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War of the Walls 

War of the Walls 

YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII British: E2 5b PG13

   
Type: Trad, Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Jay Smith, Jeff Altenburg, 1978.
Page Views: 6,079
Submitted By: Blitzo on May 7, 2007
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BETA PHOTO: "War of the Walls" topo.

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Description 

This climbs a line near the center of the North side of the dome.
Start from a terrace and to the left of a right facing dihedral.
Climb a 5.10a crack to a belay.
Continue up the crack (5.10b) to a belay with two Bolts. These two pitches can be combined with a 60M rope.
Move up a left leaning arch to a sling belay (5.10c).
Climb a 5.8 crack and corner to a two bolt belay.
A 5.9 corner is followed to a two bolt belay at it's end.
Climb 5.9 face past two bolts, then up and right to a third bolt and head left to a two bolt belay.
Face climb past a bolt to a left-leaning dike system. Follow this past two more bolts to a sling belay from two bolts.
Head up to a short 5.6 corner, then face climb to a two bolt belay.
Move up a right-leaning arch to where it is possible to climb up face to a 5.5 crack to a two bolt belay at the cracks end.
Class 4, leads to a two bolt belay.

Either Rappel the route (two ropes) or walk off to the right.





Location 

Head up to the right side of the face then follow a terrace to the left, to the base of the route.


Protection 

Standard rack, slings.



Photos of War of the Walls Slideshow Add Photo
Pitch 7 - Wild dykes
Pitch 7 - Wild dykes
caughtinside nears the end of the long dihedral leading to the top of the Mexican Flake. Hammer Dome and the Mokelumne in the background. 5/2013. <br /> <br />Photo: Corey Gargano
caughtinside nears the end of the long dihedral le...
Corner at the top of the Mexican Flake.
Corner at the top of the Mexican Flake.
Looking down on Pitch 6 with all the bolts clipped. None of the run outs seemed that bad, nothing you would not expect if face climbing in Yosemite or Tuolumne. <br /> <br /><ul style='margin:0 0; padding:0 0;'><li>There is a very height dependent move getting to the 3rd bolt on this pitch. You don't need to be particularly tall (maybe 5'8") to do it, but if you are too short... well my wife battened up the rope to reach the hold.</li></ul>
BETA PHOTO: Looking down on Pitch 6 with all the bolts clipped...
I think this is the top of the 2nd pitch of War of the Walls (after the traverse left under the roof and then up the crack). <br /> <br />Is this right?  We were there only one day from Utah, climbed the first three pitches of the route in this photo, and then rapped (I think we combined the first two pitches).  Can't even remember what we climbed for sure!!
I think this is the top of the 2nd pitch of War of...
Looking up at the route
Looking up at the route
Blue line is the standard 10a start. The red line is the direct, 11-, start. I can't comment on the quality of the standard start, but the direct finger crack is excellent...even the undercling at the beginning is a lot of fun. <br /> <br />Photo credit: Rick D.
BETA PHOTO: Blue line is the standard 10a start. The red line ...
The first move of the climb (10a variation)
The first move of the climb (10a variation)
Looking up at Pitch 6, the first face pitch. I've marked the location of the first bolt and the anchors. The first bolt is quite difficult to see as a bolt since it is painted to more or less match. I actually saw it pretty quick but it took some moving around to look at it from different angles to convince myself that it was a bolt and not just a piece of protruding rock. The other bolts are much easier to see from the previous bolt.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at Pitch 6, the first face pitch. I've ...
The 10c splitter.  If you start on the ramp coming from the left, it's 10a.  If start direct, it's 11a.
The 10c splitter. If you start on the ramp coming...
On Pitch 7 you move up and right past a bolt to a second then follow a pair of dikes up and left. They eventually cross a roof and a flake where there seems like there might be an anchor. The anchor is actually still 30-40' up and left along the same dike line that you had been following.
BETA PHOTO: On Pitch 7 you move up and right past a bolt to a ...
Pitch 6 - Crazy knobs
Pitch 6 - Crazy knobs
Long, fun 5.9 dihedral pitch leads to the top of the Mexican Flake. caughtinside raps off. 5/2013.  <br /> <br />Photo: Corey Gargano
Long, fun 5.9 dihedral pitch leads to the top of t...
Comments on War of the Walls Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Oct 2, 2012
By Greg S.
Sep 12, 2007

I've done quite a few multipitch trad routes and this is one of the finest at its grade. Better then Serenity Crack/ Sons of Yesterday in the Valley - this route is that good.

By Ryan Curry
Jun 7, 2008
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b

The 5.10 splitter first pitch, when linked, offers perhaps the best pure granite crack climbing at the grade in the state of California (Yosemite included). This pitch alone adds two stars to the route as a whole.

By Rick D
From: Reno, NV
Jun 10, 2009
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b

Incredible route. Only climbed to the top of Mexican Flake so can't speak for anything above that. But the 10c crack and the Mexican flake dihedrial are some of the most stellar climbing I've done. Heads up on the 10c traverse, it'll wake you up. The raps are percfectly situated, need two 60m ropes.

