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El Cap - East Buttress Intel

kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 526
Joe S wrote: Can u elaborate why 10b was simple for you?What about 5.9 made them seem stiffer or caught you unaware?  The OW or something else?  And how can this be prepared for?

The 10b is simple because it's literally two moves with easy protection up high before traversing.

The 5.9 are stiff because they're wider and require more grunt work than easier straight in crack climbing at the grade. 

The 10b can be prepared for by working thin edging and smears and sloper work for your hands. The 5.9 grunt (unfortunately) can be prepared for by climbing 5.9 grunt.
Joe S · · Houston, TX · Joined Jul 2019 · Points: 0
kevin deweese wrote:

The 10b is simple because it's literally two moves with easy protection up high before traversing.

The 5.9 are stiff because they're wider and require more grunt work than easier straight in crack climbing at the grade. 

The 10b can be prepared for by working thin edging and smears and sloper work for your hands. The 5.9 grunt (unfortunately) can be prepared for by climbing 5.9 grunt.

About how wide are the 5.9 grunt OWs?

Joe S · · Houston, TX · Joined Jul 2019 · Points: 0
ddriver wrote:

I was thinking "what OW?"  Looking at the Fish topo, you can avoid the OW starting mid pitch 6 by stepping left into a blind jam and face climbing the rest of the pitch. 

Pitch 9 seemed easily over 60m.  

Will 70m be enough?

ddriver · · SLC · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,954
Joe S wrote:

About how wide are the 5.9 grunt OWs?

I've only climbed it once and others will have better memory, but I lead every pitch and the only section that really offered much OW is what the Fish topo describes in pitch 6, and its really the upper part of the pitch, and you can mostly or completely avoid it.  You do so by climbing inside the big corner the topo shows until you can move left out onto the face and into some discontinuous cracks and seams.  The topo describes it as face climbing but it protects fairly well.  The biggest issue for me was that the move left is very committing because you can't see into the crack.  You reach blindly and if you reach right you get a good jam and off you go.

The comparisons to East Buttress and Central Pillar of Middle Cathedral are right on.  These would be good warm ups but they are both significantly easier climbs, regardless of grade, because the route finding is more straightforward, there are fewer runouts, and they are generally less strenuous.  What you need for success on the East Butt route is experience moving fast on difficult granite, which only comes by doing it.  I wouldn't get too wrapped around any one particular aspect because this route throws lots of them at you.

Also, invest some time in understanding the descent, as has been mentioned.  It can be difficult to find the best rap line, and the ANAM has at least one report almost every year of someone screwing it up.  
ddriver · · SLC · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,954
Joe S wrote:

Will 70m be enough?

I think you want two ropes for the descent so a 70 is probably irrelevant.  Someone will confirm. 

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
ddriver wrote:

I think you want two ropes for the descent so a 70 is probably irrelevant.  Someone will confirm. 

http://fishproducts.com/topos/yostopos/eastbutt.html

Joe S · · Houston, TX · Joined Jul 2019 · Points: 0
Marc801 C wrote:

http://fishproducts.com/topos/yostopos/eastbutt.html


So 70m is preferable but no mention of descent.  Tagline needed for descent or one 70m ok?

Marc801 C · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 65
Joe S wrote:

So 70m is preferable but no mention of descent.  Tagline needed for descent or one 70m ok?


It's the East Ledges descent:

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/111914651/east-butt-of-el-cap-descent

http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/route_beta.php?r=ybeleled
kevin deweese · · Oakland, Ca · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 526
ddriver wrote:

I think you want two ropes for the descent so a 70 is probably irrelevant.  Someone will confirm. 

Decent is via fixed lines. 

Doug Kinsman · · Atlanta, GA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 0

There is always fixed lines for the E Ledges descent, just make sure you know how to pass a knot on rappel because the fixed ropes typically have alpine butterflies isolating core shots.

Also, don't overthink and/or get fixated on this. Climb some Valley 5.9/10 to get a feel for what you will be up against and then wake up early and fire it. Again, you will know by P3 whether or not you need to bail as it's not like the hardest stuff is stacked at the end. Last, if you are feeling good the climb could and should be done as 9 pitches through some thoughtful linking. P.S. the pitons that made the second to last pitch anchor are gone and the natural anchor opportunities are pretty bleak. 

Cole D · · Sydney, NSW, AU · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 15

A trip to yose for middle cathedral climbing definitely sounds like a good milestone on the path to your goal.  East butt and central pillar as the others have mentioned. If you are fit enough and start early enough, you could probably do both in a day. A benchmark for that maybe being you can go do some combo of 15 laps of those single pitch 5.10 climbs near you that were suggested, in one day, not feel destroyed, and have daylight left.

In yose with less time, maybe throw in commitment and jamcrack. There are plenty of 5.9s / 10a’s to do there that have zero approach time.

ClimbingOn · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2008 · Points: 0
Joe S wrote: Can u elaborate why 10b was simple for you?What about 5.9 made them seem stiffer or caught you unaware?  The OW or something else?  And how can this be prepared for?

