the grade) climbing. Shorter folks will find the 2nd crux (the one with the flake) significantly harder than the first, as it's not possible to reach the flake from under the roof.
Unfortunately the gang-bang top-rope ethic has hit this route as well. Some good samaritan might want to bring a hammer to remove the fixed pins in the Mummy Cave and liberate this thing!