Trip Report
Whitesides North Carolina
Monday November 18, 2013 12:40am
To quote the Guidebook: At Whitesides "it is customary to eschew R or X ratings since every pitch would likely qualify."

The left way overhanging part of 800ft. Whitesides was the playground of Arno Ilgner in the late 80s and 90s. His legacy is ten or so 600-800 ft climbs with mandatory 5.11 to 5.12 climbing above bolts. Easier pitches usually have way runout slab and mantle sections on 5.8 or 5.9. There is some natural gear, and the occasional trad pitch. Arno's routes are reasonable but require commitment. This contrasts with another route maker in the area whose routes require unwavering faith in an afterlife. His route "Mainline" at 12A required a large green flag at about 500 feet. The hapless climber climbed toward the flag following no crack system and almost no fixed gear. Sadly, both the green flag and the first ascentionist are gone.

I made my 7th trip to Whitesides on 7 November. My partner was Joe Degatana. We'd done the OR (original route or Gom Jabar) six years ago, and Joe had been pining to return since.

Warrior's Way was our first route. It has a reputation for sanity.
All Whitesides climbs start with unprotected slab and face moves to ab...
All Whitesides climbs start with unprotected slab and face moves to about 5.10 Keeps out the Riff Raff.
Credit: steven Curtis
Second pitch is steep face to slight overhang at 11+
Second pitch is steep face to slight overhang at 11+
Credit: steven Curtis
Third pitch is 180 ft with 9 bolts and some gear.  Probably 5.9.  Four...
Third pitch is 180 ft with 9 bolts and some gear. Probably 5.9. Fourth pitch is very easy and short up into a corner beneath a roof and overhang.
Credit: steven Curtis
After the 4th pitch, excitement and anxiety increase. Retreat is no longer practical, and the pitch grades are hard 11 and 5.12. It is probably possible to pull through on gear at mid 11. This sets WW apart from other whitesides routes. Little Miss Dangerous and the Matrix require very thin 5.12 climbing above bolts, the next bolt out of sight on Little Miss.
Frankly, anxiety levels were too high to capture pictures on pitches 5...
Frankly, anxiety levels were too high to capture pictures on pitches 5 and 6. Pitch 6 is marred by a 4 ft blank section.
Credit: steven Curtis
Pitch 7 was more 5.12.  Again, marred by a blank section  It looked po...
Pitch 7 was more 5.12. Again, marred by a blank section It looked possible to climb 10 or 15 feet right of this section to avoid a short bolt ladder.
Credit: steven Curtis
The last two pitches of WW can be combined.  The guide book calls pitc...
The last two pitches of WW can be combined. The guide book calls pitch 8 5.7 I found it to be 10A R and very wet. A good kick in the head.
Credit: steven Curtis
The next route we did was Children of the Sun. My retreat biner from an 07 solo attempt was still in place. I'd bet our ascent was the second after Arno and his brother.
Children of the Sun is to Warrior's Way as Uncle Fester is to Morticia. Still the same show, but with more warts than beauty. We decided it was "Children of the Corn"
The first pitch is slab to overhang to vertical face.  Several pieces ...
The first pitch is slab to overhang to vertical face. Several pieces of gear are necessary including a #4 which will only fit in one orientation.
Credit: steven Curtis
The second and third pitches were slab and thin face with a few dirty ...
The second and third pitches were slab and thin face with a few dirty sections.
Credit: steven Curtis
The fourth pitch traverses left 150 ft and the fifth pitch traverses b...
The fourth pitch traverses left 150 ft and the fifth pitch traverses back right 100 ft. Both pitches overhang severely and are mostly trad. Behind me is the fifth pitch arching roof.
Credit: steven Curtis
The sixth and seventh pitches are more hard overhanging sport climbing...
The sixth and seventh pitches are more hard overhanging sport climbing.
Credit: steven Curtis
On WW there are fine solid features to grab.  Children of the Corn has...
On WW there are fine solid features to grab. Children of the Corn has acne.
Credit: steven Curtis

All that is left is a tunnel through laurel and briar, with 75 ft. of unprotected (easy) slab to exit.
Whitesides offers a unique experience; face holds on a huge overhanging granite cliff. For this California Crack climber it is worth the trip.

Pictures now upright!

  Trip Report Views: 1,092
steven Curtis
About the Author
steven Curtis is a trad climber from Petaluma.

Comments
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Rudbud

Gym climber
Grover Beach, CA
  Nov 18, 2013 - 02:07am PT
Nice work Steve, looks like fun.
phylp

Trad climber
Millbrae, CA
  Nov 18, 2013 - 10:35am PT
F&*K! That sounds scary but thrilling! I didn't mind turning my neck sideways for a few of the photos that didn't land quite the way you wanted.

I've read a few articles in the climbing magazines about this place. It sounds like a great area if you've got the skills and the head for it.
Thanks for posting!
micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Nov 18, 2013 - 11:53am PT
One of my proudest routes of all time was a late October ascent of the OR on Whitesides. An amazing place steeped in history, lore and funny characters. Thanks for a walk down memory lane. Whitesides is legendary! Proud sends man.

