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Shark's Nose
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NW Buttress 

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

Type:  Trad, Alpine, 5 pitches, 500', Grade II
Consensus:  YDS: 5.6 French: 4c Ewbanks: 14 UIAA: V ZA: 12 British: S 4b [details]
FA: G Bell, D Fox and J Sargent, 1949 FFA W Cropper and J Dietschy, 1955
Season: Summer
Page Views: 4,292
Submitted By: George Bell on Jan 10, 2007

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A shot of the back side of the Cirque. The Sharks...


The first and easiest route on Shark's Nose is best approached from the northwest (Shadow Lake), but with a little more work can be approached from Lonesome Lake (an ice axe may be needed in early season). The route is not visible when approaching from the east, which makes it tricker to find from that direction.

Your first goal is to reach the col between the Shark's Nose and Overhanging Tower. Below this col on the west side, find the higher of two 4th class ramps which slant across the NW face (if approaching from the west, you obviously do not have to go all the way to the col!). Climb a pitch up this ramp, then continue 5th class along the same ramp until a vertical crack going through a steep section is reached. Climb this crack (crux) to an easy slab back left. From here climb up and right, across a ridge to reach the summit. Rappel the route (preferably with 2 ropes).

Kelsey warns about following off-route pitons near the top of the ramp which lead up a 5.9 crack.


Rappel the route (preferably with 2 ropes).


Light rack

Photos of NW Buttress Slideshow Add Photo
The final pitch back and right. The end of the fir...
The final pitch back and right. The end of the fir...
Shark's Nose from above Shadow Lake. Overhanging T...
Shark's Nose from above Shadow Lake. Overhanging T...
The rappel belay is back there. The "crux&quo...
The rappel belay is back there. The "crux&quo...
The rappel belay is back there. The "crux&quo...
The rappel belay is back there. The "crux&quo...

Comments on NW Buttress Add Comment
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By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jan 10, 2007

This route was put up by my Dad so I had to do it. However, this nearly led to disaster. It was a rainy week in 1983, and we were getting really tired of backpacking around carrying a rope and rack. My climbing partner and I had nearly completed a soggy 30 mile loop, when we camped near Shadow Lake, west of the Shark's Nose. We had only one day of food left.

The final fateful day dawned rainy, as usual. However the sun made an appearance so we decided to go for it, it was our last chance. The rock was wet in places, but my partner easily led the crux crack, our worries were over. Or so I assumed ...

Continuing beyond the crux (and out of my sight), my partner advanced quickly (up what I later learned was an easy slab), then there was a sudden yell. He appeared flying over the crux crack, a sliding fall of about 60 feet, and came to a stop hanging upside down about 20 feet above me, unconscious and tied in on a 9mm rope using a bowline (we had no harnesses to save weight). It's amazing he wasn't cut in half.

He soon came to and we retreated, luckily he just suffered a lot of abrasions and a bruised hip. I came back in 1986 and finished the climb. I led the same pitch and it was no problem dry. My buddy before had simply run the slab out and then slipped on wet rock.
By Sam Brotherton
From: Los Angeles, CA
Aug 30, 2012

I really enjoyed this route. With the long approach from lonesome lake and the howling wind, it felt more like mountaineering than rock climbing. The climbing is pretty unremarkable, but the summit is awesome (only fits two people!) and the exposure on the second pitch is unbelievable.

We got slightly off-route by following the large ledge up and to the left about two pitches below the summit, instead of continuing up the cracks to the right. There looked to be a very cool variation with an exposed no hands traverse leading to a wide vertical crack that would take you up near the summit, bypassing the 5.6 corner. It looked harder than we were hoping for that day, and we ended up going up the standard route, but maybe next time!
By Tim Wolfe
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 3, 2013
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b

A very nice introduction route to the mountain that essentially climbs the same terrain as you rappel. Nothing to hard, great gear, a perfect route for someone looking for a short, safe (can rappel at any pitch)traditional line in the mountains with a spectacular summit.
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