Just got back from doing the Fishook Arete on July 5th. This is my favorite Sierra Alpine climb so far. I thought the 1st pitch was 5.9. The rock was very clean, the exposure awesome. The descent was mild compared to the mountaineers route on Whitney. The last 5.9 pitch was the highlight of the climb. Look down for a thrill !
On the second or third pitch where ST says to go left of the arete, I've gone both ways and find that staying on the arete leads to more elegant climbing than heading down into the corners below. Either way goes, but I do think that staying on the arete puts you in some spectacular positions and is no harder than dropping down and left.
This route is a steller alpine outing--great position, solid rock (for an alpine route), and an awesome summit. I would not say it is 5.9, however, no move felt more difficult than 5.8 (even if it was very exposed, edge of the arete climbing). Expect the crux to come in the first three pitches. The two pitches after the notch are the most quality of the climb, just head straight up the headwall. Fast parties who feel confident on 5.8 at altitude may break the climb into several sections, simuling the first 4-500 feet, belay in the notch, pitch out the next two pitches until after the chimmney, then keep simuling the 5.5 to the summit. Enjoy!
interesting that none of the splitter crack routes have been supertopoed yet on this formation. I will have to recomend Startrekkin III 5.10. First pitch follows mithral to a ledge. Second (crux) breaks left while bearhugging two seams (bring smallest aliens) then goes over a roof. THIRD IS THE MONEY PITCH splitter hands goes to red rocks like golden knobs and a belay stance. Fourth pitch is easy ow to the top of the wall. Follow a ridge with boludery moves here and again to the summit and hike down the sweeeeeet east ridge.
The route as seen from the summit of Whitney.
Photo: Chris McNamara
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