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North America, United States, North Carolina, Whitesides Mountain, Children of the Sun

Whitesides Mountain, Children of the Sun. Mark Ilgner and I had been working on a new line on Whitesides Mountain for two years. We finally completed it in December. The route climbs the left side of the headwall section, beginning between Ship of Fools and The Promised Land. It begins with three beautiful pitches of vertical or near-vertical face climbing (5.11d, 5.12a, 5.12b/c, each 110') mostly protected by bolts. Pitches four (5.10d, 130', mostly traversing) and five (5.11d, 100'), however, are almost completely protected traditionally. Pitch four follows a horizontal crack while pitch five follows a right-arching dihedral. The sixth pitch (5.12 Al, 90') climbs through the upper overhanging section of the wall and is protected by bolts. Here we encountered a blank section too difficult for us to free. Two more pitches of easier-grade climbing (5.10 and 5.5,100' each) finish the route.

This route is absolutely amazing and requires both sport and trad skills to master. The face climbing is thin, intricate and requires much attention to balance and body position. The trad pitches follow spectacular features in extremely exposed positions. The sixth, crux, pitch has about 15' of aid on bolts, just waiting for a talented climber to free.

Arno Ilgner, AAC