The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2

  • Currently 5.0/5

El Capitan

Yosemite Valley, California USA

Trip Report
A jumarless Nose with my Daughter.
Tuesday June 11, 2013 2:25pm
Good times in the Valley with the kids:

Jim Donini and George Lowe, members of the legendary Latok I expeditio...
Jim Donini and George Lowe, members of the legendary Latok I expedition, with Kara Herson, middle school 1st chair flutist.
Credit: Jim Herson

  Trip Report Views: 15,250
Jim Herson
About the Author
Jim Herson is a climber from Emerald Hills, CA.


Social climber
  Jun 11, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
I just bumped my own TR of the RNWF from 2011, I remember your daughter totally owned the route. So proud!

Sport climber
The Big Wide Open Face
  Jun 11, 2013 - 02:35pm PT
Dr. Christ

Mountain climber
State of Mine
  Jun 11, 2013 - 02:37pm PT

  Jun 11, 2013 - 02:48pm PT
Wow, man. That's awesome - and i rarely use this word.

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 02:51pm PT

Thanks for sharing and motivating me to get out and do the climbing needed to get to my goals.


Trad climber
  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:24pm PT
what is a "jumarless nose"? Does she climb 5.14, or does she clip the aid pieces as she cleans (leads?). Either way great send. I'd like to take my daughter (23 yrs) up the Nose as some point, but we both need a bit more training at this point. ha (I guess I should have read the link - even more wow!)

Trad climber
Costa Mesa, CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 02:55pm PT
What everyone else said! Jaw dropping! +1
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Jun 11, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
Crushing it. As usual. The family that sends together...

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 02:57pm PT
All time classic trip report!
Love it!
Park Rat

Social climber
  Jun 11, 2013 - 02:59pm PT

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:01pm PT
nice job, dad.
the confidence that your children
gain in these endeavors will
empower their stare,
so that most of life's obstacles
will cower 'neath their scrutiny.

Big Wall climber
Newbury Park
  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:01pm PT
Absolutely amazing!

Social climber
Lida Junction
  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:06pm PT
agreed, totally awesome.
Charlie D.

Trad climber
Western Slope, Tahoe Sierra
  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:07pm PT
Incredible! Great motivation for young and old, thanks!!!

  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:19pm PT
jim will you adopt me?

Trad climber
Central Valley, CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:20pm PT
"At both ends of the age spectrum lies heartwarming inspiration."

Well said Jim!

Thank you for being such an inspiration! Cheers!

Social climber
Southern Arizona
  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:25pm PT
Wonderful and inspiring. Lucky you!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:48pm PT
Beautiful, Jim! Thanks for sharing.
ß Î Ø T Ç H

Boulder climber
  Jun 11, 2013 - 03:51pm PT
Kara kracks me up.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz/New Zealand/South Pacific
  Jun 11, 2013 - 04:00pm PT

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
  Jun 11, 2013 - 04:28pm PT

The Granite State.
  Jun 11, 2013 - 04:30pm PT
I've been telling people about this whenever sports enters the conversation since I first read of it on the el cap report. It just flies over their heads.

I'm blown away, strong climbing and strong parenting.

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
  Jun 11, 2013 - 04:34pm PT

What a great dad.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
  Jun 11, 2013 - 04:43pm PT
Tha is really great. Something to aspire to as a climbing dad.

Trad climber
Stockholm, Sweden 🇸🇪
  Jun 11, 2013 - 04:50pm PT
This is what makes Supertopo great.

Trad climber
Sad the forum is gone =(
  Jun 11, 2013 - 04:53pm PT
Great stuff great that you are able to help the kids with their first el cap!
Chris McNamara

SuperTopo staff member
  Jun 11, 2013 - 05:00pm PT
I missed the link to the awesome youtube videos on the first read, like this one

click on the links!


Trad climber
Santa Barbara, CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 05:14pm PT

Grizzlyville, WY
  Jun 11, 2013 - 05:19pm PT
Inspirational. Awesome. Great parenting.

