Cedar Wright and Lucho Rivera free climb Liberty Cap above Yosemite valley
At the end of May 2013 American climbers Cedar Wright and Lucho Rivera made the first ascent of Mahtah and in doing so have established the first free climb up Liberty Cap, Yosemite.
With most Yosemite valley climbing action taking place on the classics such as El Capitan and Half Dome, the wealth of beauties at nearby Little Yosemite valley are often overlooked. Lying slightly further upstream along the Merced River, this smaller glacial basin is home to numerous magnificent features including Liberty Cap. This smooth granite dome attracted the attention of the likes of Warren Harding and Galen Rowell back in 1969 to name but two, and it has just been enriched with Mahtah, a beautiful 16-pitch route to the left of the famous Nevada Fall free climbed on 31 May by the Americans Cedar Wright and Lucho Rivera.
Mahtah takes a logical line up the centre of the SW face of Liberty Cap and follows a series of previously established routes, namely Original Southwest Face (Warren Harding, Galen Rowell, Joe Faint 1969), Direct Southwest Face (Braun - Cashner, 1982) and Bad Moon Rising (Josh Mucci, Steve Boque, Ezra Allee, 2012). These climbs had all been established with the use of aid and Wright and Rivera spent a fortnight cleaning, working the moves and finding their way upwards in their attempt to find a feasible free version. In total, 16 pitches were climbed and circa 130 feet of new ground was exploted
"The route is 99% protected by cams, stoppers and the occasional piton" Wright told planetmountain, explaining "We added two bolts on new ground, and there are a handful of existing bolts on the Harding Route. Basically it's an outstanding and improbably Big Wall Trad Climb."
The duo successfully climbed the entire route in a day on 31 May and Mahtah - the American Indian name for Liberty Cap - has tentatively been graded 5.13a. This major addition to Yosemite is now the first free climb on Liberty Cap and Wright's comment on climbing.com deserves special attention "This is by far the best first ascent I have ever done, and I think it ranks as one of the best free routes in Yosemite Valley."
CEDAR WRIGHT - a short climbing autobiography
I've been lucky to establish first ascents around the World. I have never been the hardest climber by any means but I am driven by passion, adventure and an unbridled love for all things climbing! Some personal highlights include the following:
- putting up many long free routes in Yosemite Valley, including The Uncertainty Principle 13a on The Sentinel.
- free climbing El Cap in a day, via Freerider
- achieving the first ascent of the Unclimbed Ear of the Cat Ear Spires, via The Epica Direct
- establishing several 5.13 first ascents in Indian Creek, established some big routes in Zion. I also onsighted Moonlight Buttress.
- climbing the previously unclimbed North Horn of The Dragons Horns in Malaysia and established a spectacular line on The South Horn as well.
- climbing all of the 5 Fingers of the Hand of Fatima in Mali in a day.
- still holding the speed record on The Shield on El Capitan in 10 hours 58 minutes
- establishing several 5.12 bigwall onsight in a day free climbs in The Ruth Gorge, Alaska including the 1000m "Eye of The Beholder" 5.12 on The Eye Tooth.