American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Incredible Hulk, Eye of the Storm

United States, California, Sierra Nevada

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Nils Davis
  • Climb Year: 2007
  • Publication Year: 2008

In August Brent Obinger and I completed a new free line on the Incredible Hulk. Jonny Copp and I had started this line in July 2006, but had had to turn back slightly below mid-height due to incipient seams and no bolt kit.

Amazingly, with all the activity on the Hulk in the last five years, this line is completely independent except for the first pitch and the ridge pitches.

Our route starts where the Moynier guide indicates, incorrectly, the start to Positive Vibrations. Our first pitch is the right-hand border of the triangular slab, and the standard way to start Positive Vibrations is on the left side of the triangular slab. The original (Bard-Harrington) Positive Vibes start is somewhat right of the triangular slab, and left of the red dihedral, on 3rd-class ledges. So, in essence our first pitch is shared, but with what, I’m not sure.

After a rope-stretching first pitch, the second pitch begins by climbing right out of the left-facing corner and traversing a short slab face to gain a hanging crack system. The third pitch climbs a short, bouldery corner and then steps left to gain an obvious hanging splitter. This is one of the route’s cruxes. Pitch 4 deposits the climber on the “midway” ledge (which is really only at about one-third height). Here the route crosses Astrohulk and Tradewinds. A long easy ramp leads up and right to an obvious stance with a bolted anchor. From here it’s hard to get lost, as the system is all alone in the middle of the broad west face, rising and gently traversing right to finish on the ridge approximately 80' left of the Red Dihedral.

Our route, Eye of the Storm (12 pitches, V 5.12) takes the longest line on the west face of the Hulk, and has quality, sustained climbing from bottom to top. True to the Hulk, this route climbs more like Yosemite Valley than the High Sierra. It has a great variety of corner and splitter climbing, with technical faces connecting features.

Nils Davis

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.

Photos and Topos Click photo to view full size and see caption