Type: Trad
FA: Mark Powell and Royal Robbins, 1965
Page Views: 10,671 total · 53/month
Shared By: M. Morley on May 8, 2002
Admins: C Miller, Greg Opland, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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I never have figured out quite how to pronounce the name of this climb. I also have no idea what the hell a buissonier is. A buisson is a bush. The nearest I can figure is buissonniere, French for "to play truant or skip school". In any case, a pretty good climb.

Begin behind campsite (#21). First moves off the deck are awkward - protect with small nut or TCU to avoid castration from sharp fin of rock below in the event of a fall. Either jam or lieback the left-angling crack. Gear belay.

Descent: scramble down chimney to the southwest (a little tricky).


Standard rack. A small nut or TCU will help protect initial moves off the deck.


C Miller
C Miller   CA  
The name means "living in the bush", at least that's what the old Wolfe guide said about it. Jul 16, 2002
Don't let the 5.7 fool you, this is very strenuous. I followed this classic and it's a typical old school Robbins sandbag.I was pretty gassed when it was over.Not for fledgling 5.7 leaders. Oct 1, 2004
Richard Beller
Fort Collins, CO
Richard Beller   Fort Collins, CO
This is a JTree sandbag at 5.7. When this climb was put up, 5.7 meant a moderately hard climb, roughly equivalent to 5.9 at modern sport climbing areas. Many beginners would find Papa or Mama Woolsey easier to follow than Buissonier. Dec 30, 2004
Kevin Currigan
Kevin Currigan   Lakewood
It was definately a burly warm-up on a cold morning. If you are not comfortable with 4th class downclimbing consider the rap. I found the downclimb fairly exposed. However, the rap looked like it might eat our rope about half-way down. Feb 26, 2005
Woody Stark  
Sandbagged, wretched, lousy, stinking, crummy, foul, nasty and perverse. Only people who enjoy surgery would like this thing. I ignored it for years. I wish I'd continued so. On the other hand, you might as well climb it so you can check it off. Nov 23, 2005
Yucca Valley, CA
Locker   Yucca Valley, CA
the word "Sandbagged" is used very often when concerning climbs that some feel are over rated... My question is, if it is just one rating over, should it be considerer a true "Sandbag" or just a bad day for someone, or maybe a techniques they are not great at, or AGE or the many other factors involved???... A route rated 5.7 that is in fact 5.10a is what I would call a true "Sandbag"... Or a 5.3 offwidth that feels more like 5.9 (I soloed one and was quickly humbled)... is it me or am I on to something here??? Ratings are somewhat relative to the FA... beyond that it is a sort of starting point for the rest of us to get some idea of what it goes at. And ratings have changed through the years. Is it a "Sandbag" if it was put up "way back when" or just the "rating of the day"???... Sometimes it seems that many people want to change "ALL" of the ratings on a climb to climb basis... I have done the route here in question and agree that it felt a little harder than what is now considered 5.7. But I also took a good look at it and could figure that out before stepping onto it. Then agin, I did it back when I climbed much better... So how should it be rated???.... I stick with 5.7 for now... Nov 24, 2005
tony grice  
the start is 5.8 no pro. spicy. A must do for everyone Feb 13, 2006
Adam Stackhouse

