Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Adventure rock
Time Required:
Less than two hours
Class I Whitewater, 5.8R

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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Created On: Apr 17, 2005
Last Edited On: Apr 17, 2005


The approach to this route is what makes this climb unique in the area.

Use the Gutenberger Wall approach as far as the Otter Pool in the river.

The traditional way, and route of the first ascent, starts with a swim across the Otter Pool. A mantle up out of the water just to the right of the "Approach Rock" can be anywhere from 5.7 to impossible depending on current, water temperature, water depth, and sand bar height. After the mantle it is possible to step left into a nook between the approach rock and the main wall to change into dry clothing and climbing gear.

If the swim is hazardous due to current conditions, it is possible to climb over the approach rock, descend to the right to the nook, move out onto the face and set up a Tyrolean Traverse above the Otter Pool using the bolted belay station of "Trout Fishing In America", a W. Cotrell route that crosses Amphibian just above high water.

A third approach is possible, climbing the first pitch of "Trout Fishing," which traverses in from the right, following numerous bolts, just above the Otter Pool.

Route Description

From the mantle, move to the right then up, passing the bolted belay of "Trout Fishing" and head more or less straight up for a pitch, passing a few more bolts enroute to a gear belay about 30 feet right of Grand Central Belay Station. Continue up unprotected 5.4 for a pitch to the bush at the base of the routes on Upper Gutenberger Wall.

Essential Gear

If doing the traditional start, a life vest and a river bag for keeping gear dry are good additions to the normal cragger's kit.

Screamers or other load limiters provide some peace of mind at some of the old 1/4" bolts on this route.

Best time to climb

Sun does not hit the west-facing Gutenberger wall until late morning, so the perfect time to climb this route is a sunny afternoon when you can dry off and warm up from your invigorating swim. If you are very lucky, as evening deepens and the noisy top-ropers across the river depart the area, you will be treated to the resident otters cavorting in the pool as you quietly rappel from the summit of the rock.

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Dave K - Apr 26, 2005 2:05 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

Do you hike down the gully downstream and cross the river again, or is it possible to hike to the top where the houses are, find a street and hitch/walk/car shuttle back?

I was at the Gorge on Sunday and as you can imagine, the river did not look very inviting.

brutus of wyde

brutus of wyde - Apr 26, 2005 5:53 pm - Hasn't voted

Route Comment

It is possible to hike down the gully -- not very inviting, or (perferable) to rap existing fixed anchors on the regular Gutenberger wall routes over the top of the approach boulder and boulder hop back across the river upstream of the Otter pool. Never tried going off the top... too mungy for my taste.


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