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Whiskey Bill 

YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b PG13

   
Type:  Trad, 5 pitches, 600', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.7 French: 5a Ewbanks: 15 UIAA: V+ ZA: 13 British: MVS 4b [details]
FA: Mike Arechiga and Brad Watson 1997
Page Views: 1,952
Submitted By: J. Albers on Nov 1, 2010

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Close up of some of the amazing chickenheads.

Description 

Fantastic five pitch face climb up the south face. Climb a mix of chickenheads, friction, and crack for five nice pitches with great belay stances.

Most of the climbing is 5.6 or easier, but there are several short sections of 5.7. There are many sections (including leaving belays) where you need to climb 25-30 feet between gear; however, nearly all of the runout climbing is on positive holds. The 5.7 friction sections are all near a bolt.

Pitch one: Locate and climb up 15 feet to the first bolt. Continue past 4 more bolts to the first anchor. (5.7; 95 feet).

Pitch two: A fantastic pitch up a sea of chickenheads. Climb featured rock up 25 feet to the first bolt; this bolt is located in a big scoop and is impossible to see until you are 15 feet up from the belay (I marked the first bolt on one of the photos posted below). Continue up another 15-20 feet and locate a second bolt. Pull an easy bulge and look up at 55-60 feet of fantastic chickenhead featured rock. Weave your way upwards using slung heads and the occasional nut placement for protection. Finish at a nice ledge with a two bolt anchor. Outstanding rock. (5.6; 100 feet).

Pitch three: Either climb 5 feet up and left off the belay and sling a chickenhead and then proceed back up and right to the first bolt or alternatively, just climb 30 feet directly up and right to the first bolt. Continue wandering upwards keeping your eye open for gear placements, and eventually passing two more bolts. Climb 5.7 friction past the third bolt to a two bolt anchor (two fat Metolius rap hangers) (5.7; 100 feet).

Pitch 4: Step off the belay and climb up to a bolt. Next climb up right to a left facing corner. Climb out onto the face just right of the corner and follow a handcrack (gear) to a stance and a second bolt. Friction up past the second bolt to a two bolt anchor (5.6-7; 100 feet).

Pitch 5: Climb up and left to small right facing flake/corner. Follow the flake upwards to a two bolt anchor 80 feet up. The flake is intermittent and opens up to take small gear every 10-15 feet. Instead of belaying at the two bolt anchor, continue up to the summit and build a gear anchor (5.6; 200 feet).

Location 

Follow the main trail from the parking area until you are almost to the backside of the dome. At this point, start descending around the east face. You will pass Zipa-De-Do-Da Buttress and the Panorama Wall (there are one pitch bolted routes on these two walls) and eventually you will arrive below the first section of the dome with multi pitch routes; Looking Glass etc. are here. Continue onwards until you arrive at the South Face; Blitzo's photo may be helpful locating the face. The South Pillar should be pretty obvious because you have to walk around it to get to the West Face routes. Just before the South Pillar, there is a somewhat major break in the cliff line. Just before this weakness is a nice, long section of rock. Whiskey Bill starts at the lowermost toe of this section. Make sure you are starting at the lowermost part of the toe of the wall because there is one additional bolted route to the left of Whiskey Bill before the break in the cliff and the South Pillar. Locate the first bolt about 15 feet off the ground (see beta photo).

Protection 

Mixed bolts and gear. All anchors but the final summit anchor have two good bolts. Carry skinny long slings for slinging chicken heads and a single rack from #2-5 Wallnut equivalent and #2 Camalot down to micro cams; perhaps doubles on the micro cams depending on your comfort level on the last pitch.


Photos of Whiskey Bill Slideshow Add Photo
Looking down from the second pitch belay.
Looking down from the second pitch belay.
The start of Whiskey Bill.
BETA PHOTO: The start of Whiskey Bill.
Looking up at the second pitch from the first belay; the first bolt is marked with a red 'X'.
BETA PHOTO: Looking up at the second pitch from the first bela...
I stopped partway up the 2nd pitch to snap this photo. The remaining 50-60 feet of climbing on this pitch is all chickenheads and all slung protection (except for one great nut placement between two chickenheads.)
I stopped partway up the 2nd pitch to snap this ph...
View from the summit looking southeast towards Little Shuteye Peak.
View from the summit looking southeast towards Lit...

Comments on Whiskey Bill Add Comment
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By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Nov 8, 2010

A quick note about the grade. I gave this route a PG-13 rating, but if this was in the old Spencer guide, I don't think it would get a PG-13 or 'R' rating. However, there are places where a fall would be bad. For example, if you fell before getting to the first bolt on the second pitch, you would take a 50+ footer onto a slab and you would surely make a mess. Nevertheless, the climbing in these sections is super solid and in trying to keep with the standards of the area, I didn't give the route an 'R' rating.
By Colin Brochard
From: San Francisco
Feb 13, 2011

hey, The rock here looks amazing and featured. Is the bouldering in the area good?
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Feb 15, 2011

There are boulders up there?!?! .....kidding. In all honesty, I'm not sure. It is likely that there is some great bouldering up there, but I have to admit, I don't really pay attention to the potential. It is a beautiful place though, so if you went looking and you didn't find much, you would still be psyched just hanging out up there.
Cheers.
By mike arechiga
Apr 4, 2013

The first ascent by Mike Arechiga and Brad Watson 1997.
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Apr 8, 2013

Thanks for the FA info Mike. Nice job with this route, I thought it was super fun.
Cheers.
By Yosemitesam
May 24, 2013

Super fun route! We used a 70m and linked pitches 1&2 and 3&4. Don't know if a 60m would work. Maybe just barely. I brought a rack of cams and only ended up placing three on the whole climb. The runouts are decent but the climbing is easy.
My only complaint with the route is that a couple times it felt slightly contrived. Mainly a spot or two on pitches 3 & 4. The 5.7 friction sections are bolt protected but there was usually an easier way to go just left or right at an easier grade. I found myself cruising up the path of least resistance only to look over and see a bolt on the face just out of reach. No biggie though... The climbing is cruiser. Pitches 1, 2, and 5 are particularly good.
The beta photo showing the start of the route was crucial to finding it in a timely manner. If this climb were in the valley it would most certainly have daily lines.
What an awesome area!
By Robert Hall
Aug 27, 2013

Pitch lengths have been given as "95 ft", yet when I did this in mid-Aug 2013 with a 70 meter rope my belayer confirmed that the half-way mark ( 115 ft) was in his hands when I reached end of P#1 and again end of P#2, so RAPPING with a single 60m rope might be problematic.

Also, on the 3rd pitch ( I think, maybe it's on the 4th) the bolt protecting the 5.7 move is hard to see especially if one is headed for the "obvious" 4 ft "hole depression" which I climbed into (thinking it might offer protection, which it does.. a #1 Red Camalot) before seeing the bolt 12 feet below and 6-8 ft to climber's-right on the slab.

Also, relative to the first posting in comments, I don't remember a "potential 50 ft fall" at the start of P2...maybe I got in a nut or two, slotted in between the runnels of the "chickenheads".
By steple
Jun 17, 2014

Gear: None needed for pitch 1. Pitch 2 protects well with nuts. On pitch 3 I got in a very small cam (X4). The hand crack on pitch 4 protects well with cams 0.5" to 1.5", three cams should be sufficient. Didn't do pitch 5.

Rappelling from the top of pitch 4 is no problem with a 70m rope.