Scotty and I spotted The Cleaver while we were on the NERLPP, and after getting home and looking it up saw that it had only one route on the South face. Sick! We made loose plans to check it out, but Scotty suggested the idea to Kostas before taking off on a 3 week roadtrip.
Kostas and I headed up there with the plan of trying to figure out where the original route went, then picking out a different line. On Saturday at 4:00 AM we woke up at Whitney Portal and charged up the North fork, turning right just below Lower Boyscout Lake. At about 8:00 AM we dropped our packs at a perfect bivy site just below the massive south face of the Cleaver and pulled out the binoculars and route description to figure out what the hell we were going to do. We picked out a line, grabbed the rack, and went for it, topping out around 5PM.
“Cleavage Dreamer” III 5.10 A1
- Start near the center of the face just to the right of a couple of left-facing corners. Climb bulging cracks/face to a small ledge just left of a slightly-overhanging left-facing flaky corner. (5.8)
- Climb the loose flaky corner and follow two consecutive hand cracks, passing a bolt between them, to a large horn belay just above a hole. (5.8)
- Traverse left around an arete, downclimb a short handcrack, then climb up and left on flakes and liebacks to a right-sloping ledge just below “The Greek Finger”– a large detached pillar jutting skyward. (5.9)
- Climb/bearhug the finger (awesome!) to a right-arching handcrack, then step right and climb up into the dihedral. Climb funky unprotected moves in a shallow groove for the first 15 feet or so (crux, a bolt here would be nice), until a crack and face holds appear. Hanging belay below an offwidth bulge (or keep going if you still have gear left). (5.10 A1 or possibly 5.10+)
- Jam/layback the bulge (easier than it looks) and climb up to the giant broken ramp. Follow the ramp up and right then climb straight up and slightly left on flakes/face. (5.8)
- Work your way up through the overhangs to the summit ridge. Tricky climbing on less-than-stellar rock, with lots of slung horns for pro. (5.10 – unless you find an easier way)
We found a bolt on P2 but we’re pretty sure that route goes a different way. We’re trying to get ahold of one of the guys on the original FFA of the face to figure out what went down and where.