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YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a

Type:  Trad, 8 pitches, 800'
Original:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Joe Fitschen and Royal Robbins, September 1957, FFA: Tom Higgins and Bob Kamps, 1966
Page Views: 39,165
Submitted By: Luke Stefurak on Feb 18, 2006

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Beware of Snakes!! Zoom in on the larger crack to...


While the guide quotes 8 pitches it can easily be condensed to 5 pitches. The cracks on this climb are stunning and very straight forward. There is quite a variety from low angle laybacking to hand cracks and eventually a chimney. A crux lies at the exit to a chimney where you get a bomber fist jam and have to work your feet up and get out of the top of the chimney. There is one bolted belay and all the rest are gear anchors. There are at least 2 good belay ledges.


A standard rack will suffice. After going over the roof on the last pitch trend up right on slabby ground to the top. Meandering cracks will lead you to the top of Tahquitz

Photos of Whodunit Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Deb Castro makes the exit moves after climbing out...
Deb Castro makes the exit moves after climbing out...
Rock Climbing Photo: Good look at the start of the first pitch. That is...
BETA PHOTO: Good look at the start of the first pitch. That is...
Rock Climbing Photo: Deb casts off on Pitch #2 of 'Whodunit'. Note the ...
Deb casts off on Pitch #2 of 'Whodunit'. Note the ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Hoodenett
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing the 5.9 chimney
Climbing the 5.9 chimney
Rock Climbing Photo: No need to draw a route line - the sun does it for...
BETA PHOTO: No need to draw a route line - the sun does it for...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climber is off route, a little right from whodunit...
BETA PHOTO: Climber is off route, a little right from whodunit...
Rock Climbing Photo: Joe Ebert just below the chimney
Joe Ebert just below the chimney
Rock Climbing Photo: Sarah heading over the final roofs.
Sarah heading over the final roofs.
Rock Climbing Photo: Here's how I remember climbing it and pitching it ...
BETA PHOTO: Here's how I remember climbing it and pitching it ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Unidentified climber (I know he's from Colorado) a...
Unidentified climber (I know he's from Colorado) a...
Rock Climbing Photo: Not the greatest photo, but the rope and gear foll...
BETA PHOTO: Not the greatest photo, but the rope and gear foll...
Rock Climbing Photo: jascha approaching the second belay
jascha approaching the second belay
Rock Climbing Photo: Jascha after the first 5.9 crux, pulling an overla...
BETA PHOTO: Jascha after the first 5.9 crux, pulling an overla...
Rock Climbing Photo: summit post whodunit
summit post whodunit
Rock Climbing Photo: Starting up the second pitch. Good stuff. All of i...
Starting up the second pitch. Good stuff. All of i...
Rock Climbing Photo: Favorite picture of the day!
Favorite picture of the day!
Rock Climbing Photo: Lukes shadow on whodunit
Lukes shadow on whodunit
Rock Climbing Photo: Deb enjoying a bit of exposure on the finish of Pi...
Deb enjoying a bit of exposure on the finish of Pi...
Rock Climbing Photo: Laura climbs the first pitch of Whodunit
Laura climbs the first pitch of Whodunit
Rock Climbing Photo: Top of 7th pitch, right before the roof at the top...
Top of 7th pitch, right before the roof at the top...
Rock Climbing Photo: Base picture.
BETA PHOTO: Base picture.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down Pitch 2, Mark Goss coming up.
Looking down Pitch 2, Mark Goss coming up.
Rock Climbing Photo: waiting in line
waiting in line

Show All 27 Photos

Only the first 24 are shown above.

Comments on Whodunit Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 18, 2017
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Feb 18, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

My memory is that the crux is the first pitch... 5.9 slab climbing in and around some overlaps. But I could have been a tad off route.
By Dpurf
From: Superior
Feb 21, 2006

Andy, I believe you are right about the crux. The move over to the 2 bolt belay and then the frist move onto the second seen to be the hardest bit for me. The Chimney exit could be a head crux, because there is some air under you. But the hand jam is bomber and feet I thought to be good.

