Gold Wall/Silent Line climb a single crack system of impeccable golden rock. Nonetheless, if you don't comfortably lead 5.10a/b in the Valley it is tough for a first wall. The first pitches follow flaring cracks that are difficult to aid, and the splitter cracks higher up are pumpy, deep hands. Gold Wall is the perfect first wall for a team of comfortable 5.10 climbers. The hand crack pitches in the middle of the route would be overflowing with climbers if they were closer to the Valley floor. The camping at the base of the wall is beautiful alpine Yosemite(permit required). Bonus: In spring(usually into June) you can get water from nearby Ribbon Creek.
*Plan: Most parties hike to the base of the wall and fix a pitch or two their first day, filtering water from Ribbon Creek if it is available, and then spend a long second day climbing to the Summit and rappeling to the base.
*Approach: Allow a solid 1.5-2 hrs for the approach, which can be very vague in places and easier to do as a day hike or without much stuff the first time to find the best route.
*Ledge: There is a ledge for one at the top of the 4th pitch of the Gold Wall, which most parties skip by doing the (much more classic)splitter handcrack Silent Line variation, so no real ledges on the route. Hauling would be fine on this route but the approach is so steep and long that most folks fix and blast instead of carrying the portaledge up to the climb.
*Descent: Most parties rap the route, though there is separate rappel route to the west of the climb that was commonly used until the mid-2000s when anchor bolts were replaced. Over half of the anchors on the route are now bolted making it the faster/safer descent option. The rappel route to the west does afford you the luxury of scrambling through a lot of Manzanita, and gaining a more true Summit than you are able to climb to if you plan on rapping the route, but the rappel route involves rapping down a long gully with many dubious small bushes as anchors. This rap route is easily found by hiking up and west along the obvious Summit/Ledge system that ends at a bolted anchor. Rap west into the gully from there.
*The Elements: Gold Wall is in the Sun all day. In Winter/early Spring mist from Ribbon Falls blows around the corner and can make the shady base and first pitch a little damp.
- Oct 2013 2 days -- sean warren
Feb 10, 2010
-- Roger Putnam, Robin Batha
Hauled a ledge up there for fun, listening to ice fall in the Ribbon Falls Amphitheater.
Oct 14, 2009
-- Roger Putnam, Harrison Forrester
My buddy's first wall, good times in the sun.
-- Erik Sloan, Micah Bisson
Such an amazing route! That belly crawl is so cool!