American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

North America, United States, California - Yosemite, In Cold Blood, West Face of Sentinel Rock

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1971

In Cold Blood, West Face of Sentinel Rock. The renowned American authority on mountaineering, Curtis W. Casewit, says, “Solo climbing is insanity.” And Mr. Casewit, of course, is an honorable man. I love to read such fatuous remarks, coming as they invariably do, from the ignorant. It brings back the good old days when climbers were pariahs, when climbing was not “in”, when there was no room in the game for parasites of Mr. Casewit’s stamp. But now the enemy is within the gates. I confess to lunacy according to Mr. Casewit’s ah.… “ standards”. I soloed a new route on the west face of Sentinel last May, a route with some intriguing sections, a bit easier than the Frost-Chouinard line. I started from the Valley early in the morning of May 26 and returned there after dark the next day. The ascent involved two tension traverses, 8 bolts, a few rurps, and the following bongs: 2 2-inch, 2 2½-inch, and a 3-inch. One third of the placements were chocks. These are critical in a couple of sections of shaky rock. It was a surprise to find the upper wall split by a thin crack (Rageous Fortune Crack) which took wired chocks as if it had been made for them. An unprotected jam-crack left me a little shaky but led nicely to a chimney and an easy way out. The route starts up a dihedral 75 feet south of the regular west-face route and needs little description, but go left at the top of Rageous Fortune Crack. At one point in the middle of the route, some fine rope work is useful in passing over the coarse granite. In October Egon and Johanna Marte and I made the second ascent.

Royal Robbins

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