Adam Stackhouse    
5.7 or 5.8, doesn't make that much of difference. Fun, clean climb. Sandbag is defined in the dictionary as Captain Kronos Mar 20, 2006
It was dirty, crumbly and had a nasty bush in it when I did it. Never did it again. I see the bush is gone. Sep 23, 2006
Mesa AZ
ClimbPHX.com   Mesa AZ
Start up high on the fin to gain hand crack and trust your feet. Getting into the chimney helped alleviate the horrible crux jam at the top...The descent was a horrible spine-cracking experience just waiting to happen... Be careful! Dec 13, 2006
big lebowski
big lebowski  
Nice climb with a frustratingly awkward start and an increasingly strenuous crack, finishing with a short sharp layback - good value 5.8! We did the rap descent which features a scary start involving either a vertical plummet for 10 feet (not recommended ;-) or a bit of heel-hooking to get down below the anchors Feb 23, 2007
Bill Olszewski
Colorado Springs, CO
Bill Olszewski   Colorado Springs, CO
Maybe I've just climbed too much in Josh over the past few years but I think this is an excellent climb for the rating and no big deal with the walk-off. It does look intimidating (and feels that way the first time) but goes down no issue. Eats gear rather well, just make sure you place that first piece to protect you from the "fin" and don't do the lieback - walk the arch instead. Yes, a little awkward, but it saves your arms. And take that rest at the start of the vertical section. Mar 10, 2007
Darren D.
Darren D.  
This was a lot easier the second time. This route seems to be on quite a few soloists' circuit. Being camped at the site right by it, we saw soloists run up the thing quite frequently. The slab downclimb past the chimney seems to be easier than the chimney itself. Apr 12, 2007
Brandt Allen
Joshua Tree, Cal
Brandt Allen   Joshua Tree, Cal
This is a wonderful, aesthetic, sustained route for anyone with some basic jamming technique. Perhaps a bit strenuous for 5.7 but the pro is good. The descent chimney is scary looking but very secure and no big deal. May 29, 2007
jblackattack blac
las vegas, nv
jblackattack blac   las vegas, nv
Thought this was a really fun route. I did not find it stiff for the 5.7 rating, just that it has a sustained section to work through. Very good pro and if you just move through the crux section you get a nice rest in the chimney. Oct 30, 2007
Charles I.
Boulder, CO
Charles I.   Boulder, CO
I have done this route twice now and always get forced into the layback at the top. Makes it harder than it should be. Anyone know anything about the offwidth to the left? I heard it's last ascent was in the 80's. Yikes! Nov 5, 2007
Mike   Phoenix
This route is definitely not sandbagged.

BETA ALERT: You do not have to lieback anywhere on this route. If you lieback it then it will of course seem more strenuous. Just rack all your gear on the left side and walk up the crack, jamming more for balance & security than for upward movement. Nov 15, 2007
72HW Holly
Minneapolis, MN
72HW Holly   Minneapolis, MN
Awkward off the deck? I'll say! Very sketchy.

Jam the crack and walk up it? I whipped 3 feet below where the crack / flake goes vertical about halfway up. Left some finger DNA for my follower on the slick as snot lip. Finally moved past the section by liebacking on smeary face edges.

Strenuous? You betcha!

5.7? Not in my opinion - but I can see how the Stone Masters would think so.

Classic? I won't go back for a second helping.

The rap route can be tricky at the top - you need to have secure footing to avoid swinging out into the air below the chock stone where the slings are fixed. Awkward diaganol movement the the whole way down.

Maybe it was just a bad day for me, it's happened before. Jan 1, 2008
Pete Hickman
Tacoma, WA
Pete Hickman   Tacoma, WA
It is an awesome climb, beginning would be sketchy if you don't protect it with a nut, no lie backing necessary, I think 5.7 is fair, easy to protect, and the descent looks much scarier than it is. Feb 22, 2008
I didn't think it was that hard for the grade. The start is definitely thought-provoking, but it does protect with a small cam and/or nut -- this, of course, takes up the space where your fingers would have gone, so after some grumbling it finally occurred to me that using the wall to the right for a chimney-move start might not be inappropriate. (Hey, didn't Royal love to chimney?) There's no need for strenuous liebacking; this climb is all about relaxing into a good body position. Lots of fun!

