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Great White Wall 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b

Type:  Trad, 13 pitches, 1300', Grade IV
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b [details]
FA: Rich Strang & Rob Schmidt
Page Views: 2,665
Submitted By: Randy Slavin on Sep 8, 2005

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Stover cleaning up the second pitch

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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.

Photos of Great White Wall Slideshow Add Photo
The traverse to the final corner system.
The traverse to the final corner system.
The very sexy crack starting the guidebook 8th pitch.
The very sexy crack starting the guidebook 8th pit...
Stover heading up our 3rd pitch through 5.9 face to the second terrace.
Stover heading up our 3rd pitch through 5.9 face t...
Pat coming up to the belay, guidebook pitch 9. Photo taken by Will Eccleston from Balanced Rock overlook.
Pat coming up to the belay, guidebook pitch 9. Pho...
Stover deciding which way is on route, high on The Great White Wall
Stover deciding which way is on route, high on The...
Stover taking on the first pitch.
Stover taking on the first pitch.
Traverse at the end of the 5.10 corner pitch (lower half of the route).
Traverse at the end of the 5.10 corner pitch (lowe...
Friends at the balanced rock overlook.
Friends at the balanced rock overlook.
Long draw gully on the approach.
Long draw gully on the approach.
Pat leading off into the "wide" pitch.  Photo by Will Eccleston.
Pat leading off into the "wide" pitch. Photo by W...
Just above the route crux.
Just above the route crux.
Topo given to me that shows the direct finish.
BETA PHOTO: Topo given to me that shows the direct finish.

Comments on Great White Wall Add Comment
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By ac
Sep 24, 2005
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

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.
By eDixon
From: Durango, Colorado
Apr 26, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

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.

By Jordan Moore
From: Boulder, co
Jul 16, 2014

Not too much loose rock, well protected 5.10 sections, this route is fantastic!