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Positive Vibrations 

YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 12 pitches, 1200', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.11a French: 6c Ewbanks: 22 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 22 British: E3 5c [details]
FA: FA Harrington, Bartlett 8/81. FFA Bard, Lyde 8/86
Page Views: 54,677
Submitted By: AJ on Sep 16, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (157)
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Justin Dubois at the crux.


This is a phenomenal climb, really the cream of the crop for granite crack climbing. The setting, the line, the rock quality and the climbing itself are all absolutely superb. Although it's continuously steep and strenuous, the movement is very straightforward and above all, fun. No awkward or unaesthetic sections, just clean finger and hand jamming.

P1: 5.9/10a crack. Still not fully awake at this point. Legs as stiff as tree trunks from the hike in.

P2: 5.10c. This starts in a striking finger crack. This woke us up! Excellent sharp fingerlocks in the cool morning air. Higher, follow features right, then left to a ledge.

P3: 5.11a. Some moderate climbing, then the first crux, a blank traverse right. This is one of two pitches rated 11a and we found it to be the easier of the two. The crux is a little reachy (easier if you're tall) but it's over quick. You do traverse past your gear for a couple moves on thin smears but you can see what you're reaching for- a bomber steep handcrack which takes you to the belay.

P4: 5.10b. Really nice stemming and jamming in a big chimney to a huge ledge. This pitch is easy to spot from the base. From here you move onto the upper arete, which is followed for another 4-5 pitches. A very fun pitch.

P5: 5.9/10a. Already giddy from the fantastic climbing so far, we looked up and realized the best was yet to come. Meander up and left to a deluxe handcrack next to the arete. This takes you to a classic belay ledge right on the arete, at which point you should be pretty much euphoric. We thought this was a standout pitch.

P6: 5.11a. The crux pitch starts in a steep dihedral with tricky thin moves in real smooth rock. It's pretty full-on (5.10c/d), one of the most insecure sections on the route. Climb up to a roof (also 5.10+, also full-on) then up a nice finger crack to a small stance. The crux finger cracks cut up and left across golden, vertical granite to another airy stance on the arete. The moves are technical and exposed and just COOL. Steep thin fingerlocks, great body position... at risk of hyperbole, THIS is a classic pitch!

P7: 5.10c/d. Go up 2-3" cracks for a ways into a right facing corner with a detached block. Below the block, traverse right and crank through a technical, sustained stemming/thin crack section. We split the pitch in two, and this last section still seemed really hard. In any case, it's brilliant climbing, another beautiful pitch.

P8: 5.10b. A handcrack leads to a small ledge on the arete, just below the ridge. You do not need to go all the way to the ledge, but we wound up here and were fine with breaking this pitch in two as well. It's actually a pretty sweet ledge, secure and very airy. Either way, you want to get over to the plum-straight hand crack about 15' right. This takes you right to the summit ridge. The dizzying exposure here is augmented by the incredible geometry of the ridge. We thought this was one of the coolest pitches on the route, and a great finish to the hard climbing.

At this point, you're on the leftmost tip of the sharp ridge which appears from below to be the summit. (It took us 10 pitches to get here, in our pedestrian fashion. The guidebook says 8 which is certainly reasonable.) Now you traverse right for 100-150 yards. We thought the routefinding was slightly weird, actually, perhaps someone has better beta on the "best" way to go here. In any case, you shouldn't be doing anything too difficult or gaining any altitude, and you should be out of sight of the valley below. After a bit, you can see what you're aiming for, the final wall with a blocky crack in it. Climb two moderate pitches (see the Red Dihedral description for info on these pitches, and the descent) and through the weird manhole to the top. Congratulations on a super climb and a great summit!


On the NW end of the Hulk. The first 4 pitches follow right-angling crack systems to a big chimney. The rest of the climb follows the knockout arete above.


full rack to 3". Many finger-hand size pieces.

