Type: Trad, 800 ft, 6 pitches
FA: Jim Smith and Arthur Johnson, August 1937
Page Views: 49,385 total · 306/month
Shared By: Roger Linfield on Feb 24, 2006
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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This is a long, varied route up a buttress. From Lunch Rock, you can see the buttress to your left. The buttress is sharp in the lower third, up to the flat top of a large rock tooth, and rounded above that. Start on the left side of the buttress and climb up to reach the skyline near the top of the rock tooth. From here, go up, left around an exposed corner, up for a pitch of 4th class, and then back right on a ramp to a belay below the final pitch. The last pitch follows an exposed fingertip traverse to the right, and then goes up on 4th class friction to the top.


standard rack


Careful, it is easy to get off route. There are a lot of clean lines up the buttress that climb harder than 5.6. Jun 11, 2006
Marc Kajut
San Diego, CA
Marc Kajut   San Diego, CA  
The natural line of this climb should take you through some 5.4 to 5.6 movements. I'd highly recommend finishing WMW via the direct 5.7 line. Highly enjoyable and protectable. Sep 2, 2006
Bill Olszewski
Colorado Springs, CO
Bill Olszewski   Colorado Springs, CO
Awesome climb! For anyone who doesn't bother climbing anything this "easy", you're really missing out on a fun climb. Not sure why this page rates WMW as 5.1, it's listed as 5.4 in the guide and I agree. P4 is the money lead - that exposed step around makes the climb, when after almost 4 pitches of comfortable climbing the rock falls away beneath you, 500 feet to the bottom of the Long Climb.

Although the 5.3 finish is exposed and fun, you're right about the final pitch Marc. Great 5.7 finish! And the 5.3 traverse variation to pitch 3 is a lot more fun than the 5.1 standard line. Mar 10, 2007
San Diego, CA
mschlocker   San Diego, CA
The 5.6 variation to the first half of the second pitch (a little to the left of the original route) is a great hand and lieback crack that will call your name from the belay. Make sure to cut back right to the top of a tower feature for a comfy belay. May 13, 2007
Mark L  
Unless your looking for an adventure, bring the route topo photo someone kindly included and try to follow it.

I found many moves on this climb which are in the 5.6 or even 5.7 range, (particularly going up and right from top of gendarme rather than up and left).

The pro is not always as available as one would think for a supposed 5.1. The rock on this side of Tahquitz is pretty weathered compared to the west and south sides, with flared or pod like cracks that are not as easy to place pieces in. If you can bring thinner cams that might help. 1/4"-1" gear seems most usable.

I wouldn't recommend this route to slow parties starting late or new leaders - it takes more route finding, has tougher moves and more difficult pro placements than many other higher grade routes at Tahquitz. May 20, 2007
Santa Barbara, CA
EricT   Santa Barbara, CA
From the top of pitch 3 (the first pitch after the lower buttress spike) we deviated straight up instead of going left on the big ledge to the bushes. The climbing was excellent, but the rock was pretty hollow. This ended up connecting us to the Fools Rush as it switched dihedral directions. Jun 2, 2008
Great route! Agree with the other comments about getting off route and route finding. My partner and I agreed that we were pretty certain we made a number of 5.6-5.7 moves. Never got into any sections of 4th class like the guidebook states. We were able to do the entire route in 4 pitches with a 60 meter rope. We finished off right going over an exposed lip with marginal hand holds. Anybody ever finished this way? Aug 8, 2008
Dave Daly
Kernville, CA
Dave Daly   Kernville, CA
As per the Tahquitz/Suicide guide, the route checks in at 5.4, not 5.1.

Gray Tradster....care to explain "exactly" where the 5.1 is at? Randy Vogel will want to know first hand! Done this route solo and find several spots that would compete with other "old skool" 5.5/5.6's put up in the 40's. Today, the YDS has adjusted as the grades continued upward. We all know that for many years, 5.9 stayed that way until someone was bold enough to slap on a 5.10 label on many of those so called "5.9's" (later, some of those 5.9's were given 5.11 ratings by the original FA.) Sep 26, 2008
There's been serious grade inflation since Chuck Wilts established the decimal grading system at Tahquitz.

