Type: Trad, 550 ft, 4 pitches
FA: Jay Jensen 1969
Page Views: 23,708 total · 165/month
Shared By: AWinters on Apr 7, 2007 with updates from Tony Becchio
Admins: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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A perfect introduction to the Pinnacle, wandering up the tallest part of the wall.

West Face consists of four pitches featuring great climbing on immaculate white Sierra granite. The route joins up with the second pitch of 'Cucumbers' near the start of pitch 3. As a bonus, the first pitch of 'Cucumbers' can be rapped into and/or top-roped by building an anchor on a good ledge 30 feet to the right of the third pitch belay station of 'The West Face'. We rapped off our gear, pulled ropes and led the first pitch of 'Cukes' (recommended) because it looked too good to pass up, and it was...

Pitch 1: Start at the detached block/flake with finger cracks in both sides (the right side is slightly easier, both 5.8-9ish). Climb cracks and corners with good gear straight up then make a big step out right just below the bush into the next finger crack (crux). Make some fun moves using a thin crack and face holds up to a huge ledge that runs to your left (this will be your last rappel station on your descent), then continue up and right a short distance to a bolt anchor on a ledge. (5.10a)

Pitch 2: Follow the nice clean corner with good hands over the lip, then traverse right towards the next clean-cut, left-facing dihedral. Good features on the face just left of the seam lead to the top of the corner. Step right around the arete (crux) to the bolt anchor on a small but comfortable stance. (5.10a)

Pitch 3: (joins pitch 2 of 'Cucumbers') Step up and traverse right for 20ish feet, continuing straight up on face holds and broken crack systems to the short but sweet finger and hand crack on the slab. Go left at the horizontal break and belay with hand-size cams at the base of the chimney. (5.10a)

Pitch 4: Climb the chimney and handcrack, then instead of going straight up the corner, break left onto semi-chossy face holds to the exposed block with the rappel anchor. (5.7-8)

Descent: Four 35 meter rappels (two 60m ropes/one 70m). On the first rappel head for the (climber's) left side of the giant roof. You can also walk off around the back, but why would you do such a thing?


Hike up the steep talus to the left side of the pinnacle under the giant roofs. Find the short block with cracks up both sides and you're off.


Standard rack to #3 camalot (#4 possible), bring one or two extra hand-sized cams for the belay at the top of pitch 3.
Two 60m ropes/one 70m.


Sam Prentice  
Pitch 1: One airy step right (10a) at the changing corners will keep you on route. An additional fun, airy move further to the right will put you at the bottom of a clean fist crack (20ft, 5.8). A fun deviation, if not part of the route proper. Oct 10, 2008
leeds, ut
fossana   leeds, ut
#4 not really necessary. For me the slab traverse felt harder than the the 10a moves. Jun 28, 2010
PumpkinEater   Sacramento
This is an awesome route! Great views, great climbing and quick approach.

Note: it's quite easy to miss the traverse left on big holds at the end of the last pitch by mistakenly making a few 5.9 moves up a clean corner finger crack. If you do this, you'll be at the base of a 5.10ish OW right slanting crack on your left. My partner and I mistakenly ended up here but, rather than top out, we down-climbed a little to get back on route. If you do go up the OW, it will be possible to downclimb 4th class to the rap anchor at the top of the descent. Aug 16, 2010
trying hard
Sierra East Side
trying hard   Sierra East Side
great route! Best views. Scary as trash on the repels. Aug 23, 2010
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
Pitch 3: "Go left at the horizontal break and belay with hand-size cams at the base of a chimney." Hand-size meaning GIANT hand-size. 3-4" hands! Ideally one 3" and TWO 4"! (But, mind you, one of each will work.) 1-2" hand-sizers won't do if you want to sit on the comfy ledge below the wide crack, geez.

