What was your first climb in Yosemite Valley?


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Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Mar 1, 2011 - 03:55pm PT
I had been climbing with ropes for a few years by the time I finally made it to Yosemite Valley. I started off in San Diego area Mission Gorge, Magnolia, then some Joshua Tree. Moved to SF bay area and got some Pinnacles, then Castle Rocks and Lover's Leap a bunch of times.

But my first Yosemite Valley trip was memorable. 1998. My regular climbing partner and I were with a group of 15 silicon valley Indians who had never been camping, let alone climbing. I think earlier that summer I took the same gang white water rafting on the Upper Cache, and I spent the day plucking guys and girls off of rocks in rapids, and extricating flipped rafts. On this first Yosemite camping trip, a couple of people got up in the middle of the night to huddle in the car with the heater turned on (well it was October and they brought a few blankets and no ground pads even though I gave them an explicit list of what to bring). We set up an anchor on some short gentle drop-off and slab, so they could all get a taste of rappelling. It was a hoot!

During an attempt to do some real climbing, my buddy and I reconn'd the lower Yosemite amphitheater. We didn't have a guidebook, and one crack just held my attention. Looking in '87 guide now, I think it was Lightweight Guides (5.10a). At that point I was not at all a 5.10 crack climber.

When I roped up to do it, we were off by ourselves and the rest of the gang were hanging out by the waterfall. By the time I got a few feet up, we had the whole peanut gallery there, including my wife. I was the hero for maybe 30-40 feet. Suddenly, I was stemmed out maybe 12 feet above my pro, legs in full on Elvis mode, frantically going through everything in my rack to find a piece of gear that would stick in the blind dihedral placement. Nowadays I would say F it and gun up to a better stance and regroup. That day I was a drama bomb waiting to happen.

"This doesn't look good Bruce."

Cue the wobbling leg again, and now the hands are shaking trying to go through different nuts on the biner, trying different cams. And then it starts really getting out of control Parkinson's style.

Again, "this doesn't look good Bruce."

Silence from below. Horror and fascination, like eyes glued to a car wreck.

5-10 minutes drag on in this hideous mounting tension. And then I blow it. It was actually a relief! My first real leader fall, and a quick pat down of my own limbs reveals no broken bones. I was dangling not more than 5 feet off the deck.

I proceeded to act like what I thought a hard man was supposed to do, get back on that horse. But my penis had completely inverted by that point and my testicles were sucked up next to my thyroid. I placed gear every 2-3 feet and hung on each placement. We all have to start somewhere.

Epilogue: I might have been a little higher, I might have blown a cam or two during the fall, I might have fallen 25 feet, or was it 30? And did I end up 10 feet or 5 off the deck? Was there a wobbly cam that caught my fall? It seems to grow with the retelling. But it was my first epic climbing experience. A suitable introduction to the valley that captured my heart!


Social climber
Joshua Tree
Mar 1, 2011 - 03:58pm PT
Jamcrack. Rolled in midday, met some random dudes in C4, walked over and did a few pitches with them. Jamcrack 1&2, TR on the two Bums.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:00pm PT
Delectable Pinnacle right side. First roped climb. 1979
Captain...or Skully

The Seas of Stone.
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:01pm PT
Nutcracker. With the random bulletin board Dude. In June. Man, was it HOT.
'92. 1st Lead, too. Well, pitch 2 & 5, anyway. He handed me the rack & said "Your Lead". I didn't want to admit that I'd never lead anything. So off I went. Later he told me I placed the worst gear on Earth. I 'fessed up & we spent hours placing pro at the base, & havin' beers.
It was a good 1st day.
Wade Icey

Trad climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:03pm PT
Random bulletin board Dude!

Whatever happened to him? Wonder if he's still with us?

nick farley

Mar 1, 2011 - 04:04pm PT

One of my favorite memories.

Captain...or Skully

The Seas of Stone.
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:07pm PT
His name was actually Chad, but random Bulletin Board Dude sounds more fun.
He liked it, too. Their tribe is vast. ;-)
Heck, I figure just about Everyone has put in a day or two with That guy.

Trad climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:08pm PT
Bishop's Terrace with no line.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:12pm PT
Footstool, Right 5.4 with DonC
probably a couple of millennia ago guessing 1970 or 71...

did I mention that we used pitons for protection back then?

Ice climber
Happy Boulders
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:18pm PT
Aunt Fannies Pantry
Mighty Hiker

Vancouver, B.C.
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:20pm PT
Aunt Fanny's Pantry, June 1974.

Social climber
Davis, CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:23pm PT
mung-selaginella. Big fun.

Troy, MT
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:25pm PT
Jamcrack p1 and p2, followed by peruvian flake the next day, and tried (and failed) to follow "ten years after" the following weekend. Also, they were my first climbs ever, though I had been casually bouldering for a while.
Almost made it on ten years after, too. Which was bad for my ego, almost being able to follow a hard .10d crack for my third climb ever. After that, slump!

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:28pm PT
NW Face of Half Dome in winter avec Le Comte...
The autres mousquetaires were not available...how could I say non?


Trad climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:30pm PT
Something on Monday Morning Slab.

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:31pm PT
We rolled in and got right on Serenity, only to be rained off of the first pitch. Went to secure camping and got caught in traffic, had trouble parking and found no where to stay. I was from the backwaters of AZ, where you can basically do whatever you want, and was shocked at the whole scene. We bailed from the valley.

Next trip we rolled in, fired Serenity, and had bloody marys at the Ahwahnee. I learned that if you just sort of roll with the valley freak show it's a blast.

Trad climber
Durham, NC
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:32pm PT
Church Bowl Chimney. All that prep time at Ironworks really paid off;)

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:36pm PT
First climb was Monday Morning Slab, Right Side, 1965. We were suitably impressed and intimidated by the aura of "THE VALLEY!"

I've posted this before but quite a while ago. I never get tired of these old classic photos.

Trad climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:37pm PT

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:37pm PT

Prolly 'Lena's lieback' 78'

Santa Cruz
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:38pm PT
Back in 96 I rolled into The Valley with Sharma and his Dad. Ron met us at Camp 4 and showed us around the place. Chris had a hair-raising ascent of Thriller with only one of those old BD spot pads at the base. We walked to Nutcraker and then climbed that with a couple cams and a set of nuts, for my first climb in Yosemite. Then the next day we toproped Midnight Lighting and failed in a quite miserable way.

Trad climber
Central Coast
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:38pm PT
Lena's Lieback 5.9 - super slippery.

I think...? Wasn't momentous.

Mar 1, 2011 - 04:47pm PT
C.S. Concerto with my kid, guided by some zen bandit.

Big Wall climber
Kalispell, Montanagonia
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:49pm PT
Grant's Crack on a soloist. I was trolling for a partner for something a wee bit bigger. Worked too.

