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Whale’s Lip, Gutter Balls Crag, Eagle’s Gift Slab

Going up the main trail from the Lower Ridge Slab, one ascends a steep section to come out on a small plateau, with some exposed rock and a distinctive, ancient, wizened oak tree at the top edge of a 100 foot square low angle slab. This is the starting point for access to many different small east-side crags, which seem scattered and hidden due to the vegetation. Walk east down the slab to the bushes on the right corner and plunge in, finding a manifold of very indistinct paths in the dense undergrowth. Naming them left to right, they lead to the Whale’s Lip (turn left just before a 10 foot high boulder, just 20 yards down the path, and stay left close to the base of the crag), Eagle’s Gift Slab, Gutterballs Crag, the Latest Trick Crag, and Jabba the Hut. These are all at different elevations, with Jabba the highest at the base, and the Whale’s Lip by far the biggest, with several excellent face and slab climbs. The walk is short but obscure. As you trend down left of center, over a small slab (“Baby Whale’s Lip”) you will see an entrance to a corridor on the right, where a gigantic flake has split from the main slab. The Eagle’s Gift starts at the mild arête down at the corner of the slab.

(Improve description of approach.)

81)****The Eagle’s Gift 5.10a+R. A classic by any standard. At right side of wall, climb past 4 bolts beginning at shallow right facing corner layback crack. The 3rd bolt is hidden from view by a bulge. Continue to rising traverse on bumps to grove/crack 25 feet to left. The gear placements on the route, though adequate, are strange in spots. Not a sport climb. The finish of the climb up a rounded flaring crack includes a 40’ run-out over initially difficult but easing rock. Gear belay with cordalette if using 165’ rope! Light rack with stoppers, small SLCDs, and Tri-cams. A very long 165’.

82)** Mussel Memory 5.11d. About 25 feet to the left of Eagles gift, on the other side of a large block. 4 bolts. Follows seam that disappears.

83)** The Ally 5.11a. About 15 feet to the right of “Visit from Juan”, starting at the top of a boulder platform. Past 1 bolt, past a crack with a pin, past 3 more bolts to the top. 120’.

84)**Visit from Juan 5.9- A nice bolted slab climb with outstanding friction; the leftmost climb on the face, starting on the same platform as “the Ally”, traversing in from left. 4 bolts, no top anchor. Less than a full rope length.

At the right edge of the Eagles Gift slab there is a corridor. There are several climbs in this hallway.

Gutter Balls Crag

At the bottom of the low-angle slab marking the entrance to several areas, very faint or even imaginary trails diverge in the brush. A hard left down the slope leads to the Whale’s Lip; a mild left to the Eagle’s Gift Slab; a still milder left to the Gutterballs crag, the top of which is almost at your present level, and which is marked with two rap bolts, using which are the best way to the base of the crag; a mild right and down a gully leads to the Latest Trick crag and several others farther down; and a hard right goes to the top of Jabba the Hut. None of these routes are obvious.

85)***Gutter Balls 5.9. Follow shallow unjammable crack (the gutter) to overhang. Surmount in corner using finger crack. Two bolts at start.

86)**Simple Man in a Complex World 5.8) Face climb through 2 overlaps.

Whale’s Lip Slab
The base of the Whales Lip slab is reached as above. The top of the Crag can be reach via a number of very short side trails. The best of these leaves to the left side of a large boulder by the side of the trail. About 15 yards off the trail you emerge on the top of a gradually steepening slab. There is a 2 bolt rappel station about 40 feet down the slab at the top of Introspection, about 20 feet from the steep part. It is a few feet to the left of a small corner/crack in an obvious water drainage groove. Be careful walking down to it. This rappel station gives very quick access to the base of the crag.

More than most areas at Old Rag there are bold lines here with few or no bolts. Do not assume you are the first ascender, and of course, bolting are not allowed. It is surprising the rate at which lichens grow on the lower part of this slab. Even popular routes look unexplored. Please only clean the few holds that are needed.

87)**Autumn Harvest 5.10c) 2 bolts.

88)**Thar She Blows 5.11b) 5 bolts.

89)**Pincer Perfect 5.9) Crystal pinching. What else? 4 bolts.

90)* Crab Walk 5.7) 1 bolt. Follows discontinuous cracks and pockets. Light rack with small to large Tricams. Where Pincer Perfect goes straight up, traverse off to right using large break.

91)**** Introspection 5.10bR) 4 bolts. Light rack with stoppers and cams to thin hands. Excellent route offering several cruxes with varied thin climbing. Start to the left of the row of bolts at a right facing corner with good holds just within reach of the ground. Mantel onto the horn, step right across the void and up the line of bolts with home-made hangers. Don’t fall near the beginning, and expect a substantial run out over 5.8 rock at the end. The introspection in this climb may be a matter of evaluating exact character of the rock in a precise engineering study. I think it is more a matter of evaluating the size of your oats…the more quickly the better. Pound your chest when you get to the top. I’ve never seen a gibbon absorbed in thought while climbing; only when trying to do something complex, like peeling an orange.

92)* Archful Dodger 5.9X) Simple gear: No bolts, no rack. Archful Dodger Direct 5.9R goes up through the first arch instead of traversing around the arch. Light rack.

93)*Dodge City aka Startful Dodger 5.9R) Start on Another Green World and join Artful Dodger just past bolt. Light rack.

94)* Another Green World 5.7R) Light rack.

95)* Sold to the Highest Buddha 5.6) Light rack.

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