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	The Nose, El Capitan - Yosemite Valley, CA

by Scott Ghiz


I would like to thank everyone who provided "beta" to us
prior to our ascent of the Nose on El Cap.  This is the primary
reason that we are putting together this information package.  We
hope that others will be able to gleen valuable knowlege from
our experience.

Mark Carroll and I (Scott Ghiz) climbed "The Nose" on El Capitan, 
September 14th to September 19th, 1994.  The following description 
is based on the condition of the route at that time.  We have 
included our own "Notes" regarding our experiences good and 
bad.  We hope you find this beta informative and interesting.  
Please send comments and questions via email to:


Thanks you.

Pitch-By-Pitch Detail

Park on the left shoulder of the valley loop road directly across
from the trail that leads into the woods beneath the Nose.  Follow
this trail somewhat indirectly to the toe of the great south 
buttress of El Cap.  Continue up and right until you reach the 
base of El Cap propper.  Walk-in without the haulbag takes about
12 minutes, with the "pig" figure on 40 minutes.

In order to reach the start of the first pitch, about 200 feet
of class 3/4 climbing must be negotiated.  This section is totally
non-direct.  You could easily get the chop right here, be careful.

Pitch 1:

Start up some easy broken rock to a shallow right leaning crack/
corner.  Mixed A1 and 5.8 free climbing.  Straight forward.  This 
pitch is about 120 feet long and takes medium gear.  3 bolt belay.

Pitch 2:

Climb up a left facing corner (0.5 tri-cams helpful here) until 
you can reach a swaged cable (5.9/A1).  Clip your harness into this
and swing right to a right leaning crack with pin scars. A1 on 
small to medium cams.  Fixed pin midway on this section.  Pitch is
about 75 feet long to a multi bolt belay.

Pitch 3:

Climb the obvious crack above mixing free and aid to the belay on
the right (5.8 A1).  Small to medium nuts, small to medium cams. 
A few new 3/8" bolts grace this pitch along with some VERY ratty
old fixed nuts and pins/bongs.  Pitch is about 75 feet long ending 
at many old and new bolts.

Pitch 4:

Follow broken rock up left to a relatively steep right facing 
corner.  Aid this (A2) on small to medium gear about 40 feet to 
a pendulum point (awkward).  Tension right lower and further 
than you think to a point where you can layback up to another 
pendulum point.  Continue to tension right to the left end of 
Sickle Ledge.  Clip a new bolt here and continue right another 
50 feet to the main anchors.  A crappy bivy, sleep on the 

* Note - Be careful not to get your ropes or aiders caught 
while climbing onto (or following onto) Sickle Ledge.  It is a 
real pain to get them unstuck.  There may be a short setion of 
fixed rope leading to the first pendulum point, it makes the 
climbing go quicker.

We fixed four ropes to the ground from here and hauled our haul bag 
(sans sleeping gear and headlamps) up to the top of the next 
pitch (pitch 5, class 4).  We also took a day off to rest and 

Pitch 5:

100 feet of class 4.  No fixed belay, but great nut 
placements.  The easiest climbing on the route, but the most 
difficult hauling/humping of the pig to the top of this pitch.

Pitch 6:

Follow the broken left facing corner for about 70 feet until 
you can break out right to a short thin hands crack (15 feet of 
5.9).  Fixed belay, pins, nuts and bolts.  Medium easy hauling 
once the bag is rolled around the corner.  No need to lower it 

Pitch 7:

Lower out about 50 feet and tension over to the right until you 
can grab a good hold in a large left facing corner.  Easy climbing 
(5.3) with no gear until you get to a semi-fixed belay at the 
same height as your belayer.  Clip these anchors and continue up 
to Dolt Hole with good gear and fun climbing (5.7/5.8).  Fixed 
belay, good bolts.  Lower the bag out, pull the lower out line 
back and rappel across the pendulum or tie off short and use a 
single strand to lower out on.  A 50 meter rope will end up short 
during the lower out and you will end up swinging hard into a 
corner as you follow.  Medium easy hauling, nothing for the bag 
to hang-up on.

Pitch 8:

Strenuous 5.9 hands/fist or easy A1 brings you to a long bolt 
ladder.  Climb to the top of the bolt ladder and lower down 
until about 10 feet above the belay.  Swing over to the 
Stoveleg cracks.  As the leader, try not to place gear until 
fairly high on the crack.  Climb up until adjacent to a good 
fixed rappel anchor on your right.  The fixed belay is fair.  
Long pitch (140 feet), 5.8/5.9 (we aided some of this).  Easy 
hauling, no need to lower the bag out.  There is enough rope 
to lower yourself out from the pendulum point if you tie off 
short and use a single strand.