Scott
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Nov 18, 2013 - 11:54am PT
Whitesides....eeek. Thanks for the memories.
Eric Beck

Sport climber
Bishop, California
  Nov 18, 2013 - 11:57am PT
Is the rock as good as it looks?
Crazy Bat

Sport climber
Birmingham, AL & Seweanee, TN
  Nov 18, 2013 - 06:58pm PT
One of my fondest memories is of Whitesides. We were sport rappelling and climbing back up the rope. A couple of trad climbers were to the right of us. I took a break about half way up. The belayer looked over at me and said that looks terrifying. I was about 200 feet from the cliff(a little exageration maybe). I replied back "me, I'm tied it to a bombproof bolt. What are you tied to?" His eyes got big and he said "you got a point". LOL!
Leggs

Sport climber
Made in California
  Nov 18, 2013 - 07:02pm PT
Nice TR... great descriptions and photos... and smiles!


TFPU!
Guangzhou

Trad climber
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  Nov 18, 2013 - 07:49pm PT
Steve,

Nice post. Good to see you here on occasion too. Hope we get to climb together again in the future. Guess being on opposite sides of the globe makes that difficult.

Warrior's Way was my first Whitesides route. The Army had just moved me to the South and a climbing partner and I were going to climb the O.R. Somehow, Arno ended up on the trip and we switch to the O.R. on the drive.

I have to agree about the last pitch. I remember leading that, wet and cold. (Temps were just above freezing) On every move I kept yelling down to Arno "5.7 my ass!" Both laughed at me during the entire lead, but on seconding the pitch, they realized how much the cold and wetness made the pitch.

As for the quote above, I'm pretty sure he answered the call with the Great Ah Ha.

Whiteside, so many great memories. Excellent climbing, mostly solid rock, gear here and there. Face climbing on gear is always interesting.

Eman



Salamanizer

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
  Nov 18, 2013 - 08:35pm PT
Wow Steve, that rock looks awfully cheese grater. I guess falling's not really an option anyway so it doesn't matter.

Nice to see a TR from you here. How about one from Bolivia?
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Nov 18, 2013 - 09:21pm PT
wild rock!

Thx for posting up Steve!
Crack-N-Up

Social climber
South of the Mason Dixon line
  Nov 18, 2013 - 09:37pm PT
Went to Whiteside's once and did the regular route (10+)name? I hadn't climbed in about 4 years up till that point and I told my partner he had to lead the first pitch 5.7-5.8. It was run out and looked scary with supposedly two bolts for the first pitch. I can't remember if he clipped only one bolt, or two, but might have decked had he fallen. He got freaked out, froze and didn't want to commit the last ten to fifteen feet. He was at least 80 feet out. He asked me if I could climb up a left diagonally, bushy 4th class corner and drop him a rope. So I tied him off to a tree. Climbed the diagonal then belayed him up. I rapped down and Top roped the 1st pitch then led the second. The rest of the route felt sane to me. Although the last pitch was very run out, it was easy.

We didn't see anyone there that day either, which was nice. Seems like it was about 800 feet of climbing. I did enjoy the place very much, don't remember anything loose.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Nov 18, 2013 - 10:48pm PT
Great stuff, Steve.
Thanks for sharing.
Aya K

Trad climber
Boulder, CO!
  Nov 18, 2013 - 10:52pm PT
Best part of Whitesides: the approach is downhill both ways!
Guangzhou

Trad climber
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
  Nov 19, 2013 - 12:57am PT
It's not cheese grater, just cover in lichen from not being traveled much. Long falls could be dangerous, but on many routes it's clean air.

Downhill both way is so true.
Jerry Dodrill

climber
Sebastopol
  Nov 19, 2013 - 09:19am PT
Awesome Steve. Looks like a fun trip. Glad to see the fashion police haven't busted you yet. ;-)
Sketch

Trad climber
Not FortMental
  Nov 19, 2013 - 09:39am PT
Best part of Whitesides: the approach is downhill both ways!

And the southern exposure.

Did the Original Route in December. We camped in the parking lot, which was a big slab of ice. Woke to clear skies. Got to the base around nine. It was already balmy. We were treated to a cloudless 50 degree day. Probably 70 on the rock. The climb was a blast, but uneventful.

It may be rated 5.10+. In my opinion, leading the 5.7 first pitch is the crux.
MH2

climber
  Nov 19, 2013 - 10:58am PT
Thanks. I appreciate being brought up to date. Heard an enthusiastic report about climbing down south while at the Gunks in the early 70s. Got the guide.




from 1973?





Made 2 trips to the area from Chicago mid-70s. Climbed here and there but only drove past Whitesides. And picked up a couple postcards (from '59).



Macronut

Trad climber
Fresno, Ca
  Nov 19, 2013 - 12:35pm PT
TFPU, Bringing me back to my roots. I got my start in climbing on North Carolina slab and face climbing before moving west. It fills the senses of crisp fall mornings, beautifully colored trees, leaf covered-root infested trails missing here in my now California home. What a head space you must have to hold together impressive!
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Nov 19, 2013 - 07:25pm PT
I love Carolina climbing,
I just did some Big Green routes with my buddy Nathan B a couple weeks ago,
Fun stuff!!!!
Rhodo-Router

Gym climber
sawatch choss
  Nov 19, 2013 - 09:05pm PT
Nothing like stemming across a groove running with water and the rope trailing away behind you...
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Nov 20, 2013 - 12:09am PT
Photos now upright - time to read again!
Although they still look rotated in Chrome when I click to enlarge, oh, well.
ray-t

climber
Asheville, NC
  Nov 20, 2013 - 10:32am PT
Good to meet you guys out there! It was fun watching ya'll on Children of the Sun while we were plodding up warrior's way. Haven't seen too many other parties out there this fall. Agree about that last wet "5.7" pitch. Had our full attention. Cheers!
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