And the chimney on the descent only looks like it will spit you out (terrified me); but once you get down into it, it's really not that bad. May 5, 2008
Royce Robertson
Joshua Tree, CA
Royce Robertson   Joshua Tree, CA
A Royal Robbins 5.7, so do the math. Not an easy 5.7 unless you have the upper body strength to pound through the laybacking. Challenging climb. Definitely recommended but closer to 5.8 or 9 for newb leaders Sep 25, 2008
The beta about walking and jamming up the crack didn't make this route seem bad at all. I neglected to rack everything to the left and it made right foot moves awkward, but a good climb still. I also used the large offwidth at the top to chimney up the final vertical which may have made it easier also. Dec 7, 2008
Joe M
Beckley, wv
  5.8+ PG13
Joe M   Beckley, wv
  5.8+ PG13
Although the pro on this is really good and you can really sew it up (I did), the 5.7 rating is definitely old-school. The start is definitely protectable, but still a little spicey! Fun route though, will definitely do it again! Jan 11, 2009
Russ Walling
Russ Walling   www.FishProducts.com
Rated F6, or 5.6 in the old guide. Seemed accurate at the time. Jan 17, 2009
  5.10 PG13
  5.10 PG13
Super tight hands. You will have to layback if you have large hands, which will make the climb uber-strenuous. Nov 17, 2009
5.6 or 7 if you do it correctly.

No liebacking required.
Nov 17, 2009
Cory Harelson
Boise, ID
Cory Harelson   Boise, ID
The walkoff can be made easy. If the chimney intimidates you, traverse across the top of it on good holds past a small boulder. On the other side of the small boulder is a wormhole that you can squeeze down through with no exposure whatsoever. At first it seems like you won't fit, but just keep wiggling and you'll make it through. Dec 3, 2009
Josh Smethers
Malvern, pa
Josh Smethers   Malvern, pa
Onsight. Purple C3 to protect the start. Balancy. Great right hand two finger lock to pull up and over the vertical section. Tough climb for 5.7. Sweet climb! Mar 19, 2010
Laguna Beach, CA
oldbull   Laguna Beach, CA
Hi all,

Just did this climb over the weekend. The move right out of the gates was the crux for me. I found if you rack to the left and smear with your left and toe in the crack for your right, this never got more difficult than the 7 that it is rated. I absolutely love this one and can't understand why so many people have cried over it. I may have liebacked once briefly where it goes most vertical, but I can understand why screws are coming off if people try to lieback the whole thing. If you wanted to give it a higher rating, maybe for the start.....for anything else, check your style and try it again. Nov 8, 2010
Johnny Ice
Tucson, AZ
Johnny Ice   Tucson, AZ
Fun climb. The decent was weird. Everyone I talked to wasn't really sure how to get off. We walked east and scrambled down a chimney which was scarier than the climb. I'd say the climb was 5.7, the decent was 5.8+.haha Mar 30, 2011
To protect the start, a #3 Camalot can be placed up and behind the climber's right in the large pocket May 18, 2011
Brian Chastain  
Holy cow. When I first went to J-Tree after only climbing a month or two in winter 2009, this and Hands Off were the first lines I set my eyes on. Since then, I have done a bunch of other routes and kind of forgot about these.

Feb 19, 2012, I returned to finally lead these. What many of you people have written here is down right blaspheme to the climb. I warn everyone who reads these posts to take them with a grain of salt, a microscopic one.

The only thing I have to say is that when standing on the rail, like walking up a hand rail to a stair case, it is a little slick, either from the heavy traffic it gets or the fact that all the snow in the corridor there made it a bit moist (and/or both). Keep the right foot wedged in the crack well and you'll be fine.

As for the down climb, I also think what many people wrote is crazy. The chimney is only like ten feet and there is three ways to do it. The way I did was wedge down the off-width part right when you walk up to it. The rock is very smooth and polished right there making it very easy to squirm down. You can go down the center of it, definitely harder, or you can go to the far end in chimney fashion while using off-width techniques on the section where it pinches off.

