Teased by reports of big virgin granite up the Cleaver Valley, Lindsey, Shay Andre and I found ourselves parked at Whitney Portal late one August evening. We immediately started hiking up, bivying on the sandy bench above LBSL. I think this is a useful strategy for mitigating altitude sickness, and it also allows one to enjoy the hike in the coolth of the night.
On Saturday we finished hiking up the amazing Cleaver Valley. Shay and Andre decided to gun for a route on Carillon while Lin and I decided to free Cleavage Dreamer (III 5.10 A1), recently established by a young Greco-American team.
After establishing basecamp below the Cleaver, we started up.
Pitch 1 was a bit grainy, but established us on on a ledge above the “big flakes”.
Pitch 2 was short, up the thin 5.9 hand crack (variation to the orig. route), to a ledge.
Pitch 3 started with a short downclimb, then climbs up and left on great handcracks to about 20 feet below the Greek Finger.
Pitch 4 climbs up the Greek Finger, then surmounts the crux groove. This section protects well with small TCUs and offset nuts, and features intriguing butterfly gastons and heel-toe jams. The 200′ pitch finishes over a roof and ends on a spacious ledge.
Pitch 5 was the bitch pitch. After hearing the original exit was 5.10 loose/scary, we tried to pioneer a new exit by staying left. Ours was also loose/scary and cannot be recommended either.
Popping out on the summit ridge of the Cleaver, we found a Death Sling which the Greco-American team had apparently used to rappel off the back side (*shudder*). After installing a Life Sling, we too rappeled off the back side and made our victory march back down to camp.
Shay and Andre made it back to camp quite late, after a brilliant ascent. Lindsey had the good idea to “leave the lights on” for them, and this helped them navigate back to camp.
The next day was crummy weather so we bailed.