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Routes in Whale Dome

Blood Brother T 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Call Me Ishmael T 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Dem Bones T,S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a R
Harpoon Direct T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Moby Dick T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
South Face T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b X
South Face Direct Finish // Mobius Strip T 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Trojan, The T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
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Type: Trad, Sport, 660 ft, 5 pitches, Grade III
FA: Charlie Rollins & Bob Kerry
Page Views: 3,668 total · 23/month
Shared By: Joseph Lee on Nov 8, 2005
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland

You & This Route

27 Opinions

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Fun route. I think the line we climbed is Dem Bones.

Approach: Take a side trail marked by a cairn heading directly north from the end of the approach road. Follow the drainage. At the first fork, go left and then out of the wash. Drop back in and follow the drainage to Moby Dick. When you are almost at Moby Dick, take a steep drainage left that takes you to the base of Moby Dick. Go left for Moby Dick. Go right for Dem Bones. You will recognize Dem Bones by two bolts side by side.

Pitch 1: The crux is a solid 5.10 move past the first bolts. Then angle right and up past one bolt followed by plates. Belay on a slab.

Pitch 2: Climb a poorly protected slab to more plates and then traverse right to a hidden crack. Follow the crack to a face and right angling corner ramp. I belayed after the crux.

Pitch 3: Head up the plates and chickenheads to another low angled slab. We moved left up the slab to a belay area.

Pitch 4: Climb the low angled run out slab past bomber plates a steeper face with a few bolts and a dike on the right side. I think this joins Moby Dick. We belayed part way up the face.

Pitch 5: Continue up the easy face to the summit.

Descent: On the back side of Moby Dick is a rappel anchor. Two ropes needed for the rappel. If the wind is blowing, there is a good chance your ropes may get caught on rocks around the corner. I would recommend that the first one down carry the rope ends with him/her. Then walk down the left gully (heading south).


All anchors are gear anchors. Most anchors require tying off chickenheads. Take a standard rack (ie what you typically use) I used a green alien to a grey camalot.
Sergio P
Idaho Springs, CO
Sergio P   Idaho Springs, CO
It is possible to rap whale dome with one 60m rope. However, this entails about 10 feet of easy down climbing. Or bring a 70m and reach the ground. Apr 1, 2007
Tucson, Arizona
eMurdock   Tucson, Arizona
Pitch 2 and Pitch 3 of this description can easily be linked with a 60m rope to make a 170 foot pitch. Also, the original route does not bust left to meet Moby Dick or climb past any bolts up high. Pitch 4 (or 5 in the description above) climbs up and right up the dinosaur-spine-looking dike of competent rock. I think that is the routes namesake.

In addition, and oddly, if you are using Kerry's backcountry guide, note that the photo of the climber on Dem Bones second pitch is backwards. May 7, 2007
Sasquach Broom
Flagstaff, AZ
Sasquach Broom   Flagstaff, AZ…

As eMurdock mentioned, this picture is a mirror image.

Also the R rating on pitch 4 is no joke! I placed 2 or 3 pieces on this long pitch. The climbing isn't hard for the 5.10 leader but falling is not an option! Feb 8, 2010
Johnny Ice
Tucson, AZ
Johnny Ice   Tucson, AZ
I will always consider this one of the greatest climbing adventures I've ever been on. It was my first multipitch and scared the daylights out of me. Now that I have many more climbs under my belt I'm not sure what I'd think of it now but as I looked up at the corner and traverse to the right thinking "no way, no no no. We can't be going up that!" Someone lost a green alien on 2nd or 3rd pitch. Its very mentally committing but holy macrel awesome. We did it all in 4 pitches. I'm going to do it again some day. Mar 30, 2011
Great route! I would say the 1st pitch has the hardest moves, but the 2nd is definitely the psychological crux with exposed moves and a few short runouts above gear. Linked 2 and 3 easily with a 70m rope. The dinosaur spine up high is otherwordly, way cooler than the features on Snake Dike. Great summit and awesome views. Dec 12, 2012
Tucson, Arizona
bikesrockswaves   Tucson, Arizona
1) Rack: Light w/ lotsa lotsa slings: .3 to #1 BD Cams, and a couple smaller TCUs, with doubles on the .4 to .75. Selection of small & mid-size stoppers.

2) Pitch 2+3 combo is good call. If you end P1 higher and righter, you get a little more to roll with, making linking P4 with most of P5 possible (i.e. the 5th class part; then chill to summit).

3) P4 (ref Kerry guide, not description here, which is off on upper pitches) is more like 5.4X than 5.6R, but with ledgy lovely positive toe steps all the way. There's some gear higher up (after about 120+ feet w/o any, but then you're either belaying or linking up and right toward the dino-spinal section.

Super classic P1 and P2, with a some spice on P2, especially getting into crack to right, but all *spectacular*. (Yes a 70 m will rap you off.) Jan 5, 2015

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