|The Whale's Tail
This is an interesting route which held more rewards for me than I'd expect for an obscure and discontinuous, somewhat unnatural line. I was tempted to give it two stars, but the climb is a one-star climb. My experience had to do more with getting over fear and committing to do the route. It was the nature of the climb I suppose that finally rewarded me for a little boldness after 2 aborted leads in the previous 5 years. This line is up and left (north) of Jack The Ripper. Although the name might imply that it is a variation of the less obscure line, it shares no territory and is not even that close of a neighbor. Its proximity to the similarly named route is more significant than its similarity. The Yorkshire Ripper is runout. It is much harder and in my opinion more dangerous than Jack The Ripper. The crux is done on bad gear and is just far enough from the ground to really mess you up--and then there is the talus... and the 15' drop just past the edge of it. Make sure your belayer is secured to make impossible the chance of you both going over the edge.
Find the obvious climb "Jack The Ripper". Then climb and scramble up the gully between the Whale's Tail and the Bulge Wall. Find a very shallow, left-leaning, steep corner with a tiny crack in it. Climb this for 5 meters (crux, bad gear, worse landing) to a rest ledge, then follow discontinuous cracks and seams up and right to a blank arete, with no pro. Maybe 5.9 to the top. Head up and over to belay--ideal gear is hard to find in the fractured top, so be prepared to string distant pieces together.
Some TINY cams might fit, or maybe some Lowe balls. The old HB Cobras might be ideal gear, but the route felt like VS on nuts alone. I'm very curious to hear other accounts of ascents of this route... No surprise that Derek did it first, I guess.
The only route in Eldo I have ever backed off of twice. Brass Nuts and Low Balls... er, Lowe-Balls. And some o' them new-fangled micro camming units maybe + standard light rack. The finish is runout and takes no gear on more insecure thin moves. Then when you get there, the belay up top requires some engineering, some faith, or some long, long slings. I've only seen 1 other person attempt this route in 10 years--she followed me up it on my 3rd try and shared my opinion that it would be best not to fall at all.
|By Steven Lucarelli|
From: Moab, UT
Mar 22, 2007
rating: 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
I climbed this yesterday (3/21/07) and found the crux to be pretty well protected although committing. From the ledge at the start, I was able to place a good black and red Alien. Once I pulled up into the corner I placed a good blue Alien about 4' higher than my starting pieces. Another move or two higher and I was able to place a bomber 3/4" Camalot and the crux is over at that point. The upper section is definitely runout and should be a "VS". It's probably only 5.9, but traversing on thin crimps with only one small nut for pro is a little hard to commit to. Overall, I thought this was a good route, but I would only recommend it to someone who is a SOLID 5.10 climber and has their lead head together.
|By Shane Zentner|
Oct 20, 2007
Obscure indeed. I climbed through the crux using no gear but was terrified of the rock quality above me, thus, I down climbed and called it good. Yes, the rock is hideous and dubious. Although Mr. Bubb and Mr. Lucarelli might enjoy this route and find it fun, I would certainly pass it without thinking twice. I didn't see gear placements worth using. Perhaps it's me.