By Bret H. Sarnquist
Matt Wilder, Evan Stevens, and I did this route June 14-15, 1999. Steep and interesting aid, harder and more fun that the West Face (at least according to my partners). It's old A4; the aid really wasn't that bad, and the fall potential wasn't excessive except on the crux pitch (right after Awahnee Ledge). The aid "cruxes" consisted of stretches of fixed heads with occasional hooking, but we didn't need to hammer anywhere, nor did we need a cheat stick. Belays are usually pretty good, with at least two solid bolts and occasionally a nest of not-so-solid bolts. The final pitch is truly spectacular.
Pitch notes: Link 1+2 and 3+4 (these pitches shared in common with the West Face, numbered according to the Reid topo). Each is long, but under 200'. Lots of bolts, an occasional hook, and minimal gear. Move all your stuff over onto Awahnee Ledge when you get there (pain in the rear).
Pitch 5: The first pitch of WDD proper. Start off the left side of the Awahnee, but don't clip the shiny bolt way out left. Head up onto the obvious right-leaning ramp, and scramble (5.8 move or two) up the the bolts at the base of the corner directly above the belay. Clip up heads and bolts to the roof-like-thing, and follow it to the belay. Probably C3, 110' (lengths approx.)
Pitch 6: Not A3. Tension right from the anchor to a shelf, and hook along the shelf until you can clip up a couple of fixed heads to a crack. Follow this (A1+) crack past a bolt, then move right around a corner to a LA crack. I cam hooked this to a wider crack to the belay. C2, 140'
Pitch 7: Probably the other crux pitch. Questionable rock along with a number of fixed heads and some odd gear leads up the corner systems, with some wandering back and forth. Near the top, it bears left out around a little corner to a belay that can be back up with gear. C3, 100'
Pitch 8: Very straight-forward except for the "expanding" section (as marked on the topo). It's not expanding -- it's a loose death block that you really don't want to torque on. From the belay A1 leads up to the obvious loose pinnacle-thing. Get out of you aiders and gingerly free past it to solid gear. More A1 leads to a three bolt belay under the roof. C1, 5.7, 85'
Pitch 9: Spectacular and strenuous. Follow the crack from the belay to the painfully obvious roof crack on the right. Spin and try to keep youself together for a couple of moves, then turn the edge and finish up some tricky clean aid to the exit ledge. C2, 75'
Finish: Scramble (low 5th) up through the notch to the right and then down to the obvious tree. One rope-strecher 200' rap almost gets you to the notch (short scramble), then rap into the obvious chasm and follow the anchors to the ground. You end up right at the beginning of the traverse ledge you started on, so you can pick up anything you stashed at the base.
Rack: 1 set Offsets 2 sets Stoppers 2 sets Aliens/TCUs 2 sets Camalots to #2 1 ea. #3 Camalot All hooks, incl. cam hooks 1,2,3 Loweballs Rivet hangers (esp. cinch) A few LAs and baby angles, plus some small/med heads 60 meter ropes Lots of biners
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