Sunspot Dihedral is another spectacular climb on the Sierra's best chunk of rock: the Incredible Hulk.
P1&2 Same as Positve Vibrations. These pitches can be linked with a 70m rope or a 60 and some easy simuling. 5.10c
P3 Follow the leftmost crack off the big ledge. This is the same as P.V. until just after the roof, where PV goes right and Sunspot goes straight up. Build a belay just below the next set of roofs (up and left). A short pitch, 5.9.
P4 Go up and left under the roofs, some wild underclinging here (10c). At the left end of the roof, make a big step left into a splitter crack. Climb this until it pinches down to a seam, and then step back right into the main dihedral. Climb the flared corner (tricky pro, offsets useful, 10b) up to a bolt, then step left onto a ledge. Climb up 20' of easy terrain off the ledge to a 2 bolt anchor. This is the first spectacular pitch!
P5 The obvious left-facing corner above. The crux (11a) comes directly off the belay, with some small stoppers/RPs for pro. The rest of corner is sustained 5.10, mostly fingers. There are two sections where large flakes stick out of the corner, forming mini-corners on the left. In both of these sections I found it easier to stay left, climbing the flakes. This is a long pitch, and it ends at bolts. This is the money pitch!
P6 The crux (11b) again come right off the belay. Climb past two bolts (you can get small gear in before the first) in the overhanging corner, using stemming, face climbing, and lie-backing. Once past this, you've reaching the eponymous Sunspot, and are rewarded with some spectacular 5.10 finger and hand crack. This is a shorter pitch, maybe 100', and it ends at one bolt (plus good gear). The third stellar pitch!
P7 There are two left facing corners above, climb the left of these (11a). Follow parallel corners above, switching back and forth to whichever one seems easiest. (5.10) This is a long pitch, and it ends atop a block/ledge, belay with small gear just below a large chockstone.
P8 Tunnel behind the chockstone and climb easy, loose terrain up the ridge, aiming for a large, steep, blank headwall. Belay on a sloping ledge just left of the headwall. 5.8
P9 Climb the short corner above the ledge (5.10), and then wander up ledges with a few more steep corners until you've gained the ridge proper.
From here, it's 4th class along the ridge to reach the base of the summit tower. Here you have the option of a 5.8 loose chimney, followed by a tunnel through (I haven't done this), or a good looking 5.10 corner. Climb the corner, which gets wide (4") at its top, and then the striking finger splitter to the very top (5.10) This can be done as one long pitch.
Sunspot shares it's start with Positive Vibes, so just look for the queue forming. If you're fortunate enough to be first up there, look for a prominent triangle on the lower quarter of the face, and the route starts up a blocky dihedral on the left of the triangle.
Descent: From the summit, follow the direction on the main Hulk page. If you've already summited, or the weather looks crappy, it's possible to rap from the ridge down "Venturi Effect" (about 20' south of the PV topout, look for fixed nuts and slings) with a 70m rope. This takes a long time.
Rack: Cams from Purple C3 (black Alien) to #3 Camalot, with doubles from Green C3 (blue Alien) to #2 Camalot. Triples in finger sizes might be nice. A full rack of RPs and wires, small offset nuts are useful.
|By Nick Stayner|
From: Billings, MT
Aug 6, 2009
Absolutely the most incredible climbing I've ever done in the mountains. The corner pitches are phenomenal.
|By Bob Rotert|
Jan 31, 2011
Loved this climb. Every pitch was stellar. The topo ratings down play the sustained nature of the route. An alpine classic for sure!!
|By Drew Thayer|
From: Durango, CO
Sep 22, 2012
Absolutely stellar climbing on gorgeous rock in a fine alpine setting! Climbed with Adrian Weaver on 9/21/12. A step up in sustained difficulty from Positive Vibes, with a much harder crux.
We brought C3s purple-yellow, Aliens blue-yellow, one .3 Camalot, doubles of Camalots .4-2, an extra .5 and .75, one #3, and one #4 Camalot. One set DMM mini-offsets and regular offset stoppers was perfect. Used the 2nd and 3rd smallest mini-offsets getting off the belay on pitch 4. We did not find the purple C3 or extra .5 and .75 Camalots necessary, and we only used the #4 Camalot once, for the belay (supplementing one bolt) on top of the 5th pitch (silly to bring a big cam all the way up just for one belay?).
After the 6th pitch we tried to follow "400 ft of 4th class with occasional boulder problem" (High Sierra Climbs) to the summit, but we were definitely not on that route because we ended up climbing lots of short, quite difficult sections including a 40 ft dihedral we'd call 5.10+. Can anyone describe how to access the easy scrambling to the top?
Jul 28, 2013
We climbed Sunspot Dihedral on July 12, 2013 under clear skies. It was a fun and excellent climb. Rather than down-climb the descent, we rapped off the top of the 6th pitch (the 10d pitch) from some red slings jammed way back in the crack, then down the bolt belays of Solar Flare. I am not sure if those slings were the ones described in previous comments/topos as on a "spike". Anyway, I was not stoked on rapping off slings that could not be thoroughly inspected. Perhaps the "spike" was 40 feet higher??. I climbed 20 feet above those slings and didn't see a spike. If this is indeed the rap anchor, I suggest something be added to this in the future. Note that we could rap all of Solar Flare with 1 80 meter rope, except for the rap to the ground where we were about 25 meters short from reaching the ground. Normal shenanigans followed, so I suggest two ropes if you want to rap down Solar Flare, even if you have an 80M rope.