Login with Facebook
Whale Dome
Select Route:
Call Me Ishmael T 
Dem Bones T,S 
Moby Dick T 
South Face T 
Trojan, The T 

South Face 

YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b X

Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 800', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7+ French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Kip Metzger and ?
Season: Fall, Winter, Spring
Page Views: 2,324
Submitted By: Jerry Cagle on Nov 2, 2003

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (5)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
Mark finishing up the 4th pitch. Easy runout climb...


Between Moby Dick and Dem Bones:

P1: Start by the Madrone tree just up from the _guard_ rock near the bottom of the Moby Dick gully. Follow the quasi-buttress, chicken-headed path to a good ledge and belay here on gear.

P2: Follow the chicken head highway till it runs out (breathe...) then run it out to a semi-hanging stance on very large chicken heads.

P3: Continue upward along the path of least resistance to another good ledge.

P4: Continue up the direct route on giant c-h's till they run out. Prepare for an extremely long run out heading for the dike composed of large knife-like plates then laterally to the left to the belay station (two bolts) on the last pitch of Moby Dick.

P5: Finish on the last pitch of Moby Dick


Take slings for chicken head hiking and small to medium stoppers, tri-cams, and Aliens.

Photos of South Face Slideshow Add Photo
Mark placing a low ball (his first piece) about 20 feet up the third pitch. A fall here will pendulum into the belayer.
Mark placing a low ball (his first piece) about 20...
Kimberly loving the toprope!
Kimberly loving the toprope!
Mark about halfway up the first pitch.
Mark about halfway up the first pitch.
Bill starting the first pitch. Squeezing under the branch makes the first few feet harder.
Bill starting the first pitch. Squeezing under the...
Mark starting up the third pitch. It traverses right to ascend the steep chickenheads on the right side of the photo. Easy climbing but don't fall or you'll kill your belayer!
BETA PHOTO: Mark starting up the third pitch. It traverses rig...
Looking down the second pitch. The first belay is the top of the big flake just above mid photo. A 15 foot sling around the point of it serves as the anchor.
BETA PHOTO: Looking down the second pitch. The first belay is ...
A cool shot of Bill on the third pitch. If it wasn't for the 25 MPH winds it would have been a perfect day.
A cool shot of Bill on the third pitch. If it wasn...
Crazy-huge chicken heads up high!
Crazy-huge chicken heads up high!

Comments on South Face Add Comment
Show which comments
By Steve Pulver
From: Williston, ND
Aug 26, 2004
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13

P4 can be done by traversing farther to the right instead of taking the direct route. This is slightly steeper but no scarey runouts; chickenheads can be used for protection.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Dec 30, 2008

Took all of my 70 meter rope to reach the belay ledge and fins at the end of pitch 3. It was a little hard to be sure we were on the route so we stuck to the easiest possible line. Pitch four we angled left on the plates then moved right on gator skin to a thin dike the quickly got bigger and a lot easier. Lots of fun unless you blow it, then you are dead!
By R.Owen
From: Morenci
Nov 17, 2010

The approach trail was a bit hard to find all the parts on the way up (more obvious on the way down), but river bed will work just as well when dry. Only gear used was stoppers bigger than BD #8 (single set), a BD 0.75 cam equivalent and a BD 2.0 cam equivalent. Plenty of slings of course! Probably more placements exist, but I hate mucking about with gear while thinking about the cheese grater fall. Well worth effort if you are comfortable with the runout.
By Bill Lawry
From: New Mexico
Apr 26, 2011

Getting there:

As of Arpil 2011, there is a huge fallen tree spanning the main approach drainage just below Whale Dome (4 foot diameter?). One can pass beneath this and then up on the Whale Dome side into the steep vague drainage that leads to Moby Dick.

The vague drainage will narrow after passing the base of the huge 'guard' rock on the left. Look for a kind of person+ sized easy slot heading right along the base of Whale Dome with the madrona tree in it. You've ascended past this slot (by 50 feet?) if you get to a point where the vague drainage to Moby Dick is spanned by an economy-car sized boulder. The base of the climb is at the slots madrona tree.

About P1: The madronna branch at the crux is dieing or dead and so provides psychological pro. Suggest a bolt as noted again in this Photo.

And here's a different way to do P2/P3/P4 ...

About P2: We ended pitch 1 at the top of the giant flake which made our P2 rather longish with some run-out up high before the unprotected traverse. We set out top-of-P2 belay just before the unprotected traverse. Next time I'd go higher on P1 just to keep the rope length down on P2 (reduce the stretch should the leader fall in the P2 runout sections).

About our P3: Our's started by making the unprotected traverse up and then right, right off the belay, building a belay anchor where the chicken head's run out. This seemed about right for our P3 - besides, this way, a 60 meter rope won't reach the anchor bolts just before the last pitch.
By brian benedon
Feb 23, 2014

I'm glad I didn't know it was rated X when I climbed it back in 97, I would not have climbed it if I had known, don't tell my mom.

I don't remember it that way though. My only concern were the single head belay stations.
I chose to simule climb all but the 1st and last pitches so we could keep a few pieces between us.