By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Mar 6, 2006

IMHO The best long moderate route in SoCal. Whenever I need to get back to the reason why I began climbing, I jump in my car with a mate and go climb Whodunit.

The red dotted line in the beta photo is a little to the right of the actual route. Pitch 1 needs a very small cam at the overlap below the crux I used a .3 Alien, plus a #1 Wallnut on the slabby section above. RPs or Brass Offsets may work also. I didn't use the Edgehogs bolted anchor - I figured that was off-route.
By Darshan Ahluwalia
From: Petaluma, CA
Jul 29, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Bring some wide (4") gear for one of the pitches. Its a little offwidthy in a section or two...

Theres a good ledge every 100-150 feet.
By Floridaputz
From: Oakland Park, Florida
Aug 21, 2006

My first climb on Tahquitz. I thought it was outstanding. Such a great varity of crack climbing. We had a cool clear day and no one else around.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Sep 4, 2006
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Just climbed this route again after 15 years, and this climb simply rocks! You get everything on this baby - slab, fat crack, chimney, hand crack, finger crack... phew, the list goes on and on. Bring some small wires and/or steel nuts for the first pitch - you'll be wanting them. I also appreciated the #4 camalot on the wide pitch above the chimney. Bring lots of long slings as well. It tops out right on the summit of Tahquitz - for an added bonus. I disagree with the description saying this route could easily be done in 5 pitches. We combined the last two (per the Vogel/Gaines topo and just made it with a 60m) and did the entire route in 7 pitches.. BUT attempting to do it in five pitches will guarantee some pretty serious rope drag and less than pleasant belays.
By Mike
From: Phoenix
Sep 18, 2006

This is a favorite route at Tahquitz. There are several variations higher up, including a sweet finger crack out right, then left to a slightly overhanging dihedral. Simply outstanding.
By Bill Olszewski
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Mar 10, 2007

Definitely gets my vote for best climb at Tahquitz. Whodunnit is a STELLAR 5.9! I try to run up it at least once every season.

I agree with Darshan but must paraphrase: there's a good belay ledge every 150 - 200 feet. Andy, it can be easily climbed in 5 pitches, that's the only way I've ever done it on a 60m. But I have to admit, P4 is a true rope-stretcher; last time up I literally lassoed that tree (that grows out of the crack at the start of the 4th class/5.2 final pitch) with a 4' runner to start my anchor. ;-) The key is to 4th class the start to the right of the climb to an obvious belay ledge, then head up and left over the slabs, bypassing the bolted anchor and setting up a belay closer to the chimney.

I'd say the first pitch is the crux, but there are only two 5.9 friction slab moves (albeit a little dicey :0) Dave's right - the move out of the chimney is a head crux; great jam, probably 5.8, EASY to protect. But that's another thing that's great about Whodunnit - it eats gear all the way up.

If you want to mix it up a bit next time you climb this route, try this - my friend Adam and I did Whodunnit passive - full set of nuts, medium to large hexes, three tri-cams. I'm not usually one to leave the cams in the car but this was really fun for a change and this climb is well suited for it.
By Bruce Willey
From: Bishop, CA
Sep 10, 2007

does anyone have any information on how this route got its name? Heard that Royal Robbins found a mysterious pin when they were doing the "FA" but nothing more.

By Jon Hanlon
From: SLO
Sep 20, 2007

I had the opportunity to ask Royal about the route name and spelling. He said that they named the route "Hoodenett" (pronounced who'-dnit with the emphasis on "who"). This spelling can be seen in older guidebooks including the Wilts guide. Later guidebooks bastardized the name as "Whodunit." Anyway, yes, it appears the name came from a mysterious pin found along the route.

