|On Wednesday 16 June 2001 Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles freed nine out of ten pitches of Yosemites highly popular 'The West Face'. This famous big wall on the Leaning Tower was first climbed by Warren Harding in 1953 using aid and the original bolts were replaced in 1997 by the American Safe Climbing Association. |
The free climbing starts where the bolt ladder finishes at the top of the first pitch which, for now at least, remains to be aided. The route then follows a steep line through the overhanging tower and its crux 50m pitch weighs in at an impressive 5.13b (French 8a).
Leo Houldings comments about this historic route indicate its natural beauty: A final typically steep corner completes the outstanding, sustained route. The incredible view of El Cap obtained from the summit makes the final mantle perhaps the most spectacular topout in the world.
Achievable in a day and of a semi-sport nature, this route is set to become a classic of its grade adds Leo who, with regards to the first pitch, states the initial insanely steep bolt ladder remains an aid pitch and will never go free (so prove me wrong).
The Leaning Tower, Yosemite
Just 19 years old, Leo is famous in Great Britain for his ascents of traditional testpieces such as Lord of the Flies E6 6b at Dinas Cromlech, Masters Wall E7 6B at Cloggy and End of the Affair E8 6b a Curbar, and the first repeat of the Huber brothers El Nino on El Capitan, Yosemite, USA.
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The Leaning Tower