This is a phenomenal climb, really the cream of the crop for granite crack climbing. The setting, the line, the rock quality and the climbing itself are all absolutely superb. Although it's continuously steep and strenuous, the movement is very straightforward and above all, fun. No awkward or unaesthetic sections, just clean finger and hand jamming.
P1: 5.9/10a crack. Still not fully awake at this point. Legs as stiff as tree trunks from the hike in.
P2: 5.10c. This starts in a striking finger crack. This woke us up! Excellent sharp fingerlocks in the cool morning air. Higher, follow features right, then left to a ledge.
P3: 5.11a. Some moderate climbing, then the first crux, a blank traverse right. This is one of two pitches rated 11a and we found it to be the easier of the two. The crux is a little reachy (easier if you're tall) but it's over quick. You do traverse past your gear for a couple moves on thin smears but you can see what you're reaching for- a bomber steep handcrack which takes you to the belay.
P4: 5.10b. Really nice stemming and jamming in a big chimney to a huge ledge. This pitch is easy to spot from the base. From here you move onto the upper arete, which is followed for another 4-5 pitches. A very fun pitch.
P5: 5.9/10a. Already giddy from the fantastic climbing so far, we looked up and realized the best was yet to come. Meander up and left to a deluxe handcrack next to the arete. This takes you to a classic belay ledge right on the arete, at which point you should be pretty much euphoric. We thought this was a standout pitch.
P6: 5.11a. The crux pitch starts in a steep dihedral with tricky thin moves in real smooth rock. It's pretty full-on (5.10c/d), one of the most insecure sections on the route. Climb up to a roof (also 5.10+, also full-on) then up a nice finger crack to a small stance. The crux finger cracks cut up and left across golden, vertical granite to another airy stance on the arete. The moves are technical and exposed and just COOL. Steep thin fingerlocks, great body position... at risk of hyperbole, THIS is a classic pitch!
P7: 5.10c/d. Go up 2-3" cracks for a ways into a right facing corner with a detached block. Below the block, traverse right and crank through a technical, sustained stemming/thin crack section. We split the pitch in two, and this last section still seemed really hard. In any case, it's brilliant climbing, another beautiful pitch.
P8: 5.10b. A handcrack leads to a small ledge on the arete, just below the ridge. You do not need to go all the way to the ledge, but we wound up here and were fine with breaking this pitch in two as well. It's actually a pretty sweet ledge, secure and very airy. Either way, you want to get over to the plum-straight hand crack about 15' right. This takes you right to the summit ridge. The dizzying exposure here is augmented by the incredible geometry of the ridge. We thought this was one of the coolest pitches on the route, and a great finish to the hard climbing.
At this point, you're on the leftmost tip of the sharp ridge which appears from below to be the summit. (It took us 10 pitches to get here, in our pedestrian fashion. The guidebook says 8 which is certainly reasonable.) Now you traverse right for 100-150 yards. We thought the routefinding was slightly weird, actually, perhaps someone has better beta on the "best" way to go here. In any case, you shouldn't be doing anything too difficult or gaining any altitude, and you should be out of sight of the valley below. After a bit, you can see what you're aiming for, the final wall with a blocky crack in it. Climb two moderate pitches (see the Red Dihedral description for info on these pitches, and the descent) and through the weird manhole to the top. Congratulations on a super climb and a great summit!
On the NW end of the Hulk. The first 4 pitches follow right-angling crack systems to a big chimney. The rest of the climb follows the knockout arete above.
full rack to 3". Many finger-hand size pieces.
|By Jim Donini|
Jun 8, 2007
The best quality route I've done in the Sierra's. Nearly as good as the climbing on the Elephant's Perch.
|By Roger from Ouray|
Jul 31, 2007
To echo El Presidente, a superb route. Almost as good as the Pool Wall. BTW, if you've been to the Hulk summit already and want to skip it on this route, it is possible to rappel. The first rappel begins about 20ft. climber's right of the end of the eighth pitch (per Croft topo). Be forewarned, it is VERY possible to get your ropes stuck on this rappel route (lots of flakes, blocks, etc.). Take that into consideration. About 1-1/2 hr. for descent. Still faster than going to the summit and walking down. We had two ropes; I believe a 70 meter MIGHT do (some guys at the base said an 80 meter was required!), but am unsure as I did not examine the rope remaining after each rappel. The last few rappels hit Positive Vibrations at the top of the 4th pitch. All except the first are bolted, but the slings are poor on a few stations.
|By Dave Vaughan|
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 15, 2007
Remember your sandals for the delightful swamp approach... Also, watch for drag on the crux pitch as it weaves around a bit. Apres Hulk, go for the chocolate cream pie at the Mono Village Cafe!
|By Nick Stayner|
From: The Magic City
Aug 2, 2008
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
The cruxes (esp. compared to some of the single-pitch stuff of the same grade in the Valley and Tuolumne) are not that bad, especially if you're a strong face climber. Don't let them scare you away because loads of amazing, outstanding, superb 5.10 crack climbing abound. Do it!!
