262 The only truly novice bigwall in the Valley, the South Face is incredible. Thin, stopper-eating splitter cracks, only a few of which need to be aided if you can freeclimb 5.10a, abound. South Face is like a favorite book that you can read over and over. The last pitch is a loose gully from which pebbles and small stones can shower down at any time, so wear your helmet even while resting on Dinner Ledge if there are people climbing above).


*Plan: Most folks spend a day getting to the climb and climbing to Dinner ledge. If doing South Face in two days you will need to fix one or two pitches off Dinner Ledge. If time allows it can be much more enjoyable to give yourself an extra day for fixing off Dinner Ledge and enjoying the views.


*Ledge: Dinner ledge, which has two tiers, is a palace for 6-8, squeezable to 12+.


*Descent: Rapping the route 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: South Face is in the Sun most all day, though it is often windy and much cooler in the afternoon.

Trip Reports


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1. Partner
Matt Wilder, Nick Martino
Jun 2002