Buttermilk Country Bouldering
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The scenic and awe-inspiring 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, boldest, and most aesthetic lines in the world. These massive glacial erratic boulders sit in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada under an impressive backdrop of high peaks just a mere four miles to the west. 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 on the large grain so bring tape if your callouses aren't sufficient. Included here are the iconic problems The Mandala, Evilution, Saigon, and High Plains Drifter as some well-known classics.
Buttermilks bouldering is BIG, literally. Some of the larger stones rival the largest erratics known anywhere. Many problems here feature reachy standing or jumping starts with huge moves, so on many routes you'll soon find your feet well above a height you'd want to drop off. Don't leave any pads at home because a lot of the classics top out at 20+ feet, luckily most of the landings are flat and uniformed. 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 * * * * * *
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. Also, and obviously, please clean up after them.
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.
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
Classic Climbing Routes at Buttermilk Country
Days w Precip