If the slab traverse felt harder than the 10a moves, I would say you are off route. There is no hard slab on this route. Sep 8, 2010
One of my favriote routes of it's grade! I would sudgest on the last pitch after the short chimney follow up and right up a fingercrack to a wide right leaning crack, for some this may be O/W but climbs around 10c. This is a much more exciting finnish that actually put's you at the summit! The rap off is prety exciting! Sep 29, 2010
leeds, ut
fossana   leeds, ut
Climbed the route again. I definitely traversed too high last time. May 21, 2011

really fun route with good rock, good pro, exciting and varied climbing, grat views, nice belay ledges. fantastic. crux seemed like the end of the 2nd pitch. kind of blank (like a sheet of glass), but it comes together.

at the end of P3 you can use smaller hand sized pieces (#1 and #2 camalot) on top of the block. aerilli probably missed this because she might be vertically challenged ;) (just giving you a hard time). when i got to that spot i was kind of like WTF? then i looked on top and was able to get some pieces in. Jul 12, 2011
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
slim, I didn't miss those pieces up higher, but those placements make for a more uncomfortable belay...and I wanted to sit on the ledge. Jul 15, 2011

i used the pieces and sat on the ledge. were you tied into the anchor with the rope, or a daisy chain? i just made the anchor with the rope. definitely nice to sit on the ledge. we had climbed for quite a few days, and that pitch was a bit slabby. wanted to rest my toes a bit and vedge out while staring at the awesome view. Jul 15, 2011
AWinters   NH  
Yeah never had a problem sitting on the ledge myself. Sep 15, 2011
Simon H
Oakland, CA
Simon H   Oakland, CA
The first rap is 30m, the next 35, and the next two are 60 combined. You can make it to the ground in 3 raps with two ropes.

I was very glad to have brought a set of C3's, and dont forget plenty of small-med stoppers.

I ended up on a splitter .5 camalot crack on P3, by cutting possibly more right than I should have. While turning the corner on P2 is certainly a mental crux, I was surprised by P3's difficulty, and thought it deserving of a 5.10a rating as well. Sep 22, 2011
I'd call this route 5.9 (and we climbed it with significant snow and ice on the first two pitches). However, I'd also add that the second pitch is one of the best 5.9's I've ever done, rivaling the final pitch of the 3rd Pillar of Dana. Highly recommended. Oct 11, 2011
Tom Fralich
Fort Collins, CO
Tom Fralich   Fort Collins, CO
Great climb! Easy for the grade and very well protected. Aug 8, 2012
Umm yeah. Looks to be a cool route. In fact today (4/19/13) it was way too cool. Kicked, slipped, groveled, and belly flopped myself up the first (or mostly) pitch. No it's not really that hard of a climb. When your wife talks you into climbing this route (in April) keep in mind it'll be quite the Alpine experience. The routes stays in the shade until at LEAST 3pm and the first pitch could be full of snow and ice thus boots and crampons may have had better traction than wet/icy 5.10 rubber. ;-)

cheers.. Apr 19, 2013
Bishop, CA
Zirkel   Bishop, CA
End of April: Arrived at the base at noon. Climbed P1 in the shade, the rest in the warm direct sunshine. You will be glad you packed 3 C2's for the start of P2.


Placed a C2, 3 and 3.5 for the P3 belay. Placed another C3 and 4 in the short chimney section at the start of P4. Four raps with a 70 meter rope. The rappels were some of the most engaging I've done in 30+ years of climbing.

Sustained climbing, multiple cruxes, good pro, lots of exposure. Classic high Sierra route. And Bishop Creek Lodge has Arrogant Bastard Ale on tap for post-climb ruminations! Apr 28, 2013
Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
old5ten   Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
led P1 and P3, so different vantage point vs. P2 and P4
P1 - found the crux (corner w. thin crack just before belay) to be quite easy due to lg. foot holds on the left face and a huge rail after a couple of moves; maybe 5.8 by valley standards, the step across below the bush felt easy.
P2 - crux (coming around corner) was a bit awkward (and had thin pro), but had decent holds.
P3 - this was definitely the crux for me. there's a really thin, polished part just before the angle kicks back that i would call true 10a. the 'finger crack' on the low angle slab afterwards is cake.
P4 - short and low key
rap - time to put some chains on the top anchor, that wad of slings is bogus May 28, 2014
Laine Christman
Reno, NV
Laine Christman   Reno, NV
Regarding p4 - I'm not sure why this route bails left and doesn't follow the corner to the stout, right-leaning wide-hands splitter thru a roof (10+). Reasons to do this include 1) this variation provides a classic finish, 2) summits matter, and 3) the down climb off the west side of the pinnacle to the last anchors is a 5.6 at best (tho the slab needs a scrubbin).

