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Kirk Hansen on the traversing pitch 3. Beautiful s...
The East Buttress of El Cap is a classic adventure up the right hand shoulder of El Cap. The route doesn't really feel like your on El Cap, but it does afford good views, and more often than not, it is the first and only route that most climbers will ever free climb on the Captain.
It is one of the more popular routes in the Valley, so be prepared for traffic jams and a long day, but it since the crux comes early and most of the climbing is much more moderate, fast parties can usually finish the route in about half a day.
Sorry about the crap description. I adopted it and haven't had a chance to update it.
A young Tony at the start of the route.
Photo op 1, pitch 3, Tony leading.
Photo op 2 - pitch 7.
Picture of me heading into my favorite pitch on th...
East Buttress area.
Photo by Blitzo.
eric collins leading on the east buttress
Following the sweet 6th pitch
On the approach to the East Buttress
Trask Bradbury east butt, photo by chris alstrin
BETA PHOTO: East Butt Topo
Looking up at the first pitch of the East Buttress...
Lindsay making her way up P3, what a day.
Carrie following pitch 11.
Karin Bates on the 3rd pitch.
BETA PHOTO: 5.10b move below and left of the leader's feet, on...
Patrick on p4 of the EB of El Cap
Exposed 5.5 photo shoot
|Comments on East Buttress
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 22, 2006
There used to be a bolt (or was it a pin?) at the crux. But I gather it is no longer there? Great topo, by the way.
In the spring there is sometimes a spectacular waterfall just west of this route. What often happens that time of year is that the route is dry in the morning, but then the wind begins blowing slightly up the valley, and the waterfall is blown onto the route! Beware of this, just because it faces south in the spring it may not be dry. It can be exciting watching the waterfall drift towards you from the top of the second pitch!
|By Adam Stackhouse|
Jun 23, 2006
The topo image is a very nice touch. Well done, and something to think about for the future of this website/database.
|By Tom Pierce|
From: Englewood, CO
Jun 26, 2006
I'm considering this route for my annual big climb/road trip. I've read the stuff about this route online, the Supertopo section, etc. I'm also comfortable at this level on trad granite. But details, details...Anyone have any tips re: Gear? Anything particularly useful, esp. something to double up on, etc? Any quirks on routefinding? Are the pitches fair for the grade or sandbags? Any other tips for this route? Thanks.
From: Oakland Park, Florida
Aug 21, 2006
The only way I ever got to climb the Captain. I'm pretty sure that was a pin pounded in the corner for pro. The climb was a challange for me. I led all the 5.9's. I had just gotten my first pair of sticky rubber shoes that summer. It was a little polished even then.
|By Chris Owen|
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Oct 7, 2006
Saw a photo in Climbing magazine, back in the 80's of someone on P3 and just had to do this route. What a great and classic climb.
|By Nick Stayner|
From: The Magic City
Jun 6, 2007
The first two pitches are linked (w/ a bit of simuling up very easy terrain for both climbers) w/ a 60 M. A useful way to pass a party who uses the belay after the 5.9 chimney.
|By Sergio P|
From: Idaho Springs, CO
Jun 21, 2007
The Super Topo guide book indicates that the crux traverse on pitch 2 can not be aided. I found this to be inaccurate. The belay on top of pitch 1 hangs just left of this 2-3 move crux. Falling at that point involves swinging back into your belayer. In my case there was a party behind us (with the popularity of this route you can expect to share it with others) thus, we decided to aid past this section instead of trying to figure out the move and holding up others. Here is the aid beta: down climbed about 4 feet, traversed right to the corner, placed a small cam (BD C3 00) just below an old unusable pin, stepped up on a sling and kept on going. My personal opinion is that this crux is out of character with the rest of the route and skipping it is no major loss.
From: Oakland, CA
Oct 7, 2007
Not sure how you'd know, Sergio, if you didn't do the moves. Calling a sequence of moves on a route that follows natural features and weaknesses 'out of character' is weak. Judging the aesthetic value of that sequence relative to the rest of the climb when you haven't done the moves is weaker. It ain't a gym route, it's a natural line, take it on its own terms. Grrr, end pointless rant here, sorry.
|By Sergio P|
From: Idaho Springs, CO
Oct 9, 2007
Did the moves, reversed the moves, fell, aided for speed. My personal opinion is that it is a great route regardless of how someone gets past the crux. But please don't take my personal opinion too seriously; go find out for yourself.