The Maiden is 5.1 Sep 27, 2008
I guess we did the two 5.6 variations on the first and second pitches per the guidebook. Never found the 4th class section per the guidebook so we probably were off route a bit. Wasn't my intention to inflate the original rating be it 5.1 or whatever. Sep 28, 2008
Our party did the route in 4 pitches as well, I agree with P4 being the Money Lead, the 5.6 lieback is awesome, and I don't think the trees in the beginning are a big deal. Cool Route, go do it May 19, 2009
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
To really appreciate the route, buy a copy of Chuck Wilt's 1979 edition of the guide for Tahquitz and Suicide. You can buy it at Chessler Books for 99 cents!!! Here's a link that worked as of today. Dec 16, 2009
Mark, I did that finish. Kind of sketch with pro but sweet. Jul 17, 2010
Robin like the bird
Philomath, or
  5.4 PG13
Robin like the bird   Philomath, or
  5.4 PG13
just climbed this today and it was alot of fun. We climbed more of a direct line in 5 pitches. first two as goes in the book and then from there went straight up to meet up w/fools rush. then finished the route as others have said by traversing the 5.3 section. I would also agree that If you want an easier climb make sure that you traverse left at the bushy ledge on after pitch 3, because once you commit to going up straight there is not much in vars. to go back left with any gear.

As far as the rating goes, my partner and I would say that the route we climbed goes at about 5.7 ish, with not that many hard moves, but they where there. Also I have the guide book from 1970 and the supplemental guide book, both by chuck wilts. In there the rating goes at 5.4, so I am not sure what all this inflation nonsense is about. Jul 19, 2010
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
EDIT: The original topo I put together and posted here was totally wrong (at least as far as the finish goes). I've posted a new one here now. To verify the route, I took this photo with me up the route a couple of days ago, checking features as I went. The yellow line represents the route and belays we used, right or wrong (historically speaking), and it went at about a modern 5.4. My apologies to anyone who died trying to climb the route based on the topo I posted here before! Caveat emptor, I guess? Errare humanum est?

If you don't scramble pretty far up the bottom of the buttress before flaking your rope out, you'll need to stop before the comfortable ledge belay at the end of P1. The start of the 5.1 variation of the final pitch is interesting. Leaving the belay on the Doubtful Corner pitch, there's a nice variety of easy, sometimes steep, exposed climbing. You may be able to skip Belay 5 with a 60m rope.

Sorry about the size, but I thought it merited it to get the detail.

Below is a preview of the topo. MP won't permit an image the size of the full version, so please use this link to access that from my flickr site.
Aug 25, 2010
well, i gotta say that i have done the route at least 2000 times, and i'd say this topo does not really show the real route accurately, or all of the routes, or... but this is getting ridiculous... seriously... Aug 27, 2010
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
Edit: I corrected the topo and replaced it.

I should probably have included a disclaimer :) Where is this topo inaccurate?

I agree that the discussion would be ridiculous if:

- the route wasn't so popular with new climbers
- it weren't so easy to find yourself in more difficult terrain than anticipated.

Here's a link to a blank photo of the buttress if you'd like to have a shot at creating a topo, based on your 2,000 climbs. ;)

Also, here's a giant mosaic photo (18mb, 91mp) of Tahquitz from near Humber Park that anyone who wants to can used to create a topo for routes on the North Face.