* Note - There was a fixed rope extending down from the top of 
the bolt ladder down to the belay at Dolt Hole.  This rope had 
a knoted bight of rope at the level of the Dolt Hole belay.  My 
partner simply clipped directly into this loop and tensioned 
over to the Stoveleg crack.  He then unclipped the fixed rope 
and began leading and placing gear as normal.  I followed the 
pitch by tying off short to the lead rope and using the fixed 
rope to swing around to the crack just as my partner did.

Pitch 9:

Fairly short pitch, about 80 feet.  Follow the ever widening 
crack to a fixed belay on the right, three old bolts and a 
bong, just below a small roof.  The off-width section is about 
30 feet long and will take medium gear in the back of it, 
although a #4 Camalot comes in handy.  I aided most of this 
pitch (A1), otherwise 5.9/5.10 free climbing.  Easy hauling.

Pitch 10:

Climb up into an easy chimney with fixed pins and good gear 
placements.  50 feet of fairly easy climbing leads to 5.8/5.9 
hands (mixed A1).  Run the pitch almost a full rope length (50 
m) to a semi-fixed belay.  You will pass another semi-fixed belay.  
This will combine pitch 11 with pitch 10.  Easy hauling to the 
right of the crack.

Pitch 11:

Should be combined with pitch 10 as described above.

Pitch 12:

Wide hands to short squeeze chimney to a ledge (with fixed 
anchors) to a fist crack lead to Dolt Tower.  The pitch is about
80 feet long and takes #2.5 Friend/#2 Camalot up to #4 Camalot 
for the final fist crack...leave the brass nuts in the haul 
bag.  I mixed up the climbing, free at the start (5.9) to aid 
(A1) at the end, leap-frogging #4 Camalots up the final section 
to Dolt Tower.  Excellent anchors.  Medium Difficult hauling 
due to decreased leverage while hauling from a large ledge.  
A good bivy, nice place to take a break.  Drag the pig to the 
right side of the ledge and move the belay over there before
beginning the next pitch.

Pitch 13:

Tension down and right off Dolt Tower to a left facing corner 
with an awkward slot.  The slot has a medium crack in the back 
of it (#1.5 friend).  Follow the slot to a pair of thin hand 
cracks which lead to a small ledge with fixed anchors.  The 
pitch is about 60 feet long and takes mostly small to medium 
gear.  Difficult hauling because the bag is bound to hang up on 
any one of the flakes in the corner.  The bag should be lowered 
here.  There was enough rope left for me to lower myself off 
the belay while following the pitch.

Pitch 14:

Climb the obvious fist crack in a left facing corner.  The 
first part of the pitch is easy free climbing (20 feet of 
5.6).  The remaining 90 feet of fist crack goes at 5.9 or A1.  
I aided quite a bit of this.  Mostly #3 and #4 Camalots.  There
is a bolt a little over half way up on this pitch.  Nice fixed 
belay on a ledge with good bolts.  Medium easy hauling.

Pitch 15:

Easy free climbing for 75 feet up and right to El Cap Towers
(5.5).  Lower out the bag and follow the pitch on belay.  No 
jugging.  Once you get to the nice big El Cap Towers either 
lounge out or help your partner haul the pig (medium difficult 
hauling).  I chose to lounge.  Excellent bivy!  The best one on 
the route. 

* Note - We stayed here on our first night.  We began jugging 
our fixed lines from the ground at around 5:00 am.  Two BASE 
jumpers launched as we were jugging the ropes.  I first thought 
some really big rocks were falling, then I looked up in the 
pre-dawn light and thought a couple of fighter jets were taking 
a close fly by.  But it was two jumpers.  They make a lot of 
noise.  When we showed up at Sickle Ledge, there were five 
other people there!  We just continued up with some guy with a 
portaledge complaining about how crowded it is and how it sucks 
and....blah..blah...blah.....It didn't stop us.  We arrived at 
El Cap Towers at about 7:00 pm.  Although, we got held up by 
a German party of three when we let them pass on the stovelegs.  
This delay cost us at least 1 hour, probably more.  We passed 
them at Dolt Tower.  Then they passed us at El Cap Tower when 
they opted to fix ropes at night up to the top of the Boot 
Flake.  The leader bivied on the top of the Boot and the other 
two guys slept at the base of the Texas Flake.  They stayed 
ahead of us for the rest of the climb.  Another base jumper, 
this time at dusk.  It was really wild.  He looked like the guy 
in the movie "Rocketeer".  He was tearing thru the air with 
his arms at his sides.  He shot past us and deployed his chute 
well below our level.  What a fantastic perspective!  I got to 
try that some day.