By Monica Jones
Jun 16, 2009

Yeah, this route is perfect. Every pitch is amazing. Good to have small hands going through the bulge at the beginning of pitch 2.

By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Nov 26, 2009
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b PG13

...that's an understatment Monica. All I get is ringlocks at that stinkin' bulge. Great route.

By slobmonster
Nov 28, 2009

I think (actually I'm pretty sure) you have the name of this route wrong. It's "Wall of the Worlds."

By Salamanizer
Administrator
From: Vacaville Ca.
Nov 29, 2009

Actually Seth, the original name was War of the Walls given by Jay Smith. You can find it's last correct printing in the Harlin guide. Only later in subsequent guides (namely the Cottrell guide) was it mis-pronounced and well received as "Wall of the Worlds". That's strait from Jay Smiths mouth.

By Peter Valchev
From: Truckee, CA
Oct 11, 2011

Sweet climb, definitely one of the best! The green camalot section on the first pitch the definite crux for those with larger hands, as mentioned (I also had to ringlock, and lieback a short section). Linking is the way to go... to a perfect belay ledge with fat bolts. We then belayed after the 10c traverse for easy communication with the 2nd, from there it's 1 pitch to the base of the Mexican Flake - so basically done this way, going to ledge on top of the Mexican Flake can be done in 4 pitches (with a 70 meter rope and running it out a little, maybe even 3).

The first 5.9 face pitch was the mental crux - it took me 20-30 minutes to see the first bolt and figure out where the pitch goes. It is above the small roof/overlap straight above the belay bolts, but about 40-50 feet up and tough to see. The climbing getting to it is fairly easy, the crux comes before the 2nd bolt - felt like solid 5.9+ moves with a huge fall potential, definitely R. After clipping the second bolt it gets a little better, and the next face pitch felt much easier/safer, despite that one getting 5.9+ R in the newest topo... (I think they are reversed).

One other note, in October this climb gets zero sun, and can be cold (and a little wet after rain). We didn't start climbing until 11:30am and belayed in puffy jackets...

By Phil Esra
Oct 13, 2011

I've only climbed to the top of Mexican Flake before rapping off (immediately behind Peter V, coincidentally, last time I did it). The ratings in the description above (p1 10a, p2 10b, p3 10c) are more accurate than those in the guidebook I used (which calls p2 10c). For me, p1 is at least as hard as the p2 (I've done them 3 times). It is very logical to link them. The p3 10c traverse crux is pretty stout if you're short (5'6"), and much harder than the previous pitches. The start moves and the Mexican Flake corner stay wet for a few days after a storm--like Peter says, there's no sun to dry them out.

Also, my friends and I have started calling this climb "the WOW" since no one can remember the right name. A little cheesy-sounding, but it has stuck.

By Bruce Hildenbrand
Mar 28, 2012

There is a variation to the first pitch which starts just right of the route. Climb an unprotected lieback and surmount an overhang (5.10- poorly protected) and then follow a short, very thin crack(5.11 with small Aliens/TCU's) up and then left to the dihedral midway up the first pitch.

By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Mar 28, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b PG13

re: Bruce Hildenbrand's comment:

The variation to the right that Bruce mentions is indeed around 5.11-, however, it is very protectable. The undercling and lieback flake takes good small nuts and cams. The only portion that is a little heads up is at the base of the finger crack proper. Once you pull up and left out of the undercling and lieback flake, you will be standing at a reasonably good stance where most people will want to place some gear. Unfortunately, what appears at first to be a bomber 0.75 Camalot placement at the base of the crack, actually opens up inside and is not very good. You can get some okay gear here, but it does take a bit of fiddling. Fortunately you can get some better thin gear (TCU's and Aliens) up another move or two. Anyway, a while back I posted a picture showing this variation; you can see this picture here:

www.mountainproject.com/v/106968334

By J. Hickok
Aug 17, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b

Only climbed the first 5 pitches to the top of the 5.9 corner, but loved it up to that point. Excellent crack climbing, and like somebody else said, if you weren't quite awake already that traverse under the roof will probably wake you up.

By LeeAB
Administrator
From: ABQ, NM
Sep 27, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b PG13

  • Note to self: Bring two ropes and rap, the descent SUCKS took 2.5 hours with my wife and we made it out just before dark.
  • Note to everyone else: Do the first two face pitches above the Mexican Flake, you are short changing yourself if you don't, they are great and add variety to the route....then rap.
  • We climbed the route at the end of September and found the weather to be quite pleasant. We wore light pants because of concerns about poison oak and I wore a light long sleeve fore the same reason while my wife wore a t-shirt most of the time, she may have put on a wind shirt to belay once. The route stayed in the shade until about 2:30 when we were through all the harder climbing having finished the first 2 face pitches above the Mexican Flake.

By LeeAB
Administrator
From: ABQ, NM
Oct 2, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b PG13

Time for a better description.....

