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VI, A3 / C3, 5.7 (5.10d)



The “grand” of the trade routes on El Cap






other trad routes:

the nose


the shield

triple direct

zodiac (cleaned)

lurking fear

tangerine trip




26 pitches, ledges: anchorage(5), bismark(18), beleay 19, belay 23

21 hanging belays, pitch 21 perhaps A3+ if fixed gear blown


long, sustained, immaculate rock, goes hammerless with lots of aliens (blue to red) and off-set aliens, perfect hauling,

great anchors (3 – 5 bolts on every belay, much better equipped than The Nose)

much wind (gusty) after 13:00 p.m. until 19:00 p.m.



Slightshow on CD featuring both teams, approx. 90 pictures


DVD covers the full climb of Mescalito (approx. 75 minutes !) … it rocks

Contact: h.wurzer@web.de

Date of climb

19. – 25th September 2005


Henry Wurzer, Germany (celebrating his 60)

Toto (Welson) Willkomm, San Francisco (Philipines-origin)


startiing on tuesday, the 20th September

from Zaragoza in Spain

Eduardo Alonso, Manu, Castillo Sanchez




by Henry Wurzer, see more on this website of same author




Prior to the 19th of September I started with fixing by by soloing the first 2 pitches, then Toto came into the valley and we fixed together pitch 3 and 4. From there 3 ropes to ground. On next day I returned and solo fixed the 5th pitch to Anchorage ledge. Stepping up to the ledge there I saw a fixed polar bear puppet at a bolt, it looked with its black eyes on me while rocking in the heavy afternoon winds. Well, someone left it there to greet all the climbers at the “point of no return”. Since you do the next pitch(“seagull”), it is very hard to bail as this pitch is traversing over 2 long tensions. With good feelings I fixed the last rope and rapped down to ground. The shade appears at 13:00 p.m. , so better not to start to early …



Henry jugging 1st pitch from ground, right pic: Henry doing the 3rd pitch (up right thrones seagull and molar traverse)



Henry cleaning pitch 4 in the afternoon during the fixing process


day 1

So, early we headed to the base with some more stuff (sleeping bags, food, stove etc..) and lowered the bags hanging above ground (the bears took out earlier all Gatorade, but left the water) and repacked them for the final push. Leo Burke helped us with toilet-paper and matches. We jugged and hauled the bags (using 2 haul lines and 2 traxions) to Anchorage ledge. It was noon and somehow we were tired so we rested for an hour, but the wind came up and we felt to move on … On this day we manged to do 2 more pitches and set up the portaledge on belay 7. During this day we watched the Spanish team way down starting on the route as well.


Henry cleaning the seagull-pitch cleaning the seagull traverse – the point of no return !


day 2

On Tuesday, the 20th, we woke up late - a little bit tired from yesterday’s work. We managed at this day to belay 10 with no nailing at these pitches by using our offset aliens. Toto led the two C3 pitches. At this day lot of clouds covered the sky, so it was a little bit cold, but good for climbing and in the late afternoon the coulds formed to a storm, which started the at about 18:00. Luckily we were on belay 10 and managed to set up the rainfly and the portaledge when the first rain hit us. The Spaniards were not that lucky, testing their rain gear they still were in best mood. 


Eduardo jugging and Castillo cleaning pitch 7, Manu cleaning pitch 9



Toto enjoying the portaledge-rainfly-shelter while Henry cook ramen-noodle-soup, we stayed dry while outside lightning and rain played their epic game


day 3

Next day came up with perfect Yosemite climbing weather. So we headed on to do the Molar Traverse. And far right to us was Piton Pete climbing NA wall (see pic)with some chick and he swore that there was no sex on the wall (!!??) – he enjoyed his climb for 14 days ….


Henry hooking to the right on pitch 11 to the big half-moon crack before the Molar Traverse


Looking down right from the belay where Molar Traverse starts, to the portaledge (red-white-red spot in the pic’s center) of Piton Pete, he was 14 days on North America wall with a chick (hell, what were they doing all the time ?.....)


It appeared that we were not the fastest climbers since we could not manage to do more than 3 pitches a day. Also making a video coverage of the climb took away time resp. slowed down our progress. But considering the film material we got, it was worthwile to spend 1 or 2 more days on the wall. At belay 13, which resides over a sloping 5.4 ledge, we prepared for the next night and enjoyed the fading light on the portaledge.


Looking dowm from belay 11 (where molar traverse starts)


Right: Henry after a rivet ladder entering C2 climbing to belay 13, El Cap tower and LadyLayLedge (New Dawn) seen from belay 10

day 4

We had a good night and got up early. The sleeping bag was so cosy, so it took us a while to get ready after breakfast with hot coffee, bagel with cream cheese etc….Toto had to do bad work in the chimney above us (5.9 free), which he aided – it was a groaner. After that I took on to the rivet ladder with some hooks in between and got to the anchors below the 1 /2 pitch rivet ladder. Toto started off with some aliens and after 25 feet a lot of rivet hangers were placed. The belay was on blank wall over and the portaledge hang perfectly. This was our 4th bivy. Below us we could see during the day the Spaniards working their way up. Communication was not possible, the wind was blowing too much after noon. Like on the days before Toto used to shout his special “cry for joy”into the air and along the walls, which sounded like an intense coyote (oooooouuuuuuuuhhhhh ….), which came out randomly and was always a surprise in the calm realms of rock. As we were higher up, the stonemonkeys special cry “uuuuuhhhhhh” had no response anymore.