Pitch 16:

The Texas Flake.  Climb off the left end of El Cap Towers into 
a right leaning ramp system.  Follow the ramp system with 
cracks up the the right side of the Texas Flake (5.7, 50 
feet).  Climb awkwardly up into the chimney past chockstones 
with fixed slings (awkward 5.8...even with grabbing slings).  
Move to the far left side of the chimney and begin squirming.  
The key is to keep your back to the flake.  Good footholds will 
be found on the main wall.  The chimney gets easier as you get 
higher.  Right at the top of the flake, reach back and clip a 
couple of bolts before your exit move.  Haul the bag on the 
outside of the flake.  Good 1/2" bolt on the main wall to haul 
off of.  When following, try to stay outside of the chimney as 
long as possible...good luck.

Pitch 17:

The Boot Flake.  Great pitch, great exposure.  A1 bolt ladder 
leads up and left to a short A1 crack with mostly fixed gear.  
The Boot Flake is easily aided on #1 and #2 Camalots and a #3.5 
Friend.  A couple of pieces of fixed gear will be found here.  
At the top of the aid section, clip a bolt for directional and 
continue up and left to excellent fixed bolts on a nice ledge.  
Comfortable bivy for one here.  Easy hauling.  The pitch is about 
100 feet long.  The second should tie off short and follow the 
pitch on aid until the line stops traversing, then jug the rest 
of the pitch.

Pitch 18:

The King Swing.  Interesting pitch.  Lower out until your 
harness is even with the top of the toe of the boot.  Does this 
make sense?  I've heard that you can simply tension to the 
first anchor.  Not us.  Mark had to swing like a maniac to 
reach the second pendulum point.  The anchor is a single, 
partially driven Lost Arrow (I think it's a #6) with a bunch of 
slings on it.  Again, lower out just enough to tension over to a 
left facing corner.  The corner has an awkward flare with a 
medium-small crack in the back.  Free climb (5.9) or pull on gear 
up this corner until you can step left and up to the belay 
ledge.  This belay is situated about 50 feet directly to the 
left and around the corner from the top of the Boot Flake.  
You must lower the haul bag out here.  Medium-easy hauling once 
the bag is lowered.  Retrieve the lower out line, tie in short to 
the lead line and rappel off the top of the Boot with the 
lower-out line.  Jug up to the second pendulum point and lower 
out again, this time using the lead line.  Be careful about 
getting the ropes snagged here.  There are plenty of old 
bleached lines stuck here to remind you to keep an eye on your 

Pitch 19:

Mixed free climbing (5.9) and aid (A1) up a corner/crack 
system.  Mostly small to medium gear (small aliens, small 
nuts).  This pitch leads to an overhang (90 feet).  Two fixed 
pins and a fixed nut are here along with your medium cams for 
the hanging belay.  This is where the topo indicates to belay.  

* Note - I continued up another 20 feet to a fixed pin with a 
biner on it.  From here I pendulumed to a fixed rope and 
continued to grapple my way over to a good fixed belay on the 
class 4 ledges before Camp 4.  I combined pitch 19 and part of 
pitch 20.  I ended up at the point marked "haul" on the topo.  
We didn't eliminate a pitch, just kind of shifted it.  The 
hauling sucks here, as we found out.  The bag hung-up in a 
bunch of grooves and Mark had to go down and free it.  It's 
probably best to make an additional pitch by belaying under the 
overhang.  Then continuing up to the top of the corner (60 
feet) and lowering down and left to the same anchors where I 
ended up.  The hauling would be out of harms way.

Pitch 20:

Continue up the corner as described above (small and fixed 
gear).  Lower down and left to some good fixed anchors.  Either 
stop and haul here or continue left on questionable class 4 
rock.  There are some very large loose blocks which if cut 
loose would probably kill someone below.  Continue left another 
50 feet to a decent ledge with fixed gear.  Reasonable bivy here 
for one or two people.  Lower the bag out and follow the class 
4 section on belay.

Pitch 21:

A fun pitch.  Step left off the belay and up into a right 
facing corner (medium cams) with loose flakes.  Climb up to and 
past a couple of manky bolts (5.9 face...5.7 Gunks face) to 
Camp 4 (100 feet).  Make sure you clip the the bolt up and 
right of Camp 4.  This will keep the lead line off a sharp edge 
and out of the human shit. Haul from the back of Camp 4.  
Difficult to haul the bag onto Camp 4.  Lower the bag around the 
corner.  Good bivy, not that comfortable.  It didn't smell too 
bad when we were here and there was no shit on the ledges.

