Great White Wall
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Stover taking on the first pitch.
The Great White Wall is a bit ledgy, loose and spicy, but it has some really cool pitches. It is also a cool alternative when 1. things are kinda hot; 2. There are mobs on Chasm View, and 3. You're running out of "friendly" 5.10 routes to do. It's quite a bit more spicy and loose than Scenic Cruise, etc. but really, it's not too bad, and an excellent intro to this kind of adventuring. The route is on the steep wall up-gully from the Tourist Route and the infamous Tuffnell-McGee, & starts off an obvious pedestal on the left side (looking down) of Long Draw Gully a few hundred feet above the river. Strangely enough, the guidebook's topo is sort of accurate for a change. Scope it from the Balanced Rock Overlook, where the route looks like a chossy, discontinuous nightmare. Don't be fooled. It's fun as hell.
Begin the route by bouldering up 20' or so (don't fall) to a right-angling bush-groove and cruise to a grassy ledge at the base of the first 'real' pitch, a black right-facing corner.
Cruise up the nice handcrack corner to where it ends, and a lone black bolt winks at you 5-10' up and right. Punch it up sorta spicy but secure edges to the bolt, and then crank 5.10 moves up into a mellow groove. Cool pitch. With a little simul-climbing you can link up to the next grassy ledge.
Then fire up a long, steep right-facing 5.10 corner to a ledge. Cruise up and left to a nasty, shattered groove (careful) that leads to nice 5.9 face, and still more low-angled troughs to another big grassy ledge with an ominous stone bivy ring suggesting primeval epics.
The guidebook says it is 7 pitches to here, but we did it in 3 with a 60m & simulclimbing.
Now for the business. Crank a sexy hand & finger crack off the ledge to where it peters out, and figure out the spicy 5.10 peg knobs and edges into the safety of another groove and a weirdly-placed bolted belay. Awesome climbing.
From the bolts, wander up and left on hard-to-read 5.9+ face edges, aiming for a prominent weakness with some nice 5.10 finger cracks that leads up into the gaping maw of some black wide cracks. Belay on a sheltered ledge when the rope stops you.
Fire up and through airy, cool 5.9 wideness with edges on nice black rock to a peg ledge. Cruise up a 5.8 crack right of a steep corner and then traverse hard left across ledges and edges.
Gain the final huge (250'), right-facing corner and climb surprisingly good 5.7 to the rim.
This route is cool, more people should do it. The guidebook says 13 pitches, but we did it in 8 and real climbers could do it in 6-7. We did some crucial and effective (not to mention deeply gratifying) trundling that might help with the choss-factor. Enjoy!
Standard Black Canyon rack up to #4 Camalot.
Stover cleaning up the second pitch
Stover heading up our 3rd pitch through 5.9 face t...
Stover deciding which way is on route, high on The...
Traverse at the end of the 5.10 corner pitch (lowe...
Long draw gully on the approach.
Just above the route crux.
The traverse to the final corner system.
Friends at the balanced rock overlook.
Pat coming up to the belay, guidebook pitch 9. Pho...
Pat leading off into the "wide" pitch. Photo by W...
The very sexy crack starting the guidebook 8th pit...
BETA PHOTO: Topo given to me that shows the direct finish.
|Comments on Great White Wall
Sep 24, 2005
Crux pitch is pretty hard for 10, and a little runout too.
|By Jesse Bernier|
May 4, 2007
This was a very enjoyable and exciting route. It took us a minute to locate the start of the route as well as the boulder problem to reach it, but once we did it was fairly easy route finding. It took us 8 pitches with a 70m rope. Almost every pitch was a rope stretcher. The crux of the route appeared to be the 5.10 overhanging peg band on our 4th pitch. I wouldn't necessarily call it runout, but you definitely have to climb above your pieces a bit on hard 5.10. The route is still a little loose. I ended up pulling off two handholds on two separate leads, so test as necessary. I recommend the route for anyone who wants a moderate adventure in the Black.
|By Brad Brandewie|
Jun 1, 2008
While the guidebook topo may be accurate, the picture next to it has the line drawn in the wrong place. This route does not go up the corner system as shown in the picture. It stays on the face out to the right.
The corner system goes at 5.9 with plenty of loose rock.
From: Durango, Colorado
Apr 26, 2012
The beta above is pretty accurate, as is the topo in the guide. There is a large cairn at the base, so no drama in finding the start (it is also directly across from the Balanced Rock Overlook. Relatively straight-forward route finding and comfortable belays. Hard 5.10 crux with lots of moderate climbing. Still some looseness but not too bad. Shade until 1-2pm (late April). Took 8 pitches - linked 2 & 3, 4 & 5, 6 & 7, 12 & 13. Brought (2) green Alien - #3 Camalot, (1) black - blue Alien, (1) #4 Camalot, (1) set stoppers. I would probably bring the same again.
Also, I was given a topo that shows the "Direct Finish" as a variation going at 5.10+ R. The corner goes at 5.7.
|By J. Thompson|
From: denver, co
May 6, 2012
We did the direct finish last year. It's 5.10+ and R. I can't really recommend it.