Pasted from the interwebs:
14 Feb, 1998
"....I thought you might be interested in the background of the name. At the time, this route was the only obvious line on the north face that had not been climbed, so Royal and I set out on it. We knew it hadn't been climbed because of the pristine nature of the first pitch which in those days would have been aided by anyone (glad to hear it now goes free). Indeed, for three or four pitches there were no piton scars or any sign of previous passage. And then, somewhere around the middle of the route, we came across a piton. How did it get there? Who did it? From there to the top there was no other sign of previous climbing, so we felt quite comfortable in claiming the first ascent. But in a fit of youthful humor and a naive attempt at worldly sophistication, we decided to give the obvious question, "Who done it?" a French twist (although one wouldn't find "hoo" in French). Anyway, it was originally our phonetic equivalent of "hoo-da-nae" (hence, the otherwise inexplicable double t's at the end). Originally, we might have spelled it "...don..." or "...dun...", but Wilts got it "...den..." and that's fine with me. Vogel was onto something, of course, but while clarifying one bit of history he defaces another. So it goes. .....Taquitz was my climbing cradle, as it was for many of the top climbers in that and succeeding generations. For sheer pleasure in climbing I don't think any other area matches it. All the best,
Joe Fitschen"
By Dave Daly
From: Kernville, CA
Sep 25, 2007
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

THE CLASSIC of Tahquitz!! Couldn't get any better!
By Bruce Willey
From: Bishop, CA
Oct 2, 2007

Thanks Jon. Much appreciate it.

And hey, SP Dave Daly. Nice to see you making the rounds here. Yeah, it is indeed a great and classic route.
By Andy Laakmann
Site Landlord
From: Bend, OR
Jun 11, 2008
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Climbed it again on 6/11/08. In the sun from 11am in June. Hot. Climbed it in 6 pitches this time. First pitch to the bolts. Second pitch to the ledge. Third pitch out the chimney to the good stance. Fourth pitch up the crack, skip the first good ledge, and continue up to the next good ledge (above some jammed chockstones - which are rope eaters!). Fifth pitch starts left up the thin cracks, and then moves right. Go all the way up to a sloping stance about 40' below the roof.. Sixth pitch was over the roof and all the way to the top (60m+?). Five pitches is possible, but it would require linking the first two pitches.
By Murf
Jun 11, 2008

I hate to add to the ever growing debate about the true minimum number of pitches for this route. That being said, the bolts aren't the first belay. The bolts are the belay for Edgehogs. The first belay was always a rope stretcher to tree/first small ledge. With a partner comfortable with easy simul-climbing, the big ledge was a better bet.
By Robin like the bird
From: mountain center ,CA
Jul 4, 2008

I am wondering what people would grade this climb, grade III or Grade II
By Christian "crisco" Burrell
From: PG, Utah
Feb 23, 2009

Just a fantastic day of climbing. Every pitch gives you a new challenge and your full range of skills are needed at some pont or other.
Unfortunatley, too many people will show up just for this climb. I have hiked around to the face and seen 3 parties already on the route with 3 more figuring out who is next at the start. All the while some great lines to either side are totally empty. There are other good adventures here..
By Cory Harelson
From: Boise, ID
Jul 12, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Fantastic climb! Every pitch was great! It's also cool to do a route that ends right on the summit! I thought the crux was the thin smearing/fingertip crack at the overlap on pitch one, but my two climbing partners both thought exiting the chimney was harder. We did the route in 6 pitches, but by linking pitches one and two (which we didn't do because the ledges above were crowded with other climbers) I think this could be condensed to 5 long pitches pretty easily.

Regarding pro, I only brought up to a number 3 and that seemed to be plenty. I could see where the #4 would have been useful, but by looking around I was always able to find smaller gear where I needed it.
By badtraddad
Apr 16, 2011

great route, i have been informed that my start was to the right of wh ere we were supposed to start but other than that you would have to have no mountain sense to get off route.For me the start of pitch two was the mental crux, but what got us was the getting off the rock.
By Colin Parker
From: Idyllwild, CA
Oct 9, 2011
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Climbed this thing yesterday in four comfortable pitches with a 70m. Figured I would post my pitch beta for anyone interested in doing the same. Of course the leader should be familiar with techniques to help minimize rope drag. For the first pitch we skipped the Edgehogs anchors and continued up to the second ledge (not the ledge near the small tree), about forty feet below the chimney (68m, 5.9). The second pitch went up over the chimney to a slightly sloped ledge below the steep chockstone crack (63m, 5.8+). After pulling this you head up and LEFT on a finger crack to avoid the main crack which is offwidth at this point. After rejoining the main crack by traversing on a short ramp you continue up and belay about 20 feet below the final overhang in a smallish stance just before two large detached blocks (61m, 5.8). The final pitch surmounts the overhang by trending slightly right through a weakness and then up and slightly left through varied (but easy) terrain to the top of Tahquitz (63m, 5.6).
By Benjamin Quinones
May 16, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Did it in 4 pitches with a 60m :)maybe a little simul-climbing involved, but nothing big. Same belays as Collin Parker posted last year. Didn't see his post till today though lol.
By Chris D
From: the couch
Sep 29, 2012

