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ARob

First Big Wall

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The definition of a big wall thread sparked this question for me, but folks were getting a little off topic there, so let's try this.

 

I am wondering if anyone has a suggestion for someone's first big wall. I'm not looking to push grades, and I have minimal aid experience (working on that), and I don't have a portaledge and would love to avoid the cost of one. But I would love to get a taste of a big wall experience. So if anyone has a suggestion they'd like to throw out there, I'd really appreciate it.

 

I guess I am defining big wall as a climb that takes the 'average' climber more than one day.

 

Thanks

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W. Face of the Monkey Face-Smith is a must do for the aspiring big waller. Obviously not 1000'. Haul it, then sleep in the back of the head.

Edited by luvshaker

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Are you just looking regionally? Washington & Oregon aren't really big wall territory.

 

Liberty Crack as John mentioned is a good suggestion, as you can fix the first bit and skip the bivy, and there's more free climbing than aid.

 

I'd guess the Grand Wall is too popular as a free climb to treat as a first big wall, and I don't know if anything else up there is suitable unless you've got a decent bag of aid tricks.

 

You said you're working on your aid experience, that's a good plan. Index or Beacon can help with this. Get notes from Ivan, he seems to have worked on it in a focused manner and would have some good advice.

 

I think you're gonna wind up looking to Yosemite for what you want. South Face of WA Column is a classic first wall, and you can bivy on the ledge. Lost Arrow Direct is another wall with large comfy ledges and nothing too hard on it.

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University Wall. You can fix a couple pitches and sleep on the ground, or sleep in a tree partway up.

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Slab Daddy, Squire Creek wall. Slept on the 6th pitch ledge and fixed the 7th and 8th pitch before climbing 16 pitches the following morning. Also has one or two moves of A0 if you can't climb 11+. Fun time getting off in the dark and rain as well.

Slab Daddy trip report

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Yeah, you're not looking for a big wall, you're looking to start on a small wall. Do the two classics on the Index UTW, Town Crier and Green Drag-on. When you're a n00b each will probably take you more than a day, and you can sleep on the ground. Once you get faster they're very reasonable one-day affairs.

 

There is some potential at Squamish. University Wall comes to mind, I've been 3 pitches up it and it was reasonable for a relative beginner. I think there is a Squamish Big Walls book still available at the Climb On, and here's some more info: http://www.matthewbuckle.net/climb/beta/squamish/squamishaid.php

 

My first big wall was The Prow on Washington Column in Yosemite, it was a great experience. Liberty Crack is good too. But definitely get your aid dialed in some before striking off on something big.

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green dragon, bring 2 ropes and you can fix up to 4 pitches, but 3 is probably more feasible. it's 60m from the top of P3 to the top of P1, then you can drop your tagline from there to the ground. a portaledge makes it more fun though.

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Right on, thanks everyone for the suggestions. I know that WA and OR is not exactly big wall territory. I was thinking maybe Baffin. Nah, just joking. But Squamish and Yosemite are probably where I will be looking to. Liberty Crack sounds perfect, but honing skills at Bacon and Index sounds like good ideas. Thanks again everyone. :brew: Here's to a good Memorial Weekend to everyone and blue skies wherever you are venturing.

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Yeah, you're not looking for a big wall, you're looking to start on a small wall. Do the two classics on the Index UTW, Town Crier and Green Drag-on. When you're a n00b each will probably take you more than a day, and you can sleep on the ground. Once you get faster they're very reasonable one-day affairs.

 

There is some potential at Squamish. University Wall comes to mind, I've been 3 pitches up it and it was reasonable for a relative beginner. I think there is a Squamish Big Walls book still available at the Climb On, and here's some more info: http://www.matthewbuckle.net/climb/beta/squamish/squamishaid.php

 

My first big wall was The Prow on Washington Column in Yosemite, it was a great experience. Liberty Crack is good too. But definitely get your aid dialed in some before striking off on something big.

x2 - learn aid before heading off on a true big wall, and practice hauling, lowering out, and cleaning traverses in a cragging context - west face of leaning tower is a cool 1st wall for yosemite too

 

where do you live?

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As mentioned before Green Dragon and Town Crier are great choices. Also worth aiding on the UTW is the complete Dana's Arch.

