2nd Pitch, 5.10c
Dow leading the 3rd Pitch, 5.10b
We climbed two routes on the Whale: Bony Fingers and Aplomb
. Together they make for a decent day. This was my partner's day to pick routes and I was not paying attention as he started me too far left on a dirty ramp with a tree start (photo). I backed off eventually and went further right (beta photo shows true start). The accurate start for Aplomb is way right of Bony Fingers, think 200'-300'.
It is an obvious left facing corner that turns into a long ramp with a finger corner to protect. Rope drag ensues as you traverse back left a full 200' to a flake/ledge (an exposed by easy move at the end) below the crux roof of the 2nd pitch. The roof protects well and then easy climbing back left to a left facing subtle corner with an old rusty bolt station (2017). The 3rd pitch tops out this corner at a single bolt and then takes on some serious 5.10 run out on knobs.
Park at the dirt road on the north directly across from the group camp site for Whitney Portal. Hike east on the road through the gate and at the first switch back left, continue straight on a well-worn trail. Once you identify the Whale up on your left (photo), look for cairns directing you up a large talus slope directly below the feature. Bony Fingers’ finger splitter (on the left) is obvious and so is Aplomb's roof (just to the right of Bony Fingers). The first pitch starts way over to the right. The 2nd ramp you come to with a decent 30’ left facing corner
in which to start.
Route Description500’+/-, 4 Pitches, 5.10c
1st Pitch- 200’- 5.10a/
This is a full 200’ angling traverse pitch that comes in from the right to the base of the main route which is just right of Bony Fingers. There were two pitches on the Whale that I placed almost my entire rack on, the 2nd pitch of Bony Fingers and this pitch. The first 30’ goes up a left facing corner with the crux move of the pitch near the top of that corner. It felt a bit sandbagged. From there follow the tips crack sloping dihedral left. Place a lot of small gear and wires. The ramp narrows as you continue to climb offering some exposure near the end. But the crack widens as well allowing you to place some larger gear, all the way to C4#4. Fight through a tree and continue traversing all the way around to the face with Bony Fingers. This is a narrow ledge/flake offering a comfortable slung belay.
2nd Pitch- 100’- 5.10c/
The technical crux of the route is pulling the large roof above by under clinging small fingers out right. The climbing up to and after the roof is mellow. The roof protects well with small gear. The feet are there and the mantel on top of the roof is also fairly mellow. From there traverse large knobs on easy ground up and left to the crack proper. Hand jam a great vertical section to old bolts (2017). Build a gear semi hanging belay at the old fixed station.
3rd Pitch- 100’- 5.10b/
This is the crux pitch of the route. Continue up the crack, but no hands. It flares and shallows, but you can get adequate finger sized gear placements. At the top is a modern bolt. From there it involves 5.10a run out climbing on knobs and partial knobs. By the time you can sling a knob that might protect, the hard climbing is over. Proceed over the roof on jugs.
4th Pitch- 80’- 5.6/
Traverse left to the Bony Fingers rap.
We used double 60m ropes to the ground on the west face, but there is an intermediate station out right. From the rusted old bolts (2017) en route, atop the 2nd pitch, a double 60m rope rap gets you to the ground.
Single from micro cams to C4#3 (I had a #4 but did not feel it was necessary). Doubles from #.3 through #1. A full set of offset cams is helpful on this feature in general. Half a dozen brassies or small nuts. Eight shoulder length slings, four draws. The majority of the route, like Bony Fingers, gets good morning shade.