Skull Queen is more of an aid climber's route, with a little free climbing, compared to the South Face, which is more a free climber's route with a little aiding. The climbing is mostly small cam cracks with an occasional hook or camhook move. Short, not too difficult, Skull Queen is much less classic than the South Face but is the perfect excuse to revisit Dinner Ledge, and to learn the basic aid climbing skills you need for bigwall climbing. The experience of climbing on this gentler side of the Column, and sleeping on Dinner Ledge, is pure Yosemite bigwall magic.


*Plan: Most folks make it to Dinner Ledge and settle in their first day. The going is slower on Skull Queen because of more aid climbing than the South Face, so fixing off Dinner the first day is necessary for parties who want to finish the route their second day. Three days allows a relaxed ascent. (beginner parties should just plan on a 3 day ascent as aid climbing is much slower than free climbing at first).


*Ledge: Dinner ledge, which has two tiers, is a palace for 6-8, squeezable to 12+. Most folks spend a day getting to the climb and climbing to Dinner ledge hopefully with time to fix a pitch or two. If time allows it can be much more enjoyable to give yourself an extra day for fixing off Dinner Ledge, and enjoying the views.


*Descent: Rapping the South Face route(with separte rap stations in sections) has become popular, but is not the best option when there are crowds. It is often very windy in the afternoon which makes rapping difficult. The nice thing about rapping the route is you can leave your bivy gear on Dinner Ledge and rap back down to it, maybe spending an extra night if you have time. The downside is the summit of the Column is an outrageous fin of rock, with sweeping views back beyond Clouds Rest, the Clarks Range, and down the Valley to El Cap; a true spot to savor. The rap route starts from the top anchor of Skull Queen, and raps back to anchors 10 and 9 on South Face, before leaving the South Face route and rapping straight down using two independent rap stations, before reconnecting with the South Face route for the final two raps to Dinner Ledge.


*The Elements: Skull Queen is in the Sun most all day, though it is often windy and much cooler in the afternoon.

*The Elements: South Face is in the Sun most all day, and is often very windy in the afternoon.

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Speed Record

Ammon McNeely, Cedar Wright
Jun 2000

Solo Record

Nov 18, 2014
  • Sep 18, 2017 2.5 days -- dan moses, Joe
    Great times. Super casual pace and great views.
  • Oct 2015 3 days -- David Brendgard, Solo (solo)
    Great route after leaving the crowds of the S.Face. Exciting exit move onto the rivet/bolt ladder on the route proper. The tree haul went better than I thought. The wide pitch took a big cam and bat hook. The whole route was enjoyable. I used a #3 beak hand placed twice, other than that standard gear rack. There are loose flakes on the pitch above Clance Stance, beware! the last pitch was awesome!
  • Sep 2015 2 days -- sean warren, Laura ashley
  • Jul 11, 2015 1 day -- Brandon Adams, Gena
    1st time climbing with Gena. Great times.
  • Nov 10, 2014 1.5 days -- Adam Freund, Gina Edwards
    Hauled up to dinner ledge the afternoon of day 1 and relaxed for the evening. Started leading Kor Roof at 9am day 2. Reached top just after 6pm day 2 and then rappelled back to dinner ledge for another two days of chilling, exploring, and getting in some practice on the lower pitches of Southern Man and South Face. Sweet ledges. Lots of bold mice. Adam led, Gina seconded like a pro. She discovered that cutting loose and swinging rather than lowering out is both more fun and quicker, and proceeded to do it throughout the climb.
  • May 02, 2014 05hours -- Brandon Adams, Joe marlay
    Fun day with perfect weather. First time roping up with Joe. Many more adventures to come.
  • Mar 22, 2014 2 days -- Dylan K, Ryan
  • Jan 26, 2014 1.5 days -- Roger Putnam, Ryan Kirtland
    Ryan's first wall. Perfect weather.
  • Jul 2013 -- mickey sensenbach
    super fun
  • Jan 2013 13hours -- Jarad Stiles, Justin Cory
  • Jan 2013 13hours -- Justin Cory, Jarad Stiles
  • May 01, 2011 2 days -- John Greer, Jim
    Jim's first wall. Second attempt at this route to complete it.
  • Jun 2010 3 days -- Ian McEleney (solo)
  • Sep 2009 2 days -- David Allfrey, Carmen Johnson
    Carmen's first wall. I dropped the lighter so we ate cold food. Woops..
  • Sep 2006 1.5 days -- Paul Gagner (solo)
  • Jun 21, 2003 08h:30mins -- Rachel McCullough, Blair Williams
  • Sep 07, 1995 04h:55mins -- Erik Sloan, Brian "Way" Knight
  • Jun 1993 3 days -- Ken Bokelund, Maureen bokelund
    Many rivets

Trip Reports

Trip Reports


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1. Partner
Ammon McNeely, Cedar Wright
Jun 2000
1. Solo
Nov 18, 2014 (Started at based of P1 at 8:29am. Reached P11 tree anchor (for the second time), with all the gear and rope, at 6:04pm. Traditional rope-soloed every pitch with Silent Partner and backup knots. Linked 2&3, 6&7, 9&10 with a 70m rope. After reaching top, rappelled back to the base and hiked out (I carried a second rope for rappelling). Car-to-car time was 13 hr 23 min (7:15am to 8:38pm) from the Ahwahnee parking lot. Had a blast and felt like I was taking my time. Type 1 fun all day.)