Manu works himself up pitch 14

(this off-width is a groaner )


Castillo leading pitch 15, Manu on belay 14 and Eduardo jugging up

Close to the head of Manu you can see higher up Henry leading pitch 17 over a roof and the stuff hanging on belay 16

This section is featured by blank walls, lots of rivets and hooking and thin stuff – that’s really El Cap, man ………..


day 5

The 5th day started nicely with a rivet ladder followed by thin cracks leading to a horizontal roof, above which was the first stance since long. Reaching this belay I first enjoyed the rest of my feet on some small horizontal features and was happy to see above the Bismark ledge. Toto blitzed this pitch up to Bismark. When we reached the plush Bismark ledge, we sat down and enjoyed the grand view around us. There were 2 gallons of water left by others, so I took some water and took a shower in the bright sun. We rested about 2 hours and as the head of an Spanish climber appeared on the belay below we knew it was time to do the “bismark”, actually a beautiful pitch with a 5.10d off-width at the end (or aid with 7-10” cams). Toto made a good job there, the pitch is an aid beauty, and above is a good ledge too. We fixed this pitch and the next one to the bolts midway after a tension traverse. We rapped down and enjoyed the rest of the day on Bismark. The Spaniards meanwhile arrived there too, so we had much talk and fun. We relaxed and prepared our bivy, but they went on to fix Bismark as well. Since they were 3 and could better share the work, they were faster than we. So we decided to let them pass, what finally resulted that we stuck together for the last pitches.


Edu starting pitch 17 on rivets


Right: Edu higher up traversing under the rook (which from ground is seen as the nose of Bismark)







Enoying the plush Bismark ledge


Enoying the plush Bismark ledge day and night

day 6

Early in the morning Manu and Edu of the Spaniards jugged up and Manu finished my pitch 20. Meanwhile we all lay on the ledge of belay 19 in the sun, ready for going on. Castillo started for pitch 21 and the pitch turned out to be the one of most difficult on the whole climb, however it took him long, so we were in the aiders at the belay for quite a time. Due to this enforced delay we jugged the next to pitches and prepared the portledge on  belay 22, which we reached before sunset. Edu of the Spaniards led the next pitch in the night and so they slept on belay 23, which has a good, slightly sloping ledge.



Henry, Edu and Castillo chatting (Toto shooting) while Manu has to do his job


Right: Castillo and Toto enjoying the morning sun and havng some good smoke


On belay 19 – hanging out while Manu is finishing pitch 20. below: Castillo cleaning this pitch

Pitch 20 is straight vertical leading to the right




Right: Edu and his pigs far out in the wall, look how little Zodiac seems to be ….



day 7

We woke up the next morning, our 7th day on the wall now and somehow the prospect of topping out today made me happy as I had no good climbing mood today …..


Toto at belay 23, where we spent the last night on Mescalito, looking up what’s going on (this pic really demonstrates the grandness of the rock and the exposure high up on this side of El Cap)


Henry enjoying an airy jugging and looking down to Toto

And what a grand view to Half Dome ……..where Toto climbed a month ago the route Tis-a-ack



A bunch of nice guys partying on the sloping block and watching Edu (see picture right) leading the next 2 pitches (linked together)

On this pic the wall topples, but the pitch itself is a beauty



Last pitch to go …. and  a bolt ladder leads to the top

Last pitch to jug …. What a feeling hanging out up there and knowing this is the last one


Relaxing, chilling out – the wall is bagged, yooohooo…. we ate up all the food what was left – the pigs were still murder to bring down. A restful night on flat ground awaited us, but …we had weather in Yosemite – a rarity, we had occasionally rain in the last night on top of El Cap



The morning view – a little bit intimidating


09:00 in the morning on East Ledge descent: Toto on the rappel ….




A cool rock adventure, which we never forget, has finally come to an end ……

5 days ahead of us a spanish climber named David soloed Mescalito taking 10 days of fun



We brougth more than we used (which is no fault) and in 1 instance we had too little

Too little: 1 x #6 cam or pink trango tube for pitch #19, unless you like to free-climb (8m 5.10d) and bring extra climbing shoes for one

Too much: pitons

Usual big wall equipment: 1 double portaledge + fly, 2 haulbags, 2 haul-lines, 2 wallhaulers, 1 x 10,5 mm 60 m supersafe mammut lead rope

CCH aliens: 3 black(smallest), 4 blue, 8 green, 8 yellow, 6 red, 3 orange, 3 violett, 2 black

CCH aliens offset: 3 blue-green, 3 green-yellow (very handy those – avoids hammering)

Other cams: 3 of each #2,5 – 4, 1x #4,5, 1 x #5

Nuts: 6 of each small HB offsets, 6 of medium HB offsets, 3 of big HB offsets, 3-4 bigger normal nuts

Rivet hangers: 15 chinching

Copper heads: 5 of each small, medium and big (never used, but some have to be replaced soon)

Pitons: 3-4 of each small angles, medium angles, small and medium lost arrows

Bolt kit, rivets: none, we brought a fishing-rod-cheater-stick in case of emergency

Biners: all in all about 100 and additional 20 screwers and 2 swivels

Runners:  ca. 20

Others: ascenders, helmet, harness, first aid kit, stove + gas, rain gear, windstopper, sleeping bag, shit tube etc..



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