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Buttermilk Country

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Buttermilk Country 


Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 6,400'
Location: 37.3291, -118.5771 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 520,621
Administrators: Aron Quiter, John Robinson, Euan Cameron, Adam Winters, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Adam Winters on Oct 21, 2006
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Buttermilk Country

Description 

The scenic Buttermilk Country has long been one of California's premier bouldering destinations with a long history of ground-breaking ascents and some of the proudest and most impressive lines in the world. These massive glacial erratic boulders sit in the foothills of the Sierras under an impressive lineup of peaks just a mere four miles to the west. Granite-like quartz monzonite makes up the boulders featuring sweeping blank faces, polished patina crimps/plates and sharp slopers and edges. Fingers tend to get torn up quickly so bring tape if your callouses aren't sufficient. Included here are The Mandala, Evilution, Saigon, and High Plains Drifter as some well-known classics.

The bouldering here is BIG. A number of problems feature reachy standing or jumping starts with huge moves, and on many routes you'll soon find your feet well above a height you'd want to bail at. Don't leave any foam at home because alot of the classics top out at 20+ feet. Before you hop on a boulder scout the down-climb first, as many require some techy down-climbing and/or a big jump to the ground.

If you need a rest day there is some fun roped climbing on a handful of small crags not far to the north, or you might want to explore the wacky chasms and rock formations of Buttermilk Dome.

* * * * * * DO NOT CAMP or BUILD FIRES at the BIRTHDAY BOULDERS PARKING AREA * * * * * *


Opening moves.
Opening moves.


Please respect the designated footpaths in the Buttermilks Main area and avoid tromping through the vegetation. A restoration effort is in effect marked by small green and tan signs about a foot high. PLEASE AVOID THESE AREAS. Do NOT place crash pads on any sort of vegetation. Let's leave as little trace as possible in this amazing gift of an area. Consider yourself fortunate to be climbing here.

Dog Owners: Rattlesnakes are fairly common in warmer months so take precautions and know the risks if you have a furry friend. My dog had a close call and I've heard of a few other run-ins. Most dogs know to avoid them, just be careful. A bite to your pup's face could ruin your trip. Don't let this deter you though, as rattlers usually give plenty of warning that you're getting too close.

Please do not camp at the Peabody Boulders or The Birthday Boulders parking areas. There's plenty of free camping before and after the Buttermilks Main Area.

DO NOT SPEED ON BUTTERMILK ROAD, THE SPEED LIMIT IS 25 MPH
Many locals walk and bike on this road, and it's easy to stir up dust if you're driving too fast. Be respectful and slow down. Speeding also causes the painfully annoying washboard ruts you'll find on the way in, so do your part, drive slowly and enjoy the views.

Some heavy-hitter boulders in the Buttermilks <br />
Some heavy-hitter boulders in the Buttermilks


Getting There 

From downtown Bishop, take W. Line Street/Highway 168 west towards the Sierras. After eight miles or so, turn right onto Buttermilk Road. Follow this bumpy, washboard road for approximately 3.5 miles to the main area on your right. If you pass the Peabodies without noticing, you probably aren't a climber because they are gigantic. The boulders are incredibly obvious on the right (north) side of the road. Park in designated areas.

For more complete information and great color photographs, refer to: "Bishop Bouldering", by Wills Young and Mick Ryan. Pick up a copy at Wilson's Eastside Sports for $36, a small price to pay for perhaps the best bouldering guide out there and a great addition to your book collection.

Andrew Thomas working 'This Side of Paradise' v9-10, Buttermilks
Andrew Thomas working 'This Side of Paradise' v9-10, Buttermilks