What kevin deweese answered to this question (the next reply) is exactly right.

Joe S · · Houston, TX · Joined Jul 2019 · Points: 0
Cole D wrote: A trip to yose for middle cathedral climbing definitely sounds like a good milestone on the path to your goal.  East butt and central pillar as the others have mentioned. If you are fit enough and start early enough, you could probably do both in a day. A benchmark for that maybe being you can go do some combo of 15 laps of those single pitch 5.10 climbs near you that were suggested, in one day, not feel destroyed, and have daylight left.

In yose with less time, maybe throw in commitment and jamcrack. There are plenty of 5.9s / 10a’s to do there that have zero approach time.

Finding someone willing to belay 15X will be a challenge in itself.  Is EB going to be that exhausting like doing 5.10 over and over?  Do the few 5.6 and 5.7s mixed in not give any recouping time?  

Joe S · · Houston, TX · Joined Jul 2019 · Points: 0
Marc801 C wrote:

It's the East Ledges descent:

https://www.mountainproject.com/forum/topic/111914651/east-butt-of-el-cap-descent

http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/route_beta.php?r=ybeleled

Not gonna lie....the descent has got me worried now.  No other hiking options?

Joe S · · Houston, TX · Joined Jul 2019 · Points: 0
ddriver wrote:

The biggest issue for me was that the move left is very committing because you can't see into the crack.  You reach blindly and if you reach right you get a good jam and off you go.

This sounds like a sketch move, probably even more so for me since im only 5’6” and dont have a big wing span.  Would not being able to make this move be a deal breaker?
Cesar Cardenas · · San Diego, CA · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 20

maybe just hire a guide dude. It kind of feels like you need one--not for lack of ability to climb the route now or lack of ability to train to climb the route....but it just kind of seems like you need the mental safety net of knowing every move of the climb before you get up there -shrugs-

best of luck!

Cole D · · Sydney, NSW, AU · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 15
Joe S wrote:

Finding someone willing to belay 15X will be a challenge in itself.  Is EB going to be that exhausting like doing 5.10 over and over?  Do the few 5.6 and 5.7s mixed in not give any recouping time?  

yea, you'll need to find folks with similar goals, trading pitches will simulate the pace a little more. I don't think you will find any of the 5.6 and 5.7 terrain restful. Im climbed a bit in yose, but not on this route so i'm only speaking from what my friends have told me. The 5.6/5.7 can be runout, strenuous, and or on bad rock, so it probably wont feel restful for you. One thing you can do with the crags you do have access to, is train by having big fun cragging days where you get loads of single pitch routes in. If you can do lots of 5.10 all day at your crag, you'll be a little more prepared to go get on some sketch 5.6 after getting up at 3am and being tired AF from a big ass approach, and then being on the side of the captain the first time 1000's of feet of the ground wondering how good that last placement was while you wish you had more water.

If the descriptions of the east ledges descent give you pause the actual descent will be much worse lol. Hiking is not an option. You'll be on the route for a long time. You cant carry enough water with you to make a massive hike off the back.

Awesome goal to have, by all means go get it done! but dont take it lightly by seeing the grades. Again as others have mentioned, you may want to try some other routes in Yose first, to get a feel for that place, the approaches, the descents, multi stage raps, etc. Middle cathedral is a great option for that.
Tim Opsahl · · SF, CA · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 10

Not sure why I'm adding to this since I'm just repeating what everyone else said, but it was one of my favorite climbs last year. It was at the perceived peak of my abilities and comfort zone, but wasn't anything near as daunting as I expected.

The valley has a fun way of teasing out all your weaknesses, so waking up early and doing pitch 1 off the ground was way harder than the couple of 10B moves. I thought that was the crux. Read the topo and consider the amount of different climbing styles and not just the face value of the grades. Welcome to the valley ;)

It keeps on you in different ways throughout the day, not any one particularly challenging area but rather a sequence of fun and unique pitches. I don't recall an OW or route finding issues, so it was overall pretty straight forward. You just need to be comfortable moving across bigger routes on granite fairly quickly, as that's what's going to hold you back if anything.

Based on the questions you're asking about detailed moves, I think you should work your way up to being super solid on less committing 5.8s and .9s in the valley or tahoe. My prep was simuling royal arches to south face of north dome, and getting comfortable on the longer Tuolomne routes (fairview dome, eichorn pinnacle, etc.).

Nick Buffini · · Beverly Hills · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 5

If you know how to bail, and have bail gear - I’d say go for it! I think all the advice on here has been sound. 

csproul · · Davis, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 325
Nick Buffini wrote: If you know how to bail, and have bail gear - I’d say go for it! I think all the advice on here has been sound. 

Have you climbed the route? It’d be hard to bail without leaving a bunch of gear on this route. It’s long and there are no (maybe 1) fixed belays. I found this route substantially harder than other Valley routes in the same grade...and it wasn’t the 10b “crux” on the 2nd pitch.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
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