Photos of Positive Vibrations Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on Positive Vibrations as seen from the t...
Climbers on Positive Vibrations as seen from the t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on the crux of Positive Vibrations, 5.11a...
Climbers on the crux of Positive Vibrations, 5.11a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tom near the top.
Tom near the top.
Rock Climbing Photo: David on pitch 5 of Positive Vibrations.
David on pitch 5 of Positive Vibrations.
Rock Climbing Photo: Filip pulls through the second 11a crux.
Filip pulls through the second 11a crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: The pitch three step across.
The pitch three step across.
Rock Climbing Photo: Aaron and Clark (I think) on P.V.
Aaron and Clark (I think) on P.V.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbers on the beautiful steepness of P.V.
Climbers on the beautiful steepness of P.V.
Rock Climbing Photo: Rob leading up Splittersville, pitch 7.
Rob leading up Splittersville, pitch 7.
Rock Climbing Photo: Amy Ness scoping out the first 5.11a crux on P3.
Amy Ness scoping out the first 5.11a crux on P3.
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up pitch 3.
Starting up pitch 3.
Rock Climbing Photo: John following the 10d section of pitch 6.
John following the 10d section of pitch 6.
Rock Climbing Photo: Monica leading the crux on pitch 6.
Monica leading the crux on pitch 6.
Rock Climbing Photo: The approximate location of Positive Vibrations.
BETA PHOTO: The approximate location of Positive Vibrations.
Rock Climbing Photo: Filip negotiates the first 11a crux.
Filip negotiates the first 11a crux.
Rock Climbing Photo: Classic corners on the 3rd pitch.
Classic corners on the 3rd pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: John cleaning stuck ropes for the third time. Bewa...
John cleaning stuck ropes for the third time. Bewa...
Rock Climbing Photo: This crux is FUN!
This crux is FUN!
Rock Climbing Photo: The steep crux pitch.
The steep crux pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Bosier and Matt high on the route.. such an awesom...
Bosier and Matt high on the route.. such an awesom...
Rock Climbing Photo: The eighth pitch.
The eighth pitch.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down from just past the crux gives you a t...
Looking down from just past the crux gives you a t...
Rock Climbing Photo: The fifth pitch, more excellent splitters.
The fifth pitch, more excellent splitters.
Rock Climbing Photo: Scott starting out P6. The gear here is pretty thi...
Scott starting out P6. The gear here is pretty thi...

Show All 32 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Positive Vibrations Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 14, 2017
By Jim Donini
Jun 8, 2007

The best quality route I've done in the Sierra's. Nearly as good as the climbing on the Elephant's Perch.
By Ouray Badger
Jul 31, 2007

To echo El Presidente, a superb route. Almost as good as the Pool Wall. BTW, if you've been to the Hulk summit already and want to skip it on this route, it is possible to rappel. The first rappel begins about 20ft. climber's right of the end of the eighth pitch (per Croft topo). Be forewarned, it is VERY possible to get your ropes stuck on this rappel route (lots of flakes, blocks, etc.). Take that into consideration. About 1-1/2 hr. for descent. Still faster than going to the summit and walking down. We had two ropes; I believe a 70 meter MIGHT do (some guys at the base said an 80 meter was required!), but am unsure as I did not examine the rope remaining after each rappel. The last few rappels hit Positive Vibrations at the top of the 4th pitch. All except the first are bolted, but the slings are poor on a few stations.
By Dave Vaughan
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 15, 2007

Remember your sandals for the delightful swamp approach... Also, watch for drag on the crux pitch as it weaves around a bit. Apres Hulk, go for the chocolate cream pie at the Mono Village Cafe!
By Nick Stayner
From: Wymont Kingdom
Aug 2, 2008
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

The cruxes (esp. compared to some of the single-pitch stuff of the same grade in the Valley and Tuolumne) are not that bad, especially if you're a strong face climber. Don't let them scare you away because loads of amazing, outstanding, superb 5.10 crack climbing abound. Do it!!
A couple of notes:

Rack: We brought some brass and the green, red, and yellow C3s. All were used, and the C3s were really nice on the technical crux as well as a couple of tips sections.