Contagious stoke from this young lady.
[Click to View YouTube Video]

Trad climber
Clovis, CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 05:43pm PT
Awesome send! First chair flutist... Youngest free ascent of the Nose coming up?

Funny stuff Mac! Love those subtitles

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Jun 11, 2013 - 05:32pm PT
You and your family really are an inspiration :)

Mountain climber
The Ocean
  Jun 11, 2013 - 05:57pm PT
Been waiting for this one and HOLY FREAKING COW!!!!!! It delivers. Why do I have a feeling Kara could be the Lynn Hill of alpinism? Not that I recommend the sport.. But wow it's interesting to imagine. Tough cookie. Thanks so much for this TR that makes clear my total gumbieness.. But mostly I just wanna stand up and shout to the world..This is what people can do!! It's awesome!


Released into general population, Idaho
  Jun 11, 2013 - 05:59pm PT
Holy cow! She got to meet the legendary Jim Donini and George Lowe. How freaking awesome!

Portland, OR
  Jun 11, 2013 - 06:35pm PT
That is an awesome accomplishment. I'm hoping my 15 y.o. gets good enough that he can take me up the Nose before I'm too old!
Tan Slacks

Joshua Tree
  Jun 11, 2013 - 06:35pm PT
That was wonderful. Thanks Jim for the great TR.

Trad climber
Fresno CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 06:46pm PT
Ascents like these would have been beyond my imagination for the very best climbers when I started climbing. When I consider the ages involved (young and old), I simply marvel. Fantastic!


Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 06:59pm PT
While other teenage girls will earn spending money by babysitting the neighbors kids, I predict that Kara will earn hers by being a ropegun for hire for old folks... in their 20s and beyond. Put me on the list of clients please.

But seriously Jim, the thing that was awesome about this TR was seeing you in lycra tights and a pink puffy jacket.

Social climber
San Francisco
  Jun 11, 2013 - 07:00pm PT
Thanks Jim! That's the funniest TR I've read! Great job to you, Kara, and Mirko. I hope your elbow heals up - fish oil helps a lot. By the way, I'm sorry about telling Christine my true opinion of Lost Arrow Chimney.

bay area
  Jun 11, 2013 - 07:04pm PT

That was so unbelievably awesome and inspiring.
Tim Klein

Social climber
Palmdale, CA
  Jun 11, 2013 - 09:12pm PT
Unbelievable indeed.
Kara's determination to excel in all areas of her life is quite inspirational.
It will be interesting to hear about how she continues to use this determination to impact society through her future climbing and non-climbing endeavors.

Nice work!!!

  Jun 11, 2013 - 09:39pm PT
Holy cow! She got to meet the legendary Jim Donini and George Lowe. How freaking awesome!

Holy cow! Jim and George got to meet the legendary Kara. How freaking awesome (for them!)!


State of Mine
  Jun 11, 2013 - 09:40pm PT
unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!! totally awesome job to all of you!

  Jun 11, 2013 - 09:49pm PT
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Jun 11, 2013 - 09:52pm PT
Great writing Jim !!

Trad climber
Punter, Little Rock
  Jun 11, 2013 - 10:01pm PT
An inspiration. Half dome, nose. She has what it takes. You do as well if you are able to give her that level of confidence.

Trad climber
Washington DC
  Jun 11, 2013 - 10:02pm PT
These kids are going to true Yosemite hardmen (women) in a few short years. Amazing parenting, really inspiring.

  Jun 11, 2013 - 10:15pm PT

Trad climber
Northern California
  Jun 11, 2013 - 10:44pm PT
this TR is just super-awesome as are the kids who are the stars in it

  Jun 11, 2013 - 10:56pm PT
Absolutely outstanding - bravo!
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
  Jun 11, 2013 - 11:15pm PT
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 11, 2013 - 11:16pm PT
Hey Jim, it is awesome to see you guys had a lot of fun on route. I talked to you about it after the comp at PGSunnyvale, and really wanted to read about you guys climbing it. This trip report is not just about a huge accomplishment, but also is well written!

Many more to you all!
Vitaliy M.

