Type: Trad, 800 ft (242 m), 10 pitches, Grade III
FA: FA: Young, Marshall, Lawrence, Whisnant (1968-1971 - sieged) FFA: Bob Rotert, 1977
Page Views: 20,805 total · 127/month
Shared By: Jeff Mekolites on May 22, 2007 · Updates
Admins: Aaron Parlier, Steve Lineberry

You & This Route


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Access Issue: Potentially Closed Due to COVID-19 - Please check for closures before going and DO NOT TRESPASS! / 2020 Raptor Closures on the Nantahala-Pisgah LIFTED Details

Description

Original Route, III, 5.11a or 5.10c, A0.

Approach: Follow the main Whitesides loop trail from the parking lot until a small/vague trail splits off to the right through the rhododendron heading downhill. Follow this trail down until it hangs a left. Follow the trail along the base of the cliff until you reach the "Great Gray Slab". At the right edge of the slab, look for the easiest path up to the tree ledge.

Pitch 1: Climb 5.7 slab passing one, maybe two gear placements, (about 1/2 of the way up) to a tree ledge, 5.7 R/X, 150 feet.
Pitch 2: Move belay left to a large flake. Climb short hollow flake over bulge. Run it out to a tree ledge up and left, 5.8 R, 100 feet.
Pitch 3: Move belay to left end of tree ledge. Climb short crack, traverse right to crack/flake, work up crack until you can step left to a ledge with 3 bolts, 5.7, 80 feet.
Pitch 4: The Sandbag Pitch. Climb very worn/polished corner up to a bolt. Easier climbing leads to another bolt at a ledge. 5.10c, 60 feet.
Pitch 5: Traverse left to a flake then up a very exposed face to a gear belay below flake/corner, 5.7 R, 75 feet.
Pitch 6: The Crescent Pitch. From the belay step right and out onto an exposed ledge, then up into an awkward crack. Continue up until you can step left and up to a bolted belay, 5.8+, 80 feet.
Pitch 7: The Crux Pitch/Bolt Ladder. Face climb or A0 through three bolts to easier climbing then to a hole and gear belay, 5.11a, 75 feet.
Pitch 8: The Traverse Pitch: Step down and work right traversing for about 150 feet, trying to get in some gear along the way, 5.4 R, 150 feet.
Pitch 9: Up from the belay and right to a grassy flake and a fixed pin, 5.6 R, 150 feet.
Pitch 10: Climb the flake, then up a lichen covered face to the summit, 5.6 R, 150 feet.

Descent: Follow loop trail (to the left) back to the car and enjoy a cold beer! You earned it!

Optional Finish:
Climb the last 3 pitches of Traditions:
Pitch 8: From the above mentioned "hole" at the end of pitch 7, follow 3 bolts up and left on a lichen-y ramp, belay on a ledge at a set of rap rings, 5.9, 60 feet.
Pitch 9: Walk left from the belay on a nice ledge to a "corner", face climb past a couple of bolts to a tree and belay, 5.10, 70 feet.
Pitch 10: Climb the path of least resistance until you reach to rhododendron then the summit railing, 5.8 R, 100 feet.

Protection

Generally a lighter rack than normal - a single set of cams to #3, maybe double up in the fingers, a few nuts, tri-cam or two, runners and a single lead line.

Note: Most of the route ratings for Whitesides can have an R or X rating added to them. And if the climbing is easy (5.7 - 5.8), plan on it being run out.

Photos