Type: Trad, Alpine, 13 pitches, Grade II
FA: unknown
Page Views: 11,382 total · 85/month
Shared By: Hans on Dec 2, 2007 with updates from Brice Pollock
Admins: Dave Rone, Tom Gnyra

You & This Route

16 Opinions

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Brewer Buttress is an excellent easy multipitch with good rock, great views, a straightforward descent, and fun climbing. All belays are fixed with bolts.

Pitches are described as per the topo given below.

Brewer Buttress topo

P1: 40m, easy fifth. Follow broken rock up and left. In my opinion this was the only bad pitch on the route.

The first pitch of the route (this was by far the worst pitch)

P2: 30m, 5.5. Continue to a belay on a large ledge on top of the pedastal.

Pitch 2 (5.5)

P3-4: 55m, easy fifth. Follow a break up and right past a station to a belay on top of a small ledge. These pitches are typically linked.

Pitches 3 and 4, seen here, are usually combined. Glenn T. is seen at the belay at the top of pitch 2.

P5: 35m, 5.5. Climb up a broken wall to a good ledge and a belay anchor. Continue left along the ledge around the corner and belay there.

Pitch 5 (5.5)

P6: 30m, easy fifth. Climb up and right to belay at the base of a left facing corner. Belay here or link with pitch 7.

Pitch 6

P7: 25m, 5.6. Climb to the top of the corner and move right to the belay.

Looking up the steep 5.6 corner of pitch 7. Nice pants Glenn :-)

Although only rated 5.7, the route is very steep with lots of exposure. Great fun! This is the view looking down the corner on pitch 7.

P8: 25m, 5.5. Climb another left facing corner to a ledge.

P9: 40m, 5.7. Climb a right facing corner over a bulge. Continue up the corner to a belay.

Pitch 9, the crux of the route at 5.7

P10: 20m, fourth class. Climb easily up a slab by wall to a belay at the base of a steeper wall. This pitch can be linked with the previous one.

P11: 35m, 5.6. Climb up through a steep section then more easily to belay at a good ledge.

P12: 40m, 5.6. Climb up a corner then move right onto a steep wall that leads to the top of the cliff. Finding an anchor at the top of this pitch is difficult, as is hearing your partner.

The right finish (recommended) takes this steep wall (5.6) on pitch 12.

Alternate finish:

35m, 15m. Follow the corner to a belay, then climb the short wall above to the top of the cliff.

Approach and Descent

Either approach to the upper cliffs is viable for Brewer Buttress. Though the hut approach is probably quicker overall, I find the Rockbound Lake approach to be more enjoyable. See the Castle Mountain page for details on both of these approaches.

The Hut approach

Brewer Buttress is visible from the hut as the last buttress before the Eisenhower Tower.

Glenn T. in front of the Castle Mountain hut.

From the hut on Goat Plateau, follow the trail east along the base of the cliff until you reach a bay on the right side of the buttress. A belay bolt marks the start of the route.

The Rockbound Lake approach

Alternatively take the Rockbound Lake approach to Eisenhower Tower and from there follow the trail along Goat plateau from right to left to reach the start of the route.

The exposed ledge traverse on the Rockbound Lake approach

The top of the scrambling section of the Rockbound Lake approach

On Goat Plateau, just below the SE face of Eisenhower Tower

To get down, walk WAY west to reach a large low angle scree gully. The walk is likely farther than you will think. The correct gully is typically marked with a large cairn. Make sure to walk past the first un-cairned gulley, past another ravine to the correct gulley marked with many cairns. Once in the gulley, descend maybe 600 ft until you notice it go into a choke point which will look like a ravine. The gulley cliffs out here and look skiers right for chains and cairns. From these chains you rappel.

The correct descent gully.

Rappels near the bottom of the gully to bypass chockstones. Look skiers right for chains and cairns. From these chains you rappel:

R1: 15m to slung boulder directly below chimney
R2: 35m down a larger chimney to chains on skiers left. If you have a 60m you can down climb when you run out of rope.
R3: 37m down to a ledge, skiers left of last rappel to chains. You can walk down to this small ledge if have a shorter rope.
R4: Over edge down to scree field. If you go skiers left once on the scree you can get off rappel in a little more level divot.

From here walk down more steep loose scree to until you see a few large angled ledges. Drop down onto the first ledge and walk downwards and left until you reach the lower gulley you came up. You can locate it by cairns and a slung flake. Now reverse descent.