271 Total Routes


['4 Stars',38],['3 Stars',98],['2 Stars',97],['1 Star',35],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',3],['5.7',1],['5.8',8],['5.9',8],['5.10',24],['5.11',4],['5.12',2],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',39],['V2-3',71],['V4-5',44],['V6-7',30],['V8-9',24],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',14],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Buttermilk Country:
Hero Roof   V0 4     Boulder, 14'   Iron Man Area : Hero Roof Boulder
Sketchpad   V0+ 4+ PG13     Boulder, 30'   Sherman Acres
Buttermilk Stem   V1 5     Boulder, 15'   Buttermilk Stem Area : Buttermilk Stem Boulder
Green Wall Essential   V2 5+     Boulder, 20'   Buttermilks Main : Green Wall Boulder
The Hunk   V2 5+     Boulder, 20'   Buttermilks Main : The Hunk
King Tut   V3 6A     Boulder, 17'   Buttermilks Main : Tut Boulder
Birthday Direct   V3 6A     Boulder, 12'   Buttermilks Main : Birthday Boulders
Iron Man Traverse   V4 6B     Boulder   Iron Man Area : Iron Man Boulder
Bowling Pin   V4 6B     Boulder   Buttermilks Main : Bowling Pin Boulder
Jedi Mind Tricks   V4 6B PG13     Boulder, 25'   Pollen Grains / Lidija Boul... : Jedi Boulder
Suspended in Silence   V5+ 6C+ R     Boulder, 40'   Pollen Grains / Lidija Boul... : Lidija / Pollen Grain Bould...
Saigon   V5-6 6C+     Boulder, 22'   Buttermilks Main : Saigon Boulder
Pope's Prow   V5-6 6C+     Boulder, 15'   Buttermilks Main : Mandala/Pope's Prow Boulder
Seven Spanish Angels (aka The Ruckus)   V6 7A     Boulder, 14'   Get Carter Boulder
High Plains Drifter   V6-7 7A+     Boulder, 35'   Buttermilks Main : Drifter/Smoking Boulder
Soul Slinger   V9 7C     Boulder, 14'   Buttermilks Main : Cave Area
Stained Glass   V10 7C+     Boulder   Buttermilks Main : Stained Glass/Flyboy Area
Xavier's Roof   V11 8A     Boulder, 25'   Dale's Camp : Hueco Wall Area
Evilution   V12-13 8B R     Boulder, 55'   Peabody Boulders : Grandpa Peabody Boulder
Southwest Arete   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Peabody Boulders : Grandma Peabody Boulder
Browse More Classics in Buttermilk Country

Featured Route For Buttermilk Country
'Spectre', chalk line center

Spectre V13 8B  CA : Sierra Eastside : ... : Spectre Boulder
This is a classic testpiece that was established by Dave Graham. I found this to be one of the most striking lines in Bishop-- it climbs directly out of a steep roof on just a few well-spaced holds.At first glance it honestly doesn't look as hard as some other problems of the grade. 'The Buttermilker' for instance, seems like a much more improbable line than 'The Spectre'. Once you pull off the ground though, the magnitude of the moves hits you. The tension required to keep your feet on is e...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Buttermilk Country Slideshow Add Photo
View from the old mine at Buttermilks, CA
View from the old mine at Buttermilks, CA
Buttermilking
Buttermilking
Snack time at The Buttermilks. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Snack time at The Buttermilks.
Photo by Blitzo.
Buttermilks Panorama
Buttermilks Panorama
Buttermilk morning. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Buttermilk morning.
Photo by Blitzo.
Mount Humphreys (left) and Basin Mountain, a couple of thirteeners, at sunrise from Buttermilk Country.
Mount Humphreys (left) and Basin Mountain, a coupl...
Buttermilks Overview Photo
BETA PHOTO: Buttermilks Overview Photo
Paintbrush. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Paintbrush.
Photo by Blitzo.
Tut Boulder. <br />Photo: Blitzo collection.
Tut Boulder.
Photo: Blitzo collection.
Buttermilk Road, January '06
Buttermilk Road, January '06
Mt. Tom and the Buttermilks. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Mt. Tom and the Buttermilks.
Photo by Blitzo.
View from atop Buttermilk Dome
View from atop Buttermilk Dome
Buttermilk
Buttermilk
Highway to the Buttermilks
Highway to the Buttermilks
Andrew Thomas on 'This Side of Paradise' v10, Bardini Boulders
Andrew Thomas on 'This Side of Paradise' v10, Bard...
AW on an amazing unnamed highball...
AW on an amazing unnamed highball...
looking toward Basin Mt & Mt Humphreys
looking toward Basin Mt & Mt Humphreys
Winter in the 'Milks
Winter in the 'Milks
Mt. Tom at sunrise
Mt. Tom at sunrise
Cool Sky. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Cool Sky.
Photo by Blitzo.
Erika working a low traverse
Erika working a low traverse
Erika at the b'milks
Erika at the b'milks
one of the many slot canyons
one of the many slot canyons
Area ? on the way to the Birthday Boulders
Area ? on the way to the Birthday Boulders
Winter Sunrise on the Sierra from Buttermilk Road.
Winter Sunrise on the Sierra from Buttermilk Road.
Basin Mt & Mt Tom
Basin Mt & Mt Tom
Bouldering at the Buttermilks
Bouldering at the Buttermilks
lots of opportunties for exposure
lots of opportunties for exposure
great views on the Smoke's course
great views on the Smoke's course
Grandpa Peabody
Grandpa Peabody
blue bird day
blue bird day
Bob Horan bouldering in the Buttermilks.
Bob Horan bouldering in the Buttermilks.
Rest day in the Buttermilks
Rest day in the Buttermilks
BHhb in the Buttermilks, photo: Bob Horan Collection
BHhb in the Buttermilks, photo: Bob Horan Collecti...
2011 fire. About a mile and a half from the boulders. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
2011 fire. About a mile and a half from the boulde...
Moon and boulder in the Buttermilks
Moon and boulder in the Buttermilks
The Buttermilk
The Buttermilk
Funky Tut. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Funky Tut.
Photo by Blitzo.
The Buttermilks, looking east over Bishop and the Owens Valley with the White Mountains in the background.
The Buttermilks, looking east over Bishop and the ...
Looking north towards the Wheeler Crest, Buttermilk Boulders
Looking north towards the Wheeler Crest, Buttermil...
great dihedral on the Smoke's Course
great dihedral on the Smoke's Course
Mt. Tom towering over the Buttermilks
Mt. Tom towering over the Buttermilks
looking back toward the access road from Hwy 168
looking back toward the access road from Hwy 168
Looking towards Little Egypt, Buttermilks Boulders
Looking towards Little Egypt, Buttermilks Boulders
many opportunities for scrambling
many opportunities for scrambling
Bouldering at The Buttermilks, 1980s. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Bouldering at The Buttermilks, 1980s.
Photo by Bli...
fun offwidth practice
fun offwidth practice
another chimney
another chimney
looking SE
looking SE
Doug Robinson deep into being lost on Smoke's Rock Course.
Doug Robinson deep into being lost on Smoke's Rock...
looking toward Wheeler Crest
looking toward Wheeler Crest
august
august
buttermilks in august!
buttermilks in august!
The Bardini Boulder
The Bardini Boulder
buttermilks
buttermilks
Buttermilks Main from Dale's Camp
Buttermilks Main from Dale's Camp
Bouldering at The Buttermilks. <br />Photo by Blitzo.
Bouldering at The Buttermilks.
Photo by Blitzo.
Mt Tom in the background, classic buttermilks winter camping.
Mt Tom in the background, classic buttermilks wint...
Our incredible camp site. I hope this stays unrestricted and that people take care of it.
Our incredible camp site. I hope this stays unrest...
Entrance to the Buttermilks
Entrance to the Buttermilks
A famous french climber named Gabbi
A famous french climber named Gabbi
Some heavy-hitter boulders in the Buttermilks <br />
Some heavy-hitter boulders in the Buttermilks
Buttermilk Dome
Buttermilk Dome
Bouldering at the Buttermilks
Bouldering at the Buttermilks
Sun setting over Mt. Tom, from the Buttermilks
Sun setting over Mt. Tom, from the Buttermilks
Comments on Buttermilk Country Add Comment
Show which comments
By Marc Seidenstein
From: Jackson, NJ
Nov 14, 2008