1) With a 70, link the first two pitches (the 9+/10a and the 10c tips). The crux sections are not sustained and it doesn't require any extra gear to do this. Plus you can stop at a fatty pair of rap bolts for the belay this way.

2) A good way to do the second crux pitch: Build a belay after the 10d fingers section at a bolt right where you traverse towards the crux boulder problem. This shortens the crux and allows you to do it without 35 m+ of rope drag behind you.
By Michael Ybarra
From: on the road
Jul 25, 2009

One of the absolute best climbs you will ever do. The first 11 section is pretty easy unless you're short--many of the 10 sections are much harder. The second 11 is quite a bit more tricky.

One thing to be aware of: the stemming start to P6 is reasonably technical on small wires and questionable cams (a .75 in a flare and a .4 before moving to the roof and the first bomber gear in 30 feet or so; you can protect the belay by placing a .75 in a horizontal before stepping into the stem).

On the walk-out we ran into Jim D. who was headed up to PV and asked for gear beta.
By Brad G
From: 1994 Honda Civic
Aug 2, 2009

I thought this route was better then Astroman!
By Karsten Duncan
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 11, 2009

Was nice to find this route has much superior rock to the red dihedral route. Everypitch was really pleasant.

I found the last pitch going to the ridge was not straightforward once you topout on the ridge. The supertopo was not very clear where to go after you hit the top of the ridge. I am curious as to where others go there. The way we went seemed seldom traveled. I have heard some people traverse right instead of straight up on the 8th pitch to reach the ridge before you traverse right (southeast) toward the red dihedral finish.
By dirtbag
From: Bellingham, WA
Aug 23, 2009

HEADS UP for anyone using Supertopo on Pos Vibes / Sun Spot... McNamara is usually right on with his beta; however, I would have been better off throwing his ridge beta out the window and just stuck with my nose on this one.

Supertopo says, "... keep to the ridge for the best rock or drop down onto the N (left) side for easier climbing but looser rock.."

I don't advise dropping onto the N side by any means until AFTER you stick to the ridge via a 5th class chimney system that spits you out on a ledge on the N side of the true ridge. Tunneling is required here. Once on the ledge, loose class 2/3 take you along the left side of the ridge until you meet up with the Red Dihedral finish, which leads to the summit.

Once on the summit, head toward the S Ridge and take a left at a prominent cairn. Downclimb 3rd class to the north side of the ridge to the rap anchor. I thought it was more like 90-100' than the 80' rap described in Supertopo.

By nobody
Jul 7, 2010

Markguycan't... two stars? Really? And you're four-starring a bunch of Sedona choss? Seriously, put down that crack pipe.
By Brady Robinson
Jul 25, 2010

Fantastic Route! Go do it. We stayed on top of the ridge at the top which was a bad idea for several reasons, not the least of which being that we were struck by lightning. Just got a little ground current but it was enough to freak our shit out a bit. After listening to our gear buzz for 20 minutes we made a dash and found some 5.8 climbing on the ridge and then a 15 foot rap that put us just about at the top of the Red Dihedral.
By Bob Rotert
Jan 31, 2011

Another Hulk classic. Amazing rock and amazing climbing. The crux pitch was stellar!!
By Victor Lawson
From: Bishop, CA
May 16, 2011

THE BEST multipitch rock climb that i have EVER done.
By Andy Bennett
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 11, 2011

Any one know/recall how many of the belays are gear?
By e Dixon
From: Durango, Colorado
Aug 4, 2011

The first 5 pitches per the Croft topo have bolted anchors (to below the crux pitch), after that they are gear. This is, without a doubt, one of the best rock climbs I have done...sustained, high-quality, and just good fun.
By GR Johnson
Sep 4, 2011