A huge chockstone near the bottom of the descent gully

Gear and Beta

A small rack of nuts and cams is sufficient. Bring long draws. When we climbed it we had double ropes, and I would recommend this to avoid rope drag and to facilitate retreat in the event of a storm or accident.


Clint Landrock
Clint Landrock  
Great alpine rock climb, consistent at the grade featuring some very nice exposure. Get the new Banff Rock book for the best beta/topo. Most pitches feature very secure climbing in the 5.4-5.6 range however pitches 7, 11 and 12 (last pitch variation) I felt were more in the 5.7/8 range and held some of the best climbing. For comparison we did Aftonroe (5.7, 9 pitch sport) the previous day, and the harder pitches on Brewers were easily as challenging or more so than those on Aftonroe. Notably the rock on Brewers was as good if not better than Aftonroe which is said to have some of "the best quality limestone anywhere in the Rockies". There ample places for pro on all the hard pitches. The "crux" pitch 9 has only one hard move (5.9ish) protected by a good bolt - you could pull the bolt to bypass the move, and the rest is 5.6 or easier. You can combine pitches 3 and 4 as well as pitches 9 and 10 with a 70m rope. We did the climb in mid-June and the large bay at the start of pitch 1 was filled with ~10m of snow, so I tried combining the 1st and 2nd pitches but rope drag was too much of an issue. If you soloed pitch 1 than it could be doable. Soloing pitch 1 is definitely an option, we climbed it in our hiking boots as we didn't want to put our rock shoes on in the deep snow, and it was pretty easy going despite some loose rock. Exposure-wise, pitches 6, 8 and 11 are highlights, definitely try to stop mid-pitch and take it in. We brought ice axes with us to the summit and were happy we have them for the descent. The snowpack was deep (~1m or more in places) and was very soft in the afternoon sun - we did lots of post-holing. The descent gully was full of snow and would have made for some insecure down climbing in steep snow w/o an axe. The descent from the top of Brewers back to the hut took us ~3 hours due to the deep snow pack. Jun 17, 2014
Tom Gnyra

  5.6 PG13
Tom Gnyra    
  5.6 PG13
Great climb. Some things to note:

1. go easy on the pro. Every anchor is bolted (or pins) and so there really is no need for more than 1 set of cams .3 to 4. The 4 is a small luxury that I'd even consider ditching

2. Most of this climb has sparse gear. You should be really solid with huge runouts. A "don't fall" attitude is a must

3. if it feels hard (except for the 5.7 pitch) you are off route.

4. Pitch 8 is around a corner. There seems to be some fixed mank above you but don't aim for that. That pitch is way less than 20m

5. generally we found pitch lengths to be wrong.

6. one could probably link the first two pitches with a bit of simuclimbing if the rope ends up being too short. but that said, i think the pitch lengths are wrong. 3&4 could be linked also, maybe. Others that we linked were 6&7 (drag was a slight issue due to the final traverse, easily avoidable) 9&10.

7. rap to the skiers right, always, on the descent gully. there is snow if you rap left Jul 30, 2016
Brice Pollock
Oakland, CA
Brice Pollock   Oakland, CA  
This climb is way over rated. It is one star climbing that makes up for it with five star views. The climbing doesn't even compare with other classics in the same range like Royal Arches. No technique, no flow, almost no cracks and basically a step ladder the whole way. The rock quality is poor, holds are abundant but most holds move and leave you constantly worrying if one will blow.

I took a leader fall exploring left on P8 because the topo said to go left to a non existent crack system that is actually to the right . A hold pulled after testing it and I caught myself after 8 ft on what would have been a 30 ft fall. The other benefit of the poor rock is that pro placements are not abundant. I'm happy for the pitons.

The descent gulley is one of the sketchiest things I have ever done. Steep and loose for 200m until a cliff. Near impossible to not shed rocks if there is a party below.

Took us three hours to the hut, an hour to the base, seven hours on the climb and then six hours to descend in a dark lightning storm.

Linked many pitches 1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11 and finished on 13 alt. Would not recommending linking 5 or 10 due to rope drag. All linking and raps fine with a single 70m.

Like I said, great views but know what you are getting into.

Wrote up my experience here:
bricepollock.com/i-will-nev… Jul 16, 2017