* Note - We arrived here at about 4:00 pm and decided to bivy.  
We fixed the next pitch and relaxed.  Not that much climbing, 
but the traversing took a lot out of us.  A Spanish team 
reached Camp 4 at dark.  They had no room to bivy here so they 
fixed ropes down to the last belay and stayed there for the 
night.  It may have been more comfortable than Camp 4.  In the 
middle of the night I heard something ripping through the air.  
A pine cone landed on top of my sleeping bag and scarred the 
crap out of me.  I thought it was a shit bag!  It was a nice 
reminder that top isn't too far away.  We saw two base jumpers 
the next morning.  We're kind of used to them now.

Pitch 22:

Climb up and right for about 50 feet until a step right leads to 
a very shallow left facing corner.  Follow this corner up and back 
left to the fixed belay at the base of the Great Roof (90 
feet).  Small to medium gear and quite a bit of fixed pins.  
Lower the bag out.  Difficult hauling, lots of stuff for the 
bag to get caught on.  

Pitch 23:

The Great Roof.  Easy, easy aid (A1) up to the Great Roof, mostly 
small cams to medium-big nuts.  The roof itself is totally 
fixed to one free move to the hanging belay (100 feet).  
Reasonable fixed gear at the belay.  Very easy hauling after the 
bag is lowered out.  You can put the lower out line away now.  
It's a straight shot to the summit from here.  The second should 
jug up to the roof and then either get a belay or tie off short 
while following the roof on aid.

Pitch 24:

The Pancake Flake.  Very free climbable for 5.10 (or easy aid).  
Medium gear and a bunch of fixed pins and bolts.  After the flake, 
A1/A2 on small nuts and cams for 30 feet to fixed belay on ledge.  
Pitch is about 90 feet long, 5.9/5.10, A1/A2.  Easy hauling.

Pitch 25:

Climb up a nasty flare with a small crack in the back.  Climb 
this (A1 or 5.10+) for about 30 feet until a dike leads left 10 
feet to a better crack (#1 Camalot).  Follow this crack up and 
back right to short a 5.9 flare (#1 Camalots in the back).  
After reaching easy ground, Clip a bolt for direction and climb 
easily up left and then back right (5.6) to the highest of the 
belays at Camp 5 (130 feet, 5.9 A1).  Decent fixed anchors.  
Medium-easy hauling.  Good bivy at about three different spots.

Pitch 26:

Follow a thin crack on aid (A1), past some fixed pins, left of 
the main corner for 75 feet to the Glowering Spot.  Great 
ledge.  Great photos.  You will switch to the crack in the 
corner just before reaching the Glowering Spot.  Small nuts for 
the thin crack (some small brass nuts) and Camalot Jr's for the 
corner near the top of the pitch.  Easy hauling.

Pitch 27 & Pitch 28:

Combine these two pitches.  A1 up the left facing corner on 
medium to big gear (#4 Camalot at one spot).  75 feet to top of 
corner (end of pitch 27).  Move right easily to a difficult short 
step up (5.8) and then move back left to some more free climbing 
(5.7) to the highest ledge, Camp 6.  Long pitch, about 150 feet.  
Try to go back and unclip any gear you place on the 5.8 section
to the right of the main line.  It will be much easier for you
and you second.Medium hauling because of the last 50 feet of lower 
angle stuff.  Great bivy for two.  There are decent ledges 30 feet 
below Camp 6 for a couple of other people.

* Note - We arrived at Camp 6 around 3:30 pm.  We could have 
kept going but decided to fix the next two pitches with one 
rope and bivy there.  The Spaniards jugged our fixed line and 
topped out around 11:00 pm that night.  Although, Camp 6 is 
comfortable, it was like sleeping and eating on the floor of 
the men's room in the NY Port Authority...under the urnals.  I 
can still "taste" the smell.  It rained that night and we could 
see a thunderstorm moving south to north somewhere the the west 
of us.  We were pretty scared; not because we might have to 
ride out a storm, but the thought of spending another night at 
Camp 6 grossed us out so bad that we would have climbed through 
a blizzard to get out of there.  We were jugging the fixed line 
at 6:00 am under cloudy skies.

