New Half Dome Route
The Xue Way is a new 5.11+A0 up the south face of Half Dome, one of the world’s most iconic mountains. The first ascent of Half Dome was by George Anderson in 1875. Chris Koppl, Brian Pence and Vitaliy Musiyenko worked on the new mostly free route, with the exception of 10 A0 moves, for the past few years. The final push took three days. “The route goes at 5.11c-ish,” said Musiyenko, “and has some crazy climbing on it – first pitch climbs a layback to a sideways traverse of a dike, then you climb up into a huge arching roof on pitch two, and continue traversing left, underclinging and jamming the roof, then you downclimb the arch and climb up the dike on the third pitch.” The rock is reported to be immaculate with a great position. “The route was established with other climbers in mind and additional bolts were added to several individual pitches after those were led with less on the first ascent,” said Musiyenko. The first ascent team dedicated the route to Michelle Xue, who passed away in an ice climbing accident in the Sierra Nevada last fall.
South face of Half Dome (on the left) and Liberty Cap (on the right)