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West Face - Left Side
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Blank, The T 
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Jonah T 
Legends of the Fall T 
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YDS: 5.10+ French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 20 British: E3 5b

Type:  Trad, 6 pitches, 500'
Original:  YDS: 5.10c French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII ZA: 20 British: E2 5b [details]
FA: Tom Higgins, R.Coats, Mike Cohen - August 1964
Season: Spring through Fall
Page Views: 2,214
Submitted By: Chris Owen on Mar 12, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (10)
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Jeff Laina following Pitch 2, on Jonah. 1980s. Pho...


A good route with something for everyone.

P1 5.10b. A thin crack heads up a little buttress to the left of Angels Fright chimney to end on a ledge with a tree.

P2 5.10c. Crux pitch. Up to a thin crack then thin moves over on overlap, straight up to a ledge.

P3 5.9. Wander up a face to a ledge with bushes.

P4 5.10a. A wild pitch. Up past a couple of bolts to a blank impasse, a "you've gotta be kidding me" traverse right (and down a little) heads to an arch which is followed to the outrageous "Ubangi Lips" (or Whale's Mouth) a kind of horizontal bomb-bay chimney which turns out to be okay - through this at a weakness to a ledge.

P5 Steps and an easy corner lead up to another ledge.

P6 5.10+. Thin face climbing in a lonely position leads past three bolts and to the top.


Start just left of Angel's Fright chimney. Descend The Friction Route.


Standard rack with small pieces and quickdraws.

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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 23, 2016
By Scotty Nelson
From: Boulder
Sep 5, 2006

The crux is the slab move on Pitch 6 -- a very thin move, it is rated 5.10d in the book. I would agree.

The 10c on pitch 2 is pretty straightforward if you know how to hand jam. I would even say it's a bit soft.
By Murf
Aug 18, 2008
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R

Notes from a recent ascent:
- P1 is at least as hard as P6, although not as sustained. It is also my belief that there is bad fall potential here, not that far off the deck, especially if you are under 5'11". I give it an 'R' rating.
- P1 and P2 can easily be combined.
- I'd agree P2 is not the crux, and is much easier than P1 and P6.
- I have now backed off a direct line on P3 more than once. It would seem that you should go directly or slightly right from the first small tree to the big one. No way this is 5.9, and there is a bad fall here. I've always went left and touched The Blank before fighting the tree to the belay right.
- P4 and P5 can be combined if you are heads up on extending and perhaps backcleaning the Ubangi Lips.
- The P5 Belay needs a few large pieces.

In the future I would climb this as:
P1 - P1 of The Blank combined with P2 of Jonah.
P2 - The layback/offwidth pitch of The Blank.
P3 - P4 and P5 of Jonah.
P6 - P6 of Jonah.
By Murf
Aug 18, 2008
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R

There are 3 bolts on P6, which is not reflected in the newer guide, nor the OP's description. I know that there has been three for at least 8 years or so. Typo or retro?
By gimmesome roy
From: alpine, ca
Sep 10, 2008

I pulled a jib off of the first pitch and took a ride on a widdeled down blue alien and deployed the full length of a screamer, i would take this route seriously and i would also give it an r rating, the ride was in full view of a first time climber belaying her boyfriend up the first pitch of angels fright, the horror on her face was worth its weight in gold.
By benjamin brownell
From: Ashland, OR
May 17, 2010
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R

Switched onto this from halfway up The Blank, nice link up that way. Traverse pitch (4) is kinda dicey, I backed off the last move (crux, 15' right of bolt and a swinging fall onto sharp block/edge) and followed the easy belay ledge below over to the arching lip/mouth overhang. P6 is a great top out, but also a bit on the bold side. 3 bolts, or 4 if you continue up/right for the full value slab, but first is within reach of belay and hardly counts. Basically, three 15' stretches of .9-.10 thin slab between pro. You don't get the impression people have been up there much...still pretty blank and a bit crunchy. Nice pressure test, know what your shoes can do. Can't believe this was a '60s FA, maybe to lunch ledge. Would go again, maybe TR the lower pitches for extra entertainment, and let somebody with surplus courage fire the top.
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Sep 19, 2010

I changed it to three bolts for P6. It had been a long time since I climbed this route when I posted the description, so please forgive any errors. My long-standing memories are P2 confusion, P4 with that crazy traverse right, and P6 with it's tricky moves seemingly a long way from everyone.
By John Long
Jul 21, 2011

This baby was the site of some truly spectacular skidder falls when I was a kid and we were all climbing in shit shoes.
By Richard Shore
Oct 7, 2011

Got off route high on The Blank and found myself doing the dicey P4 foot traverse of Jonah. Scary lead, and scary to follow as you risk a swing right to the corner. Make sure the leader runs it out a bit up the crack after the traverse so as not to screw your second on the traverse.
By clustiere
Sep 30, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b R

Super fun climb. First pitch and 3rd pitch are a bit run out, well so is the 4th and 6th come to think it. But the first pitch you could break your legs. The last pitch has 4 bolts now. Fun and sustained, short pitches due to rope drag.

PS am I the only one who does a deadpoint/dyno on the 3rd pitch?just below the belay?
By tom higgins
Sep 27, 2013

Just for the record on bolts for P6, when I led the FA of that pitch (’64), I believe I got a thin horizontal pin into a horizontal crack near the belay ledge, and one bolt a bit higher before going on. Then, believing another bolt was justified after perhaps 20 or so feet, I tried to drill it but broke the drill bit and finished the pitch only with the one bolt. I learned later one could drill with a broken drill (and of course should carry a spare drill and holder set to go). Realizing the pitch was not safe as done, I returned with Mike Cohen and redid the pitch and successfully placed the second bolt. I do not recall three bolts total as now seems to be the case, so perhaps one was added somewhere along the line.

Tom Higgins
By Bob Gaines
Oct 3, 2013

Hi Tom. Great to have a post from you! I think that the pin on the last pitch was replaced with a bolt some years ago, probably when the original bolts were replaced.

In my new guidebook I described it as "One of America's most difficult rock climbs when first climbed in 1964" and it remains a great challenge to this day. One of my favorites at Tahquitz.
By Tradiban
Dec 20, 2015

Had to bail after P4 due to darkness but I thought up to there was absolute junk. I looked forward to doing the rest however. My beta is to skip the first 4 pitches and enter the Ubangi Lips from Angel's Fright.
By Fat Dad
From: Los Angeles, CA
May 23, 2016

Great picture of Tom Higgins climbing this in Climbing in North America by Chris Jones (if you can find a copy).

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