The Shield is a climb that calls all aid climbers. Idolized for its splitter cracks that cruise up a real, golden shield of a headwall above The Heart, The Shield today is harder than the Zodiac only because it is longer and therefore more complicated. The dozens of Rurps used on the first ascent of some of its infamous pitches are today easily dispatched with hand-placed 1 1/4- 1 1/2 " sawed-off pitons and large birdbeaks. The Shield is a location climb; it is an awesome, easier aid climb. Bonus Tip: The Shield headwall is fiercly windy all year, making this climb incredibly cold in early/late season. If the Yosemite Valley temperatures are in the 80s, the temperature on The Shield headwall will be in the 50s-60s with windchill; if the Valley temps are in the 70s, The Shield headwall will be in the 40s-50s with windchill.


*Plan: Most parties climb Freeblast their first day, and spend day two hauling to Mammoth Ledges and maybe fixing a pitch or two. After that, plan on 3-5 days on the wall. The final haul is very low angle so pay extra attention to packing your haulbags into perfectly haulable torpedo shapes(not too much stuff on top of the bag). The headwall pitches can be slow so be sure to bring a comfy belay seat.


*Ledge: With stellar ledges Mammoth Terrace and Grey Ledges as well as the righteous hang(but portaledge bivy) Chickenhead Ledge, many parties only spend one hanging night on the headwall.


*The Elements: In addition to the information above about The Shield headwall being a windy cold place yearround, it is also a dreadful spot in a storm. Do not attempt The Shield if a storm is forecasted.

Trip Reports

Trip Reports



1. Partner
Chris McNamara, Cedar Wright
Aug 1999
Rick Lovelace, Kevin Fosburg
Jun 1991 (first one day ascent)
Tommy Caldwell, Erik Sloan
Jun 2000 (onsight ascent)