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Bastille Buttress - Beckey Route 

YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b A0

   
Type:  Trad, Aid, Alpine, 15 pitches, 2000', Grade V
Consensus:  YDS: 5.10d French: 6b+ Ewbanks: 21 UIAA: VII+ ZA: 21 British: E3 5b A0 [details]
FA: Fred Beckey, Joe Brown, & Chuck Haas, 1969
Season: late spring through fall
Page Views: 6,562
Submitted By: Richard Shore on Apr 24, 2011

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alpenglow on the Bastille Buttress

Description 

An awesome adventure on a beautiful 2,000' granite buttress on the North Ridge of Lone Pine Peak. A "sleeper" classic that was recently published in Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite Climbs book.

A good topo and approach information exists in the Bishop Area Rock Climbs guide by P. Croft. Depending on the time of year, you may have to traverse an ice, snow, or scree-filled gulley to get to the base of the route.

It has been awhile since I climbed it, so this is my best recollection of the route. Please add any comments or corrections.

P1) Just right of the toe of the buttress, simulclimb an obvious crack system that heads up and splits into two. We took the right crack, which proved to be a bit of a slimy, flaring squeeze. Belay at a large, boulder covered ledge at the base of a massive left-facing hollow arch. 5.7, 100m.

P2) Follow a LF corner and slab with sparse gear to a small stance at the base of a short steep section of face with a bolt. Gear belay, 5.8R, 55m.

P3) Up a short steep face past a bolt, then follow obvious weaknesses leftward to a semi-hanging belay from gear. 5.8+, 40m.

P4) A crack leads up to a long, unprotected foot-traverse right across a horizontal seam that wraps around the buttress. A slabby move or two directly up from the seam leads to a huge black knob and a bolted belay. 5.7R, 40m.

P5) Some mandatory 5.9 slab past two or three bolts leads to the steep A0 bolt ladder. Aid your way up to a bolted hanging belay. Aiders and jumars are not necessary here, get creative and use some shoulder slings. 5.9 A0, 35m. This vertical pane of glass is rumored to have been freed at 5.13!

P6) "The Ultimate Finger Crack." If this thing were on ground level it would have a waiting line year-round. A clean splitter that varies from tips to thin-hands with nary a foothold in sight. Small cams (up to .75 camalot) and nuts will fit just about anywhere on this one. Originally rated A1, but goes free at a reasonable 5.10c. Perfect. Gear belay at a stance atop a horizontal dike. 5.10c, 30m.

P7) Continue up the awesome crack (albeit at a lower angle) as it turns the corner and widens into a grain-silo squeeze chimney. Gear belay at a small stance at the base of a steep LF dihedral. 5.8, 30m.

P8) The Crux. A steep LF dihedral with a crack that varies from fingers to fists. Ideal belay is at a poor stance after turning a small roof towards the end of the steep section. If you're like me, you may only have one cam and a few nuts left after leading this beast and may have to belay wherever possible. Rated 5.10d in the Croft guide, I thought it closer to 11-. 40m.

P9) A grainy, possibly hollow LF flake in the corner leads up to a funky mantle move right on a ledge around the arete. An easy corner goes up to a nice gear/sling belay in a notch. 5.10a, 40m.

P10) Up an easy section of slab to a large triangular roof. Place a piece in the roof with a long sling, then step down a few feet until your hands can reach the lip on the left side. Crank over the lip and up towards a stance belay with small gear and a fixed pin or two. A short pitch, 5.6/7, 20?m.

P11&12) I linked these two (accidentally) with a 60m rope. A few thin moves off the belay leads to fun and juggy 5.6 face climbing left around the arete. I found an ancient 1/4" bolt here sticking 3/4" out of the rock! Climb past a small ledge (possible belay) and choose between a short squeeze on the left or unprotected 5.5ish face just to the right. Gear belay from a comfy ledge. 5.8/9, 50+m.

P13) Up and left across a short slab past two bolts (1 hangerless) to a shallow groove that leads up and left to a short chimney. Finish up the chimeny to a bolted belay atop a big ledge. 5.7, 40m.

P14) An A0 move off the belay (or 5.11+) leads to a knobby 5.7 face with two bolts. Above this, easy terrain leads to the "Shark's Fin", a wildly exposed perched boulder on the narrow ridgeline. Climb up and over the fin to a massive ledge and belay from boulders.

P15) I was unsure where this final pitch went. Supposed to check in at 5.9. There is a steep block above the belay ledge, and the line may have gone somewhere near the right side of it, but there was a large snow bank blocking our way in April. I opted for a line on the left that was a bit runout, with my only pro being a slung horn about 40' up, well after the difficult sections were over. From there, easy blocky terrain led to the top.

Descent beta: The "standard" summertime descent heads up the ridge (climber's left) to a long scree-filled gully along the left side of the buttress. In April, this gulley was active with small avalanches throughout the day, so we opted to take a long descent down the north ridge, eventually contouring back south into the main drainage.

Gear: Double rack from #0 TCU to #3 camalot, set of nuts. A #4 camalot was handy on the P8 crux. Many long slings. Nearly all of the protection bolts on this route have been replaced by the ASCA. The last two bolts on the A0 ladder (P5) are 1969 originals! One buttonhead with leeper hanger, and another 1/4" stud with homemade aluminum hanger and square nut!