A bolted belay at the summit proper would make this the standard finish IMO. Take the #4 if you plan on doing this variation to the summit. Jun 2, 2014
Morgan Nutting
Bishop, CA
Morgan Nutting   Bishop, CA
Great Granite! I thought the only 5.10 move was a thin move on the 3rd pitch IMO, but I can see why some would call it 5.9. Either way, it was a fun route! Jun 24, 2014
Las Vegas and Sierra Eastside
Xtine   Las Vegas and Sierra Eastside
I agree with the above comment (Mr Snrub); hardest move was on p3: short, splitter finger crack with polished feet....like a 10-foot, 5.9 move. I used mostly nuts, this route is great for them. Didn't use the 1" at all....the small sizes came in handy as did the larger ones for the last anchor. Amazing climb and fun moves; great overall rock quality but lots of loose pieces up higher. While pulling the rope at the 2nd or 3rd rappel, hand-sized chunks flew off and we were thankful that we were the only party there. The route sees shade in the morning but after 11 or 12, it's blazing in the sun. Jul 5, 2014
Simon W
Nowhere Land
Simon W   Nowhere Land
Awesome full value climb!! Fun/varied climbing on superb rock, short approach (which gains you some extra air on the climb), beautiful alpine setting.

I haven't climbed enough 5.10 trad to comment on whether or not this is 10a or 5.9, but the difficult sections are over quick and always well protected. The gear is on the small side before turning the arete on the second pitch, but it's there if you look for it. There is a fixed nut right at that spot as of 7/22/14.

Also, retrieved a nut tool on the last pitch. If it's yours PM me and I'll find a way to get it back to you. Jul 25, 2014
Tyler Logan
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Tyler Logan   Mammoth Lakes, CA
I agree with Laine's comment above for all the reasons stated. There is still good climbing on excellent rock up that final corner, and the OW finish (protects well with a new #4 Camalot) is much more climactic than dodging out prematurely to the rap anchors. Jun 21, 2016
Dave Livingston
Dave Livingston   BISHOP
The perfect route for the aspiring trad journey man/women. Good rock, ample pro and a wide variety of climbing skills make this the ideal route for those breaking into the grade.

One point of contention. The crux, for me, was the traverse at the end of the second pitch...awakard moves around a blunt corner with gear well below your feet. If you're comfortable on slabs, the crux on the 3rd pitch is trivial and well protected. Jul 17, 2016
Rude Boy
San Francisco, CA
Rude Boy   San Francisco, CA
Rad! Do it is all I have to say. Soft for 5.10a. Partner and I both thought 5.9. Doubles up to #3 (no #4 needed) and small stuff. Felt well protected to me. Used #1, #2, #3 in the horizontal crack at the base of the chimney for the belay. No stuck #5 at the base of the chimney when we did it. When traversing off pitch 2 anchor, go immediately right and then trend up and right to the crack system. Don't go up straight up off the belay and then right. Oct 18, 2016
Dirk Diggler
Boulder, Colorado
Dirk Diggler   Boulder, Colorado
Would give it 5 stars if i could. Do this climb! Jun 14, 2017
Finally realized an old dream and did this recently. It lives up to its reputation, and don't listen to the sandbaggers. It's 10a on both pitch 1 and 2. PelucidWambat from Super Topo did a trip report and claims the first part of pitch 2 is 5.5! And then end of p. 2 5.8. Don't believe it for a second. It does protect pretty well, although I found the gear a little thin at the end of p. 2, especially with my 185 lb. + gear carcass swinging above it. I did find the end of p. 1 to be easier than I expected, but I'm 6'4". You'll find killer stances for placing gear, so it's easy to make safe. It's nice to have a fat cam--3 or 4--to protect the upper chimney, but I'm kinda chicken and still did it without. Definitely a don't-fall zone in that upper chimney. Super fun! Oh, and if you don't have a 70 meter rope, get one. It's so slick and easy to rap, and each one has a good stance.

BAd Aug 13, 2017
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
Excellent route and very well protected. For the step-around at the end of P2, a #3 camalot goes in right at the move. It's in a flaring spot, but its a solid piece. All the beta above is spot on and the route is every bit as good as suggested. We just wanted it to keep going for another 4 pitches! My rack: Double rack to #3, including thin gear/cams, and a single #4. An extra #2 is useful on the sweet handcrack starting P2. I used a purple C3 twice, so yeah- small gear. I found a couple places for the #4 - though you could do without. Jul 3, 2018