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don't think anyone's mentioned city park at index? supersweet 2 minute approach! wear a helmet cam and post your tr for comment for the complete experience :)

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Maybe this has been covered...I couldn't find the link...

 

What do you think would be the ideal RACK for some of the more common first-wall routes? Town Crier, for instance?

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Here's a question about fixinig lines and sleeping on the ground and what not. I totally feel like I would just be in the way of others. Obviously, you want to be as fast as possible while still being safe. But are you just kind of saying tought titty to others while you are working the route (at hyper-slow n00b speed?) Just trying to figure out the protocal (that's not the word I'm looking for, but close enough) as far as sharing the rock and not stepping on toes. But I do really appreciate everyone's input. And I will be living in Leavenworth in about three weeks so getting to Index will be no problem.

 

Thanks

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As mentioned before Green Dragon and Town Crier are great choices. Also worth aiding on the UTW is the complete Dana's Arch.

 

I thought the full Dana's Arch was sketchy A3, with weird hook moves...does anyone have pictures of it? If it's reasonable I would like to check it out.

 

Green Dragon was a good first wall, for me at least. It gave me a taste of aid climbing and hauling without being too serious. As for the gear, we took triple small cams, doubles in 0.5-2 Camalot, single #3, a ton of nuts in all sizes, a couple sky hooks, and a couple cam hooks. This worked well for us. Cam hooks were pretty much necessary for the second pitch and helpful on the third.

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Probably obvious, but...

 

Common courtesy is always a good thing to have on your rack. Your post indicates that you're already pretty considerate by nature.

 

Pick uncrowded routes or uncrowded days if possible.

 

Let others pass or go ahead on day 2 if a speed difference is obvious. Certain belay stations are better than others for this, of course.

 

A fixed rope shouldn't be too much of an obstacle for a faster party who wants to pass or get on first.

 

A lot of routes are done by fixing the first day. It's cool.

 

Watch vids and do laps at Index, etc. to improve your speed.

 

Most experienced aid climbers are happy to share that experience. This might have something to do with the half a haulbag of recreationals they typically have on board.

 

GET ON IT AND HAVE FUN!

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This might have something to do with the half a haulbag of recreationals they typically have on board.

 

:lmao:

 

there's a reason many of us stick to aiding :)

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if you fix the first few pitches of davis-holland expect to make enemies, but if you're fixing town crier yer merely preparing other wannabebigwallers for the genuine valley experience of being parked behind 20 others crews clusterfucking their way up the nose! :grin:

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Just ordered up a pair of Speedwall ladders. That means I'm gonna accelerate from from glacial to almost-within-human-timescale.

 

God how I hate my etriers....

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and just in case you don't already know, you will be slow as fuck when you first start aiding. budget at least 3 hours a pitch, even on A1. with all of 5 or 6 aid pitches under my belt I'm a speedy 2 hours or so per pitch. take it slow at first and get your aid sequence dialed so you don't even have to think about it and you will get faster. be wary of moving above pieces with your daisy still clipped in. static falls are no fun. oh, and have fun!

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Town Crier has a decent sloping ledge you can sleep on off to the right of the easy part of P3 if you want to do something with an overnight and not sleep on the ground. I'd probably do that for practice over fixing and firing GD although GD has better climbing slightly.

 

I've only done the first 2.5 pitches of Dana's Arch but I wasn't excited about the hooking above an old quarter in buttonhead and a cam behind a loose flake. Maybe I just wasn't feeling it that day but after p2 it's not well travelled (P1 low anchors really but the first 2 full pitches are fun and mellow). One of these days I have to go finish the whole thing.

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Wow, I've been on that "how to aid" guide for at least an hour now. Thanks for the link.

 

I have one question that I haven't found yet. Say you're top stepping a piece and keeping daisies connecting to aiders so they don't fall off. Your daisy chain is stretching out under you. If you move onto the next piece and it blows during the transition, you take a daisy fall. This seems especially present to me when making a hook move above a bolt. However, if daisies are not kept connected to aiders, you risk dropping an aider and more time is sucked up clipping and unclipping with every piece. What is the best way to avoid this?

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