Mountain climber
San Francisco
  Jun 11, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
Also, noticed you mention doing Evolution Traverse in your report, but did not find a report about it on your site? Did you write one by any chance? Would love to read it if so.

Trad climber
Fort Collins, CO
  Jun 11, 2013 - 11:27pm PT
Great TR. Impressive, but after the mid-winter ascent of HD TR I have to say I not that surprised.

Mountain climber
The Ocean
  Jun 11, 2013 - 11:35pm PT
After that report and this one I won't be surprised if Kara is the first person to climb on Mars.
lele honu

Trad climber
  Jun 11, 2013 - 11:36pm PT
bump bump.

  Jun 11, 2013 - 11:37pm PT
Pretty rad,

What a lucky family/group of people you all are!

Well done and thanks for taking the time to share.

  Jun 11, 2013 - 11:45pm PT

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Jun 12, 2013 - 12:54am PT

Please adopt me.

That is all.


Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
  Jun 12, 2013 - 03:12am PT
Amazing, and it's obvious they love climbing. Truly inspirational!
norm larson

wilson, wyoming
  Jun 12, 2013 - 01:17pm PT
Unbelievable! It just blows me away. Wow. Passing Donini and Lowe. You should head over to Latok Next
Double D

  Jun 12, 2013 - 09:33am PT
Pure child abuse... I LOVE it, truly inspiring. I hope they get extra credits in school...
Don Paul

Social climber
Washington DC
  Jun 12, 2013 - 09:57am PT
Wow, my dad used to take me fishing.
David Wilson

  Jun 12, 2013 - 10:15am PT
Great job ! Jim, by all accounts, is pretty unusual and his genetics seem to have flowed through enhanced. I can't wait to see what Kara does in the future.

Trad climber
CA Central Coast
  Jun 12, 2013 - 11:13am PT


from one parent to another

you're a bonfire of inspiration!!


Trad climber
Station Wagon, USA
  Jun 12, 2013 - 12:21pm PT
Way to go, Kara! We could not be more impressed. Next up: a family romp up the Salathe. :)

Trad climber
Las Vegas, NV.
  Jun 12, 2013 - 12:30pm PT
I was totally blown away when I saw this little adventure on the Report, and far more so now that I have this excellent TR to enjoy.

My deepest respect to you and your daughter for breaking out of the parenting mold that is "accepted" these days and causing our society to atrophy to the sound of video games and keyboard taps.

I can't wait to see what's next!

Trad climber
Santa Monica, California
  Jun 12, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
I'm just speechless!

These quotes had me falling off of my chair laughing...

"I don't know what this is but this is definitely not climbing!"

"Why couldn't I have played basketball?"

"My entire body is pumped except my arms?!"

"Climbing is supposed to be elegant!"

Seems like they have already picked up their dad's skill of being able to sum up the situation in a droll cynical manner.

Edit: I guess that wasn't actually your progeny that said those quotes.

Loved it, best read in a long time!

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
  Jun 12, 2013 - 01:09pm PT
B'jeezuz I don't know what to say - Your kids have done everything I'd want to do.......

It's unreal!


Oakland, CA
  Jun 12, 2013 - 05:05pm PT
I think my favorite character in Jim's TRs are the wife/mother, an anchoring presence who though mostly out of frame in the storytelling provides the bedrock sanity in the family from which the amazing lunacy of the TR departs!

As a reader you can feel the respect (fear? haha) in the storyteller that permeates every dry quip and witticism, and it seems that these stories are probably mostly written for her, and ultimately you get a sense of the trust that exists there between husband and wife. As inspirational as any other element of these TRs imho.

I'm inspired. Inspired by "the old guys" for their raw audacity and determination. Inspired by the quiet grace with which they forever put to bed the age excuse. Inspired by the dignity and maturity of the 12 year old climbing prodigy -- his eagerness to push his comfort zone and risk setbacks to explore and grow. And finally, although I need to recuse myself for extreme bias and unabashed pride, inspired by Kara. Inspired by her tenacity, mental fortitude, and climbing talents. But mostly I am inspired by her spirit to relish the moment and keep smiling through it all. As I sat there in stunned awe watching her pull that last bolt ladder, all I could think of was "Wow, that is one rad guinea pig!"

