267 Incredibly steep and moderate, with fantastic Awhahnee Ledge 350' up, Leaning Tower is a fun first wall for folks who like their rock steep. For many, the radical overhanging nature and the fact that the route starts off a  3rd class ledge 400' off the ground which adds instant exposure, can be too much for a total wall novice. The cruxes are more awkward, or flaring placements, than super thin. The rack is light because most pitches contain many bolts or fixed pieces, or the cracks take a nice variety of gear. As of 2015, the popularity of free climbing on the route had made aid climbing the pitch to Ahwahnee and the first pitch afterward more challenging as fixed pieces were periodically removed for handholds--no big deal for someone with at least one wall under their belt but sometimes challenging for total beginners.


*Plan: There are many equally-viable strategies for climbing the Tower. The good news is the approach trail climbs out a beautifully exposed ledge, which is technically on the mountain and legal to bivy on, so this gives you leeway if you find the going slow at first or run into a lot of other folks. Most parties make it to Ahwahnee Ledge their first day, and spend a long second day getting to the top.


*Approach: The trail which starts from the bathrooms at the Bridaveil Falls parking lot can be vague. There is an apartment-sized boulder just behind and toward the Leaning Tower from the bathrooms, so if you head over to that boulder and look for a small trail on its far side and continue up this toward the wall you're on the right track. It is difficult to avoid doing some boulder-hopping on the approach your first time, so break your loads up accordingly or consider taking a hike up to the Tower on a rest day to get the trail dialed. The last 100'  of the 3rd and 4th class ledge to the base of the route definitely feels more like 5.5 with a haul bag. Most parties fix a line for this last section of the approach, from tree to tree, and clip into the line as they shuttle their stuff over to the base of the route.


*Ledge: Ahwahnee is a palace for 3, comfy for 4 or 5. While the Tower is radically overhanging rain or snow does hit Ahwahnee enough to require bivy sacs during a storm. Dano Ledge, just below the Summit is an awesome bivy, and there is also a nice flat spot at the top of the Notch, where the rappels enter the gully/chimney.


*Descent: From the top of the Tower you rap/rap+downclimb two pitches of low angle slab to the notch above the chimney/gully that splits the Leaning tower and B.O.L.T. walls. From there you can't get lost, rapping down the chimney several times to the ground which comes out a couple hundred feet above where the 4th class approach ledge departs the trail. Depending on the conditions, and how much stuff you're carrrying, it is possible to rap with one rope (with short sections of 4th class(more like canyoneering) downclimbing until the last two rappels.


*The Elements: Leaning Tower gets Sun mid-afternoon to sunset. While outrageously steep, water does blow in in places and also run down the mountain so the route is not totally dry in a storm. The descent is very tricky/dangerous in a storm as you must descend low-angle slabs first and then a loose chimney/gully system.


