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North America, United States, California, Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, Blue Shift

Half Dome, Blue Shift. On June 1, Karl McConachie and I completed a new route on Half Dome. Blue Shift (VI 5.11c A4) follows crack systems that lie between Arcturas and Same As It Never Was, a route that Karl, Randal Grandstaff and I put up in 1985. It then follows Arcturas for a pitch and a half before cutting out left on new ground again. The last few feet join the Regular Northwest Face route to the summit. We spent four nights on the wall after fixing and drilled a total of 46 holes, of which 20 were for belays. Seven of those were used to pass a stack of loose blocks on pitch 11.

Blue Shift is a modern aid route up thin and expanding flake systems characterized by some difficult free climbing and exciting direct aid. This route is sure to become as popular as Same As It Never Was, which I doubt has seen a second ascent. Bring plenty of beaks, hooks, RURPs and a 60-meter rope.

Jay Smith, unafftliated