Burly Bob

Gym climber
its nice here in the spring
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:52pm PT
Caverns in spring of 1974 with Garry Zaccor. 5.7 A1

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:56pm PT
Right Side of Monday Morning Slab, June of 1969. We were so intimidated by the Valley aura that this took us several hours to climb. There was still a small snowpatch at the base.


Trad climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 04:57pm PT
Snake Dike, awesome day! I was pretty tired afterwards, which contributed to me taking my first leader fall on Nutcracker the next day. I fell at the bulge with the crack through it. Didn't know how to jamb. Lead the mantle no prob. There are mantles at IR in Berkeley.
A good weekend all around.

Trad climber
Longmont, CO
Mar 1, 2011 - 05:14pm PT
Made the long trip from Boulder in 1978 with this tick list in mind:

La Cosita, right side
Coonyard Pinnacle
East Buttress, Middle Cathedral

Got them all, hexes and stoppers only. Best part was the international scene in Camp 4.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Mar 1, 2011 - 05:29pm PT
Chouinard-Herbert on Sentinel (big wall style).

In Friday night, climbed Saturday, topped out Sunday just before dark. Onsighted the descent via headlamp and drove back to the Bay Area that night. Got two hours sleep, flew back to Phx and went to work.
ron gomez

Trad climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 05:40pm PT
Royal Arches, even got the traverse lead and the Rotten Log was still there.

Social climber
santa rosa
Mar 1, 2011 - 05:42pm PT
something on swan slab
gonzo chemist

Crane Jackson's Fountain St. Theater
Mar 1, 2011 - 05:44pm PT
After Six. Followed by After Seven. In full-on summer heat. We didn't learn our lesson. The next day we went and did Nutcracker. We were rejoicing that we were the only ones on the climb! But by the third pitch, when it was about 97 degrees, and no shade to be found, we understood why. Didn't bring any water to sip on, and a late night of heavy drinking didn't help matters. We were toast after we finished that climb.

Fond memories, for sure!

Oakland: what's not to love?
Mar 1, 2011 - 05:59pm PT
Great photo, Brokendown.

After Six, then After Seven and Nutcracker, in 2005 with me wife - great day to revisit in the memory banks.

I remember feeling so nervous stepping into the first moves of After Six's first pitch, a regular tornado of butterflies whipping through me. Feels like yesterday.
scuffy b

dissected alluvial deposits, late Pleistocene
Mar 1, 2011 - 06:45pm PT
Sunnyside Bench, regular route. Second was Monday Morning Slab.
These were guided. I guess my first rappel was Monday Morning.
paul roehl

Boulder climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 06:56pm PT
Sunny Side Bench reg. route and MM slab west side with Bruce Price in 1969. First climbing experience ever... seemed overwhelming. Don't know if Bruce is still around. He was a remarkable guy just slightly crazy. Sometimes a single experience can just turn your life around; I'm still thankful for that day.

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 06:59pm PT
Bishops Terrace in the early '70's. I think we used all hexes.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 07:03pm PT
Onsighted the descent via headlamp and drove back to the Bay Area that night.

That's pretty impressive, steelmnkey. Doing a wall for your first Valley climb is, too, but I thrashed around in daylight the first time I got down from Sentinel. I can't imagine trying to do it by headlamp, particularly finding those third class slabs to the east of the creek.

Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Mar 1, 2011 - 07:08pm PT
Nice thread nutjob.

1975; Pitch 1 of After 6 with Bill Frey. Seemed way slippery and hard for 5.6. Then we did Jump for Joy on the buttress next to it protected with little tiny stoppers after you climb left out of the bathtub-like thing. Then After 7 to the top of Manure pile. Coming from North Carolina climbing, it seemed incredible to be able to climb six pitches on what seemed like an insignificant little cliff given all the magnificent walls everywhere you looked.

Trad climber
electric lady land
Mar 1, 2011 - 07:09pm PT
not in
the valley
but aqua knobby
was my first flavor
of yosemite

eye opener.

Trad climber
Portland, Or
Mar 1, 2011 - 07:13pm PT
Would have been some Apron climbs. Must have been something easier than the two I remember: Shuttle Madness (I took 2 leader falls and emerged about a pound lighter due to the road rash) and Son of Sam. Probably about 1982 or so.

Done With Tobacco
Mar 1, 2011 - 07:14pm PT
Highwaystar. OS. Holla!!

Trad climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 07:17pm PT
Stonegroove, 1978, on hexes and stoppers. It was burly and very exciting and similar to our crack climbing back home in Leavenworth.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Mar 1, 2011 - 07:29pm PT
After Six. Started up around 1:00, IIRC, and finished after dark. Enough after dark that even the bar was closed, and we went to sleep hungry. I had no idea that we got schooled. I just thought it probably always went more or less like that.

Mountain climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 07:43pm PT
It was about a year ago right now and I think it was Stone Groove. I flailed a bit but got up it.
Then we did a few pitches of Reeds Regular then we did the Direct! Not too bad a first day in the Valley.

Trad climber
Central Coast, California
Mar 1, 2011 - 08:11pm PT
Royal Arches in 2009!!!!!!

Mar 1, 2011 - 08:16pm PT
Munginella late on the day of arrival and then Braille Book the next
day; BB seemed . . . stout!

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Mar 1, 2011 - 08:47pm PT
Aunt fannies pantry

Trad climber
northern CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 09:10pm PT
Arrived in Camp 4 and found a partner to climb Bishop's Terrace. It went well and was only 2 pm so we concluded there was time for Braille Book (ha). Then we botched the approach and found ourselves at the base of East Buttress Middle instead, where we misread the topo (pre-ST days) to think it was only 5 pitches. By then it was 3 pm but still seemed like plenty of time.

Climbed the last few pitches in the dark with El Cap looming across the valley, which was pretty cool, but it was late September and on top over night I wished I'd worn more than t-shirt and shorts. I learned a lot on that trip.

Vision man...ya gotta have vision...
Mar 1, 2011 - 09:16pm PT
That's pretty impressive, steelmnkey. Doing a wall for your first Valley climb is, too, but I thrashed around in daylight the first time I got down from Sentinel. I can't imagine trying to do it by headlamp, particularly finding those third class slabs to the east of the creek.

Thanks. Yeah, it was kinda hairy, but slow and easy worked pretty well.

As we'd been out of water since before we topped out, I was SO happy to find that creek. My buddy wouldn't touch the water, but I dove right in and filled up. No ill effects later, I'm happy to say.

Trad climber
New Durham, NH
Mar 1, 2011 - 09:34pm PT
West Face of Rixons Pinnacle, 5.10a, 5 pitches in 1981 at age 19.

Climbed it with a guy I met the night before via the Camp 4 message board. It seemed soft at the time, but then I was used to North Conway 5.9+.

No one had warned us about the rope eating cracks, so the rope got stuck on the rappel and I had to climb a bit of the South Face to free it. A great intro to the Valley.

