Intro/Strategy

265 Steep, intimidating but not too hard and with great one-person ledges, Zodiac is one of the best bigwall aid routes in the Valley. Stances or ledges at many belays, beautiful thin cam cracks, the insanely beautiful White Circle pitches make Zodiac a five star route. Zodiac is Intermediate the same way Lurking Fear is Beginner--both routes usually have fixed gear at the cruxes that makes them much faster/easier than they were initially(or if the fixed gear is gone).

 

*Plan: Most parties fix a couple pitches the first day and bivy at the base or low on the wall, and then spend 2-4 days on the wall. You will need a 50' lowerout line for your haulbag for pitch 4. Most of the pitches are 150' or less from belay to belay so if you have a 60m haulline it works fine to tie off your bag at 150' and use the rest of the rope for the lowerout.

 

*Ledge: The single-wide ledges at the Black Tower, Pearly Gates and Peanut Ledge are stellar.

 

*The Elements: Zodiac gets Sun about 9-5. If climbing the Zode in Winter or Spring when runoff can pour down pitch 2 and pitch 3, make sure to climb/fix to pitch 4 and haul from the ground to there and your bags will be dry(only two ropes to the ground from pitch 4(ropes have to be tied together) on two intermediate stations on Shortest Straw).

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Speed Record

01h:51m:34secs
Alex & Thomas Huber
Jul 2004

Solo Record

11h:18mins
Nick Fowler
Nov 2002
  • Oct 26, 2016 21hours -- dan moses, Kyle Rott
    First El Cap in a day! A blast! Kyle is a beast!
  • Jul 27, 2016 2 days 05hours -- Adam Freund, Gina Edwards
    Started 11am 7/25/16. No fixing. Night 1 @ Pearly Gates. Night 2 @ Peanut Ledge. Topped out ~4pm. Pretty hot in the afternoon sun. Fun times, with just enough Type 2 mixed in.
  • May 03, 2016 11hours -- Erik Sloan, Roger Putnam
    Such an amazing route.
  • May 2016 3 days -- sean warren, Dan Osbaldeston and Spencer hastings
  • Feb 2016 3 days -- dan moses, Joe R
    Climbed under waterfalls most of the way. Lovely time!
  • Oct 27, 2015 1 day -- Brandon Adams, Gena Wood
    Gena fixed two pitches then took us to belay 5. I led from belay 5 to peanut in 8:30. Gena cruised to the top. Fun route. Great times shortfixing and climbing continuously through the circle. Hammerless.
  • Sep 04, 2015 4.5 days -- Jacques Lepesant (solo)
  • Aug 20, 2015 1 day -- Erik Sloan, Robbie Brown, Nick, Chris Edmands, Oliver
    Party Wall up the best route on the Southeast Face! Woohoo! Topo Updates: Pitch 5: 3 x 3 ledge is missing! Pitch 11: The first hooks after the C2+ section appear to have broken and are barely there.
  • Aug 20, 2015 18hours -- Robbie Brown, Erik Sloan, Nick Weinman, Chris Edmands Oliver
    ZIAD!!!! Team of 5
  • Jul 2015 3.5 days -- Ken Bokelund, Doug shaw
  • Jun 11, 2015 3 days -- Matt Kuehl, Andy Reger
    Lead 12 pitches. First El Cap route. 3 days, 2 nights.
  • May 03, 2015 5.5 days -- Adam Freund (solo)
    First El Cap solo. Hammerless. Didn't bring a portaledge. Fixed to P4, and bivied at Pearly Gates (two nights), and Peanut Ledge. Big thank you to Gina for helping me carry loads to the base and meeting me on top and helping carry stuff down.
  • 2015 5 days -- sean warren, Laura ashley
  • Oct 2014 7 days -- sean warren (solo)
  • Aug 28, 2014 3 days -- Will Masterman, Ryan Riggins
    Ryan 's first grade six wall. Three years ago Ryan introduced me to climbing in Yosemite so it was really neat to be part of his first El Cap ascent.
  • Jun 04, 2014 2.5 days -- Ryan Strickland, Jeff
    Fixed to top of P3. One bivy on P9. Hammerless ascent. Hand placed beaks, camhooks, and fixed copperheads were key.
  • Mar 15, 2014 3 days -- Brandon Adams (solo)
    Great adventure. First solo of the captain. Soloing sure is a lot of work but I find it very rewarding. This was a vision quest climb for sure. I need to study some more Hudon tips.
  • Sep 19, 2013 4.5 days -- Wade Morris, Andrew & Marc
    First El Cap route
  • Sep 02, 2013 2.5 days -- Joe Marlay
  • Sep 02, 2013 3 days -- Will Masterman, Conner Macleod
    First wall with Conner. Dope route! Started the JMT 2 days later, great trip to Yosemite!
  • Sep 02, 2013 3 days -- Conner MacLeod, Will Masterman
    First big wall and it was a trial by fire! forgot my headlamp in the haulbag on the Black Tower pitch and led it with my cell phone screen as a light.
  • Sep 2013 2.5 days -- Guy Buckingham
  • Jul 2013 3.5 days -- mickey sensenbach, jaysen henderson
  • Jun 09, 2013 4 days -- Munge Climber, Kev D.
    Did this hammerless with Kev D. with water to spare. 105F on the valley floor on June 8th.
