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Southeast Face
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Original Route (aka Gom Jabber) 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ British: E3 5c R

   
Type:  Trad, 10 pitches, 800', Grade III
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ British: E3 5b [details]
FA: FA: Young, Marshall, Lawrence, Whisnant (1968-1971 - sieged) FFA: Bob Rotert, 1977
Season: Spring, Fall
Page Views: 9,429
Submitted By: Jeff Mekolites on May 22, 2007
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Starting up the run-out 1st pitch into a sea of mi...
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  • Description 

    Original Route, III, 5.11a or 5.10c, A0.

    Approach: Follow the main Whitesides loop trail from the parking lot until a small/vague trail splits off to the right through the rhododendron heading downhill. Follow this trail down until it hangs a left. Follow the trail along the base of the cliff until you reach the "Great Gray Slab". At the right edge of the slab, look for the easiest path up to the tree ledge.

    Pitch 1: Climb 5.7 slab passing one, maybe two gear placements, (about 1/2 of the way up) to a tree ledge, 5.7 R/X, 150 feet.
    Pitch 2: Move belay left to a large flake. Climb short hollow flake over bulge. Run it out to a tree ledge up and left, 5.8 R, 100 feet.
    Pitch 3: Move belay to left end of tree ledge. Climb short crack, traverse right to crack/flake, work up crack until you can step left to a ledge with 3 bolts, 5.7, 80 feet.
    Pitch 4: The Sandbag Pitch. Climb very worn/polished corner up to a bolt. Easier climbing leads to another bolt at a ledge. 5.10c, 60 feet.
    Pitch 5: Traverse left to a flake then up a very exposed face to a gear belay below flake/corner, 5.7 R, 75 feet.
    Pitch 6: The Crescent Pitch. From the belay step right and out onto an exposed ledge, then up into an awkward crack. Continue up until you can step left and up to a bolted belay, 5.8+, 80 feet.
    Pitch 7: The Crux Pitch/Bolt Ladder. Face climb or A0 through three bolts to easier climbing then to a hole and gear belay, 5.11a, 75 feet.
    Pitch 8: The Traverse Pitch: Step down and work right traversing for about 150 feet, trying to get in some gear along the way, 5.4 R, 150 feet.
    Pitch 9: Up from the belay and right to a grassy flake and a fixed pin, 5.6 R, 150 feet.
    Pitch 10: Climb the flake, then up a lichen covered face to the summit, 5.6 R, 150 feet.


    Descent: Follow loop trail (to the left) back to the car and enjoy a cold beer! You earned it!

    Optional Finish:
    Climb the last 3 pitches of Traditions:
    Pitch 8: From the above mentioned "hole" at the end of pitch 7, follow 3 bolts up and left on a lichen-y ramp, belay on a ledge at a set of rap rings, 5.9, 60 feet.
    Pitch 9: Walk left from the belay on a nice ledge to a "corner", face climb past a couple of bolts to a tree and belay, 5.10, 70 feet.
    Pitch 10: Climb the path of least resistance until you reach to rhododendron then the summit railing, 5.8 R, 100 feet.


    Protection 

    Generally a lighter rack than normal - there isn't a ton of gear placements on the route - singles of blue, green, yellow, red alien, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5 (crux piece) friends, a few nuts, tri-cam or two, runners and a single lead line.

    Note: Most of the route ratings for Whitesides can have an R or X rating added to them. And if the climbing is easy (5.7 - 5.8), plan on it being run out.



    Photos of Original Route (aka Gom Jabber) Slideshow Add Photo
    Mike on the first pitch of the O.R., Whitesides.
    Mike on the first pitch of the O.R., Whitesides.
    Mary finishing up the crux pitch and starting to link into the 9+ pitch of Traditions.
    Mary finishing up the crux pitch and starting to l...
    Looking up at the 5.10c pitch.  This is way easier for taller people.
    Looking up at the 5.10c pitch. This is way easier...
    1st pitch of the OR - 5.7 R/X - 140 feet and 1 bolt. <br />
    1st pitch of the OR - 5.7 R/X - 140 feet and 1 bol...
    Rope up!  Mauricio (MC Hammer) Chaves high on the OR wondering what he's gotten into.
    Rope up! Mauricio (MC Hammer) Chaves high on the ...
    Prepping for pitch 4... circa 1994 <br />Climber - Brian Talbert
    Prepping for pitch 4... circa 1994
    Climber - Brian...
    Pitch 2 I think... circa 1994 <br />Climber - Brian Talbert
    Pitch 2 I think... circa 1994
    Climber - Brian Talb...
    Grabbin' gear on pitch 4... circa 1994 <br />Climber - Brian Talbert
    Grabbin' gear on pitch 4... circa 1994
    Climber - B...
    Brian enjoying the sun at the top of our second pitch (pitch 4)
    Brian enjoying the sun at the top of our second pi...
    Climbing the headwall
    Climbing the headwall
    Ryan following the 2nd to last pitch.
    Ryan following the 2nd to last pitch.
    Scoping out the beta on pitch 4 circa 1994 <br />Climber  Brian Talbert <br />
    Scoping out the beta on pitch 4 circa 1994
    Climbe...
    Making some progress on pitch 4... circa 1994 <br />Climber - Brian Talbert
    Making some progress on pitch 4... circa 1994
    Clim...
    Pitch 2 I think... circa 1994 <br />Climber - Brian Talbert
    Pitch 2 I think... circa 1994
    Climber - Brian Talb...
    R. Karge cranking through the "5.9" crux on the O.R.
    R. Karge cranking through the "5.9" crux on the O....
    Brian crushin stone right before the crux.
    Brian crushin stone right before the crux.
    Belay stance on The Original route
    Belay stance on The Original route
    Paul following the 2nd to last pitch near sunset. Photo by Me.
    Paul following the 2nd to last pitch near sunset. ...
    Climbers down on the 5.7 pitch 5
    Climbers down on the 5.7 pitch 5
    Timmy with a bit of air below...top of the Cresent Pitch.
    Timmy with a bit of air below...top of the Cresent...
    John on the end of the 5.4 traverse
    John on the end of the 5.4 traverse
    A Dishman free climbing above the bolt ladder on the OR.
    A Dishman free climbing above the bolt ladder on t...
    Brian slabbing it out linking P1 and P2
    Brian slabbing it out linking P1 and P2
    Mary making the traverse to the comfy ledge on the Traditions linkup below the 10a pitch.
    Mary making the traverse to the comfy ledge on the...
    Mike on pitch 5 of the O.R., Whitesides.
    Mike on pitch 5 of the O.R., Whitesides.
    Bo Terry beginning pitch 3 1982.
    Bo Terry beginning pitch 3 1982.
    Comments on Original Route (aka Gom Jabber) Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Joe Forrester
    From: Ft. Collins, CO
    Oct 23, 2007