Social climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 09:42pm PT
warmed up on sunnyside bench and then we climbed the Royal Arches and it went up and on forever. Descent in the dark- total stumble down the north dome gully. When we got back to camp at about midnight we ate an entire bag of chocolate chip cookies and then slept like the rotten log

Trad climber
Douglas, WY
Mar 1, 2011 - 09:42pm PT
Bump for a great CLIMBING THREAD!
Captain...or Skully

The Seas of Stone.
Mar 1, 2011 - 09:42pm PT
See? Random Bulletin Board Dude Strikes Again!!!one
That guy is everywhere...

Seriously chic turtleneck BrokeDown. Awe doesn't even come close.
Diggin' the stylins'...

Trad climber
Moorpark, CA.
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:00pm PT
Brokedown.... please more.

May 74. I had been climbing for 16 weeks.

I was very happy to climb "After Six"

Killer topic
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:07pm PT
El Cap Chimney/KP Pinnacle, November, 1963

Trad climber
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:10pm PT
Serenity crack, Peruvian Flake, and Hoppy's Favorite, and there was still a milk carton in the cave at the end.

Trad climber
Upper Leftish
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:12pm PT
Bishop's Terrace and then The Nose. That's all I've climbed in the Valley ...so far...

That will be changing this year...
adam d

The Bears, CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:14pm PT
I'd climbed in the Meadows a fair bit before I ever climbed in the Valley...time of year, avoiding crowds, whatever the reasons were it took too long.

First climb in the Valley though was the E Butt of Middle Cathedral.

Ideeho-dee-do-dah-day boom-chicka-boom-chicka-boom
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:17pm PT
1980: After Six including the top 5 pitches most people don't even know are there. I carried every hex and stopper I owned - as well as every hex and stopper my partner owned. The rack was fuggin huge - we must have looked like such doofuses with all those carabiners all neatly assembled. On the top pitch I dropped my SMC Figure 8 and watched it go ping-ping-ping down the manure pile. There were no bodies lying at the base, which was a relief.

Did After 7 (first pitch)and Nutcracker the next day. I was so stoked. I thought the Manure Pile was the center of the universe and we were such badasses.

What was the name of the walk-in campground across the river from C4, below Sentinel? I stayed there for a month or so before moving uptown to C4. They closed that campground a year or two later.

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:28pm PT
Royal Arches in 1977 with Bob Landfear . . . my first ever visit to the Valley also.

Trad climber
Truckee, CA
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:39pm PT
Higher Cathedral Spire, 1969. Something vaguely around the regular route no doubt with some variations (Roper red book was all that existed). Had taken a 65 or 70 foot factor 2 off the last of the 5.9 pitches below Coonyard Pinnacle the day before, off route somewhere. But we rallied and fired the spire anyway. If I recall, I had to prussik up a stuck rappel rope, or something similarly terrifying which we were lucky to survive. Didn't take any more leader falls or get any ropes stuck for a very very long time after that.

Trad climber
Washington DC
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:44pm PT
72 penny pinnacle, sunnyside jam crack. I was pretty good technically and fearless as only a 15 or 16 year old could be.

73, west face sentinel
Ch on sentinel
Almost die on leaning tower

Bunches of 10's, some 11's.

77' na wall
78' nose

Then too many to remember

Grey Matter
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:46pm PT
May 1983
after my junior year in college
having now led 2-3 easy routes at JTree,
headed to Yose with my brother & a classmate.
Using some old borrowed gear,
we did something very traversy
on the left side of Monday Morning.
They learned how to rap
and never climbed again.

Social climber
chica from chico..waiting on spring days..
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:58pm PT
Aunt Fanny's Pantry. 1978 ish.
M. Volland

Trad climber
Grand Canyon
Mar 1, 2011 - 10:59pm PT
May 2000

With the Yosemite Mountain School's Bill Russell at Swan Slab. Then the next day at Churchbowl with my Australian roommate Kevin Kinnison, followed by the Nutcracker on the third day when I was finally handed the rack for my first lead. No looking back since. Best place on Earth!

black hills
Mar 1, 2011 - 11:32pm PT
After six

Mar 1, 2011 - 11:43pm PT
I have no clue .....

I do remember trying to free solo the Lost Arrow Chimney in 1969 in sears work boots.

I didn't get very far.

I was so stupid I thought it was a gully .....
'Pass the Pitons' Pete

Big Wall climber
like Ontario, Canada, eh?
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:09am PT
1983 - Maple Jam and Positively 4th Street. East Butt, then Rixon's West and the rap rope got stuck just like buddy, and my partner had to batman up to free it. Also did Chouinard-Herbert on Sentinel and WFLT. Nose in 1988.

Only that one El Cap route during the Lost Years [married], but 41 routes since.

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:16am PT
P1 The Enigma 1975
The Guy

Trad climber
Portland, OR
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:19am PT
After Six. It was awesome. Solid 5.6...

Trad climber
just over the hill
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:23am PT
Jan or Feb of '82, Arrow Arete, benighted in the descent gully, woke up to frozen ropes

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:34am PT
Moby Dick Center in March, 1978 with a surfer dude named Jay Smith.

Gym climber
berkeley, ca
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:46am PT

I heard a snippet of a Royal Robbins slide show in the amphitheater a few years ago that I thought was really perfect. He was trying to describe to his audience the hugeness of Higher Spire when it was first done. And then he said, "Even today, it is still a first class endeavor."

I loved that.

People always want to say that things are light or off the cutting edge or whatever to try and boost themself, but I loved the thought that, regardless of where its grade sat relative to other climbs of the day, Higher Spire would always be a "first class endeavor."

Anyway, thought I'd share. Burly 2nd route in the Valley, with an unbeatable view, to be sure. On nuts in crappy boots.

Mar 2, 2011 - 01:01am PT
First two pitches of Nutcracker. We ran into 3 parties on the big ledge and bailed. Walked over to After 7 and it was wide open. That first pitch is still one of my favorites.
Papillon Rendre

Mar 2, 2011 - 02:43am PT
Sunnyside Bench: Regular Route

In Vasque boots because that is all I had back then.
Allen Hill

Social climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 03:03am PT
Peruvian Flake! It must be the easiest 5.10 ever. A week before I totally flipped out leading Dunn's Dihedral near Gunnison, a mere 5.8. Peruvian Flake was easier! The Valley was mine! Or so I thought.

Social climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 03:08am PT
1964. Something with another young kid called Bridwell. Thanks, Jim!

Trad climber
sacramento, ca
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:02am PT
Snake Dike 2010

la la land
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:06am PT
Standard approach to el cap.

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:31am PT
Cookie, Right side. 1978888888888888888888.
Scout 2

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:35am PT
in 77-78 I first remember seeing a bunch of hippys bouldering with this guy called the bird, around curry village housekeeping. And figured there was actually something to do besides follow tourist up dusty trails.

