American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California—Yosemite, West Face of Sentinel Rock

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1961

West Face of Sentinel Rock. After one failure in May, Tom Frost and I returned in June to make the first ascent of the 2000-foot west face. We started the climb at the very base of the wall and during the first day the climbing was about half free and half artificial. We bivouacked at the first of the only two ledges on the entire face. The next day we practically never got out of our slings. The climbing ranged from difficult to some of the most extreme climbing that we have ever done. Two pitches stand out especially: one was a traverse which involved putting in pitons straight up under a 35-foot long, very thin flake; the second man had to repiton the pitch as most of the pitons had fallen out because the crack between the flake and the rock had expanded. On the other pitch, Frost made the finest lead I have ever seen up an 80-foot long 8-inch wide jam crack with only a wooden block for protection. We again bivouacked on a fine ledge about 300 feet below the summit. The top was reached before noon the next day. Out of about 16 pitches on the route, we had to belay in slings on about 10 of them.

Yvon Chouinard, Yosemite Climbing Club

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