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The West Face, Leaning Tower


On 16/06/01 Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles freed 9 out of 10 pitches of "The West Face" on the Leaning Tower, Yosemite.

On Wednesday 16 June 2001 Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles freed nine out of ten pitches of Yosemite’s 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 Houlding’s 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

Leo Houlding
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.

Further information about
Leo Houlding
The Leaning Tower





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