Ahab is a wide testpiece for the aspiring wide specialist. Begin in a corner just to the right of Moby Dick. After a short 20ft scramble you enter the meat of the climb, a chimney that narrows and squeezes all but the most petite out to the edge. Exit out top of the chimney and enter a flaring handcrack. Continue up another slot and then to the anchors.
The route is located on the west side of el cap a few hundred feet from the toe where the trails meets the face. Begin in a corner just to the right of Moby Dick.
Bring the big boys for this one. A standard rack with cams up to #6 friend or #6 camalot.
A old #5 camalot will protect at about your head when you enter the squeeze and are standing on the spike feature, but you cannot walk it, it will tip out within another foot or two. A #6 friend is the ticket here. The squeeze leans and flares. Making progress requires staying toward the outside, which feels like it's going to spit you out. Crawl deeper in to rest, move back toward the lip to move.
Crux is probably the flare, and I thought .10b, but don't trivialize the climbing higher up, there is a somewhat funky face section going left just before the anchor.
I agree Will, I thought it was going to be over after the squeeze but that flaring handcrack can feel overhanging at times. All this after you're spent from the bottom part makes for a long full value pitch. This is one of my proudest leads. Definately one of those climbs where the grade isn't a good indicator of the effort involved.
By David Aguasca! From: New York Jun 26, 2010 rating: 5.10a6a18VI+18E1 5a
I placed a #6 C4 and a #3 Big Bro in the squeeze,then a #5 C4 for the exit move.
If it was any smaller, it would probably be a grade harder! Amazing rock, though. Good friction in the squeeze (thank the creator).
Don't forget the finger-sized pieces for the exit moves on the roof. Bring them or run it out...
I've got a story about this route. In 1999 I hired Bill Russell (a guide)to teach me offwidth climbing. After a few easier offwidths Bill led this route. I did't have great technique but I did have tenacity. After several hangs I lowered to the ledge and started up again. I made it through the crux clean and then found a no-hands rest.In trying to recover I puked (still without weighting the rope). Then I finished the climb clean. Several years later in surfing the web I found a story someone had posted about this weenie who hired a guide and puked all over him and over the years have seen reference to that several times. I actually became pretty good at offwidths. I was just starting to get into the 5.11 offwidth range when shoulder surgery in 2007 ended the serious climbing. It was weird to stumble on a story about myself like that.
Royal Robbins used to solo this in a pair of Tretorns. We are not worthy.
By 213blc From: THA WEST COAST Nov 5, 2012 rating: 5.106b20VII-19E2 5b
The headwalls of the Captain glow gold then red and finally become awash in purple. Inch by inch, chicken wings and contortions sample new stone lands. The stars come out. A handjam! Tubing commences and with it more sweet jams. Orbs of light are seen wandering chaotically beneath the oak, bay, and pines. A maiden inquires, "Are you guys ok?" Oh, we're fine, just enjoying some wide! Huff, huff, huff. "You're on Ahab...in the dark..............That's FANTASTIC!" The maiden approves. Laughter from all involved fills the evening air. The orbs wander off, leaving only the sound of grovel-induced breathing and random giggles from the suitors who came to learn the lessons of the Big Stone.