  • Jun 09, 2013 4 days -- Kevin DeWeese, Mungclimber
    Route went clean easily for us, but we still heard parties nailing below us while we were still on the route. Later heard more parties nailing while I was Soloing New Dawn to Tribal Rite. Great times though. Flagging a ledge is the best way to keep every belay cushy and comfortable.
  • May 26, 2013 3 days -- John Greer, James Barnett
  • Apr 2013 5 days -- Justin Cory (solo)
    Most badass time of my life.
  • Oct 2012 2.5 days -- Roger Putnam, Robin Batha
    Climbed it to inspect the outcrop of Leaning Tower Granite underneath the white circle. We had some fun climbing too...
  • Sep 2012 15hours -- Ryan Baker, Josh McClure
  • Sep 2011 23hours -- Ben Lepesant, Danny
    started nicely, but slowed down considerably. last 3 pitches took about 5 or 6 hours, I think. Danny's second el cap route after lurking fear. fun.
  • Jun 09, 2011 4 days -- Ryan Baker (solo)
    First solo, first time on the Southeast Face-glory! Three awesome nights spent on the wall, topped out early afternoon on Sunday after smooth, mellow-paced climbing. Celebrated on top and then made it down and a guy gave me a beer in the manure pile parking lot. Early morning light on the Captain and moments of bliss.
  • Oct 16, 2010 13h:30mins -- David Allfrey, Logan Talbott
  • Oct 2010 3 days -- Erik Sloan, Richie Copeland, Arin Trook
    Three Bros sailing the Granite Seas o Bliss. Good Times! Viva the Grey Circle Vibe!
  • Sep 12, 2010 6 days 10h:13mins -- Stephen Wampler, Tommy Thompson and Dave Lane
    First guy with spastic cerebral palsy to summit.
  • Jun 2010 4 days -- francesco gherlenda, andrea borca, max solinas
    We have had the surprise to found the route totally clean of copperhead
  • Oct 16, 2009 2.5 days -- David Allfrey, Carmen Johnson
    Carmen's first wall, we were climbing into a storm, but got off before it hit.
  • Sep 2009 4 days -- Neil Chelton, Callum
  • Jul 13, 2009 12hours -- Erik Sloan, Josh McClure
    Awesome fun with a good friend. We passed Ivo and friends who were slow boating the route. 'Zodiac is the best aid climb on El Cap' says Ivo. Agreed!
  • Aug 31, 2008 2.5 days -- Dominic Oughton, Bill Deakin
  • Jun 29, 2008 2.5 days -- Roger Putnam, Jesse McGahey
    First El Cap Route...Great Times.
  • Mar 05, 2008 1 day 08hours -- Erik Sloan, Richie Copeland, Pete Zabroc
  • Jan 14, 2008 3 days -- Erik Sloan, Richie Copeland, Ted Hansen
  • Mar 2006 3 days -- Erik Sloan, Micah Bisson
  • Sep 2005 3 days -- Erik Sloan, Leo Burk
  • Oct 11, 2003 4.5 days -- Rachel McCullough, Micah Bisson
  • Apr 2003 3 days -- Erik Sloan, Max Hasson
  • Sep 2002 1.5 days -- Paul Gagner, Steve "Lucky" Smith
    26 hours
  • Aug 2002 09hours -- Erik Sloan, Chris McNamara
  • Jul 27, 2002 3 days -- Jacques Lepesant, David Fessaguet
  • Sep 27, 2001 3 days -- T M, Noah hannawalt
  • Sep 10, 2001 1 day -- Erik Sloan, Chris McNamara
  • May 2001 3 days -- Erik Sloan, Pablo Vera
  • Jun 2000 2 days -- Erik Sloan, Roger Strong
  • May 2000 3 days -- Erik Sloan, Jimmy Forester
  • May 2000 09h:30mins -- Erik Sloan, Brett from CO?
  • Aug 1999 1 day -- Erik Sloan, Chris McNamara, Wayne Willoughby
  • Apr 1999 2 days -- Erik Sloan, Chris McNamara
  • Mar 1999 3 days -- Erik Sloan, John Maddox
  • Sep 1998 8 days -- Dean Miller (solo)
  • Jun 1998 3 days -- Erik Sloan
  • Mar 1998 2 days -- Erik Sloan, Chris McNamara
  • Sep 1997 9 days -- Dean Miller, Pat Spiers. Pitches 11, 12, 13
    soloed to zorro roof in 7 days after fixing 2. teamed up and climbed from below Zorro roof to peanut with fellow soloist Pat spiers. he topped out next day, I took rest day on peanut. Topped out solo the following day. not an El cap solo but a great time on a great route. Many good lessons. Improvement's by ASCA really appreciated. Much more beat out and easier than in 91. Slow but ok for a gimp.
  • Aug 1997 4 days -- Oszkár Nádasdi, Enikő Szentirmai,
  • Oct 1996 4 days -- Erik Sloan, Jeff Benowitz
  • 1995 2.5 days -- matt theilen, Brian Postlethwait
    First El Cap Route.
  • Aug 1994 4 days -- Anthony Lobay, Frank Rodgers
    My first wall route!
  • Sep 1991 4.5 days -- Dean Miller, Kevin Cox, Tom ?
  • Jun 1989 3 days -- Umberto Villotta, Armin Fisher, Oscar Meloni
  • 1988 4 days -- Ken Bokelund, Ed tharp
  • Jul 1979 4 days -- Paul Gagner, John Barbella, Karl McConachie

Trip Reports

History

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Speed

1. Partner
01h:51m:34secs
Alex & Thomas Huber
Jul 2004
1. Solo
11h:18mins
Nick Fowler
Nov 2002
19hours
Rick Cashner, Werner Braun, Kevin Fosburg
Aug 1989 (first one day ascent)
17h:52mins
Steve Gerberding
Oct 1993 (first one day solo ascent)