Pitch 29 & Pitch 30:

We combined these pitches above Camp 6.  Free climb up and left 
(5.8) for about 30 feet to the start of the double hand 
cracks.  Aid (A1) up the hand cracks for about 60 feet passing 
some fixed pins and a belay station (end of pitch 29) (#1 and #2 
Camalots).  Continue up to where the hand cracks converge.  
Tension right off either a fixed camming unit or a good 
knifeblade for about 15 feet to a shallow right facing corner.  
Follow this corner (A1) on using very small nuts.  There is 
quite a bit of fixed gear here (pins and nuts).  The crack 
opens up to about #1 Camalot size up higher.  About 15 feet 
before the fixed belay, a thin crack will run straight up to 
the anchors.  It will be easier to follow the #1 Camalot crack 
up left to a point where you can reach back to the right and 
clip the belay.  Good anchors.  You will be just about out of 
rope here (160 feet).  This is the longest pitch of the route 
(5.8 A1).  Very easy hauling.

Pitch 31:

Easy aid (A1) on medium gear following a steep right facing 
corner/bulge for about 50 feet. Then follow a hand crack up 
moderate rock for another 40 feet (5.8 A1) to a very scarry 
fixed belay.  There is a VERY large boulder teetering on the 
brink of cutting loose.  It is held in with a bunch of ratty 
This probably the most dangerous part of the climb.  If this 
block cuts loose, you will die, your partner will die and you 
will most likely kill others on the route below...have fun.
Easy but delicate hauling.

Pitch 32:

Climb ever so gently around the death block to follow a corner 
into a secure belay alcove (80 feet, 5.8 A1).  25 feet below 
the alcove is another death block.  It is very tempting to free 
climb by it...do not.  This block is about the size of a medium 
suitcase and is just sitting on a ledge.  I almost cranked up 
on to it.  I strongly recommend aid climbing by it.  It takes a 
little longer but is much safer.  Tell your second about it.  
Easy hauling.

Pitch 33:

Fun climbing out of the alcove on fixed gear (5.9 face or easy 
and quick A1).  Follow the corner up to the final crack on the 
face.  This crack widens from small nuts to #2.5 Friends at the 
top.  Good fixed belay. This pitch is about 70 feet long (5.8 
A1).  Easy hauling.

Pitch 34:

The last pitch.  Easy aid (A1) up the final bolt ladder on 
brand new 3/8" bolts.  the bolts lead up two overhanging bulges 
to a 25 foot traverse to the right.  When the bolts end, easy 
free climbing (5.3) leads up right and back left to a great 
fixed belay (120 feet).  Easy hauling until the bag gets to the 
edge.  VERY difficult to hear your partner.  I belayed Mark up 
the final pitch after hauling the bag.

Short class 3 pitch to a tree where you can take off your 
harness and relax.

* Note - We topped out at 12:00 noon into a thunderstorm, so 
instead of attempting the East Ledges rappel decent, we opted 
to walk down the Yosemite Falls trail.  This trail is about 8 
miles long.  the first 5 miles are not too bad, but the last 3 
miles are murderous decending switchbacks.  Just when you think 
your'e almost down, you start going back up just to start 
decending all over again.  It's a week later and I'm still a 
little sore from the walk down!  It took us five hours to walk 
down (2:00 pm - 7:00 pm).  I think next time I'll just jump off 
the top and try to land in some trees.

Gear List:

2 sets of brass nuts    (pitch to the Glowering spot, pitch 
			above Camp 6..others)
2 sets of wired nuts
2 #0.5 tri-cams         (first four pitches)
2 #1.0 tricams          (first four pitches)
2 sets Camalots
2 sets Camalot Jr's
1 set of Friends to #4
1 #0 Friend
1 #0.5 Friend
1 each of the three smallest TCU's
1 each of the two smallest aliens
20 full length slings with 2 biners on each sling
20 free biners
6 locking biners (belays, bivys, hauling)
2 nut tools (each person carry one)
1 wall hauler
1 backup pulley
1 haul bag swivel (VERY helpful when the bag rolls)
1 11mm x 50 m lead line
1 11mm x 50 m haul line (good for backup if the lead line gets 
1 9mm x 50 m lower out line


Overall, we found the most difficult climbing on the first four
pitches.  Sickle Ledge is a bad place to bivy.  We made steady
progress on the Stoveleg Cracks because leap-frogging camming
units is easy.  We aided about 75% of the stovelegs.  Dolt Tower
seems like a nice bivy.  El Cap Towers is a great bivy.  The Texas 
Flake is not too bad.  We are Gunks climbers and never do chimneys.
We found the climbing from the top of the Boot Flake to the pitch
before Camp 4 to be a pain because of all the traversing.  You can
survive a night at Camp 4.  Camp 5 is a better bivy.  Camp 6 is a 
nice ledge but is a smelly, gross place.  The longest pitch on the

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