View from Whitney Cave area
Capricorn Wall is one of the formations in an area known as Whitney Cave which is located in The Alabama Hills on the outskirts of Mount Whitney in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Range, California.
Long before it was recognized for its potential as a rock climbing area, Whitney Cave was used by the locals for hanging out and partying. Typical of many of the many convoluted formations in the Alabama Hills, Whitney Cave offers one of the best natural caves in the area. The cave isn’t very large, but I have no doubt it will accomodate at least two dozen partiers.
All the history aside, Whitney Cave is now a major sport climbing area. As you approach the jumble of rocks from a distance, you wonder what all the fuss is all about. Then you get out of the car and approach the formations. The rocks look larger and larger with every step. The mouth of the cave is obvious, but you are here for climbing. Head for the obvious formation to the right of the cave. This is called Capricorn Wall.
There are several bolted routes on Capricorn Wall’s steep north face. The route on the left has a prominent overhang some fifteen feet off the deck. Not to wory, this is the easiest route on this face. This route is called, Wounded Knee, rated 10a. The first and the second bolts are very close together, and if you, unlike me, have long arms, you can clip both bolts before starting up the crux overhang. Catch your breath and clip the third bolt. The rest is clipping one more bolt and climbing on dinner plates to the anchor.
The next route, and probably the best one on this wall is, Capricorn, rated 10c. This route is a bit longer than the previous one but by far more sustained. Clip five bolts along the way and lower off of the anchor bolts. The routes get progressively more difficult to peak at 11a as you move to the right on the face. The routes have their own two bolt anchors and all you need are some quick draws and a sixty meter rope, not to mention a good belayer.
In addition to the routes on the main face, there are two more routes on the west face, back side, of Capricorn Wall. These two routes do not seem very inviting and I have no information as to their difficulty rating. These two routes are bolted and have their own anchors. If you have any information on these two routes please feel free to write a supplement and attach it to this page.
List of the routes
Select Routes of Capricorn Wall
|A||Happy Cappys, 11a, bolts, anchor|
|B||Dec 29, 10d, bolts, anchor|
|C||Capricorn, 10c, bolts, anchor|
|D||Wounded Knee, 10a, bolts, anchor|
How to get to Capricorn Wall & Camping
The first part of the approach is the same as approach to The Candy Store. From the town of Lone Pine on HWY 395 drive about three miles on Whitney Portal Road to intersect Horseshoe Meadow Road. Turn left onto Horseshoe Meadow Road and drive about a mile to just past the last grouping of rocks. Turn left onto an old and narrow paved road for a short distance and left again onto a dirt road. Drive another 200 yards to the crags.
The dirst road that passes in front of Candy Store soon reaches a cattle Gate. Open the cattle gate and go through, but please close and chain the gate behind you. We don’t want the locals to get pissed. Drive to end of the road and park in front of Whitney Cave. Caprisorn Wall is a well-featured orange color face on the right.
Although many parties camp within the parking areas of the Alabama Hills, this practice is highly discouraged. The area suffers from mismanaged campsites and blackened caves. There are two campgrounds very close to the Alabama Hills. Lone Pine Campground is further up the road on Whitney Portal Road, and Tuttle Creek Campground is within a few miles up Horseshoe Meadow Road.