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Whale's Back 

YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 1 pitch, 120'
Original:  YDS: 5.11- French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VIII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 4,329
Submitted By: Anthony Stout on Feb 8, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (69)
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Gettin things done on Whale's Back.

RAIN AND WET ROCK The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. MORE INFO >>>


Beautiful corner hand crack! First 30 feet or so vary in quality until you lob yourself over the large hump to a ledge. From there enduro up the corner to the chain anchors.


Pro: Bottom section uses #3 Camalots, take PLENTY of #2s for the top.

Photos of Whale's Back Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Francisco past the r-facing corner and sizing up t...
Francisco past the r-facing corner and sizing up t...
Rock Climbing Photo: photo of alf randell by garrett grove.
photo of alf randell by garrett grove.
Rock Climbing Photo: Ian do his thing.  Very good long climb
Ian do his thing. Very good long climb
Rock Climbing Photo: The Whale's Back takes the right-faceing to Left-f...
BETA PHOTO: The Whale's Back takes the right-faceing to Left-f...
Rock Climbing Photo: Getting over the hump
Getting over the hump
Rock Climbing Photo: Plug and chug on the upper Whale's Back
Plug and chug on the upper Whale's Back
Rock Climbing Photo: shouldn't it be whale's tail?
shouldn't it be whale's tail?

Comments on Whale's Back Add Comment
Show which comments
By Tony B
From: Around Boulder, CO
Feb 27, 2006
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

While the guide suggests that large hands would benefit the ascensionist, I did not find it so, and neither did my 5'5" female partner who has very small hands. Don't let that scare you off of the route.
By Roger Linfield
Mar 1, 2006

Climbers with large hands will find the top part of this climb more difficult. I thought it was 5.10c. My partners with smaller hands said 5.10a or b.
By Jeff G.
From: Fort Collins
Nov 13, 2006
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

The upper part of this route is a beauty! Sustained #3 friends, which is perfect hands for me, so I found it a little easier than the 11- rating.
By claramie
From: Boulder, CO
Mar 31, 2008
rating: 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c

What a stellar route! This wall doesn't get much traffic. The approach and the base of the wall kinda suck for walking (loose and no real trails) but the routes are good.

Right facing wide hands corner changes to left facing thin hands. Becomes perfect hands for a long way. A 70 might get back down with stretch but we trailed a rope. must do route!!
By Greg Barnes
Apr 22, 2009

A 70m doesn't reach, we tried. The route is probably 130' tall.

We replaced the anchor in Sept. '07. One of the original bolts pulled out with not much effort (even still had the price tag on the bolt!), but the other huge weird bolt with homemade aluminum hanger is still there since I didn't have the right gear to try removing it and it's cool to see some original homemade funky stuff now and then (particularly when you don't have to rap from it!).

Be careful about placing cam(s) near the top of the first section, since it's easy for the rope to drag them into the crack when you get on the rest ledge.
By S. Saunders
Jun 2, 2009

Really fun, long route and great confidence booster for the grade (to be honest though, I'd call it a 10c or d with my hands).
By alf
Aug 3, 2009
rating: 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13

dear Barnes,

thanks for replacing the bolts.

I think that it is OK to place the bolts in a new spot if you think that you can reduce the rope wear on the rock.

In this case, an anchor further right would have made the route easier to clean, and created far less rope drag.
By sam123456789
Dec 3, 2009

my 70 did reach. (actually about 3 ft short on each end). amazing route!
By MTKirk
From: Billings, MT
Apr 2, 2013

My 70m didn't reach, not even close. I think the best strategy is to bring up the second from the anchors. You can then lower(or rap one strand) the second down to the ground. To clean the anchor you can rap with a 70m to a ledge to climbers left, pull the rope from this ledge, then do a 5.4? down climb 20'+/- climbers left of route.

I had six #2 camalots and wished I had eight, I had to set one of them backwards in the crack at the top of the bulge to keep rope drag/piece pushing to a minimum. Other than the rope management issues, this line is incredible. The rock is of the highest quality and there is a variety of different moves, easily one of the best 10's at the creek.
By geoff georges
From: Seattle, Wa.
Jan 12, 2014
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b

one of my favorite 5.10's. I love the way the rock fractures out those scoops and dish patterns.
I had 6/ #3, 6/ #2, 2/ #4 and several smaller Camalots. I down climbed the last part on lead after pulling the rap rope to the ledge. Book has no mention other than it being 130' to anchor.

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