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Lone Pine Peak
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Bastille Buttress - Beckey Route T 
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Winter Route T 

NE Ridge (full) 

YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b

   
Type:  Trad, Alpine, Grade III
Original:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: Phil Warrender, Gary Valle (Jul 10-11 1982)
Page Views: 5,129
Submitted By: fossana on Jun 20, 2010

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looking over to the N Ridge, home of Bastille Butt...

  • Access limited from May to October every year MORE INFO >>>
  • CURRENT CONDITIONS MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    The NE Ridge of Lone Pine Peak is one of the 3 prominent ridges recognizable from the town of Lone Pine. The full ridge traverse is 3 miles long and rises 6900 feet. Many people spend multiple days on this route so be forewarned. There is no water once on the ridge, although there may be water on the descent depending on the time of year. An abbreviated option is to access the ridge midway from the Meysan Lakes trailhead (the standard guided version).

    Secor bumped this up to 5.7 in newer editions of The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes and Trails. I did not encounter anything harder than 5.6 on the original route. The rock is frequently crumbly (unlike the N Ridge), but the difficult sections are short and route finding was not overly challenging. For me the crux was navigating and bushwhacking the E ledges descent for which only a vague description is available.

    First winter ascent:
    1994 Alois Smrz and Rich Henke


    Location 

    GETTING THERE
    From the town of Lone Pine take Whitney Portal Road toward the portal. Make a left on Olivas Ranch Road Turn right at the T and an immediate right at a Y (left branch leads to a house). Note: on the descent you'll come in from the left-hand branch of the T). Stay on the left-hand branch of the road and continue to a small turnaround. There is another nicer parking area at the base of the route accessed from the road leading to the Lone Pine campground. I did not drive this, but according to the topo: From Whitney Portal road turn left at the Lone Pine campground road. Continue past the campground turn-off and stay left at the road branches.

    ROUTE
    From the turnaround there is a faint trail leading down to a stream. Cross the stream and head up the ridge (the righthand skyline). Hike up the sandy initial part of the ridge (class 2) until you get to the good stuff.

    Per Secor: Pass the first tower mostly on the north side (5.7). Bypass the second tower mostly on its south side (5.5).

    Basically, follow the ridge alternating sides as needed to fine the easiest line. If it looks harder than 5.6 check the other side. I had to backtrack twice near the end of the ridge, but overall I did not find the routefinding challenging. At the end of the ridge skirt the base of the steep walls to your left aiming for a large gully (see photos) that heads up and right to the summit plateau. It took me 9.5 hours to solo this and I was not acclimatized. Others have reported 11-12. If you are going to rope up plan accordingly to allow sufficient time for the descent.

    5.7 Direct Finish Variation (FA: 2008, the pullharder crew - Scotty, Nate)
    From the notch at the top of the Northeast ridge, climb straight up the headwall, loosely following a 12 inch wide dike from the bottom to halfway up the headwall. Where the dike veers left, go straight up, aiming for the left side of some big overhangs. Pull the final overhang at a splitter finger-size crack.

    DESCENT
    It is highly recommended that you spend a few minutes checking out the topography from the valley before you attempt the descent. To access the E ledges descent head down the class 2 sandy slopes keeping the E ridgeline in view. The key is to avoid getting sucked down to the steep cliffs to the S & SE. If it seems like you are too close to the cliffs contour left. Don't expect a trail or cairns. The ridgeline splits repeatedly and the gully is loose and shrubby. You'll eventually be able to see the Tuttle Creek access road. The hike back from the Tuttle Creek road to the Olivas Ranch Rd turnaround is ~3.2 miles.

    Comment: I traversed over several ridges partway down to get a more direct line to the Olivas Ranch Rd. The gully I chose involved downclimbing a short class 5 chimney. In retrospect the extra mileage on the road probably would have been easier. The descent took me a whopping 5.5 hours. I have read if you have the route dialed expect 3.5-4 hours.