Rack:We carried a double set of cams from a blue TCU/Green Alien to a #2 camalot with one smaller cam and one #3 friend along with a set of stoppers including brass. 6 runners and 10 QD's. This seemed adequate though one may want more in the #.75 range for the first pitch which could then be left at that anchor to be retrieved on the way down.

Approach:Make sure that you approach up the right hand side of the to reach the shelf that the route starts from, we were suckered by a fixed line leading part way up to the middle of the ledge and ended up doing a junky pitch with a couple of bolts, a dirty crack, tunneling through a tree and a traverse into a corner that a fall from would be very ugly. Had I known we would have gone back down and around but I saw bolts and figured it couldn't be that bad, rude wake up.

Description:

These are pitch descriptions as I climbed the route with my wife. We certainly linked the first 2 pitches from the topo as most everyone does and I choose to belay just above the roof so we could communicate better, the river was quite loud.

  • Pitch 1-Climb steep flakes that trend up and right into the main crack line. The pitch stretches for about 200' and goes from fingers to hands with a choice to break the pitch at a sloping shelf about mid-way right at the crux getting off the self and over the bulge that the wall above forms. Pitch finishes on a great ledge with 2 bolts. 5.10+ 200'+

  • Pitch 2-Move left on the ledge as it narrows and step down under the roof. Continue traversing below the roof using all sorts of holds in all kinds of places. This pitch actually protects quite well. Move left until you come to a crack going up where the roof has narrowed to only a foot or so. Move just a body length up the crack and set a belay with your feet in a pod (finger sized gear) for better communication with your partner or continue up the right angling crack above to an area with some big cut outs. 5.10, short and sideways or somewhat longer.

  • Pitch 3-Climb up the beautiful right angling crack until it starts to peter out. You will be below an obvious left facing corner which is the route we took, though you could go left through a vegetated area to gain another right angling crack. Interesting move get you into the corner, then stem and layback up to the spacious ledge. This is a very long pitch if starting from the "pod", with a 70m rope I was able to set an anchor at the back of the ledge and still sit back at the edge to better communicate (this probably ate up 40-50' of rope) with a 60m rope you might need a cordalette to tie off on of the huge blocks or use the rap anchor that is to the right just below the ledge. 5.9, 200'

  • Pitch 4-The stunning right facing corner. Not much else to say except enjoy and again the pitch is long. With the belayer sitting on the sandy part of the ledge I made the anchor with about 15' of rope using a 70m so with a 60m you will likely need to move the anchor up the starting ramp into the corner. 5.9, 200'+

  • Pitch 5-After stressing out about where the first bolt is climb easily, if you go the "right" way to it and clip. Very fun face climbing on knobs leads up to a second bolt then right to the third and finally left to the anchor. 5.9, 150'

  • Pitch 6-Move straight up off the belay to a bolt in the dike curtain, then right to a second one. Now start surfing a pair of dikes as they trend up and left passing a roof and a ramp/flake feature, continue another 30-40' then step left to the anchor. 5.9, 160'

You should climb to at least here before rappelling, all the climbing is stellar. Above the quality of the rock and movement deteriorates, not terrible just not amazing.

  • Pitch 7-Face climb up to a shallow groove that ends quickly. Head up the face to a right trending ramp. The anchor is a little below the right trending ramp and about 15-20' right of directly above the groove. 5.6, 120'? (really seemed short)

  • Pitch 8-Follow the ramp right for quite a ways, 40-50' until you come to some flakes and and easy way to climb onto the face above. Once on the face you may still need to step right to gain a thin left angling crack that is followed to an anchor. 5.8, 165'

  • Pitch 9-You can either face climb up the low angle rock for 120' or so to the anchor or continue to follow the thin crack as it angles left till near the top of the wall then step right to the bolted anchor. 5.4, 120'

By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Oct 2, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b PG13

Lee!!!! Wow, so funny about the bushwack up from the left side. Funny not because you had to go through that mess, but because I did the same damn thing the first time I visited Cal Dome, though I think my partner and I ended up soloing through some scary a$$ moss sections instead of clipping bolts. Glad you are okay.

Thanks for adding the new description, I'm sure that new visitors to the area will appreciate it.

A couple of things about your description.

On the third pitch, the left facing corner you describe is a variation to the original route. I believe the original FA connected left into the second crack system you describe. Also, you can reach the the rap anchor at the top of the third pitch with a 60m rope from the hanging belay at the end of the roof traverse pitch, but it is tight. Likewise, you can reach the 4th pitch bolted anchor from the bolted anchor at the top of the third pitch, but again you will have virtually no rope to spare to set an anchor (use a cordelette, slings or a daisy).

By LeeAB
Administrator
From: ABQ, NM
Oct 2, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b PG13

J.A., yeah, I know that the corner on the 3rd pitch was a variation, but it looks more interesting and it seems as though quite a few plants have sprouted in the cracks leading out left to the other right angling crack that I did not want to fight with. The fact that a 60m rope reaches on those pitches is great to know, I only carried one short cordalette (maybe a 7' piece of cord) and used runners at the opposite belays since they are mostly bolted.