A true classic. Exceeded all expectations. I can't wait to go back. A single 70m will get you down the venturi.
By Pavel K
Sep 15, 2011

Unless you are strong or know the moves for the 11a on P6, I would highly recommend setting up intermediate belay at the bolt on P6, before moving into the 11a section. Otherwise, if you peel off at the end of the 180ft (or so) pitch, you could go for a long ride, plus rope drag gets really bad as well.
The first 11a section on P3 is more like 10a...
By Daniel Trugman
From: La Jolla, CA
Sep 16, 2011
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

I have to disagree with the above comment about setting up the intermediate belay on the crux pitch (P6). That's one of the coolest pitches I've ever done, and breaking it up would be a real shame. The gear is good for the final crux, and rope drag isn't that bad. Plus the belay ledge right after the crux is really neat.

I do agree that P3 is substantially easier than P6, but 5.10a is probably a big sandbag for those under 6'.
By Pavel K
Feb 3, 2012

For the record and my comment on the P3 "crux" - I'm 5'9. For example, I thought the beginning traverse of P6 on Rostrum (the OW pitch) - rated 10c - was harder that this P3 on PV.
Regarding breaking up (or not) P6 of PV - to each its own :-)
By Lukasz F
From: Seattle, WA
Jul 13, 2012

Some more beta: On the initial stemming dihedral on pitch 6, I found a decent #3 camalot placement, which took the sting out of that section. Both 11a cruxes are easier if you're tall; the second one is just a big reach from an undercling for tall people. I thought pitch 7 was pretty hard, and the traverse right under the roof a bit tricky. You want to traverse low (don't place gear under the spooky flake). The first incipient crack you pass doesn't take much pro (I got an ok #2 camalot), and the one you finally get into takes thin gear for a while, staying pretty sustained until the final 10a step left.

Overall an amazing route. Looking forward to trying Sunspot next.
By Hamik Mukelyan
From: San Francisco, CA
Aug 22, 2012

Awesome climb! (Duh.) There is a very loose, yet chalked, block right after the first 11a crux in the little roof. I would avoid it!
By Nick Stayner
From: Wymont Kingdom
Nov 29, 2012
rating: 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b

Wow 45/46 rate this thing 4 stars... gotta be one of the highest quality ratings on Mountain Project! So much fun.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Sacramento, CA
Aug 18, 2013

Amazing! 5 star Cali Dude-style alpinism.

It's truly in range of the 5.10+ trad leader who has the endurance for pitch after pitch of 5.10.

Two things: Sometimes those rope stretcher pitches really leave you lacking the requisite pieces. Budget accordingly, or split the pitch up.

Rope drag on the 6th pitch can be truly heinous. I would sling everything long under the roof next time.
By Tyson Waldron
From: Reno, NV
Aug 18, 2013

Beta alert!!! I found myself scared and seemingly stranded when, right at the top off Pitch 8, I was horrified to discover the endless series of perfect hand jams had run out.

Luckily, I was able to survey the situation, and realized this had only occurred due to the mountain also coming to an end.

Using this information, I was able to calm myself enough to make the rap back to the base of this climb...But you too should be prepared for this discovery, as after 1000 feet of continuous perfect hands and locks, this point will no doubt come as a very disorienting discovery.
By Patrick O'Neil
From: Santa Clara, CA
Aug 19, 2013

I think the height conversations re: the cruxes on this route miss the point. Say what you want about the ratings of the two .11a sections on this route, they're two completely different types of cruxes. The first is delicate/technical climbing above marginal gear that could result in an unkind fall if pieces failed - just keep your head about you. The second .11a is a boulder problem requiring quite a bit more strength, power and sequence (this probably feels much harder than it is because it's atypical for this 1200-foot route that's predominately made up of splitter cracks).
By John Steiger
Aug 24, 2013