A couple of notes:
Rack: We brought some brass and the green, red, and yellow C3s. All were used, and the C3s were really nice on the technical crux as well as a couple of tips sections.
1) With a 70, link the first two pitches (the 9+/10a and the 10c tips). The crux sections are not sustained and it doesn't require any extra gear to do this. Plus you can stop at a fatty pair of rap bolts for the belay this way.
2) A good way to do the second crux pitch: Build a belay after the 10d fingers section at a bolt right where you traverse towards the crux boulder problem. This shortens the crux and allows you to do it without 35 m+ of rope drag behind you.
|By Michael Ybarra|
From: on the road
Jul 25, 2009
One of the absolute best climbs you will ever do. The first 11 section is pretty easy unless you're short--many of the 10 sections are much harder. The second 11 is quite a bit more tricky.
One thing to be aware of: the stemming start to P6 is reasonably technical on small wires and questionable cams (a .75 in a flare and a .4 before moving to the roof and the first bomber gear in 30 feet or so; you can protect the belay by placing a .75 in a horizontal before stepping into the stem).
On the walk-out we ran into Jim D. who was headed up to PV and asked for gear beta.
|By Brad G|
From: Yosemite and else where
Aug 2, 2009
I thought this route was better then Astroman!
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 11, 2009
Was nice to find this route has much superior rock to the red dihedral route. Everypitch was really pleasant.
I found the last pitch going to the ridge was not straightforward once you topout on the ridge. The supertopo was not very clear where to go after you hit the top of the ridge. I am curious as to where others go there. The way we went seemed seldom traveled. I have heard some people traverse right instead of straight up on the 8th pitch to reach the ridge before you traverse right (southeast) toward the red dihedral finish.
From: Bellingham, WA
Aug 23, 2009
HEADS UP for anyone using Supertopo on Pos Vibes / Sun Spot... McNamara is usually right on with his beta; however, I would have been better off throwing his ridge beta out the window and just stuck with my nose on this one.
Supertopo says, "... keep to the ridge for the best rock or drop down onto the N (left) side for easier climbing but looser rock.."
I don't advise dropping onto the N side by any means until AFTER you stick to the ridge via a 5th class chimney system that spits you out on a ledge on the N side of the true ridge. Tunneling is required here. Once on the ledge, loose class 2/3 take you along the left side of the ridge until you meet up with the Red Dihedral finish, which leads to the summit.
Once on the summit, head toward the S Ridge and take a left at a prominent cairn. Downclimb 3rd class to the north side of the ridge to the rap anchor. I thought it was more like 90-100' than the 80' rap described in Supertopo.
Jul 7, 2010
Markguycan't... two stars? Really? And you're four-starring a bunch of Sedona choss? Seriously, put down that crack pipe.
|By Brady Robinson|
Jul 25, 2010
Fantastic Route! Go do it. We stayed on top of the ridge at the top which was a bad idea for several reasons, not the least of which being that we were struck by lightning. Just got a little ground current but it was enough to freak our shit out a bit. After listening to our gear buzz for 20 minutes we made a dash and found some 5.8 climbing on the ridge and then a 15 foot rap that put us just about at the top of the Red Dihedral.
|By Bob Rotert|
Jan 31, 2011
Another Hulk classic. Amazing rock and amazing climbing. The crux pitch was stellar!!
|By Vic Lawson|
From: Bishop, CA
May 16, 2011
THE BEST multipitch rock climb that i have EVER done.
|By Andy Bennett|
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 11, 2011
Any one know/recall how many of the belays are gear?
From: Durango, Colorado
Aug 4, 2011
The first 5 pitches per the Croft topo have bolted anchors (to below the crux pitch), after that they are gear. This is, without a doubt, one of the best rock climbs I have done...sustained, high-quality, and just good fun.
|By GR Johnson|
Sep 4, 2011
A true classic. Exceeded all expectations. I can't wait to go back. A single 70m will get you down the venturi.