Final thought: after the tragedies on El Cap this season I think lots of us felt a cloak of dark and sorrowful vibes pulled over the Valley, or I did at least. That's one part of climbing and has to be respected, and one thing we do as a community is carry on those memories.

Paragraph above, and the feat you two pulled off, is like sunlight pouring into the room.


Flagstaff/Thousand Oaks
  Jun 12, 2013 - 01:49pm PT
You're daughter makes me look like a freakin pansy!

Trad climber
  Jun 12, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
Congratulations Kara, and Connor, and Mirko and Jim!

[Jim, I didn't have anything to do with your decision to abandon jumars for NIAD newbies, did I?]

Mountain climber
Alamo, CA
  Jun 12, 2013 - 07:34pm PT
Congrats Dad and Kara, this is the most inspiring trip report I've read. I would encourage Kara to write her own trip report and post it from her perspective...brilliant..

Trad climber
Oaksterdam, CA
  Jun 13, 2013 - 04:52am PT
Thanks, love your stuff
john hansen

  Jun 13, 2013 - 04:58am PT
I would second the Kara trip report.

Great stuff.
Funk 29

Trad climber
Wallowa, OR
  Jun 13, 2013 - 06:59am PT
Awesome Family,
Strong Climbers!

Trad climber
'cross the great divide
  Jun 13, 2013 - 10:31am PT
You're daughter makes me look like a freakin pansy!

That's exactly what I was thinking about myself.

Note to self as parent: remember the timeout in the Harding Slot. Oh! Wait a minute. I'd have to get through it first to give said timeout.

Social climber
chica de chico, I don't claim to be a daisy.
  Jun 13, 2013 - 12:32pm PT

Crazy Amazing!...Way to go *Kara.....Mirko...and Pops...

"Wow, that is one rad guinea pig!"......LOL....
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
  Jun 13, 2013 - 12:51pm PT
Sounded like a way of getting even for former diaper changing but sounds like you took care of that on astroman!




Big Wall climber
Terrapin Station
  Jun 13, 2013 - 04:40pm PT
You guys are too freeking cool!

I wish I had the mojo to get my kids into it that much.

Trad climber
Mountain View
  Jun 17, 2013 - 03:07pm PT

Trad climber
  Jun 18, 2013 - 03:00pm PT
Holy cow! When I was 14 in 1959, my dad took me up the #rd Flatiron . . . my how things have changed. This gal rocks on rock.

Phoenix, AZ
  Jun 18, 2013 - 06:20pm PT
Thank you for the inspiration. That was one helluva cool TR.

Ice climber
Pomfert VT
  Jun 18, 2013 - 06:28pm PT
Thank You!

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
  Jun 18, 2013 - 06:45pm PT
Too good. Well done guys!

Trad climber
Santa Cruz
  Jun 18, 2013 - 07:39pm PT
something really amazing


Lake Tahoe, Nevada
  Jun 18, 2013 - 07:50pm PT
Wow how awesome! Kara a name to remember in the future.
looking sketchy there...

Social climber
Lassitude 33
  Jun 18, 2013 - 08:15pm PT
Thanks for sharing this. It was both inspiring and enjoyable to read. Way to go!

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
  Jun 18, 2013 - 09:15pm PT
Jim - I met you several weeks ago when John and I were doing our final NIAD practice run on the lower part of the route when you and Tim flew by us... I was very inspired then watching you two romp to the top... your words to me were... "leave that second rope and just keep climbing"....

well this weekend we did just that.. left the second rope and fired the NIAD (almost.. 36 hours..)

now after reading this TR... im even more inspired.. just amazing!!!!
Jim Herson

Emerald Hills, CA
Author's Reply  Jun 20, 2013 - 12:31am PT
Thanks for all the wonderful comments. The climbs, especially the Nose, were all great fun!

Le_Bruce, you nailed it!