Just got on this for the first time today. Wow. What a fantastic climb! Everything you could want at Tahquitz; fantastic cracks, a top out on the absolute true summit of the rock, chimneys, easy offwidths, one of the longest routes on the rock, great belays ledges, and lots of sustained climbing.

Not sure what all the talk is about the crux being on the first pitch. The first pitch, except for a couple of thin moves around the fixed pin near the edgehogs anchors, is not that bad, and nowhere near as sustained as most of the rest of the climbing. For your average climber, the chimney and the ten or so feet after the exit will prove to be the crux, but it really depends on what sort of climber you are.

It kind of does the climb a disservice to talk about it in terms of cruxes anyway. There's a wide variety of difficulties to overcome all the way up, and except for the last two pitches, most of the climbing is right around 5.8, with far fewer "breaks" than most of the Tahquitz routes I've been on (granted, lots of the easies and moderates).

Can't say enough about how much fun the day was. And on a beautiful September Saturday morning, we were the only people on the route, start to finish. One to remember!
By The Gray Tradster
Sep 30, 2012

Sounds like maybe you did the first pitch of Edgehogs.

The crux moves are an attention getter off physiological pro (# 1 or #2 nut, if the placement isn't completely blown out by now)

The move past the fixed pin, just after the anchor, is inconsequential in comparison.
By Chris D
From: the couch
Sep 30, 2012

I don't think we were on's a photo of Joe just getting ready to head into the crux of P1.

Angled left along a bunch of awesome underclings to a thin crack where the deep dihedral begins. Were we on route? The hardest part of the pitch was the few feet below the bolted anchor, which i guess is actually the end of edgehogs P1, not P1 Whodunit?
By Ken Noyce
From: Layton, UT
Nov 5, 2012
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

@ Chris D: it looks like you started to the left of Whodunit and joined up with the route just above the 5.9 crux. Looking at your photo, the first pitch crux move is just below and slightly to the right of your position. If you follow the crack that your hands are in to the edge of the photo, then go one crack below it and follow that crack up to the small overlap, that is where the first pitch 5.9 crux is located.
By Chris D
From: the couch
Jan 4, 2013

Thanks Ken! I assume you meant "right" not "left" in your first sentence. Surprised I'd never read/heard that there was a reasonably direct way to avoid the crux of the pitch. It will be fun to get back there in the spring and have a go at the correct route up the first pitch.

The way we went on P1 (in the photo in my previous post) included good pro, a lot of underclings, and reasonably secure feet on wide-ish stems. Pretty sure there was nothing harder than .9, since I didn't fall.
By Jan Tarculas
From: Riverside, Ca
Jul 7, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

can be done in 4 pitches. Followed Colin Parker's Beta with 70 meter rope. Extend everything on pitch two during the chimney to prevent heinous rope drag
By S. Saunders
Jul 18, 2013

WARNING - LOOSE BLOCK: Did the route last weekend. There is a gnarly loose block near the top of the first pitch (If you stretch it all way to the ledge in the dihedral, way past the edgehogs anchor). It is in a 6-8" crack in the dihedral, about 15ft below the ledge at the top of the first pitch. Long, lean, and arrow shaped, the block is about the size of a large bread loaf, and is determined to launch out of the crack. I used a cam to keep it wedged in there while my 2nd came up. We would've trundled, but high winds and lack of visibility around the corner kept us from letting it go.

Please be careful below this route until this block is removed...could be ugly.

