Type: Boulder, 35 ft
FA: Dale Bard, c. '80's
Page Views: 19,561 total · 134/month
Shared By: Tim Steele on Jan 13, 2007
Admins: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Start with sharp patina crimps and make some long pulls slightly up and right to gain a couple of slopers. Make a dynamic move off the slopes to gain better holds and an easy, but airy summit.

This problem is a North American classic and a must do for the visiting boulderer.

As a note of trivia, John Sherman referred to this problem as a benchmark standard for V6 in the first edition of his Hueco guide when he initially introduced the V-scale. It has since crept up in grade.


Center of the north Face.


Pads and spotters
In reply to Sherman calling this problem a benchmark for V6, I think he was referring to Change of Heart, just left. Until the mid 90's, most people (including the lone guidebook at the time) had the two problem names reversed, until Bard finally clarified the mistake. Nov 10, 2008
LeeAB Brinckerhoff
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
A word of note as to the V-scale.
The standards for V6 from Shermans Hueco guide with some thoughts
  • Left El Murray...impossible, well not quite but very hard, now it is impossible
  • Center El Murry...easy, wel now it is impossible
  • Bucket Roof...By the time the guide book was out, "NO TOUCHY"
  • High Plains Drifter...Regardless of which he was refering to HPD or CoH, harder than Center easier than Left
  • Pinch Overhang (Horsetooth Resivor)...I always thought this was supposed to be V5

Some people could just switch my opinion on Left and Center and it would still look pretty much the same. Feb 25, 2009
LeeAB, AFAIK Pinch is considered V5 if you jump start it, but V6 if you stert with your feet on, dynoing to the lip instead of jumping off the ground.

As for the V6 rating of HPD, I have a friend who claims that this thing used to be V6 but holds have deteriorated/polished/broken over time and thus he claims that the problem now fits the standard for V7. Is that true? Awesome info/discussion guys! Mar 10, 2009
LeeAB Brinckerhoff
LeeAB Brinckerhoff   ABQ, NM  
I would have guessed that Sherman, with his taste for and knowledge of history would have jumped, of course I guess you'd have to ask him, he says he is arthritic so it could have been that he had a really hard time getting his foot up on the lip to mantle. After all as originally conceived and stated the rating system is based off of him and guaranteed 100% accurate as long as you have the same height, ape index, weight and medical issues.

As far as holds changing over the years, I first did the problem about 10 years ago and as far as I can tell it really has not changed in that time except that the holds are greasier. Of course with the grainy nature of some of the holds in the second half of the problem I would believe it if some of them had crumbled over the years. Mar 25, 2009
Kent Dunham
Kent Dunham   Alberta
I definitely think this route is a solid standard for V7. One of the unfortunate things about an ultra-classic like High Plains is that with all that traffic, the pressure to spray down the grade is high. If this route were less known or in a lesser traveled area it would be the benchmark V7 for the area. May 28, 2009
C Miller   CA  
High Plains Drifter on Youtube -

youtube.com/watch?v=XeODswF… Dec 1, 2009
Andy Liu
Eastern Sierra
Andy Liu   Eastern Sierra
10 years ago there was a good crystal on the left hand sloping edge at the crux that made the "surf" crux move easier.

I would tend to agree that it was probably stiff V6 back then - and is probably soft V7 now.

Regardless of the grade, however, what matters is the quality. And this is, IMHO, one of the greatest boulder problems in the world. Period.

Do it. Aug 11, 2013
5.samadhi   asheville
the surf crux? I thought the driveby was the harder part...thats the part that I finally stuck after falling off a few dozen times :D Sep 1, 2013
Where's Walden  
For the Buttermilks, this climb could reasonably be called V5. Bachar Problem Left (V5) is harder for sure, as is Change of Heart (V6) and Pope's Prow (V6). Honestly there are a few V4 problems in the Milks that are harder. Calling it everybody's first V7 is a little bit unreasonable. Feb 26, 2015
Back of my truck
MisterSir   Back of my truck
COMPLETELY disagree with ebonich's opinion. No way is this thing a V5 anywhere (in my opinion). I have been on and completed numerous V5-8's in bishop as well as many problems of the same grades elsewhere around the country and this thing felt harder or at least on par with several V7/8's I have done. Again, just my opinion but I think if you can do this thing you sure as hell claim it as a V7!!! Jul 8, 2015
Colin R
Ottawa, ON
  V7 PG13
Colin R   Ottawa, ON
  V7 PG13
HPD is a benchmark (i.e. right on the money) for V7 given the majority of V7s I have done. Jul 12, 2016
Derek Bredl
  V7 PG13
Derek Bredl  
  V7 PG13
I tend to agree with most here ... seems pretty spot on for V7 to me and to the vast majority of people I've ever talked to, chatted about, ran into ...

I think the comment about it being V5 is in reference to other problems in the Milks that simply don't stack up with the fact that High Plains is considered a V7. Change of Heart, Saigon and Pope's Prow as three V6's are ALL harder for me than High Plains but then I am quite short and those 3 problems are quite height dependent. Though, arguably, most people I talk to, of many heights, find the same three V6's a lot harder than High Plains ... and grading is meant to be a consensus thing right? Food for thought.

Not that I can comment directly on High Plains but seriously, it's the Milks, holds break and deteriorate everywhere, I've seen it happen in the few years I've been going to Bishop, let alone thinking about over a decade ... even just the polishing of a hold (and loss of some crystals) means a loss of friction, that in itself makes problems harder ... Midnight Lightning anyone? Nov 29, 2017