I remember bouldering around church bowl as a small kid of even bouldering Aunt fannys around 78. my mom made me take climbing school In the meddows.. I guess using the lines off curry tents, and a couple of Pins, and hiking boots dosent cut it.
first climb with my new Goldline and nuts,hexes was Biships terrace, Royal arches, the Gp apron...havent stopped yet.
J. Werlin

Social climber
Cedaredge, CO
Mar 2, 2011 - 05:11am PT
Midterm with Roland Arsons, maybe 1986? I remember being up in that squeeze and looking out of the granite slot at the Merced far below and thinking, I'm climbing in Yosemite!

Trad climber
State College, PA
Mar 2, 2011 - 07:51am PT
Commitment, with Karl, about 2003.

Huge smile after p1, returns every time...


Trad climber
Golden, Colorado
Mar 2, 2011 - 09:50am PT
'61 Sunnyside bench with Sacto (Mother Lode Chapter) Sierra Club.
Dulfersitz rappel, some generic boots. Next day up to Half Dome cables from Mirror Lake joined by Harding. Down the falls trail by moonlight. One tired puppy!
ME Climb

Trad climber
Behind the Orange Curtain
Mar 2, 2011 - 10:02am PT
After going there every fall for several years and watching all the climbers, finally broke down and signed up for the go climb a rock class. While being trully terrified of heights did several things on Swan Slab. Worked through my fears and was ready to spend the rest of my life climbing. My wife is still pissed she let me climb that day cause that is all I want to do now.


Trad climber
Spokane, WA
Mar 2, 2011 - 10:05am PT
My first climbing trip to the Valley was in Spring of '75 with Matt Orey. We climbed Bishop's Terrace on Saturday in practice for the real goal: Higher Cathedral Spire - which we climbed on Sunday. If I only knew what a lifestyle pathway that season set me on - I was hooked!

Eric Barrett
tinker b

the commonwealth
Mar 2, 2011 - 10:23am PT
1997 my first trip to the valley i didn't notice the road closure signs for 140 and have to back track around through oakhurst. i picked up a nice hitchhiker and dropped him off in yosemite west. then i meet up with my friend in camp 4 after copious amounts of driving. we crag a little bit at swan slab, go back to c4 to have a little lunch and see our friend talking on the payphones on our way back to the crag. we tell him that we are heading over to lena's lieback. as we rack up at the base, our friend comes over and starts to boulder the first twenty feet in his tennies. he gets up to a ledge, and decides to step across out right to a boulder holding a small tree branch for support. he slips, spins around and drops to the ground with a loud popping sound. i run up to him, and his femur is bulging (he broke it in two places, but it did not break through the skin.) i ran to call 911 from the payphones and got the white knuckled helicopter ride to medesto. we didn't climb the rest of the weekend.
The Larry

Moab, UT
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:06pm PT
South Face of The Column in October '94.

We hauled to the top and then bivied in the gully after getting lost in the dark.

I'm lucky to have survived those early years.

Gym climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:10pm PT
I'm surprised more folks don't say The Cow.
So easy, and just next to the Grack (the 2nd climb).

Trad climber
The great white north, eh?
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:24pm PT
Royal Arches 1976. Noon start. Rapped it in the dark after dropping our flashlight. No moon that night, so it was pitch black. No bolted rap route back then; we hung our ropes around bushes, trees and flakes. Down at 12:30 am.
Mark Hudon

Trad climber
Hood River, OR
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:31pm PT
Believe it or not, Nutcracker and later that day, LIttle john Left side. May, 1974
Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:32pm PT
Little John Right? 1969?

Trad climber
Chatham N.H.
Mar 2, 2011 - 12:34pm PT
Peruvian Flake
Fat Dad

Trad climber
Los Angeles, CA
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:11pm PT
Although it was 1980 and I was 16, I'm actually having a hard time remembering the exact route. It was either one of the usual suspects: Jam Crack, Royal Arches, Harry Daley or the Nutcracker. I did all those (along with the E. Butt of Middle) the first week I was there with--who else--a couple dudes I met from the Camp 4 bulletin board.

Good times.

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:15pm PT
I've been following this thread and wracking my brain. I started climbing late in life so it hasn't been that many years and it is un-nerving that I can't remember. Something at Church Bowl, I think, Church Bowl Chimney and then Bishops Terrace, which I remember feeling desperate on as I had no idea how to jam.

Trad climber
East Coast
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:16pm PT
Reed's Pinnacle Direct. I led the first pitch, and my partner Jim Wilcox led the money pitch.

Trad climber
Bay Area
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:23pm PT
Who can remember that far back?
Sure can't remember which was the first. I started out climbing with other inexperienced guys so I'm guessing something on Swan Slab. Earliest note in my Green Guide is Swan Slab Gully, Nov 8, 1974. I remember we went all the way to the top and rapped down the right side beyond Lena's Lieback.
(If you can remember the late 60's early 70's you probably weren't there).
Too bad I don't keep a climbing log.
Two weeks later went back and swung leads on the direct start to Bishop's Terrace. I still remember leading the traverse under Bishop's Balcony and the overhanging rapp. I'm always surprised to see people skipping this fine finish.
First 5.9 Valley climb was Commitment with D Gibson and K Brockman on 22 May 1975.
Hey eKat, I'd always thought your name was familiar.

Mar 2, 2011 - 01:25pm PT
Monday Morning Slab - 1970.

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 01:30pm PT
Sunnyside bench with my mentor Jim from England, 2006.He had taught me to climb in the gunks during the summer, I moved to Cali and he came to visit.
Later in the day we did munginella, got the rope stuck and we finished by moonlight, looking accross the valley at HD. I thought we were in some serious sh$t, but I never felt so alive. Been chasing the feeling ever since. The following day we did the footstool.

Trad climber
Mental Physics........
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:11pm PT
I clearly recall my first trip to the the Valley in 1973. Mt brother belayed me on my first 5.10 crack Midterm.

Standing next to me on the base, was skinny teen Ron Kauk, and emerging mentors Jim Bridwell and visiting hotty Steve Wunsch.

Ron led the hotties up something nearby and I chatted with the boys while while I arranged my rack of hexes and headed up the hard first section of Midterm.

By the time I got to the slippery off width section at the top: I was out 25 feet from my last bad hex, and the boys were cheerfully joking around below.

Luckily I made it, got to meet the hotties of the time and found out that Yosemite cracks can be scary and dangerous.

Trad climber
Lander, WY
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:29pm PT
I think it was the right side of the Footstool, 5.4, with Rick Holmes in 1972.
east side underground

Trad climber
Hilton crk,ca
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:42pm PT
nutcracker- after six- royal arches- 1980

Trad climber
Denver, CO
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:44pm PT
The Nose.

I believe I am the first one to respond with the Nose. Surely many others climbed the Nose as their first Yosemite climb. My "Road to the Nose" was training on my home crags in Colorado.

Jay Wood

Trad climber
Fairfax, CA
Mar 2, 2011 - 02:51pm PT

Could have been 'mojo tooth', then the routes you mentioned.

Gym climber
Berkeley, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Mar 2, 2011 - 02:56pm PT
My favorite quote so far, captures some of my best climbing experiences well:
I thought we were in some serious sh$t, but I never felt so alive.