By oldbull
From: Laguna Beach, CA
Jun 11, 2014

Wow....did this gem again this past weekend after 12 years. Just as fun as I remember it. Strange thing was that we saw almost nobody in the NW recess area all day!? We did it in 6 pitches by setting the last belay shortly below the last little 7/8 small overhang. With a 60m we were able to run it to the summit. Definitely small nuts to protect the crux on the first pitch and #4 camalot for the top of the chimney. Saving the #4 to walk up the pitch after the chimney could definitely help. Enjoy!
By Nick Thurston
Jun 1, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Linking pitch 2 and 3 makes for the single funnest pitch of climbing I've done yet. Unreal jamming on flawless granite. Classic climbing all the way on this masterpiece of a route.
By Joshua Matthews
Jun 24, 2015

My first time to Tahquitz and my second route there, this was awesome fun. A little bit of everything here. My buddy and I were super stoked when we sent it. I agree that the first pitch as you approach the anchor and then move into the second pitch is at lease as difficult as the Chimney exit.
By Anouk Erni
From: Portland, OR
Sep 8, 2015
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

The crux is definitely halfway up the first pitch, but it can be well protected. I'd say only one move of 5.9. The chimney on the 3rd pitch (our 2nd pitch) was easier than a .9, even though I couldn't find the solid hand jam everyone keeps talking about (I have small hands). The rest of the route is fun, but not as fun as the Long Climb, which is way better IMO.
By steverett
From: San Diego, CA
May 17, 2016

Great climb, 5.8 or 5.9 climbing on pretty much every pitch. Not hard to follow the route either. Only section we couldn't run out the full rope length was around 2/3 of the way up; there was a roof that the rope liked to wedge itself into, and was making a lot of drag.

Make sure you bring small stoppers for the first section!
By Matt Lemke
From: Red Lodge, MT
Jun 12, 2016

Did this awesome climb yesterday. Just thought I'd mention if you're like me and don't like slab climbing you can climb easier cracks and flakes to the right of the first pitch, and climb leftward a little, and stretch the rope to the big ledge that is typically used for the top of the second pitch. This goes at about 5.6 and saves time you have a late start. Best to start by scrambling about 30-40 feet of class 3 stuff to a nice ledge between edgehogs and the long climb.

Rest of the route is utter awesomeness... Like an climbgasm lol
By Rollie Graham
From: Oceanside, CA
Jun 27, 2016

My partner and I had a very close call here on June 25th. A party above us pulled a mini fridge sized rock off one of the pitches above the chimney. My partner, while on the first pitch, was grazed in the shoulder by a softball sized rock. I was belaying underneath a shelf on the first pitch and almost got hit in the head by a similar sized rock. Do not climb underneath people on this route.
By Tradiban
Jun 27, 2016

To expand the above statement, don't climb under anyone left of Super Pooper, it's a choss show all over the upper North Face. Better would be if everyone could be more careful all over the mountain and not knock anything off in the first place. Been all over the damn thing and never knocked a rock loose ever myself.
By Scotty Dusek
From: San Diego
Jul 1, 2016
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

Loved it. Cruxes were on P1 near the overlap, coming out of the chimney and the following 20 feet, and some friction moves to pass the first off-width section. Small and very small cams were particularly useful, small wires too (BD #2 especially). I didn't see a need for anything larger than a #3 C4. Definetely got my blood pumping in a few spots.
By amockalypsenow
From: San Diego
Nov 22, 2016

There is a red c4 in pitch 2.

Also, the .10(?) roof variation has a pocket under the piton that protects just great with a brown tricam- take that, tricam h8ers.

Extend everything on the upper pitches and consider your placements else get rope-drag and shorter pitches and slower movement.
By Safty Third
From: San Diego, CA
May 20, 2017

This climb has been on my radar since I started climbing trad, and it was even better than I had imagined. We did it in 7 pitches, but it can easily be done in 4 or 5 with a 70m. Such a good climb. I felt the crux was the first pitch. Get on it! If you need a partner PM me, I'm down to go again, or any other climb for that matter!
By Derek Field
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 18, 2017
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a

P1 crux is heads up first thing in the morning! A couple of #3 (BD) nuts make a big difference psychologically. Coming out of the chimney higher on the route is equally difficult but it's okay to fall there.

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