D Fred

Trad climber
san francisco, ca
  Jun 22, 2013 - 04:45pm PT

we haven't met, but as a dad of a 3yo and a 6mo, you are a climbing-dad's inspiration... don't get me wrong, i'll never free the salathe or climb 5.13+ cracks, but i do hope that someday i'll to be able to show my kids 1/2 of what you have. and i'm super impressed how adventurous your kids are, damn! my hat is off to you and your family, well done!

p.s. my wife's first reaction was to echo le_bruce's post

Sean Jones

  Jun 23, 2013 - 02:16pm PT
This is the best ever !!!! congrats !

Kennewick wa
  Jun 23, 2013 - 02:56pm PT
Great report, but one question...

Why did you have a second pair of matching tights when you were at Smith?

Trad climber
Lake Tahoe
  Jun 23, 2013 - 04:07pm PT

Trad climber
Wolfeboro, NH
  Jun 23, 2013 - 04:15pm PT
Having just come back from the Valley, climbing with my son, ages 32 @ 67, you will value these experiences, when you reach the "senior years".

Just be careful, as I'm sure you are, so you can enjoy being a grandfather, as I am, in your old age.

Again, the best TR ever!!!

Big Wall climber
  Jun 23, 2013 - 04:41pm PT
hey, that's an awesome tr. congrats to kara. she was my best student ever, even though she never jumared. steve

Social climber
granada hills
  Jun 23, 2013 - 08:52pm PT
Another awesome TR.

All of your TR's are great but this one is truly my favorite, probably because I am in it! (See group shot on Dolt I am farthest from the camera in a green shirt.) Haha!

Great job! Congratulations.


Social climber
  Jun 24, 2013 - 04:54pm PT
Great write up and wonderfully inspiring.
Johnny K.

  Jul 16, 2013 - 06:52pm PT
This is the best TR ever.Until Jim's next TR.UP.

Mountain climber
The Ocean
  Jul 16, 2013 - 07:12pm PT
Anyone else tired of seeing this little kid dancing around on our long held desperate dreams as if she is at Chuck-E-Cheese's

She doesn't even get tangled in the rope for chris-sakes!
This is not fair.

[Click to View YouTube Video]

Might as well rename the route.. kiddy-land

Trad climber
Sierra Vista
  Nov 12, 2013 - 01:15pm PT
Jim's adventures wid d'kids are as unlikely as they are awsome,

super bump


Social climber
Lida Junction
  Mar 13, 2014 - 06:47pm PT

  Mar 13, 2014 - 07:15pm PT

Social climber
An Oil Field
  Mar 14, 2014 - 01:01am PT

Trad climber
Santa Clara, CA
  Mar 14, 2014 - 01:16am PT
I'm giving up climbing.....

(that little dance she does is totally priceless!!!)

Social climber
joshua tree
  Mar 14, 2014 - 02:00am PT
Wow Again!
All the single words have already been used up. But I gotta say I Love this story!!
I hope to pitch the same thing in about 5-10 with my daughter.

What's also Amazing, is that it inspired this too..


Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger

Jun 11, 2013 - 12:01pm PT
nice job, dad.
the confidence that your children
gain in these endeavors will
empower their stare,
so that most of life's obstacles
will cower 'neath their scrutiny.

Ottawa Doug

Social climber
Ottawa, Canada
  Mar 15, 2014 - 10:29pm PT
Everyone else has already used all the superlatives I can think of. Amazing!

Trad climber
  Mar 15, 2014 - 10:36pm PT

Social climber
  Mar 15, 2014 - 10:40pm PT
Bad ass flute player!
I'm going to start showing this TR to patients in the ER who need to learn to buck up and grow some balls - men and women alike.

Social climber
Ridgway, CO
  Sep 1, 2018 - 06:43pm PT
dee ee

Mountain climber
Of THIS World (Planet Earth)
  Sep 3, 2018 - 12:10pm PT
El Capitan - The Nose 5.14a or 5.9 C2 - Yosemite Valley, California USA. Click to Enlarge
The Nose—the best rock climb in the world!
Photo: Mark Kroese
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