Mountain Project..."beyond the guidebook," right? Aug 28, 2010
This route was my return to climbing after years of relative inactivity.I made a bad judgement about starting a little late in the day ,coupled with a slow and inexperienced partner,added to getting off -route on some slower-going 5.7 crack, all resulting in an overnight,unplanned biv on a ledge right before that last exposed slab pitch. I wanted to lead that pitch in the total dark but my partner was having none of it.(We stupidly forgot our headlamps)So there we sat on that exposed position from roughly 8:30 pm to 5:30 am
dressed only in shorts and t-shirts. I managed to stay somewhat warmer by placing our small pack inside of my t-shirt and then putting my head inside and thereby making a sort of pathetic mini-tent.My partner spent the night bentover and wedged between the wall and a small detached rock horn.We programmed a cell phone to alarm every hour so we could take our little swig of water.We had roughly 20 ounces of water and no food.
Fortunately in early July it only gets really cold up there about every 1/2 hour when the wind routinely kicks up.At that moment only the wind and teeth chattering can be heard.Sort of like a Latin samba beat. Dec 16, 2010
Had a great climb. We certainly ran into at least two 5.5+ -ish moves. The first was a smooth steep slab with piton in the middle with small corners on either side (P3?). The move requires some good stemming and if you're really short, this can be a problem. At least the piton gives some confidence. The second was a sketchy exposed slab traverse going left (P4?). Other than that, the route is 5.3 or so with plenty of places for pro and quite fun. Jun 6, 2011
Josh C
Somewhere out West
Josh C   Somewhere out West
By today's standards this route is probably 5.5, but this is Tahquitz and the route was put up in 1937, so take the ratings with a grain of salt. My guide calls it 5.3, which is still inflated from it's original rating. Jul 17, 2011
Richard Shore
Richard Shore  
A step up in difficulty, length, and exposure compared to The Trough. Let your conscience guide you - it's pretty easy to follow the path of least resistance. I had no topo during the climb,, and after looking here on MP, I would say that Chris D's topo above is pretty accurate. I added another fun 200' of fourth class slabs/cracks by starting at the very lowest point of the buttress. Sep 21, 2011
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Thanks for the photo topo. Is that someone I see on "The Price of Fear"? Feb 5, 2012
Patrick Sanan
Lugano, Switzerland
Patrick Sanan   Lugano, Switzerland
A great intro to multipitch, as advertised! We ended up taking the 5.3 variation (heading up and the right, around an overhang to some easy mantling) at the finish- the 5.1 looked scarier from the belay! We took the Vogel/Gaines guidebook and managed to stay essentially on route the whole time, save a small unintentional variation (5.6?) on P4. Mar 4, 2012
Chris D
the couch
Chris D   the couch
Chris: Yes, there's climbers on The Price of Fear and at least three or four other routes that you can see in the "giant mosaic photo" that I link to in the post above. Kinda neat.

I see a lot of people miss the "doubtful corner" (middle of what I show as the fourth pitch in the topo above) on this route by going straight up, and it's a shame. The exposure on the move where you step out onto the tree is tremendous for the grade. Apr 27, 2012
Encinitas, CA
RockyR   Encinitas, CA
Busy day on the route. My partner and I opted a different start for the first two pitches. I led the first two pitches. Barry led the rest and finished on the roof section. Loved this route!!!

vimeo.com/45486969 Jul 12, 2012
Jim Dover
Idyllwild, CA
Jim Dover   Idyllwild, CA
Did this last Sunday. Did the 5.7 finish and prompted me to say, "5.7 my ass!" Interesting lead. Oct 9, 2012
Vista, CA
tro4130   Vista, CA
Great fun! We just followed a direct line to the roof then exited the roof. Such a great way to end the route! Oct 22, 2012
RJNakata   SoCal
I carried Chris D's photo up the route...compared to the topo, it helped tremendously. Thanks Chris D!
Loved the 5.1 traverse at the end. Jun 13, 2013
This route is soo fun, with tons of variations

Here my experience of the route;


Climb on friends Jun 17, 2013
Chase Leoncini
San Diego, California
Chase Leoncini   San Diego, California
This route has tons of variations. If you're trying to stay true to the route from the P1 variation i believe this is how it goes.
P1 (variation): Find the base, Good luck. Lead up to a twisty tree and belay from there.
P2: Go right from the tree and then traverse back left above your belayer; going around the large boulder and up to a pile of large boulders that is right of the crack you follow.
P3: Traverse up the left gully, pass 2 pitons and then cut left to the bush.
P4: Follow up the crack in front of you about 30 feet moving left as much as possible. You'll eventually come to a corner and think no way. Go around it, sling the tree anf continue up to a bush another 60 or so feet up.
P5: From the bush traverse right and cut left up a gully before you reach the bush thats 20 feet from your belay. Follow up the gully and set your anchor.
P6: From the anchor, straight up is 5.7, 45 degrees up and right is 5.3 (looks like a small roof), and cutting straight right is 5.1.
Good Luck.
(Someone please correct me if this is wrong or misleading) Jul 4, 2013
All up in yo bidniss.
TacoDelRio   All up in yo bidniss.
Did this once before with Tony, and I got us off-route onto 5.7 stuff. Easy to do since this crag is very varied.