Trad climber
Yacolt, WA
Mar 2, 2011 - 03:31pm PT
Nutcracker - of course.

It had to be a RR route. It was a little depressing that the formation has to be named the Manure Pile. We took an extra line for rapping, and it got hung up. We untied and left it intending to retrive it the next day. It wasn't there, and we were horrified. Some wonderful person turned it into the climbing shop, and we happened to go to the store the next day, bellyached about it, and viola - it appeared. The sun came out, brids sang, and we proceeded to do Little John, After Six, and the East Buttress.
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:09pm PT
In the end of summer 2010 I had the urge to lead Snake Dike (5.7R climb on Half Dome). By than I climbed outside for about 4 month or so and in the gym for about 9 month. I never led anything before but followed a few things. Friend of mine I met on Shasta a while back was up for it. Somehow we ended up doing it without an epic, and he said my placements were fine even. But anchors that I set were as sad as it gets.

Than a month earlier I climbed in the actual Yosemite valley. It was something in Swan Slab area.

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:12pm PT
Triple Direct on El Cap. May 1986. First time aiding or using ascenders. Quite an education! 4 and a half days of fear and fun. Totally worth it!

Done With Tobacco
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:14pm PT
Highway Star.
Josh Nash

Social climber
riverbank ca
Mar 2, 2011 - 04:19pm PT
After six with my mentor. seconded the whole way and had mad respect for his skills on that first pitch. My technique sucked and spent a lot of watching my feet not stick to anything. Needless to say it was a very eye opening experience......

Mar 2, 2011 - 06:07pm PT
I rolled into camp 4 at night (my first trip to the Valley), and saw someone putting a note up onto the board. I asked if they needed a partner, and spent the entire next day following Peter Croft up the Hall of Mirrors on the Apron.

Oakland: what's not to love?
Mar 2, 2011 - 06:52pm PT
Storer - 1961! Very cool - respect to you.

Ed: Mittens, so lucky.
Mike Bolte

Trad climber
Planet Earth
Mar 2, 2011 - 07:29pm PT
did you guys go to the top? (Hall of Mirrors)

EDIT: duh

Social climber
flagstaff arizona
Mar 2, 2011 - 07:37pm PT
Pretty sure it was the Harry Daley route on the apron. Big time adventure!!

Trad climber
West Los Angeles, CA
Mar 2, 2011 - 07:44pm PT
Central Pillar of Frenzy.

My BF at the time was too wall centric and didn't want to free climb. I walked over to the board at Camp 4 to try to find a partner and at that same time this guy walked over and was looking for a partner too. We talked about climbs and had the same one in mind. It was one of the best climbing experiences I've ever had. He was a great partner and it was a great day.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Mar 2, 2011 - 07:47pm PT
Nutcracker, very pleasant as I recall.

Big Wall climber
So Cal
Mar 2, 2011 - 08:06pm PT
Sunnyside Jam Crack pitches 1 & 2 & also did Lazy Bum & Bummer. That was in September 1981 with Mike "Guargoyle" Guardino & Philip Witmeyer.

We also did many others on that trip & went to the meadows too,but you always remember your first! :)


beyond the sun
Mar 2, 2011 - 08:31pm PT
Reed's direct, after I'd been climbing about 4 months.

Having never climbed anything requiring such pure crack technique, I had no idea what I was doing. Placed a cam as high up as I could off the little ledge down low and went for it. Barndoored out of the crack and attempted to keep going in lieback mode.

Got spit right off and fell back to the aforementioned piece, and my buttock smashed right onto the little ledge. I was totally freaked out and lowered back down. My even less experienced partner took a try and couldn't even get himself to commit to moving off the ledge.

I wasn't about to try again, so we ended up back cleaning and with tail tucked between swollen and non swollen buttock, we retreated.

Spirits were low as we realized we had GREATLY overestimated our ability. What was supposed to be a weekend full of radical sends, was starting to look like it would end up as a 48 hour beatdown.

But, we didn't pack it in. We adjusted our expectations and instead spent the rest of day 1 on 5.6 territory. The next day we made a successful ascent of nutcracker.

I returned a couple of years later and sent Reed's like it was my morning walk to get the mail. Then went around the corner and sent Lunatic Fringe. Redemption!

Trad climber
Mar 2, 2011 - 08:43pm PT
Munginella with this pretty cool Irish guy I met at Swan Slab. I led pitches 1 & 3, and he led pitch 2. He got off route a bit and ended up climbing the face to the ledge.

The most memorable part though was driving into the valley for the first time and when you come through the tunnel where El Cap becomes visible for the first time. I nearly drove off the cliff!

Social climber
"close to everything = not at anything", ca
Mar 2, 2011 - 08:53pm PT

we spent the whole day lounging in the meadow watching el cap tv, then in the late afternoon the crowds abandoned ship and with no one on the route we simul-climbed and linked stuff for a quick end-of-day warm-up/cool-down on nutcracker. it was fun.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Mar 2, 2011 - 09:04pm PT
Harry Daley Route!

Mar 3, 2011 - 02:21am PT
PS- I'm full of SH*T. That would be my ideal first valley climb though!

Boulder climber
Mar 3, 2011 - 03:18am PT
Potato Masher, way up the 4 mile trail. It was in Roper's guidebook.

(it's the flat-topped one)
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Mar 3, 2011 - 03:42am PT
Bishop's Terrace, September 1977, in a typical heat wave.
One of our brakes had problems, so 2 guys stayed with the car in Modesto,
while Jeremy and I hitched into the Valley. Hopped on the shuttle bus,
out at Church Bowl, and ran up to get a climb in. Then camped at "Upper Bush".
Later in the trip Chris and I did East Buttress of Middle, about half of the Steck-Salathe', then wised up and went to the Meadows and did Fairview Regular Route.

Trad climber
Old Climbers' Home (Adopted)
Mar 3, 2011 - 09:38am PT
First free climb: Commitment (5.9), 1993
First aid climb: Old A3 (varation above on 'Guido's Highway), 2000

Staircase Falls area had me on edge the whole time I was up there.....every 15 minutes there would be the sound of small rock fall. =o
climber bob

Social climber
Mar 3, 2011 - 09:48am PT
1978...leaning tower traverse..my buddy zubie definately had an eye for the lines..

Trad climber
Mar 3, 2011 - 10:06am PT
1st climb was The Grack with Mark Hubbard.

1st wall was WF Leaning Tower with John Stark in 1994.


