American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Sierra Club of California

  • Club Activities
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1958

Sierra Club of California. Undoubtedly the year 1957 produced one of the most impressive rock climbs ever to be completed in Yosemite Valley, and one which certainly ranks with any climb completed or attempted in the world. Three southern California members, Jerry Gallwas, Royal Robbins, and Mike Sherrick completed a five-day ascent of the vertical north face of Half Dome, which rises a full 2000 feet from the base of the wall. This climb, although certainly one of the most ambitious ever attempted in Yosemite, was carried out in perfect safety during the excellent summer weather. Between 250 and 300 pitons were placed, as well as 20 expansion bolts. This climb is even more amazing when one considers that at one time it was thought that the summit of Half Dome would never be reached by any route. Since that time three separate routes have been established, leaving only the south face untouched.

With the face of Half Dome on the list of “has been done,” the ironworkers turned elsewhere in the valley. This time the shear 2000-foot south wall of El Capitan became the challenge. So far several parties have pushed to a point about 1000 feet up, using a considerable number of bolts and pitons. Climbing ended in November, but will be resumed in the spring of 1958.

Other climbing was done by club members in Peru, the Tetons, Canada, Washington, and, of course, throughout California.

The club also published Leigh Ortenburger’s “Climber’s Guide to the Grand Tetons” during 1957.

Richard C. Houston, Chairman, Mountaineering Committee

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