East Buttress, IV 5.10b

First ascent:
FA: Allan Steck, Will Siri, Willi Unsoeld, Bill Long, 6/53.
FFA: Frank Sacherer and Wally Reed 8/64.

Notes on the route:
Fine old classic. For a route that has been around a long time, I found all the available topos to be inaccurate. Some of the belays were an adventure to find and rig. Route finding was not a great problem but some gym climbers might be in over their heads with this one. During the summer oppressive heat can be a problem, but once you get a couple of pitches up the breeze will make most days comfortable. Additional notes are on the topo.

Gear List:
See the topo. Be sure to bring a 60 meter rope. 70 is probably better.

The Nuts and Bolts:

Pitch #1 : Hike to the "edge of the world" and the route is right there. If you go 20ft past the start, you will fall off a 1000ft cliff. Start the chimney with some 4th class walking. Eventually you will be doing some easy chimney moves and stemming. The follower will be gagging while wearing a pack. Hang it from a sling or something. The belay is a wad of slings on some fixed pins. Set additional anchors high, and these can be used as pro on the next lead.

Pitch #2 : One move wonder. Set a high nut and just step across. To avoid rope drag, run it out a bit until a good fingers and pro appear. Not too bad, but in the sun it might be more like 5.10+. Pass the ant covered tree and belay at the next or highest tree.

Pitch #3 : Weird hard move (5.8c?) out of the station, move left and down onto the arete, then easy runout face climbing. Take a photo.... Pass up the two bolt anchor that would make this a short pitch and go all the way to a good tree on a large ledge.

Pitch #4 : Head up the buttress and place a crappy TCU or something. Sometimes there is a fixed pin out here, but I've never seen it. Semi dangerous moves lead upward to the start of a fine hand crack. Set a hanging belay at the base of this crack on 3" cams.

Pitch #5: Climb the crack to the top of the buttress and a nice ledge. The anchor is only fair with two fixed pins. Add gear as needed.

Pitch #6: Some 5.9 crack quickly leads to some iffy face. Use plenty of slings and stay out of the OW. Fixed pins come and go in this section but there is good pro all around. Run the entire rope out and belay in a slight alcove. There is some fixed junk there and you can add a slung horn and crappy 3" cam.

Pitch#7: Easy rampy face. Short, maybe real short. Slick rock, be careful.

Pitch #8: Take a photo!!! Move right on the big pedestal/flakes glued to the wall. Fixed pins are randomly placed so look for them. Watch the rope drag and the polished face moves. Be ready for lengthy runouts. This is another rope stretcher to a fair belay on a ramp. Place a #2 cam high up and run a full length cordalette back to the fixed pins for a backup. Watch out for loose blocks sitting on the ramp.

Pitch #9 : Good pitch! Mostly easy face climbing with mixed pro. Run it all the way to the top and tie off a tree on the summit.

Info provided by: Russ Walling, Susan Peplow, Greg Opland, Bill Wright and others.

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