Went again yesterday with Patrick. Went way off and did some 5.7-8 sections as well as a very long sorta-chimney, sorta-gully thing that was pretty easy.

I always bring plenty of small to tiny cams, and I used them a lot on this route. As a result, I didn't find anything to be difficult to protect.

Did the thin crack finish with the stepover thingy, protected with a #1 DMM Peanut in a very very solid placement.

Brought a 70m rope and felt it was too long by just a tad, as we typically went from stout tree to tree for belays.

2nd to last pitch was a very sketchy traverse on loose rock bulges over steep slab with lots of lichen and moss. Very spicy moves, a bit more spice than I wanted, but it made the food taste better at the top as usual. :-)

Did it in super cool guy La Sportiva Ganda approach shoes. Oct 20, 2013
Rob Davies UK
Cheshire, UK
Rob Davies UK   Cheshire, UK
Excellent at the grade - except for the fact that it's in the wrong country it would definitely be included in Classic Rock! UK grade would be Severe, I guess. Oct 3, 2014
Oz Despacio Munoz  
Well my first post and have to admit that was my big Hex on the red sling and yes it was my retreat gear ! had not climbed here in thirty years and decided to go up the Maiden but I am sure my kid and I started on fools rush and got off route after getting on the second pitch ... quite an adventure with a short fall then the retreat began and to add to the fun the rope got stuck ..made it down after some work and called it a learning moment ((~;
now a month later and better prepared we started on the original route and had a blast. Good beg route ! Jun 1, 2015
I climbed this a lot when I lived in SoCal in the 80-mid 90s. I dragged a number of people up it with little to no climbing experience. I thought it was a 5.0 at the time and a very fun climb--a drudge getting to the base of the climbs on Tahquitz. It is also very easy to get lost on Tahquitz and get yourself in trouble. I also remember a lot of loose rock on some routes and large car sized flakes moving as I climbed on them:( Not on this climb though..... Jun 6, 2015
Just did this one with my son on Jul 10. Our first longer-than-2-pitch
climb. Great fun! Jul 15, 2015
Oz Despacio Munoz  
Z man and I wanted a chill route and a old fav to check our progress and it was great with the 5.6 crack variation after 1st belay and roof variation at the top ! great route !!
Aug 11, 2015
Kyle Wills
Chicago, IL
Kyle Wills   Chicago, IL
I had a great time getting on a two pitch start variation that it sounds like some have commented about previously. Starting in an alcove right of the traditional start but still "on" the buttress. The top of pitch 1 is a bit loose and blocky to the left but theres a good slab option in the middle on a large tumbled rock or a wide crack to a downward knife blade flake. Second pitch runs up some short fun thin layback and then a wide hand crack as you move past the prominent tree on the right side of the first major pillar belay stance.

Second time getting on white maidens, first time moving through the 'doubtful corner' and using the 5.3 finish vice the 5.1. Overall more new terrain then repeated, a fun quality about the buttress in general.

Sep 6, 2015
Kevin C
Kevin C  
My friends and I just did this yesterday. We all agree this is a little harder than a 5.4. In our opinion there was some patches that you could call 5.4, but there were definitely some tricky moves and things that I'm glad I didn't lead. We're mostly sport climbers, and comfortable leading .11s. We've been away from trad for a little bit and figured this would be a good re-acclimatization to it, it sure was and more than we bargained for! Oct 4, 2015
phylp   Upland
We did this route yesterday, using the 5.6 variation for the first pitch, the 5.7 variation for the second pitch, and the 5.7 variation for the 6th pitch.

If doing this again with these variations, I would take double cams to #2 and single #3. We took a set of nuts but did not place any.