Trad climber
Mar 3, 2011 - 10:39am PT
It was 1981, I was a sophomore, and my partner was a junior in high school.
Neither of us had led anything before, but had set up top ropes etc, with our combined set of Chounard stoppers,hexes and biners.
We had gotten a ride up to the Valley from a NOLS instructor(My mentor), who had suggested we lead after 6 as our 1st climb. HE took us over to manure pile, and somebody was already struggling on after 6. We roped up at the base of after 7. Since my parnter was a yr older he got the lead, I was the belayer.
Just as he was stepping off the ground, a old friend of our chaperon walks by,I think it was Tony Yanerio.Tony was sporting a large rack of NEW FRIENDS.
He offered my partner several to try out on his lead of after 7.
Blast Off!! he went up and up, doing the Elvis, placing bad pro,more Elvis, more bad pro, till he got to the step over to the right move-THE crux.
He slips while making the move, gets the rope caught behind his leg, flips upside down and is rapidly approaching ground O.
3 pieces pop out- a friend that he had placed for his very first time held and saved his life. He came to rest, with his long hair less than a foot from making impact with the hard ground!!!!
Yes Now for my 1st lead!! after witnesses my buddies life almost end. We had to untie him from his homemade webbing harness, just like mine.
I put on my mentors old EB's( he upgraded to FIRES )gathered the rack, including a few friends from Tony and up I went.
I actually don't remember the climb to well, because of the traumatic experience before hand. I did finish what my buddy had started, and belayed my mentor up! My buddy never tied into a rope rope again. For me, it set the tone for a exciting 30 years of climbing so far for me.


Mountain climber
Mar 3, 2011 - 10:39am PT
1st climb was Higher Spire in 1977 with John Fischer .1st wall was Half Dome in 1995 with John Robinson and 1st El Capitan was Zodiac with John Robinson in 1996 at age 59.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
Mar 3, 2011 - 08:34pm PT
My first climb in the valley was the right side of La Cosita. The left side was 5.7 and was too scary looking for me so I lead the right side, a nice straight forward 5.8 crack. (I was just breaking into my first 5.8 leads at the time.) It was 1969 and I lead it with pitons in the stiff blue Robbin boots. I reached the top with wide round eyes and arms turning to jello. The joke was on me, today it is rated 5.9.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Mar 3, 2011 - 08:37pm PT
First climb- haven't a clue (don't know, can't remember). Last climb- Steck Salathe. Next climb- haven't a clue.
james Colborn

Trad climber
Truckee, Ca
Mar 3, 2011 - 10:46pm PT
I was sooooo intimidated by the valley, it took me a while to get there.

First climb was WF Leaning Tower.

Trad climber
The here and now
Mar 3, 2011 - 11:33pm PT

I was a young Gunks and CT climber and had no idea what I was getting into. It could have been an epic, but we got lucky. Yes, there's a story there. No, we didn't make it.

Thanks for asking, nutjob. It stirred up some great old memories, like from another lifetime.


Mar 4, 2011 - 01:12am PT
South Face of the Column

Mar 4, 2011 - 08:47am PT
After watching my partner take a ground fall on the first bit of Sacherer Cracker, (5.7) and land in a rare flat patch (which should have been a portent) we continued on, and got absolutely destroyed...falls, flails, and about every other f you could think of

I remember thinking "gah, will I ever stop shaking"....

Did not have good technique...
Rockin' Gal

Trad climber
Mar 4, 2011 - 09:18am PT
The first pitch of Bishop's Balcony, must have been summer of '75, with a couple waiters from the hotel, Randy and Tom. It was my first attempt, as I remember getting up about 5 feet in my hiking boots and then running in place on the rock.

Trad climber
boulder, Colorado
Mar 4, 2011 - 04:57pm PT
Lost Arrow Chimney with Kor. Long day, made memorable by having to climb through the remains of some unlucky soul who had fallen into the chimney from the rappel into the notch from above. We topped out with last light and rappeled and prussiked out in pitch blackness. Very thirsty day since we hadn't taken much water to make sure we got up without a bivvy.

Trad climber
under the sea
Mar 4, 2011 - 05:09pm PT
Back in 2000 was on a roadtrip from michigan with a few non climbing friends. Dragged one of them up snakedike. He had only toproped in a gym 2x before! Spent the next day hiking and then we left. Came back the next summer though and soloed leaning tower for my second route in the valley and my first wall ever!

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Mar 8, 2011 - 01:32am PT
probably 90 or 91, but can't recall a first. but I do remember driving thru the wawona tunnel and my mind being totally blown away.

I knew it was big. But the scale, the sheer enormity of it all. I was glad to crag and boulder that first trip.

It's quite possible we tried So Face of the Column on that first trip, but got shut down with people in front of us and that's why we cragged. Too much too fast as they say. The next trip was half dome I think. I don't think I was living near the valley at that time. Actually it was probably Royal Arches as a training.

All those were within the first year or so. And by late 92...

Sherries Crack 10c onsight
Knob Job 10b followed with no falls and took my whip on...
Reeds Pinnacle Direct 9+ 1 fall (wet)

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
Mar 8, 2011 - 02:13am PT
1958- either the Royal Arches or Wash Column to Lunch Ledge? With Jeff Foott, Al MacDonald and Nick Stephens.
Ricardo Carlos

Ice climber
Off center
Mar 8, 2011 - 09:45am PT
It was June 76 and I remember my first view of El Cap as a climber Wow is was a rush.
I do not remember the first climb. We climbed to usual I guess in the first weeks in the valley. Nut cracker I think we warmed up on After 6 & 7. We did one of the five open books, something on the Apron. The must do for the first time list for us was Nut Cracker Royal Arches, Snake Dike and Central Pillar of Frenzy.
It was the trip that opened up the door of full time climber part time worker for me.

Soda Springs, CA
Mar 8, 2011 - 10:46am PT
First pitch, Right Side of Monday Morning Slab. 1973, I was 10 years old, in the Valley with a YMCA trip. One of the counselors was into climbing and I told him about doing it the year before and assured him I knew how to belay and rappel, we did it and it was great, a big jump in height and awesomeness from the little crags I had been on before. The next year I moved to Berkeley and hooked up with the Sierra Club RCS, and have been passionately committed to verticality ever since. About 8 years ago that counselor, Brian, looked me up in the Valley and we went out cragging!


Big Wall climber
Mar 9, 2011 - 12:19pm PT
1st free climb in the valley was Moby dick. 97'

1st wall in the valley was a rope solo of the Prow. 99'

Trad climber
East Coast US
Mar 9, 2011 - 02:46pm PT
Right side of the Cookie. 5.8, 5.7, 5.9. Being a Gunkie, I couldn't figure out that 2nd pitch 5.7 slot. That was desperate as hell. And I laybacked the 3rd pitch [!].

Trad climber
Mar 9, 2011 - 02:58pm PT
Bishops Terrace? First couple pitches of the DNB? After Six?
Wish I remembered. Having begun in a gym with no cracks, it took some time before I could get the hang of crack climbing.

Trad climber
carsoncity nv
Mar 9, 2011 - 03:12pm PT
Harry Daley rt. Monday morning slab. with Bill Adler from the burger stand.
'75 ish?

