|The Whale's Tail
This route begins low on the SW side of the formation, up and left around the cave and bouldering at the base. Locate a left-facing corner, climb up about 15 ft. and traverse right (the hardest part to protect), and over the bulge. Stick to the left, unless you like bushwacking, and climb an easy face that leads to an easy crack (some loose rocks) which will take you to the false summit. A 60m trad. rope allowed us to complete in one pitch. Descend from cable at the top of the West Dihedral (10 ft. to the NE).
|By Leo Paik|
From: Westminster, Colorado
Mar 21, 2002
Actually, the 2nd pitch (5.3) can be a nice alternative to the West Crack 5.2, West Dihedral 5.4, West Face 5.6, if you are up on this ledge. This pitch should not get a "bomb" rating, although the 1st pitch merits such a fate.
|By Corinne McKay|
Mar 14, 2003
My husband and I did this climb today and quite liked it. Be aware that although this climb is indicated as a good first lead at the grade, the traverse over the bulge on the first pitch is pretty hard to protect and not something that seems great for a nervous or beginning leader. We climbed it as two pitches, with the second pitch starting from the ledge on the arete and continuing up the large obvious crack on the fin- the Falcon guide to Eldorado indicates this as 5.0 but Serious Play calls it 5.4, the climbing is not very hard at all, but it's not for the exposure-averse since you're basically climbing along the top of the Whale's [Tail] fin. However if exposure doesn't bother you, it's a fantastic climb. Be extremely careful of loose rock at the belay ledge for the second pitch, as we almost knocked a cooler-sized boulder off by standing on it. If there is a party on West Dihedral, it's an easy traverse over to the anchor above the 5.2 crack to rappel, a 70m rope gets you to the ground. Have fun!
|By Brendan Sheehan|
Jun 16, 2003
I thought the traverse and bulge on P1 made it a fun pitch. Very solid pro is available but not obvious before the bulge. P2 is interesting and a little airy. Good climb overall.
|By Ron Olsen|
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 17, 2003
A fun, airy climb that does not deserve a bomb rating.
|By Larry Shaw|
Jul 5, 2004
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c
Did the second pitch from the main belay ledge...one of my favorite climbs in Eldo, easy climbing with great position.
|By Kevin Cole|
Jul 21, 2004
On 7/17 we did this climb. Just before the end of the 2nd pitch, the "cooler" size boulder mentioned in a previous comments was accidently kicked off and only by the grace of God did it miss me (I was belaying on the ledge). A hairy moment for sure but still a nice 2 pitch climb. Anyone know why the differing rates b/t the 2 books mentioned previously?
|By Paul Weiss|
Nov 1, 2004
rating: 5.4 4a 12 IV VD 3c
Just my opinion. 5.4 - if you don't mind exposure. 5.5- if you dislike exposure
Aug 30, 2005
rating: 5.5 4b 13 IV+ MS 4a
I did this route this morning and I'd do it again. The traverse on the first pitch is spicy. For me, it was s/vs--the feet aren't obvious, I didn't see many protection placements and was afraid I'd hit the ground, and the handholds had little flakes of rock coming off.
Then, some fun exposed moves on giant handholds. After that, had to do a bit of gardening to the ledge.
But the second pitch was fantastic--pro when you wanted it, a lot of exposure and easy climbing.
Overall, I'd say it's 5.5. Certainly felt harder than Breezy or the West Dihedral.
|By Clint Locks|
Mar 17, 2007
If you're short on time, both pitches can be linked with a 60 meter rope...barely. But, of course, this means long slings on everything, or the rope drag will suck.
|By Adam Ingram|
From: Golden, CO
Apr 11, 2008
Soloed this route 2 times now, and the upper pitch seemed a little sketch. In that big 5.0 rated crack the whole left side sounds and feels hollow. That thing is come'n down sooner than later in my opinion. Really fun climb, but probably won't get on it much ever again, the second pitch that is. Definitely all about the first pitch.
|By Chris Zeller|
From: Boulder, CO
May 7, 2009
This is a classic at this grade. Very steep for a 5.5 but the holds are all there keeping a legit 5.5. That's what makes a route fun IMHO, a steep climb with exposure that really makes you feel like you're climbing even if its only 5.5.
I agree with the previous poster. The traverse right at the base leaves a big gap in the pro on some of the hardest moves low down. So be confident and move quickly before you can get a piece in just before you turn the corner.