North American Classic Climbs

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Lost Arrow Spire

Rim to Tip

Beta Images Slide Show

A route with a big history and a spectacular appearance and setting at the rim of Yosemite Valley just to the right of Yosemite Falls. Do not go expecting quality free climbing, unless perhaps you lead 5.12. This route is also an exception in this collection for its short length - most parties do three pitches, but it can even be done in two. However, most Yosemite Valley climbers will put this on their "must-do" list because of the unique experience it presents. Starting with a long hike from the valley floor to the rim opposite the spire, you'll start the technical manuevers by rappelling from a large ponderosa pine on the rim into an exposed notch directly above the Ahwahnee Lodge. The climbing begins with a famous step-around onto a sickeningly exposed face, and ends with a long tyrolean traverse back to the rim, for which you must fix and drag an extra rope. Objective hazards are few, but include lightning storms with no place to hide, and of course the twisted joker who decides it might be entertaining to untie your rope from the tree, leaving you no reasonable means of return. If you escape these, the memory of the summit and the long tyrolean looking back at the falls will be indelible, even if the climbing is forgettable.


Lowland rock (crag)




Yosemite Nat'l Park, California, USA



G5, G28, I1, W9, W32


III, 5.5, A3 to 5.12


Route Descriptions & Maps:

USGS topographic map

First Ascent:

A. Nelson, J. Salathé, September 3, 1947.


Trip Reports:

Wright 6/01
Gale 8/00