Laughing at the Void is the perfect practice route for those aspiring to climb steep El Cap routes. Mostly clean cracks interspersed with bomber bolts cruise up a beautiful steep golden wall, and the view from the bivy ledge is incredible. The cruxes are a couple shallow piton placements. Laughing at the Void is better after you've climbed The Prow or Skull Queen rather than the South Face, as a couple of the pitches are long and steep and therefore difficult if you don't have a few aid leads under your belt. The 'Gold Rush' finish, recommended, has not been climbed clean.


*Plan: The approach is a steep difficult hike, so plan on spending the first day getting all your stuff to the base of the wall(best in two trips) and fixing two or three pitches(with two 60m ropes) and bivying at the base. It is only a short walk over to Ribbon Creek so you can filter water after doing the approach. The second day climb to bivy ledge atop pitch 6, fixing a pitch if you have time. Day three climb to the top, leaving any bags at the top of the 8th pitch and enjoying easy free climbing to the top, and then rappel back to your bag and down to the ledge and continue rappelling down the climb.

*Ledge: The bivy ledge atop pitch 6 is long and narrow, and not perfectly flat so use your rope(s) and empty haulbag to level it out. Awesome spot once you get it dialed.


*Descent: rappel the route.


Trip Reports


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"We actually spotted the route a few years before we did it but waited because of the bolting on pitches 2 and 3. It was obvious that what was acceptable in the number of bolts[per climb] was increasing and when we first saw and decided to climb the route it still would have been controversial. So we waited figuring no one would go to that much work to steal our line, and started when the time was right. We have always felt that if a drill was involved there should be a bolt and not bat hooks or dowels/machine heads. A hole is a hole and should be filled for the future many years to come. It seems that lesson should be well learned by now with all the junk on climbs all over the country.


Anyway, not much to tell aobut Laughing, just lots of jugging and sitting in the portaledge watching the rain and snow. We seem to have a knack for planning time off weeks to months ahead of time and that is when it storms so it took a while to get it done. I guess like Hardings 'brute strength and ignorance' I"m not smart enough to be bothered by drilling.


My wife Sigrid and I started climbing together before we were married in '76. We kept right at it after our kids were born, in '78 and '82. This was Lynnea first bigwall fa and she loved it, and she has continued to establish grade V and VI climbs with us around the Sierras."

-Jerry Anderson via email May 2011.