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North America, United States, California, Sierra Nevada, Mt. Langley, S-Wall

Mt. Langley, S-Wall. Technically Langley has been the most ignored of the Sierra’s 14,000' peaks. Then in 1999 a fine line went up the big north face. In September Michael Thomas and I thought we’d have a look, but we never got there. A high roadhead and an easy stroll leads to Cottonwood Basin, from where we figured we’d hike up, wrap around, and drop to the north face, thus avoiding the slog up Tuttle Creek. But once in Cottonwood, the south wall of Langley brought us up short. A mile wide, 1,200' high, untouched. We liked a line right up the center, but had a scary time getting started. Scuttling left to the high point of a talus fan we gained purchase just right of a deep chimney, 5.9. A natural line led upward on an S-shaped trajectory of fine, varied climbing. Nice jamming, plated casual walls to run up, mandatory downclimbing off a spire, a squeeze chimney and one that got too wide, and the wall finally turned orange and knobby toward the summit. Good thing; by then it was dark. We named it S-Wall (15 pitches, IV 5.9).

Doug Robinson, AAC