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Shark's Nose
Routes Sorted
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Direct Northwest buttress T 
Direct Southwest Face T 
NW Buttress T 
West Face T 

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: 4,665
Submitted By: George Bell on Jan 10, 2007

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

Description 

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.

Location 

Rappel the route (preferably with 2 ropes).

Protection 

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
Administrator
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.
By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From: Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 26, 2015
rating: 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R

I found the information here (and on Summitpost) to be lacking. Seems like a lot of folks get off route on this climb and I can see why. Higher up on the route there are a lot of ways to get off route.

First off, I approached from Shadow Lake. Two other parties on the route that day approached from Overhanging Tower. This looked like a fairly straightforward scramble around that puts you just a hundred feet or so below the col between the peaks. From where you intersect the gully on that scramble there are several ledges that go out to the NW buttress. We headed out on a walkway that started right from where the scrambling route from Overhanging Tower dropped in. This was the first walkable ledge when coming up from the Shadow Lake gully. There was no fourth class on this ramp but it added a pitch of climbing onto the route. I'll show that as pitch 0. The correct ledge is thinner, more broken and starts about 100 feet higher in the gully. It requires some 4th class climbing going up or down. At the time I did the route the "correct" ledge started at the top of the second snowfield, the "easy" ledge started between the two snowfields.

P0: Climb up and slightly right from the belay. This leads onto a large slab that faces West. Several topos said you could find a 5.6 corner further right and they appeared correct but I went fairly straight the slab. Step right on a very convenient chickenhead to enter a licheny left facing corner. Keep going up and along the buttress edge until it joins the top of a small "tower". Cross over and belay near one of the corners in a comfy spot. As you top out on this tower you will see where the true start of the route comes in from the left.

P1: Head up on a left facing flake that gains a very gentle slab. Move up and right until you find a chimney type feature that lets you pop up another level on the slab. You should see rap station 1 which is a slung block here. Paddle up further on the slab, aiming for the massive right facing corner on your left. Belay from the second rap station of slung blocks in the corner.

P2: Head up the corner further until it terminates on the ridge. Work around the exposed ridge and along the crack to the right until it drops you onto yet another large slab with a large face above it. You should see rap station 3 on your left on the slab. Belay at the rap station or run together with the next pitch.

P3: Traverse right across the slab until you can see a pair of cracks that come together in a corner. This is the first crack you will come to that looks vaguely 5.6. If it doesn't look 5.6, it probably isn't. I belayed at the base of this crack to avoid rope drag.

P4: Fire up the crux crack with good gear until it splits in several directions. At this point you will see a piton with a ring on it heading up and right. Follow this for harder cracks, including a very nice looking 5.9 finger crack. If you want 5.6 head up to the massive left facing dihedral directly above. You will see rap station 4 on your left in the middle of the slab. Head straight up the dihedral until it terminates with some blocky moves that take you up and right. Watch for loose rock pulling through the blocky section. This will drop you right at rap station 5.

P5: Move up the heady slab heading towards the summit then back left for gear. Traverse right on a feature, plug in one more piece and then fire up the last section to rap station 6. From here, scramble up around the right side of the summit block and enjoy the view.

Descent: The route easily raps with a 60M rope. There is no need for two ropes.

The raps are very straightforward and put you at the top of the "tower" where Pitch 0 finishes. Rap off the end of a 60m rope to put yourself on the correct 4th class ledge. None of the rap stations below this point looked acceptable to get you down to the "easy" ledge. Scramble back down the "correct" ledge and you can use some slung blocks there to rap back down to the start of the scramble around the backside of Overhanging Tower. If descending to Shadow Lake there is another rap station near the top of the first large snowfield. A 60M rope puts you near the bottom of the lower snowfield and avoids the worst of the scrambling there.

Gear: A single lightweight 60M rope is perfect for the route. I brought a single set of cams #.3-#2, a full set of nets and plenty of slings and found that sufficient.
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