Troy, MT
Mar 9, 2011 - 03:25pm PT
Man, I've GOT to do Harry Daley! Still haven't done it!
Inner City

Trad climber
East Bay
Mar 9, 2011 - 03:28pm PT
late April '86, Snake Dike! What a first experience, from the long approach to the awesome exposure on the side of the dome, I remember being pretty scared on that little 5.7 friction move to the left to start pitch 3. 25 years ago next month. wow, time flies like a rocket. edit: this was my first EVER rockclimbing experience. So engrossing and fun.

dont make me come over there
Mar 9, 2011 - 10:17pm PT
Church bowl tree

Trad climber
Quartz Hill, California
Mar 9, 2011 - 10:39pm PT
Summer of 76 Royal Arches with rotten log pitch. Next day did Nutcracker.
Still remember those two days vividly. I was then, and forever more, a rockclimber !!!


portland, Oregon
Mar 10, 2011 - 12:39am PT
Spring break 1972 finds 14 year old little Nick on vacation with school buddy Scott. We head over to Monday Morning Slab left. Not just my first valley climb, my first climb ever and my first lead as well. After memorizing the 72' Chouinard catalog article "The Whole Natural Art of Protection". I set out to lead this with just 4 hexes and three stoppers, all I could afford. Somewhere near the top of the chimney I find a thread for a runner. Just as I am leading past it, three older guys come soloing buy in their cord knickers and rugby shirts. One of them stops to complement me on the thread that I put in. I recognize him as Doug Robinson from the National Geographic article and the catalog. I was so star struck that I hardly said a thing, but the effect was lasting. Thanks Doug.

Trad climber
The great white north, eh?
Mar 25, 2011 - 03:11pm PT
Climbing content is so much better than a Wow Really thread on page 1!

Trad climber
Mar 25, 2011 - 03:30pm PT
um, some finger crack somewhere up behind camp 4. don't know the name. i was in c4 for two days and didnt have a rope or rack with me. typical message board partner deal, guy says he's got full rack, rope, can follow whatever 10s or 11s i'm willing to lead.

turns out he had a goldline and a mixed assortment of nuts.

so we top-roped some deal whose name i can't recall. nice enough climb, probably mid-10 or so. my partner ended up not being able to climb much at all, turns out that part of the story was also, well, a story.

really pretty typical of climbing w. message board randoms.

Mountain climber
Mar 25, 2011 - 04:19pm PT
grack, I was so noob it scared the sh#t out of me...but was so much fun...
steve shea

Apr 11, 2015 - 08:42am PT
First free climb L'Escuela sp. base EC. Really greasy. Chris Landry.

First aid climb LA tip. Richard Jimmerson and Tim Harrison

Both in 1968 I think.

Trad climber
Nedsterdam CO
Apr 11, 2015 - 09:11am PT
Summer of '83, Flakey Foont. Being an eastern slab man (think Stone Mtn NC) I figured it would be a cinch. I suppose I've been more wrong about other stuff.

Kennewick wa
Apr 11, 2015 - 09:12am PT
Is Grant's Crack a climb? :)
Flip Flop

salad bowl, california
Apr 11, 2015 - 10:07am PT
Swan Slab solo freakout.

Braille Book. Coerced an old random bulletin board dude to go up there and he got snail eye. I lead it and it was full value. I dabbed on a pin.

Evel, lol nicely put lol.

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 11, 2015 - 10:21am PT
Altough I can't remember my first ascent, I'll never get my first 5.10....Sacherer Cracker with T.M. Herbert in 1970. Funniest guy I've ever climbed with!

Trad climber
Los Angeles
Apr 11, 2015 - 10:21am PT
Crest Jewel
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, Moab or In What Time Zone Am I?
Apr 11, 2015 - 10:26am PT
Aunt Fanny's Pantry


Gym climber
Apr 11, 2015 - 11:01am PT
Late '70s, The Cow center (5.5).

I was in a climbing class from Sonoma State, Marty Garrison was our teacher, and Lars Holbeck assisted with some of the classes!

My first lead was After Seven, and I froze for 20 minutes making the right step-across. Marty was, like, "I've been up there, that foothold isn't small..."
Big Mike

Trad climber
Apr 11, 2015 - 11:35am PT
Jamcrack, Sunnyside Bench

I loved every minute of it. Super fun climb.

My first trip to the valley was really special. I was with good friends and discovering this magical place for the first time. Relic had tons of beta and we got lots of climbing done. It was rad to hang with Luke and Ais in the Valley too.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Apr 11, 2015 - 11:45am PT
Regular route, Mt Starr King, with the Carlmont YMCA Alpine Club in October 1961 (if you count Starr King as being in Yo Valley, that is). Otherwise, I soloed some obscure 5.5 pinnacle in Sentinel Gulley while staying with my parents at Yosemite Lodge during the summer of 1962. Remember getting my legs all scratched up in the manzanita.
the Fet

Apr 11, 2015 - 12:04pm PT
I don't even know! I went to the valley with some skier friends and they got me on a 5.10 TR that I clawed my way up in wrestling shoes. Later I returned after buying all the gear and led Munginella as my second or third lead ever. A great first climb!
Mark Force

Trad climber
Cave Creek, AZ
Apr 11, 2015 - 01:53pm PT
Another vote for The Cow, left side (1974).


Trad climber
Spokane, WA
Apr 11, 2015 - 02:00pm PT
After Six. June 1969. With Hugh Mays of the Loma Prieta RCS. Then we did Point Beyond and Harry Daley.
Ward Trotter

Trad climber
Apr 11, 2015 - 02:35pm PT
Royal Arches
Then over the next week and a half
Snake Dike
East Butt Middle Cathedral
Reg route on Fairview Dome

And numerous shorter routes in-between.
Really good times.
i'm gumby dammit

Sport climber
da ow
Apr 11, 2015 - 03:05pm PT
nutcracker. only took about 8 hours.
about half the people in front of us at the belay atop pitch 2

Trad climber
Apr 11, 2015 - 04:10pm PT
Did I post to this thread before?

Royal Arches. Pulled into the valley super late the previous night. Jumped on that thing in the morning. Spent the night in caves above northdome gully in sub-freezing temps. :) First yos route and first bivy. 1976. Oh yea.... and I stayed on in the valley when all my buddies returned to school (Portland State) at the end of spring break. Beginning of a ten year dirt bagging odyssey before I finally grew up. :)

Apr 11, 2015 - 05:08pm PT
I don't see any blood.

The knot is coming untied.

Quick grab the rope ..... :-)

Trad climber
It ain't El Cap, Oregon
Apr 11, 2015 - 05:18pm PT
I think it was After Six with Mark Blanchard but could have been a pre-Porter ascent of the Shield.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Apr 11, 2015 - 05:47pm PT
Point Beyond Direct, 5.8
1978, a couple of months after graduating from high school, with some random stranger from Camp 4
It was the start of the greatest adventure of my life

I had been to the Valley a few months before to climb, but I was so overwhelmed with the size of the walls that I walked around for a few hours with my mouth hanging open and then went home with my tail between my legs. Didn't even touch the rock. Humbling experience. I returned to Yosemite after a summer climbing in the Sierras and started climbing regularly there.