I must agree with the administrator's advice to DRIVE SLOWLY on Buttermilk Rd. I rolled my Dodge Dakota a few years back being a dumb kid and taking a corner way too fast.

By Florian Castagne
Jan 17, 2009

Hi, is summer a good period to climb at the Buttermilk? I plan to climb during august.
Thank you.
Flo, a Belgian climber.

By Euan Cameron
Administrator
From: Redlands and Mammoth Lakes
Jan 18, 2009

You can climb there in the summer, but don't plan on sending anything too hard, and don't plan on climbing there all day.

Early morning, or late afternoon / evening can provide conditions for you to sample the delights of the Buttermilks.

Also if you think that it is too hot, there is plenty more great climbing closeby which will be cooler. Way Lake is a relatively new area which has many great problems and will almost certainly be cooler and climbable in August. For more info just google "way lake bouldering".

By LeeAB
Administrator
From: ABQ, NM
Jan 18, 2009

Hey Flo,
I see that you are checking here as well for info, good move getting an early start on gathering info.

Euan is correct, Bishop regularly tops 100 degrees farenhiet (37' C) in the summer months. I have bouldered at the Buttermilks in August but only as a rest day activity between doing routes in the High Sierras. Too many 25 km days of hiking will get to you.

Though apparently Chris S. managed to reclimb the Buttermilker this past summer over 2 days which would have to be about the worst hard problem to try and do in hot conditions but then again he just is not normal.

By Jason Chinchen
From: Bend, Oregon
Sep 27, 2011

Stop camping and building fire rings at the end of the Birthday Boulders parking area! One of you yahoos is going to burn out the Milks one of these days. It detracts greatly from the experience of others, especially locals who pick up your trash and clean up your fire rings.
Thanks.

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Nov 15, 2011

By Wil Sterner
From: Topanga, California
Dec 10, 2012

Where is the good camping at? I don't mind driving.

By gabriel cisneros
Aug 20, 2013

Bishop Classics Video