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Shield

In terms of difficulty, the Shield is a moderate route, requiring sustained use of aid climbing techniques including, for most climbers, pitons. However, in terms of esthetics, it rates very high among other El Capitan routes for its headwall, which is absolutely flawless and constantly overhanging. Yves Briere (whom I knew only from the internet) and I climbed the Shield in June 1994, spending five nights on the wall.

The first part of the route (common with the Triple direct) is reminiscent of the Nose : free climbing and clean aid. The harder aid begins on the traverse just below the On lead on the Traverse pitch On beley on the Traverse pitch Climbing up the roof pitch Rapping down the roof pitch Jugging up again the roof pitch Leading the Shield Following the Shield Belaying the Triple Cracks, the crux of the route Climbing  the Triple Cracks, the crux of the route Tuan and Yves on  the Triple Cracks, the crux of the route Party on  the Triple Cracks, the crux of the route Next morning on the portaledge Next morning on the free-hanging line Leading the next pitch, a thin crack in the middle of nowhere Belaying the following pitch, a thin crack in the middle of nowhere The last day, from dawn... Dusk on the last day A new morning on El Cap after the climb

All photos and text Copyright © QT Luong

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