    The rack could do without the tricams. Also, the 5.4-6 traverse exit pitches really aren't all that great. I would recommend the more direct exit. It will save you some lichen time.

    By Floridaputz
    From: Oakland Park, Florida
    Apr 7, 2008

    This is a great climb to do in the fall when it's nice and dried out. The approach can be a little muddy and the top of the 5.11 pitch runs with a little water. This climb IMHO is a must do test peice for southern climbers.

    By Jesse Morehouse
    From: CO
    Jun 1, 2008
    rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c R

    A few clarifications:

    P1- IGNORE THE BOLT! Pay attention to the guide book here and "begin directly below the tree on the ledge above" and you will find 5.7 slabbing with a possible gear placement mid pitch. Climbing past the bolt makes it closer to 5.9 slabbing and the pro isn't worth it. Having done both I'd recommend listing to the guide book but heck, if you are afraid of run out 9ish slab you wouldn't (shouldn't) be here!

    P4- This is a one move wonder aptly referred to as a "5.9+" move in older guides. The move is right off the belay so place pro high w/a short leash so you don't bounce off the belay ledge if you blow it.

    Direct finish- Heartily recommend doing this! It is much better climbing and in keeping with the route. As I remember it, we did the 5.9 past the 3 bolts then generally went straight up on 5.7 ish terrain with one #3 camalot placement in a headwall to the shrubbery at the top. Kind of run out finish but refer to P1 remarks.

    A terriffic rout that you gotta do if you are in the area.

    By Joe Forrester
    From: Ft. Collins, CO
    Mar 22, 2009

    Did this one again this past weekend with a 70m. We were able to link P1 and P2 to the tree island, P3 and P4 to the base of the 9+ one move wonder, P5-6 to the base of the "Changing corner's" pitch, P-7-8 to the crux. The crux to the base of the overhanging 5.10- exit pitch, then to jungle fest. Route went pretty quick, 4hrs from base to summit.

    By Diff Ritchie
    Sep 22, 2010

    In 1974, Peter Prandoni and I did the second ascent of this route - the only one on Whitesides at the time. Peter Young had given us a pretty basic idea of where to start and not much else. On the original ascent, Peter said there were three aid sections. The first difficult corner (with the very loose long spike of rock, the second above it and the bolt ladder on the last pitch. I took out the first aid section, freeing it and Peter took out the second aid section on his lead. We were led to believe that there were far more pitches - most likely I think we tended to do longer lead outs as the weather was pretty horrible with the first ascent guys - so we were quite suprised, once finishing the ladder, we ran it out to the top. Over 1974 and 1975 I climbed it four of five more times and we even spent the night on the ledge in the middle once enjoying a full moon looking out over Whitesides Cove. I never did figure out exactly how to get around the bolt ladder though got it down to using only two and spent most of my time looking left to try and get up that way.

    By goatdavemac
    From: Flat Rock, NC
    Jan 23, 2012

    I know I've read about the variation to the crux pitch, where you can go right and up. Last time I was on the OR, it looked covered in lichen and not well used. Anyone ever done it?

    By Monkey-sa
    Apr 2, 2013

    A good intro route to the cliffside. It follows the easiest line, which ends up wandering a bit much for my lichen (hehe). We did it with 70m rope, which isnt necessary. I've heard of people using half ropes and simul-climbing the route, which if I were to repeat it, I would do it in this style. The crux 5.11a stumped me, which was frustrating. I was looking left, but I noticed someone said to look right in an earlier post. Beats me, I just assume a crucial hold fell off. I believe we used a singles rack, no tricams (I have no idea how to use those things anyways). Lots of lichen and run outs with marginal gear, but over super fun terrain. I reccomend finishing on Traditions. The juggy 5.10 finish is fun. Might as well get one more pitch of good climbing in while you are there.

    By rock_fencer
    From: Columbia, SC
    Jun 23, 2013

    Removed a very loose block on P2 after almost going with it. Very typical whiteside route. 10c pitch is not that polished at all and straightforward (i'm 5'10) - definitely lug a #3 up for this one. Crux pitch takes some figuring out and isn't immensely physically hard, just technical positioning. Great route to do on a full moon. took 4 hours car to car with crux pitch done by headlamp. Finish on Traditions

    rack used was single #3-.5 C4's, and metolius blue-orange including blue/yellow & yellow/orange offsets. a handful of slings and double 60's

    If looking for a more moderate introduction catholic school girls will give you a feel for the type of rock and climbing. Beyond the historical value, this route is mediocre in comparison to traditions or whipping boy which are more sustained and follow more natural lines. Hat's off to the FA's in a time without cam's