REI Community
Central Reservation Climbs
Select Route:
Bentwood Spire (NE Face) T 
Chinle Spire (N. Face) T 
Dead Horse Spire T 
Dead Horse/Cow Crags T 
Edna Mode (Dead Horse Spire) T 
Elephant Butte (Elephant Head Route) T 
King Louie Spire (Monkey Face) T 
Los Gigantos Butte III (Fiend without a Face) T 
Los Gigantos II (W.Face) T 
Lucky Strike Spire T 
Many Farms Pinnacle (So. Face) T 
Pope (Primal Yawn ), The T 
Pope (Supreme Being) T 
Pratilus Spire (E. Face) T 
Rattlesnake Arch (Buzzworm) T 
Rock Point Spire, N. Face T 
Round Rock (S E Side) T 
Smith Spire West Face T 
Standing Rock (Rock Point) T 
Tsaile Peak (So. Face) T 
Whale, NE Arete, The T 
Window Rock III (Crag) T 

The Whale, NE Arete 

YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b A1

Type:  Trad, Aid, 6 pitches, 600', Grade IV
Original:  YDS: 5.10 French: 6b Ewbanks: 20 UIAA: VII- ZA: 19 British: E2 5b A1 [details]
FA: Todd Gordon , Brian Povolny, March 10, 1984
Page Views: 842
Submitted By: toddgordon Gordon on May 6, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (1)
Your todo list:
Your stars:
Your rating: -none- [change]
Your ticklist: [add new tick]
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [0 people like this page.]
The Whale. The route goes up the right skyline. Th...

Closed. MORE INFO >>>


Climb up the "backside" of the whale. We did this climb in 6 pitches. Pitch one started out 3rd class, some 5.7, then into a 5.9 hand to a 5.10 fingers in a small roof to a sling belay. Pitch 2 went up 5.10 cracks to a ledge. Pitch 3; up and left to a 5.10 hand section to a ledge. Pitch 4; Start with a shoulder stand, then 3rd class on the narrow ridge (2nd be careful to not fall off ridge following). 5th pitch is third class up a big chasm/groove. Pitch 6; scramble (3rd class ) to the summit.


This very large and cool formation is located just east of the highway about 2 miles south of Rock Point, Arizona.


Bring 2 or 3 sets of cams, maybe a few pins. Rappel down the front face. The first rappell in low angle from the top off of ONE piton. On one rappel, you have to swing WAY to the right (as you face in..)

Photos of The Whale, NE Arete Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Whale and the Tail.  Rock Point, Ariz.  Photo;  To...
Whale and the Tail. Rock Point, Ariz. Photo; To...
Rock Climbing Photo: Todd Gordon and the Whale's Tail. Photo: Todd Gord...
Todd Gordon and the Whale's Tail. Photo: Todd Gord...

Comments on The Whale, NE Arete Add Comment
Show which comments
By toddgordon Gordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
May 7, 2007

I did this climb on my 28th birthday with Brian Povolny on March 10, 1983. The formation The Whale is a totally cool formation...with the round head being one formation, and the pointed tail another. This climb had a very short approach;...we drove our car directly to the base of the first pitch. All went well, until I was following pitch 2, and I accidentally dislodged a rock pillar as large as myself, and it rolled over my foot; I thought I had severed my foot off;....I felt like I was going to throw up, I asked for tension, and I was afraid to look at my foot. I had a picture , in my mind, of what my foot looked was a leg without a foot attatched........I was bummed. After awhile, I got my composure, and continue hobbling up the rest of the route. The first rappel from the summit was slabby, and only off one pin;... that was sort of scary. On one of the rappells, (It's now dark..), Brian is at the end of the rope, not touching the rock face, and no ledge or stance in sight. After wiggling a bunch, he was able to get his feet to touch the rock, and swung around the corner to a ledge. We had 2 hammers and 2 drills, so we could simul-drill anchors. After we finally reached the ground, he had to almost carry me to my car, for I couldn't walk. When I got to my car, we found out the dislodged rock (now in pieces)had HIT my car...and the front window and side window were broken, the passenger door peeled down, the wheel well smashed into the tire, and my walkman atomized. We pulled the fender off the tire, brushed aside the broken glass, and headed to the Rock Point Trading Post for drinks;...we were quite thirsty. At the trading post, a fight erupted between 2 Navajos, and fists were flying. As we left, we saw one of the Indians spiting blood and a few of his teeth into a garbage can. That week I went to the doctor, who said that my foot was just severly bruised, but not broken. It was a birthday to remember.
By toddgordon Gordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
May 9, 2007

I wonder if the fences are for livestock, border markings, or keep people out?......hmmmmmmmmmm. The res is always a place of mystery and adventure. Most of the climbing I did in this area around Rock Point and Round Rock , I did with the Navajos living nearby, their knowledge;......they all found our quests quite interesting, watched our slow progress faithfully, and always congratulated us when we got back down. It was awesome. This area has some soft funky rock, and some beautiful formations in a VERY isolated place; jeep safari week, micro-brewery, or yuppie cafes here........
By toddgordon Gordon
From: Joshua Tree, California
Jun 10, 2007

For more reading,click on:
By Anus Herder
From: Montrose, CO
Apr 30, 2016

Alex Honnald and Cedar Wright got the FFA at 5.11X - In their film Sufferfest

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About