Please note that the notation on the topo for the last pitch, the notation "5.7" is placed near the dotted "face" line, but the 5.7 section is actually the crack through an awkward bulge (for short people) right above the belay. After this it's more or less 4th class to the top. Jul 13, 2016
Tim Camise  
Did this for a first trip to Tahquitz and was probably on "route" for about 1 pitch total. You'd really have to know where you're going to make this 5.1 / 5.4 or whatever its being called. After some Monday morning analysis...we took the 1st pitch 5.6 variation, went completely off route into some gully for the second pitch, did a layback (5.6?) crack on the third pitch, some nice easy face climbing to to the right of the normal 4th pitch and missed the doubtful corner, and the 5.7 finish which is well protected and highly recommended.
Anyway, great climb minus the brush / trees which really slowed us down by eating the rope at belays. Aug 22, 2016
Clara Aranovich
Los Angeles, CA
Clara Aranovich   Los Angeles, CA
Really rad, mellow first multi-pitch lead. If you've got a 70m you can even link a couple pitches here and there.

Be careful in the traverse under that mini roof at the end, though -- gear placements are dicey. Sep 9, 2016
David Rozul
San Diego
David Rozul   San Diego
LOOSE BLOCK ALERT: Climbed White Maidens - Saturday, April 28, 2018. At the top of pitch 2 on the good ledge next to the tree there is a loose death block that definitely can be pulled off with enough force. I started to build an anchor on it, gave it a tug, and immediately changed my mind about using it. Ended up making my anchor on the crack seem to the right. Pic of block below.

Beyond that, great climbing. Partner and I did 5.7/5.8 variation of Pitch 2 which was our favorite of the route, a small roof pull over to a thin finger to hand crack chimney like thing. Good route, just be careful of loose rock, especially near top pitches.

mountainproject.com/photo/1… Apr 30, 2018
Ben Crowell
Ben Crowell  
@David Rozul: Yeah, that block has always been loose, and the Gaines Best Climbs book describes it that way. Definitely not suitable for use as part of an anchor. I think most people would get to that spot (right before the step-around) during pitch 3. Aug 5, 2018
Rob Donnelly
Riverside, CA
Rob Donnelly   Riverside, CA
The 5.7 finish is super awkward. I wouldn't recommend it for someone breaking into the grade.

The 5.7 alternate 2nd pitch, however, is solid gold. Aug 21, 2018
Ben Crowell
Ben Crowell  
There are two ways to start P1: on the left, closer to the tree (climbing a flake system) or on the right (inserting directly into the gully). Gaines calls these 5.4 and 5.6 respectively, but IMO they're of exactly the same difficulty. The wall has an initial steep section that is about 5 or 10 feet high, and both variations require one or two initial 5.6 moves to get past this section. In both cases, there's no good way to protect against a fall back onto the ledge.

There are three ways to do P2: a clean 5.7 crack on the left, a ragged 5.6 crack in the middle, and a dihedral on the right. In the 2001 Vogel-Gaines guide, the text describes the crappy middle variation. In Gaines's 2013 Best Climbs book, the text describes the dihedral, but the dashed line on the photo topo shows only the left and middle variations. It looks to me like Gaines changed his mind at some point about which variation to recommend as the default, but neglected to update the line on the photo topo. The only issue with the right-hand variation is that there is one (protectable) 5.7 move where you step across a steep slab in order to insert into the dihedral. A leader who thought they were signing up for a 5.4 would probably be taken aback by this move. Sep 1, 2018
The best route description is in Bob Gaines’s Guidebook, the one here might get you lost:)....definately one of the best long 5.4 routes I have ever done. “Old school 5.4”:) Sep 30, 2018
Atascadero, CA
FrankPS   Atascadero, CA
Regarding Ben's comment about the start of the pitch 2 (dihedral) start on the right:

I think you meant "unprotectable" on the friction move to get into the large dihedral. Just did it less than a week ago, and I'm quite sure there's no pro until you're past that initial slab move.

Great climb! Oct 1, 2018
Ben Crowell
Ben Crowell  
@FrankPS: If you couldn't reach/find the pro for that move on P2, you may have been too low down. The move can be protected before committing to it by placing a #3 TCU. (I'm 5'6", and I can reach it.) I make this move by standing up on top of a rock on the saddle, on one foot, then stepping onto the slab with the other foot. So I'm quite high up. Have done it this way probably half a dozen times. 6 days ago