General Information

Whitehorse is the place to go if you want to climb slabs. Some of the harder climbs as you travel left along the cliff are not slabs (Inferno and Pathfinder) but they still offer some unique climbing.

Whitehorse is a great place to climb when it is not too hot. In the summer, it is impossible to be in shade on many of the climbs and sudden thunder showers in the afternoon (if it is unbearably hot it often hits about 2pm) can force a very wet retreat. This is a good place to have a plan for retreat at each of the belays.

Though bolted, the bolts are very far apart and gear placement is slim. There are some climbs that offer several pitches of low grade climbing. Sea of Holes and the Dike Route are among our favorites in this category. Standard and Sliding Board will get very busy so an early or late start can be advantageous.

Selected Climbs

The Dike Route (5.6)

The dike runs up the center of this photo

The Dike Route is interesting because as the name implies, it follows a dike that runs up the face of Whitehorse. The first few pitches are relatively simple and straight forward. The dike offers many tiny steps to climb up rather than frictional slabs like the other climbs in the area. There are parts of the route where plants grow out of the dike and you need to climb the face around them.

There are belay/rappel stations in the dike and the belays are pretty comfortable, and it is easy to find the beginning of the route because of the obvious feature. The first two pitches are 5.2. You can rappel after any of the pitches.

Sea of Holes (5.7-)

Out of all of the slab climbing on Whitehorse, Sea of Holes stands out as interesting simply because of the holes along the route. The holes are erosion pockets ("mariolitic" pockets) and often are good for Lowe Tri-cams or small slung hexes. Like many climbs on Whitehorse, the lead is run out, but the climbing is not too difficult.

Most people only do the first few pitches before they rap off via the fixed anchors along the cliff.

first pitch in late October Frog in the hole

Hotter than Hell / Inferno 5.8/5.9

Bill continues the lead

This is a popular link of two climbs on the South Buttress of Whitehorse. Hotter than Hell is a 5.8, but the first pitch is a 5.7 with marginal though adequate protection, and then there is a very short 5.4 to get to the ledge where the two 5.8 cracks begin. Inferno is two pitches: 5.6 and 5.9, which deposit you on the ledge where the 5.8 cracks of Hotter than Hell begin. Climbing Inferno then the final 5.8 cracks of Hotter than Hell makes for an outstanding climb. The construction of the belay anchors are straightforward.

Inferno begins with a solid 5.6, and ends at a very comfortable belay ledge with a couple of stout trees. After a blocky start off the ledge, you are deposited on the face of the 5.9 face. This begins a fairly long and thin right traverse. At the end of the traverse the climb angles back left and up, following bolts to a sort of notch. There are a few cracks in the notch where you can place lots of pro, and then make the moves required to exit the notch (I found this part exciting; note the use of “lots of pro” in the notch).

Easier climbing then brings you the short distance to the aforementioned ledge with another tree belay.

The 5.9 face is thin, and you must keep an eye out for the next bolt. It is well protected, though there is significant distance between the bolts and you don’t want to pass one or go off in the wrong direction. The climb is conveniently done with either a single rope or double ropes, though the second may feel better belayed on the initial rightwards traverse if double ropes are employed. If a single rope is used, I find it best to put a double length sling at the bolt at the end of the traverse to cut down on rope drag.

Pathfinder (5.9)

Second pitch of Pathfinder

Called "The Squirting Dog" in Handren's guide, this is primarily a link up of other, previously done climbs, although it does include one or two original pitches. It is a recommended climb, as it tries to follow the "best" pitches of the other climbs, and doesn't seem to cross any other lines. Bolts are well placed, protecting the difficult moves, but it is often run out nonetheless.

The 5.9 pitch is protected by a bolt if you are tall enough to reach it. If not, the headwall that makes up this section has a horizontal crack that takes pro very well (I use both). Pro placed in this crack, however, is best slung with double length slings so as to minimize rope drag. (Don't be too concerned with the extended fall if double length slings are used: Whether you sling it short or long you will still hit the same ledge if you fall. With longer sling you'll just roll a bit more after the fall :)

After the 5.9 move is carried out, you will find yourself atop the headwall, with the two belay bolts up a bit and to the left. (They can't be seen right away unless you're positioned just right, but they're not far away. Keep an eye out for them.

Please note this is for reference only based off our visit to the cliff. Do not email requesting instruction.