Turn north on Movie Flat Road from Whitney Portal Road, and proceed about ½ mile to a dirt road on your left (west). The Shark’s Fin will be plainly visible on the right side of the road about 300 yards away. There is parking right next to the formation. Please do not park in the scrub.
There are four established routes on the Shark’s Fin, ranging from 5.6 to 5.11a in difficulty. All are protected by bolts with cold shut anchors at the top. Since I have only climbed one of the routes, I will provide beta for only the Shark’s Fin Arete. For general information on the area, and specific information on the other routes (including a topo), consult Michael Strassman’s book A Rock Climber’s Guide to the Alabama Hills.
Many people will be tempted to pass the anchors at the top of the routes and sit atop this striking formation. But be forewarned that there are no anchors on the very top, save for a lone ring of dubious value. If you are still on belay, then simply downclimb back to the anchors and lower off. If you decide to bring up your second and rap off, getting back to the anchors and into rap position can be hazardous and awkward. Use caution!
The East Face 5.6
The Shark’s Fin Arete 5.7 The route follows the north east arête of the formation. Getting off the ground is probably the crux of the route. The first bolt can be clipped before setting out, which is comforting, since the first move is from a large rock next to the face. Stick close to the arête, staying on the left side. Holds on the north face side come in handy along the way. There is a big flake at the bottom of the route. Be cautious. It is loose, as are several other holds in the first 15 feet or so. The rock on the upper part of the route is generally solid, and the climbing is easier. 7 bolts. Cold shuts at the top.
Fat Black Mama 5.11a
Ol’ White Pappy 5.10c
Rope, harness, draws, sunscreen
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