    Protection 

    Alpine rack, rope (optional)
    Ice axe and/or crampons for final gully (condition/experience dependent)
    No fixed pro


    Photos of NE Ridge (full) Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: NER as seen from Bastille Buttress!
    NER as seen from Bastille Buttress!
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mark Collar rappelling the final tower on the NERL...
    Mark Collar rappelling the final tower on the NERL...
    Rock Climbing Photo: lingering snow
    lingering snow
    Rock Climbing Photo: sandy lower section
    sandy lower section
    Rock Climbing Photo: early morning sun on the N Ridge
    early morning sun on the N Ridge
    Rock Climbing Photo: final gully to the summit plateau
    BETA PHOTO: final gully to the summit plateau
    Rock Climbing Photo: annotated topo
    BETA PHOTO: annotated topo
    Rock Climbing Photo: N & NE Ridges
    BETA PHOTO: N & NE Ridges
    Rock Climbing Photo: the fun starts
    the fun starts
    Rock Climbing Photo: one of the many ramps
    one of the many ramps
    Rock Climbing Photo: descent start
    descent start
    Rock Climbing Photo: end of the snow
    end of the snow
    Rock Climbing Photo: view to the north
    view to the north
    Rock Climbing Photo: Mark Collar on the NERLPP
    Mark Collar on the NERLPP
    Rock Climbing Photo: crumbly traverse
    BETA PHOTO: crumbly traverse
    Rock Climbing Photo: close-up of the crumbly traverse
    BETA PHOTO: close-up of the crumbly traverse
    Rock Climbing Photo: and it continues
    and it continues
    Rock Climbing Photo: progress
    progress
    Rock Climbing Photo: back down to the valley
    back down to the valley
    Rock Climbing Photo: one of the countless towers and mini-towers
    one of the countless towers and mini-towers
    Rock Climbing Photo: easy section
    easy section
    Rock Climbing Photo: steeper terrain with easier climbing on the N side
    steeper terrain with easier climbing on the N side
    Rock Climbing Photo: looking down the most difficult section I found
    BETA PHOTO: looking down the most difficult section I found
    Rock Climbing Photo: not as hard as it looks
    not as hard as it looks

    Show All 33 Photos

    Only the first 24 are shown above.

    Comments on NE Ridge (full) Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Hamik Mukelyan
    From: Pasadena, CA
    Mar 14, 2012

    This ridge is 4th or 5.0 for very, very long stretches--5.7 definitely doesn't accurately reflect the difficulty of this climb. You can climb around all cruxes with careful routefinding, thereby keeping difficulties to low fifth. If you're OK with exposure, soloing this route or taking a short, light rope for the occasional belay will make this one of the most awesome outings of your summer (or winter, at least in 2012!)
    By Zoom Loco
    Mar 19, 2012

    Since info on this aesthetic route seems a bit limited, Pullharder has winter ascent TRs of NERLPP here
    pullharder.org/2008/03/19/wint...

    and here
    pullharder.org/2012/02/24/sing...
    By Jskierpx
    Dec 29, 2012

    As is climbing, I have some slightly different subjective insight from this climb. Initially, finding the ridge and making your way to the first 5th class zones is pretty straight forward. But it seemed the higher we made it up the mountain, the trickier the route finding became. We ran into several dead ends with mandatory rappels, and found the ridge did this on more than one occasion, simply ending into a gulley. This could have been in part due to our wandering at some point unknown, but to our knowledge we followed the ridge the entire way (pretty hard to wander off a RIDGE route...). There were also slings and other bail hardware left from previous parties wherever we were shut out, so we couldn't have been the first! In the end, it was a fun climb, but I felt the need to post something here as we seem to have had a different experience from those posted above. The rock quality was decent, crumbly in spots, but left us with a desire to come back and try the North Ridge. Last thing is the descent wasn't too difficult to work out, but be forewarned that once back in the valley, the hike back to the turnaround is deceptively long. Hope this helps!

    Cheers
    By Richard Shore
    Mar 17, 2014

    The original grade III rating preserved here is a bit of a sandbag. Expect a grade V kinda day (or two, especially in winter) with the long descent and many miles of desert hiking back to the car. We did two short rappels from towers - a 30M cord is plenty. Roped up for one pitch near the final tower where the crack was filled with ice and running water, and simul'ed the sugar snow exit gully.

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