From: Oakland CA
Sep 24, 2008
Fun route, although there is a lot of choss and 4th class on it. Half the pitches were good, the other half were forgettable. Still, a fun trip up an iconic rock.
The crux is a short sequence that's all there.
The supertopo lists one pitch, maybe p10, as the 'psychological crux' with poor pro. BS. Be sure you get to lead this pitch, it is the best on the route by far, and takes great nuts and small cams all over the face, with really fun climbing.
From: Sacramento, CA
Jun 5, 2009
I don't seem to see the great topo listed in above comments.
Also thought I might add that for the hardmen/women out there you can approach the climb by climbing Moratorium adding a handful of more difficult pitches.
|By Colin Simon|
From: Boulder, CO
Feb 4, 2011
I think 5.9+ is a pretty accurate grade for most of this route. Given all the other gnarly 5.9's in the valley, this one is no different.
The .10b is a couple of techy moves at the start of pitch 2 -- well protected and short. Once you're past those, it's just burly 5.9.
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 22, 2011
bailed from the top of the 7th pitch (supertopo pitches) in late june due to massive amounts of water from horsetail falls. it seems that it was an abnormally wet year. we checked horsetail from the base and it didn't seem to be making it to the route but things were quite different when we got up there. we did pitch 7 around 11AM and there was maybe 1-5mm thick water sheeting down the rock. doing the mini roof in these conditions was pretty exciting, but it looked like the route was soaked for at least another 4 pitches up.
I wonder if the crux is slightly harder after our passing because a thin edging foothold peeled off as I was pulling the crux move. it seemed a tad stiff for valley 10b, but it was only one well protected move. offset aliens worked well.
If the top half is as good as the bottom half I'll have to come back.
also, don't be afraid of the 5.9 chimney. not bad at all.
Jan 21, 2012
FFA: Frank Sacherer, Wally Reed, 1964
|By Tom Mulholland|
From: #1 Cheese Producing State!
May 23, 2012
Did anybody link pitches? Like P3 and P4, or P4 and P5? Maybe with a 70m?
|By Dan Carter|
From: 1986 Spacecruiser in Space
Jun 10, 2012
Fun route. We were able to do it in 8 pitches. The Falcon guide broke it up into 13! We simul climbed the 3rd and 4th pitches, 4th class to 5.6 arete and a ways up the ledges with no problems. The two pitches before the 5.5 traverse which is before the traverse to knobs pitch can also be linked easily with a 60m rope. Watch for rope drag on the traverse to knobs pitch. Lots of room for protection but one needs slings. Large but very polished holds. Quite possibly the money pitch. From the talus ledge above this pitch, one can run it all the way to the top. There is a fixed nut at the crux step over. Also there are fixed lines for the rap down.
|By Sean Tucker|
From: LA, CA
Oct 4, 2012
Has anyone climbed or know the rating of the off route anchors at pitch 8 (supertopo)/ 5(fish topo)?
|By Nick Mestre|
Nov 8, 2012
Beginning pitch linking recommendation: use the optional tree belay 30' off the ground, then link pitches 1 & 2 with a 60M. This way, you hit the 10b crux mid rope, instead of right off a piton/fixed nut belay in awkward factor 2 fall range. Enjoy it, it's absolutely beautiful!
|By Mark P Thomas|
Nov 22, 2012
I'd call the P1 chimney 5.8 at most, being generous. The only 5.9 on that pitch is the end.
Please don't be obnoxious and haul packs. It is plenty reasonable to trail packs on P1, and if they are kept small and light, it is no big deal leading with a pack on the rest of the pitches. The party in front of us hauled 2 packs for most of the pitches!
A better way to aid the crux if you're in a hurry, is to do the following (better with double ropes for the second to follow!):
From the P1 anchor, lieback up about 10-15 ft on the corner that continues above, and tension traverse over from there on bomber gear. I found the cracks beyond tricky, but stepped in a sling to get higher to set a better placement and begin free climbing.
Bring 1-2 #4 C4s and a #5 to comfortably protect P9 if you're doing the OW variation, which is mostly liebacked, with a few deep fist jams. This gear isn't needed anywhere else on the route though . . .
From: San Diego, CA
May 14, 2013
Anyone know the shade/sun situation on this route in June/July? Is it in full sun or does it get shade for part of the day?