We used the Venturi raps (3 raps with a single 70m down the Venturi shield to reach the PV stations). While pulling the rope on the second Venturi rap, the rope got brutally stuck in a perfect rope-eating crack above the end of the rappel. Call us unlucky or unskilled, but we also got the rope stuck on the last rap to the ground -- jeesh. Exceptional route in any event. PS, be prepared to chose an alternative line if the weather is stable; 5 parties were on the PV the day before we did it, and 2 on it the day we did (and oh so slow).
By Peter Lewis
From: Bridgton, Maine
Oct 25, 2013

Re: Tyson W. comment...hysterical. I usually read all the comments for beta purposes (cause I'm a scared wimp most of the time and want all the info I can get). But sometimes the comments just make me smile. I hope I can get on this route someday!!!
Aug 4, 2014

Lost a pair of Black Diamond leather belay gloves size large at camp or base of positive vibrations. Let me know if found. Thanks!
By tallmark515
From: San Francisco
Sep 9, 2014

Approximately 100' up the final pitch (Supertopo pitch 8) you will see a single bolt (just out of reach) on your left side (Supertopo optional belay). Near this spot you must traverse RIGHT on a small ledge with some broken rock to gain the final crack (not obvious) to the top. It's helpful to have three #2 Camalots if you plan to do it as one mega 200' pitch.

NOTE: If you don't do this traverse and keep going straight up, the route will continue up a chossy hand crack (watch out for a large loose block in the crack) and dead end at a ledge on the arete about 40ft below the summit and you will have to down climb and do the traverse.

RAPPEL BETA (single 70m or 80m rope)
To avoid getting your rope stuck. From the sub-summit ledge, locate the Venturi rappel nest (15' to climbers right) and rappel to a small ledge with a fixed nut anchor (and sling nest). STOP HERE and pull your ropes even though you will see another rappel station 30 feet below you. Your rope may reach the bolted station below you (80m will for sure), but it is likely that your rope will get stuck at the nut/sling nest ledge (ours did).

Rappel stations below this are all proper bolted anchors and are mostly easy to see, even at night.

As mentioned above, the Venturi rappel eventually joins with the TOP of the 4th pitch of PV (just above the "10b step right" section). We stopped here to pull the rope, then did a second short (30') rappel to the anchors below. Our 80m rope would have PROBABLY reached the lower anchor, but it looked there was potential for the rope to get stuck on that ledge, so we played it safe.

To locate the final rappel station with a single rope, from the top of the second pitch rap station, swing or trend climbers left about 30' to reach the anchor.

We rappelled with an 80m rope, which felt comfortable because most rap anchors looked to be a full 35m apart, however I do know people that have done it with a single 70m rope (with shenanigans).

The whole rappel experience is stressful and time consuming, there are many places for the rope to get stuck. When rappelling, I suggest coiling your rope over your shoulders and lowering down sections at a time, especially when windy.

The top of Supertopo pitch 5 has two sets of bolted anchors, one set on the windy exposed side of the arete and another set to the left of the arete in a more sheltered spot.

There is a bolted anchor at the top of Supertopo pitch 6 (second crux pitch). A single 70m rope will not reach to the top of pitch 5, however it LOOKED LIKE an 80m rope would reach. With a 70m it LOOKED POSSIBLE to lower to just past the bolt before the 11a section and swing 30' to the climbers right (on to the face) and reach the Venturi(?) anchors. It might be difficult to do the swing with wind.

We linked pitches 1 & 2 and had no problems with rope drag.

The Supertopo pitch 6, 11a crux felt SIGNIFICANTLY harder than the pitch 3, 11a crux. We split pitch 6 into two pitches at the bolt, This eliminated the rope drag for the crux.
By jdm
Sep 10, 2014

tallmark515 said:
> To avoid getting your rope stuck. From the sub-summit ledge, locate the Venturi rappel nest (15' to climbers right) and rappel to a small ledge with a fixed nut anchor (and sling nest). STOP HERE and pull your ropes even though you will see another rappel station 30 feet below you. Your rope may reach the bolted station below you (80m will for sure), but it is likely that your rope will get stuck at the nut/sling nest ledge (ours did).

