El Whampo

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Trad climb
Time Required:
Half a day

Route Quality: 4 Votes

5914 Hits
72.08% Score
Log in
to vote
Page By:
El Whampo
Created On: Aug 9, 2004
Last Edited On: Aug 9, 2004


This route begins just right of the gigantic dihedral located to the climbers left on the main north wall. The easiest approach is:
from Humber Park follow the chain link fence (near the bathrooms) in the up-creek direction. It will immediately drop down to the creek bed; cross the creek and continue following a well-trodden use trail which stays on the south side of the creek. After about 1/4 mile it will begin to get steeper and more switchbacks will occur. You will continue below and past the northern talus field (optional route is to cut up and over to the large talus blocks on your right and head straight up to the base.)

The use-trail eventually wends its way up to meet up with the Northern Descent Gully route. Break away and start heading west for the base of the rock as soon as you see a clear shot to the apron; you'll see many use trails threading thru the woods and talus.

Route Description

The landmark for this climb is the giant dihedral which is not even a part of the route. Look for the huge, right facing dihedral from the base of the apron. The first 2 1/2 pitches of El Whampo roughly parallel this dihedral. Once you've sighted the big dark corner, your eyes will be helplessly drawn to a fantabulous crack approx 200ft up from the base and 30ft right of the corner.

P1) Climb 4th class gullys for ~ 1/2 rope length to reach a large flat dirt and rock ledge. Rope up here and follow the flakes up and left towards a shrub with rap slings/ring (about 70ft)

P2) Traverse immediately right on a slopey ledge to get to the base of a fabulous splitter - classic 5.7 jams. Crux is getting started into the crack. Follow the 2" crack up, up and away until it terminates into blocks (watch out for a loose triangular block up here.) Traverse down and right to a decent belay stance.

P3) From here the route becomes indistinct - a number of variations exist for finishing (Clark Jacobs told me he's done it about 10 different ways.) Here are two variations (going left or right from the top of P2), both of which I have done and routefinding is fairly intuitive and obvious.

P3-left) From the belay, go up and left (50ft?) and over a slightly overhanging roof move. Bomber holds and gear make this a safe 5.7 manuver. Continue until the rope drag stops you and anchor up.

P3-right) move up and right going thru a weird horizontal squeeze crack to the overhanging roof at its base; undercling as you traverse to the right. Eventually you'll get to an escape chute up and over the roof with a couple of great 5.7+ moves. If you miss this and continue to the right (towards the Lark Wall) you'll start getting into some dicey 5.9 face moves and perhaps harder.

P4, P5-left/right) continue up moderate 5th class ground for 2 rope lengths to the summit. There is a large bare tree trunk standing atop the exit area - aim for this and you'll be in good shape.

Descent) from the tree, walk up and right until you can easily slip down into the descent gully. Follow the use trail down the gully (see North Descent Gully route description for details.)

Essential Gear

Bring a 60m rope and you'll have just enough for convenient belay stances. Gear to 2.5" + maybe a 3"; rack of nuts + RP to protect the traverse at the begin of P2. Lots of extended quickdraws or long slings and at least 15ft cordelette for anchors (x2).
Do your climbing shoes a favor and bring your approach shoes up with you for the long descent back to the packs.