Photos of Bastille Buttress - Beckey Route Slideshow Add Photo
Richard Shore following the beautiful P6 10c splitter on the Beckey Route, Bastille Buttress. Photo: E. Harz
Richard Shore following the beautiful P6 10c split...
looking down at the ultimate 10c finger crack
looking down at the ultimate 10c finger crack
Erik Harz on the Shark Fin, Pitch 14
Erik Harz on the Shark Fin, Pitch 14
Improvised bivy from the storm half way through pitch 8!!!!
Improvised bivy from the storm half way through pi...
Bastille Buttress with approximate line and belay stations for the Beckey Route
Bastille Buttress with approximate line and belay ...
Joshua Reinig in the clouds high on crux pitch 8: the calm before the storm...
Joshua Reinig in the clouds high on crux pitch 8: ...
Lone Pine Peak on the left, the Bastille Buttress on the right
Lone Pine Peak on the left, the Bastille Buttress ...
Erik Harz starting up the 5.11 crux Pitch 8
Erik Harz starting up the 5.11 crux Pitch 8
Richard Shore on the 5.9R/X final pitch (variation?)
Richard Shore on the 5.9R/X final pitch (variation...
Pitch 7 5.8 crack before grain silo chimney
Pitch 7 5.8 crack before grain silo chimney
Leading the slab before the pitch 5 bolt ladder
Leading the slab before the pitch 5 bolt ladder
Classic bolt ladder in a Spectacular setting!!!!
Classic bolt ladder in a Spectacular setting!!!!
Last moves before the dike stance above the finger crack on pitch 6
Last moves before the dike stance above the finger...
Me and The Bastille Megolith!!!
Me and The Bastille Megolith!!!
Took us a while before we found the right descent gully, we definitely went up 3 wrong towers before finding the "green one" as described in the book. Look for a big boulder on top. Seemed further than 1/4 mile
BETA PHOTO: Took us a while before we found the right descent ...
Bastille Buttress as seen from beginning of approach!!! <br />
Bastille Buttress as seen from beginning of approa...
Following on the slabs of pitch 2
Following on the slabs of pitch 2
Becky Route as seen from the start!
Becky Route as seen from the start!
Leading through roofs on pitch 3
Leading through roofs on pitch 3
Looking down on Chris Norwood, following The Ultimite Finger Crack with a 20lbs pack like a Boss!!!
Looking down on Chris Norwood, following The Ultim...
Pitch 4 foot traverse
Pitch 4 foot traverse
Top of route with Sharks Fin just below. <br />What an Epic Line!!!
Top of route with Sharks Fin just below.
What an E...

Comments on Bastille Buttress - Beckey Route Add Comment
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By Richard Shore
Dec 7, 2011

Original grade 5.8 A2. The crux pitches are well protected, and can easily be pulled through on gear if necessary (but why cheat yourself?). The rest of pitches are NOT well protected. Expect lots of heads-up slabbiness. The runouts are long enough to keep your head in check while on the easier terrain.
By rickziegler
May 3, 2012
rating: 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b A0

Great route. The cruxes protect well, on clean rock.

We found the approach was best by staying high on the east side of Inyo Creek until directly across from the toe of the buttress. The creek crossing is easy and gear could be left there and then picked up again after the descent.
By Ben Collett
Jun 18, 2014

I found what is described as Pitch 13 to be about 250 feet. We split it into two, belaying just before the 5.6 chimney. On pitch 4, don't be suckered into the nice clean flake crack. The traverse is made from just below that crack. Fun route. For the approach, stay as high as possible above the creek.
By adams2600
Jul 13, 2014

Thursday July 10th , 2014 : Completed the Bastille Buttress today with the following comments. All the previous comments are accurate. The location of the climb is amazing with towering granite towers seemingly everywhere. I would emphasize again that although the rating is 5.10d - 5.11 whatever, the obligatory runnouts and gear placements are somewhat serious. The headwall crack pitch is truly excellent in quality and without a doubt the highlight. However, this route I believe will not attract many takers until bolt anchors are installed at most of the belays. This would be a huge improvement. Be prepared for many hanging/ leaning belays off gear. Bring extra gear for these belays. Used many wired stoppers for the 10c crack pitch. Emphasize smaller cam sizes. Approach high on the east side of the creek. From the summit, we ascended the north ridge for what felt like much more that 1/4 mile to the tree filled gully just below a steep headwall on the north ridge. Hope that helps.
By Johnny Y
From: California
Jul 28, 2014

Thanks to a group of SFSU geologists the trail up Inyo Creek is now well marked. We brought double up to 3", one 4" and double set of small to med nuts and it was sufficient. Nuts worked really well on the finger crack and many of the belays. I thought the moves getting to the first A0 bolt on pitch 5 was harder than any other 5.9 slabs on the route, but it's well protected. Fun and adventurous route with lots of variety, all gear anchors are good, no need for bolted anchors on this pristine alpine route.
By adams2600
Aug 4, 2014

IMHO, the gear belays are NOT all good. Some are very good, some are not so good. Be prepared to equalize some marginal pieces at times. Bolts at these marginal belays would be a plus.