Trad climber
the middle of CA
Apr 11, 2015 - 06:22pm PT
Braille Book

First and last time I climbed a route that had another party on it. That really stresses me out for some reason, can't handle it...

Trad climber
Hoodland, Oregon
Apr 11, 2015 - 06:44pm PT
First climb in Yosemite was Royal Arches in 1976. Spring break at Portland State Outdoor Program and we drove all night in the State of Oregon van. Jumped on the climb next morning and finished in the dark with the valley lights glistening below us. Bivied in a cave where we built a fire after retreating from a North Dome Gully night descent. Wow, Rockermike, it sounds like you might have been my partner?

Apr 11, 2015 - 06:50pm PT
Iron Hawk

Trad climber
Apr 11, 2015 - 07:12pm PT
Pine line.

The plan was to do snake dike the day after we rolled into the valley. The day we got there we were just going to wander around and not climb anything and we ended up at the base of the nose. We saw pine line and then went back to the car to see if it was in the guide book and came back with gear. Pine line went great and so did snake dike, even through snake dike started the first of many all day (and a little night) Yosemite adventures.

Trad climber
Marcus McCoy from somewhere over the rainbow...
Apr 11, 2015 - 08:47pm PT
Hanging Flake at Swan Slab. Everything is a little different, I suppose, when you don't have a mentor and you are basically an "advanced beginner". I did manage to lead Church Bowl Tree by the end of the week though.
Flip Flop

salad bowl, california
Apr 11, 2015 - 10:40pm PT
It's rad that you have that picture. Rowdy x3
Dave Davis

Social climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 11, 2015 - 11:31pm PT
1970 Had to go to the base of The Captain first and struggle up La Cosita and the left side of Little John. Was overwhelmed by the beauty of the place and in awe of El Cap.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Apr 11, 2015 - 11:57pm PT
Could have been in 1970 or 71. Probably one of the five open books or maybe Higher Cathedral Spire. It's all kinda fuzzy that far back.

The most memorable one in the way back time was The Yawn in 72. I remember turning the corner and thinking we had it in the bag until the first sight of the upper 250' corner, rated only 5.7 at the time.

Social climber
san joser
Apr 12, 2015 - 08:54am PT

Somewhere around the devils bathtub area. Didn't have a guidebook and was with non-climber friends. We had one harness and some nuts and hexes and slings. I got up something and set up a tr. No one perished and we all had a blast.

I came back a few weeks later with a climbing buddy and a topo and went up Royal Arches.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Apr 12, 2015 - 10:05am PT
NW Face of Half Dome - just missed the FWA AND the first clean ascent.
Didn't get the latter because it never occurred to us there was such a beast.
I don't think we used more than six or seven pins.
the goat

north central WA
Apr 12, 2015 - 04:53pm PT
Cookie Center in '74 wearing PA's and plugging in hexes, I was gripped. Climbed with a kid I met in C4 from Mountain View. We did two more climbs together and never saw him again.

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
Apr 13, 2015 - 03:24am PT
My first visit to the Valley would have been around 1993, I think it would have been Stone Groove, then Reeds Pinnacle Direct, the next day we did the East Buttress of El Cap, the day after, it was up to the Meadows for Regular Route on Fairview.

Happy days!


Trad climber
Apr 13, 2015 - 08:16am PT
Bishop's Terrace in 2012 with my friend Dan who I met the night before in the camp 4 line at 5 in the morning. I was 2nd in line and he was 3rd.

Trad climber
Menlo Park, CA
Apr 13, 2015 - 09:15am PT

Big Wall climber
Seattle, WA
Apr 13, 2015 - 09:43am PT
Right side of the Cookie. It wasn't pretty.
Mark Force

Trad climber
Cave Creek, AZ
Apr 13, 2015 - 11:26am PT
The right side of the Cookie deserves respect. And, the upper corner of the Yawn is pretty damn hard for 5.7!

Ice climber
hartford, ct
Apr 13, 2015 - 11:31am PT
East Butt of Middle.....

It was a long, long day but perfect conditions.

I did not however enjoy some ants that were apparently guarding some shrubbery I had anchored myself to very securely.


Trad climber
Costa Mesa, CA
Apr 13, 2015 - 11:42am PT
I don't know, might have been the column:

Have no idea, how do you guys even remember this stuff? haha

Trad climber
Anchorage, AK
Apr 13, 2015 - 11:50am PT
I'm pretty sure swan slab was the first time I climbed anything in the valley, though I don't recall which of the routes I did first. First bottom to top climb would be the nutcracker.

Flank of the Big Horns
Apr 13, 2015 - 11:55am PT
East Buttress of Middle on our post High School graduation trip, end of June 1990. As teenagers without alarm clocks we naturally slept in and finally found a parking spot near the base of Middle Cathedral and started the hike up about 10. The route was empty! How damn lucky is that? We made it to the top of the second pitch, when the first party of two caught us. Sure you can pass, well just look at El Cap some more. At the base of the 5.10 pitch another party caught us. Sure you can pass, well just look at El Cap some more.

This proved to be unfortunate later as they slowed down to a snails pace. Finally about dark we topped out. How does this descent go? You put a light in the pack right? No. Oops. Using our better judgment we parked ourselves under a tree and watched with envy the people on El Cap. I bet they have sleeping bags, and coats, and water. Bastards. We counted stars and sat as close together as possible, wobbly with our arms inside our t shirts. Ahh, morning light!! Down we went, back to the van. We drank all the water we had there, and finally felt semi human again. We chucked the parking ticket in the trash, I crawled under the van to hit the starter with the hammer and away we went in search of food.


Trad climber
Apr 13, 2015 - 02:35pm PT
Church Bowl Chimney.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Apr 13, 2015 - 04:18pm PT
An epic attempt to find Monday morning slab, pretty sure we did get on the apron. Rapped off '72?
Keith Leaman

Trad climber
Apr 13, 2015 - 05:04pm PT
On El Cap's base in 1970 with Phil Gleason. We did Moby Dick, Ahab, the Slack, and the Slack Center.
little Z

Trad climber
un cafetal en Naranjo
Apr 14, 2015 - 12:01pm PT
Left Side of Reed's Pinnacle with the OW finish.

You might ask, why this rather obscure slug fest for a first Yosemite climb? Drove over from Colorado (Ft.Collins) for my first spring break (1976) with a bunch of other folks. Got paired up with Mark Wilford (he was still in High School, his first trip to the Valley too). So we all go to Reed's on our first day and, of course, someone else got on Reed's Direct before we could. But we didn't drive all that way to sit around waiting, so we saw that line was free and said let's do it. Reed's Diret was our 2nd climb. Had a fun week climbing with Mark.


Trad climber
Fair Oaks
May 31, 2019 - 11:46pm PT
Hardings Route then The Flake on Glacier Point late 70's. My dad and I didn't quite make it in a day and bivied under a bush on the wall.

Mountain climber
May 31, 2019 - 11:58pm PT

Swan Slab Gully with my kids.
It was the start of many great adventures for our family.
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