Summit Register

Register an account to write in the summit register.
  • Sep 26, 2017 2 days -- dan moses, Dancog
    Chilling w Dancog
  • May 17, 2017 10hours -- dan moses, Joe R
    Always a blast
  • Oct 2016 13hours -- sean warren (solo)
    car to car
  • May 08, 2016 08h:30mins -- Steven Tata, Madison Goodman
  • Sep 2015 3 days -- sean warren, Laura ashley
  • Jul 20, 2015 08hours -- Erik Sloan, Genna Wood
  • Jul 02, 2015 2 days -- Brandon Adams, Adam Ramsey
    Adams first wall. Awesome times watching storms roll through from ahwahnee. Peregrine glory.
  • Jun 21, 2015 2.5 days -- sproulc, Felix
    a speed record...yes...all time slow! But first successful bigwall (unless RNWFHD counts)! So hooked, can't wait to do more.
  • May 2015 1 day -- dan moses, Joe R.
    Car to car. I was really wondering why I was so tired all day. Then Joe says, "not bad for 3 hours of sleep...."
  • Feb 20, 2015 10hours -- Dylan K, Ryan
  • Feb 2015 1.5 days -- dan moses, Willie
    Fun in the winter
  • Jan 2015 10hours -- glenn douglass, Greg Coit
  • Oct 15, 2014 2.5 days -- David Brendgard, Solo (solo)
    Great climb. Soloing it was fun, lots of free hanging raps back to the bags. I linked 3&4 easily, I did Eric's pitches and it worked out great with a 60. Pitch 3 was the crux for me. Loved the roof on 6. I bivied on Ahwahnee and Dano. If you have the time; stay on Dano for your second night. Its a cool and spacious ledge at the top, I had a solo part-ay, up there with the 1 liter of wine I brought along. Why not, eh? There is really only one way to descend, down the gulley. The last rap anchor is near the tree on the South side of the gulley. Climb it yo.
  • Sep 2014 1.5 days -- dan moses, Topher D
    Awesome. exposed as all get out. Pigs can fly! Was my second attempt and smooth sailing. if the first pitch position doesn't send you packing then game on! Oh and save some daylight for the descent. thats kinda ugly....
  • Jun 13, 2014 11h:24mins -- Will Masterman, Conner Macleod
    Aid climbing can be terrifying and hard but this climb isn't. Super cruiser climb in a cool location. I led and short fixed to below the 5.7 and Conner took it to the top
  • Jun 13, 2014 11h:24mins -- Conner MacLeod, Will Masterman
    Pushed with Will, much better style!
  • May 28, 2014 2 days -- Conner MacLeod (solo)
    First Solo, amazing experience on a very mellow route. the exposure is killer!
  • May 04, 2014 2 days -- Steven Roth, David Gealy
    Incredible free climbing at 13b A0. The first two pitches may go free, but it would take a lot of effort.
  • Feb 23, 2014 2.5 days -- John Greer, James Barnett, Jullian K.
    Julian's 1st wall. He doesn't get to lead aid pitches anymore... 3+ hrs for a c1 pitch. Lots of fun no matter what.
  • Nov 16, 2013 2 days -- Josh Strater (solo)
    First wall solo. Great weather, nobody else on the route, and beautiful views from the top. Rapped the route and lowered the pig from the ramp -- worked very well, I think.
  • Oct 2013 2 days -- glenn douglass, Zack Winter
  • Sep 08, 2013 2 days -- Jacques Lepesant, solo (solo)
  • Sep 2013 2 days -- sean warren
  • Jul 2013 2 days -- mickey sensenbach
    very steep!
  • May 11, 2013 1.5 days -- alex peters, Philipp Peters
  • May 2013 2 days -- Keenan Waeschle
  • May 2013 09h:30mins -- Brandon Adams (solo)
    First solo wall
  • Apr 14, 2013 1.5 days -- Will Masterman, Brian Abreu
    Killer exposure, super fun beginner wall
  • Mar 2013 2 days -- Brandon Adams, Alec Zachreson
  • Oct 2012 14hours -- Justin Cory (solo)
  • Jun 2012 08h:30mins -- Ryan Baker (solo)
  • May 30, 2012 2 days -- Ryan Strickland, Ben
    Climbed to Ahwanee and fixed to P6 on day 1. Day 2 brought us to summit bivy. My first big wall and first aid climb. Mostly cleaned, but led P7.
  • May 07, 2012 2.5 days -- Kevin DeWeese, Dixie
    Slow ascent with bivies at the base, Awhanee, and Dano ledge. Would consider pitch 3 to be crux of the route. fun route in general but felt pitch 4 was awkward both to lead and clean. Free climbing to bolts of pitch 5 can be aided by cam hook, cam hook, hook, cam hook, hook, then thin cams.
  • May 06, 2012 1.5 days -- John Greer, Roby Nickles, Lim S.
    Lim's first wall. He got to take the ride jugging the first pitches.
  • Apr 25, 2011 5 days -- Christina Natal (solo)
    My first solo wall. It was fantastic! gear on p.3 is pretty tricky... esp. if you don't have peckers (I think that's what they're called). the fixed heads i encountered weren't all that fixed as well. But super fun route with amazing exposure!
  • Aug 17, 2010 1.5 days -- John Greer (solo)
    First Rope Solo Wall! What an amazing and mind blowing experience.
  • Aug 2009 12hours -- David Allfrey (solo)
  • Jul 2009 09hours -- Erik Sloan, David Dugan
  • Jul 2009 09hours -- David Allfrey, Scott Lappin
  • Jun 2009 11hours -- Colby Wayment (solo)
    First wall solo. Good times. Straightforward route.
  • Jul 2008 -- John Greer, Alberto F., "The Brit"
    1st time up the tower. What a blast!
  • May 13, 2008 1 day -- Roger Putnam, Eric Grove
    First Yosemite big wall top out.
  • Aug 2005 2 days -- Erik Kinsey, Allen Higgenbothem, Kathy Schrader
    Everyone has to start somewhere. We did everything wrong; our hauling was so backwards, some unnecessary long leads, sooo much cluster f@#%, and as we finished the climb Katie and Lynn came free climbing from behind. The whole thing was mind blowing. We finally got back to the car in the dark and I was so stoked. The problem was I did'nt know what I was stoked on?
  • Nov 18, 2003 07h:30mins -- Rachel McCullough, Blair Williams
  • Sep 2003 1 day -- Jacek Czyz, Jacek Krawczyk
  • Sep 2003 0.5 days -- T M, Platinum Rob
    Rob was working on free climbing
  • Aug 2001 1.5 days -- Umberto Villotta, Sabina Cairoli
  • May 2000 06hours -- Erik Sloan (solo)
  • Nov 21, 1998 2 days -- Anthony Lobay, Frank Rodgers
    Got to watch Dan Osman jump from the top!
  • Apr 1997 2 days -- Anthony Lobay, Frank Rodgers
  • Feb 1996 2.5 days -- Erik Sloan (solo)
    I'll always remember rolling into the Valley during a warm, high-pressure window and spending a few days alone on the Tower. There was no snow. The mellowness of the climbing and the deep quiet and stillness of that time of year was very magical. You'll never forget talking to the tourists in the parking lot after your first solo. 'You climbed that(!)?'
  • Aug 1995 3.5 days -- Dean Miller (solo)
    2nd Wall. First solo.( all but 5.7 pitch) Had an adventure. A total blast. Ran out of food, water and cigarettes. Did 2 bivies in slings, 1 on Ahwanee.
  • Jul 1995 -- Anthony Lobay, Frank Rodgers
  • Jun 1995 10hours -- Erik Sloan, Chris McNamara
    We went up to climb Wet Denin, but I got a wicked stomach ache after leading the first pitch off Ahwahnee, so we rapped and kept on on the mellow West Face. Great Tower!
  • Sep 22, 1992 2 days -- Oszkár Nádasdi, Gábor Berecz, Zsolt Rácz, Zoltán Simon
  • Jun 1989 2 days -- Umberto Villotta, Oscar Meloni
  • Jun 1979 2 days -- Paul Gagner, Steve "Shipoopi" Schneider