Sep 15, 2011
Unless you are strong or know the moves for the 11a on P6, I would highly recommend setting up intermediate belay at the bolt on P6, before moving into the 11a section. Otherwise, if you peel off at the end of the 180ft (or so) pitch, you could go for a long ride, plus rope drag gets really bad as well.
The first 11a section on P3 is more like 10a...
|By Daniel Trugman|
From: Los Alamos, NM / Stanford, CA
Sep 16, 2011
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
I have to disagree with the above comment about setting up the intermediate belay on the crux pitch (P6). That's one of the coolest pitches I've ever done, and breaking it up would be a real shame. The gear is good for the final crux, and rope drag isn't that bad. Plus the belay ledge right after the crux is really neat.
I do agree that P3 is substantially easier than P6, but 5.10a is probably a big sandbag for those under 6'.
Feb 3, 2012
For the record and my comment on the P3 "crux" - I'm 5'9. For example, I thought the beginning traverse of P6 on Rostrum (the OW pitch) - rated 10c - was harder that this P3 on PV.
Regarding breaking up (or not) P6 of PV - to each its own :-)
|By Lukasz M Fidkowski|
From: Berkeley, California
Jul 13, 2012
Some more beta: On the initial stemming dihedral on pitch 6, I found a decent #3 camalot placement, which took the sting out of that section. Both 11a cruxes are easier if you're tall; the second one is just a big reach from an undercling for tall people. I thought pitch 7 was pretty hard, and the traverse right under the roof a bit tricky. You want to traverse low (don't place gear under the spooky flake). The first incipient crack you pass doesn't take much pro (I got an ok #2 camalot), and the one you finally get into takes thin gear for a while, staying pretty sustained until the final 10a step left.
Overall an amazing route. Looking forward to trying Sunspot next.
|By Hamik Mukelyan|
From: Pasadena, CA
Aug 22, 2012
Awesome climb! (Duh.) There is a very loose, yet chalked, block right after the first 11a crux in the little roof. I would avoid it!
|By Nick Stayner|
From: The Magic City
Nov 29, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Wow 45/46 rate this thing 4 stars... gotta be one of the highest quality ratings on Mountain Project! So much fun.
|By Colonel Mustard|
From: Reno, NV
Aug 18, 2013
Amazing! 5 star Cali Dude-style alpinism.
It's truly in range of the 5.10+ trad leader who has the endurance for pitch after pitch of 5.10.
Two things: Sometimes those rope stretcher pitches really leave you lacking the requisite pieces. Budget accordingly, or split the pitch up.
Rope drag on the 6th pitch can be truly heinous. I would sling everything long under the roof next time.
|By Tyson W.|
From: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Aug 18, 2013
Beta alert!!! I found myself scared and seemingly stranded when, right at the top off Pitch 8, I was horrified to discover the endless series of perfect hand jams had run out.
Luckily, I was able to survey the situation, and realized this had only occurred due to the mountain also coming to an end.
Using this information, I was able to calm myself enough to make the rap back to the base of this climb...But you too should be prepared for this discovery, as after 1000 feet of continuous perfect hands and locks, this point will no doubt come as a very disorienting discovery.
|By Patrick O'Neil|
From: Santa Clara, CA
Aug 19, 2013
I think the height conversations re: the cruxes on this route miss the point. Say what you want about the ratings of the two .11a sections on this route, they're two completely different types of cruxes. The first is delicate/technical climbing above marginal gear that could result in an unkind fall if pieces failed - just keep your head about you. The second .11a is a boulder problem requiring quite a bit more strength, power and sequence (this probably feels much harder than it is because it's atypical for this 1200-foot route that's predominately made up of splitter cracks).
|By John Steiger|
Aug 24, 2013
We used the Venturi raps (3 raps with a single 70m down the Venturi shield to reach the PV stations). While pulling the rope on the second Venturi rap, the rope got brutally stuck in a perfect rope-eating crack above the end of the rappel. Call us unlucky or unskilled, but we also got the rope stuck on the last rap to the ground -- jeesh. Exceptional route in any event. PS, be prepared to chose an alternative line if the weather is stable; 5 parties were on the PV the day before we did it, and 2 on it the day we did (and oh so slow).
|By Peter Lewis|
From: Bridgton, Maine
Oct 25, 2013
Re: Tyson W. comment...hysterical. I usually read all the comments for beta purposes (cause I'm a scared wimp most of the time and want all the info I can get). But sometimes the comments just make me smile. I hope I can get on this route someday!!!
Aug 4, 2014
Lost a pair of Black Diamond leather belay gloves size large at camp or base of positive vibrations. Let me know if found. Thanks!