ApproachThe Western part of the South Face of LPP is framed on the right by the deep gully of "The Winter Route" and on the left by "The Direct South Face". Between these routes lies a steep and smooth wall. Lower part of this wall can be best identified by three indistinct horizontal ledges, that run across it. The "Land of Little Rain" starts from the highest of these ledges and offers steep and esthetic climbing on smooth, Yosemite like rock. To get to the ledges, follow the South side of the canyon from the Stone House. There is no trail beyond Stone House, but the best line is to traverse the left hillside about level with the dwelling. Once under the wall, contour toward the creek and find a LARGE, flat boulder at the creek's edge (great bivi spot). Last water can be obtained there till mid August.
Scramble up a wide slope and DIAGONAL LEFT. Following a guly up and left, pass through a LARGE CAVE. The gully gets you to the first, somewhat indistinct ledge. Continue LEFT AND UP to connect with second ledge. Follow the second ledge to FAR RIGHT till a smooth gully depression ( 5.7, fixed pin) allows you to climb UP, then traverse left and up to third ledge. The elevation gain from the creek to the third ledge is +- 1,200 feet. Walk to the right end of the third ledge. The climb starts in the steep, left facing book.
Route DescriptionClimb the steep, left facing book at the right end of the ledge ( 10B, fixed pins ). From the belay below small roof, traverse left on obvious ramp and follow indistinct rib (2 bolts) to a belay below the second roof (10-). Climb up on the left edge of the roof ( fixed pin, bolt ), go slightly right till you meet a hand crack going up to a large ledge (5.9). Follow this ledge to it's left end and climb steep, shallow dihedral ( 10C/D, fixed pins ) to just below a large roof. Diagonal right to the right edge of the roof, then follow the edge up and to belay ( 2 bolts ). Face climb up, past two bolts ( 10B ), then diagonal left to a 2 bolt belay below three very distinct ribs. Move up six feet, climb right across the ribs ( 5.7 R), go up and right to reach the base of very large left facing dihedral. Face climb up and slightly left through a sea of pockets (5.4, no pro), untill you reach 2 bolt belay ( red sling left for visibility!!). Continue climbing the pockets up and slightly left untill you reach a large ledge ( great bivi for three). Follow a prominent, left leaning crack, then face climb to an obvious notch on the ridge ( 5.7 ). Follow the ridge for three pitches (to 5.7), then traverse into the Winter Route gully and climb it to the notch. Rappell or downclimb the notch ( 60'), follow the sandy ledge for 200' till 4th class gully cuts up and right (40' ).The gully ends on a ledge below nice, 5.7 face in a corner. Climb the face, then diagonal up and left 100' to a broken buttress. Two pitches up this buttress, 5.6 face and 5.8 chimney (or 5.8 hand crack going up above the Beckey's Route Tension Traverse) lead to another notch and 300' of 4th class scrambling deposits you on the summit plateau. This variation from the Winter Route's notch up, avoids the upper Beckey/Bjornstad line and the tension traverse into the UGLY gully.
The regular East slopes descent (3-4 hours) takes you to the North side of the creek. The crux of the climb can be crossing the creek back to your car.
February 2005 additions: I finaly scanned my hand drawn topos into this text. There are three pages of photos/drawings that together with the photos of the wall should enable you to find and follow the route all the way to the summit plateau
Essential GearNo special gear is needed. Bring set of SLCDs (we had Friends), set of wires, a few small TCUs, lot of slings and two 50 meter ropes. The key pro on this line is fixed. There are three places to bivi on this route, on the third approach ledge, after the 8th pitch on the large ledge for three, at the far side of the Winter Route notch after the 13th pitch.
Total time: 15 (very fast) to 24 (average party) hours car-to-car, if you know your way on LPP.
The route was first climbed by Miguel Carmona, Jim Mathews and Alois Smrz, over two long days in June of 1996. We hand drilled 10 each 1/4" bolts and placed 3 or 4 knifeblade pitons on the first 8 pitches (see the topo).
The route had a 2nd confirmed ascent in July of 1998, when young Yosemite climbers Brandon Thau and Jon Stark cruised it car-to-car in 15.5 hours. They loved it, but didn't recommend climbing it this way, because (they said), they missed all the amazing scenery of the South Face.
The third ascent of the route was done by Scotty Nelson (poorboy44 on SP) and Stephen Quale on May 20, 2003. They were forced to bivi on the summit plateau, perhaps confirming the average time that is required to climb the route and return to your car. Scotty wrote a short note about the route in the "Climber's Log" on the main LPP page.
Further Reading: 1997 AAJ P.144-145, RJ Secor "High Sierra" 2nd Ed. P.56-57, SCMA Cliff Notes # 108.
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