I know guideline #1 is to not be a jerk, but I think that is what many people here have acted like. If you see a line you want to do, do not read what people "KEYBOARD WHIP" the ratings up to and other things associated with the climb. I almost got psyched out of climbing this thing from all the garbage written here and was ticked off after doing it of how wrong many people were. I hope I don't get in any trouble here with anyone, but if they can express their opinions here about the climb in the way they have, I should be able to also.

Sorry for the tutorial............This thing is 5.7, no harder, no easier. Feb 20, 2012
Atascadero, CA
FrankPS   Atascadero, CA
The rap off this climb isn't bad. Down and to the climber's right from the belay ledge. Try to stay on the slab at the start of the rap and not fall into the abyss/chasm directly below the rap slings. Feb 20, 2012
Amanda Archer
Pasadena, CA
Amanda Archer   Pasadena, CA
Love this route, but not the decent. There used to be a rappel off the east(?) face, but someone cut the slings. Had to find our way down a 5th class water chute and my husband short-roped me. Mar 9, 2012
Bernard Van De Walle
San Francisco, CA
Bernard Van De Walle   San Francisco, CA
First move as well as 3 meters of layback are difficult...

Some people seem to say you can do it without layback... Honestly it just seem way easier with laybacking ;-)

In My opinion a good 5.8 if you are not used to that style Feb 20, 2013
Alex Doria
San Diego
Alex Doria   San Diego
Sandbagged to hell. This thing is nasty. Very strenuous for the enjoyment level. I've don't it once and probably won't ever do it again. Aug 25, 2013
Josh Cameron
Josh Cameron   California
Don't fall at the start; that would hurt! Ouch! Jan 28, 2015
Melissa Thaw
Livermore, CA & South Lake…
Melissa Thaw   Livermore, CA & South Lake…
Fun! May 31, 2015
Serge Smirnov
Seattle, WA
Serge Smirnov   Seattle, WA
For some reason I assumed this was a hand crack, but it's more like off-fingers. Feb 21, 2016
Royce Robertson
Joshua Tree, CA
Royce Robertson   Joshua Tree, CA
Climbed this about 8 years ago (one my first ever) and agreed completely with all the comments about it being sandbagged, wretched, etc. Climbing it again the other day for the second time and staying IN the crack, I would say it's not bad at all. I was climbing with someone with far more upper body strength than me who decided laybacking was the way to go (even though I told him it was tough and he loves laybacking) and he found it to not be particularly enjoyable. Stay in the crack if you're not particularly strong and you too can enjoy this route! Down climb is super exposed by any standard, but you get to say you were the blob on "the blob" squeezing down through the chimney. Good stuff :) Apr 18, 2016
San Diego, CA
steverett   San Diego, CA
Crux for me was figuring out the first move. Jammed/walked up the flake, was not strenuous at all. I think I did one easy lieback move in the vertical section.

Rap station is gone. Downclimbed the chimney/OW to the left, felt pretty secure wedged in the OW facing left. Jan 25, 2017
Costa Mesa, CA
Howard   Costa Mesa, CA
According to Wolfe and Dominick's guide ('76), FA credit goes to O' Kelley and Davis ('69) , whereas FFA is attributed to Long, Pohorff, and Stahl ('72). Feb 13, 2018
Mary Lane
Mary Lane   Nevada
Love this route! Might be one of the only climbs I find to not be sandbagged for the grade. The move off the bottom can be easily mitigated by chimneying off the boulder to the right (sweet hand jam for your right hand if your tall) then you just step right into the crack. I freak out very easily with jtree sketchy starts and wasn't bothered by the start even with that jagged boulder. Jammed/locked the whole thing, lie backing seems uber hard. Protects very well IMO plus its low angle. Save a #1 & nuts for your anchor. Found no problems with the downclimb to the climbers left, along the terrace and down into the chimney, and (again) I get freaked out pretty easy by alot of sketchy jtree down climbs. I think smaller/lady hands make this more enjoyable. Didn't wear gloves (led 3 times this year) and never felt it was crumbly or noticed any bushes as mentioned above. Dec 23, 2018