Yes, ours did exactly that despite being warned that it might. If I remember correctly it landed on the ledge and got wrapped around a block. I frigged my way back up to the ledge via the L hand crack. There were two rather dubious nuts in the crack above the ledge joined together with some cord. I added two more nuts and some more cord and rapped back down to the bolted anchor below on one rope while being protected by the other at the belay (we had 2x60m 8mm ropes) and pulled the rope easily. I really wouldn't have wanted to have both of us sitting on that ledge, both relying on that anchor. Maybe it's better now? Maybe it should be bolted? Maybe another solution is to pull the rope sharply outwards to avoid it landing on the ledge? It cost us quite a bit of time and we just got to the ground as it became pitch dark...

I should add that this was Sept 2012 so perhaps this intermediate belay is better now.
By Mike
From: Phoenix
Oct 8, 2014
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

This is a spectacular route on a spectacular formation!
By DykePants
Jun 25, 2016

The tearing winds made this route a breeze ;)
I found a large turd on the ledge of the 4th pitch. It was difficult to avoid dragging my rope through it. While reviewing mountain project commentary for the Diamond, I learned that the most obvious solution for on route defecation is to use a water bottle. I'm disappointed this technique was not employed on such a beautiful piece of granite like the Hulk.
By tahoemnts Schroeder
From: Truckee, California
Jul 17, 2016

Is supertopo the best topo for this route? What topo recommendations can you give? Got some good beta from the comments already.

How does this route compare to the OZ which we did last week? I've done Red Dihedral but not anything else on the Hulk yet.
By Ryan Arnold
Aug 8, 2016
rating: 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c

Few thoughts after our trip last weekend:
1. Cross the river using an awesome and clearly marked trail by the big boulder/pine tree in a meadow, roughly 45-55 minutes into the hike. This avoids all marsh.
2. Very windy route, cold even in August.
3. Long pitches! Run it out, split up pitches, or if you want pro every 20 feet, bring triples to #2 (and a #3). Every pitch after the fourth seemed to go on forever.
4. First two Venturi rap stations have been updated with bomber stainless rap systems (apparently used to be nests of nuts). Third one (30 feet below second) had two decent looking bolts and some old biners. Avoid a stuck rope by using that third station.
5. First Venturi rap station is around 20 feet climber's right from the top of the route.
6. Apparently you have to climb into that nasty looking chimney 150 feet along the ridge to make it up to the final two pitches and summit? That wasn't clear to us and we ended up rapping. Curious about other options. Confusing ridge system.
By Kevin DB
Aug 8, 2016

By CritConrad
From: Bend, OR
Aug 20, 2016

There is a very large loose block on quite literally the last moves of the route on top of pitch 8.
In this photo it is the block that the rope is running over. It flexed easily with very little effort
By Max Tepfer
From: Bend, OR
Sep 16, 2016

For maximum fun and minimum belaying: link 1 and 2, 3 and 4, (either to intermediate rappel anchor in chimney or a bit of simuling to higher anchor) and 5 and 6. Pitch out 7 and 8.
By fivefun
Jul 18, 2017

I don't normally tape up but I found my hands were pretty worked by the end of this climb after all the heroic hand jamming on alpine granite. If I did it again I'd use tape.
By Justin Skaare
From: Boulder, CO
Aug 27, 2017

Do NOT follow SuperTopo's ridge beta and drop to the left side of the ridge. We did, drop left (when facing the summit), about 20m after the rap bolts by downclimbing some blocks and then traversing towards the summit for a couple hundred meters. This led us to the two absolute worst pitches I've ever climbed. Exploding kitty litter would be generous. Not at all recommended.
By Juan Pe
From: Quilmes
Sep 14, 2017

Is there a topo for that route?

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