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North America, United States, California—Sierra Nevada, Wheeler Crest, Stormy Petrel Route

Wheeler Crest, Stormy Petrel Route. Quite prominent among the line of granitic walls and towers between the desert floor and the top of Wheeler Crest is a pink-toned cliff on the left flank, above Wells Peak. Mike Warburton and I had tried a line near the center of the cliff one winter, but fresh snow in the cracks became unduly frustrating. On a cold May weekend in 1982, Bryce Simon, John Feder and I hiked the scarp to the base of the dihedral that begins the route and reclimbed the first pitches. Our several old bolts on the second pitch made a blank leftward traverse possible. Thin face-climbing led to a crack system, the logical route on the wall. We retired to our sleeping bags for the night, then did the climb the following day. A tiring squeeze chimney, a pitch of layback cracks and an airy traverse led to the top of a pedestal. The final headwall was marvellous face-climbing up various thin cracks. Two cold pitches during snow flurries brought us to the top. The climb would be a classic in Yosemite. III or IV, 5.8.

Fred Beckey