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Routes in El Segundo Buttress

Beckey Route T 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Beckey Route direct start T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Big Chief No Show S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Bird Brain T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Can't Get Here From There T 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Chortle T 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Manipulator, The T 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Press The Eject T 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
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Type: Trad, 750 ft, 5 pitches
FA: Fred Beckey and Mike Heath, March 1971, FFA Dean Hobbs, Will Crljenko, February 1977
Page Views: 10,464 total · 92/month
Shared By: Bruce Willey on Jul 2, 2009
Admins: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Access Issue: Portal Road Closure Details


P-1 start at a left-leaning dihedral which gains a ledge. Negotiate some brush then head up a right-leaning layback, over a small roof (pretty stiff for .7) and to a tree belay stance, flake for anchor.

P-2 Climb up and right to an arete with nice jams and gear to a wild roof move (lieback) and another 20 or so feet to a belay.

P-3 Up and right to a stem/face. Crack comes and go and with it a little run-out. A welcome fixed piton and more moves leads to a bolted belay out right.

P-4 Follow fins up and right to a small bulge. (for some reason, someone put a bolt right where there's some good gear. Nice 3/4 placement) Follow up and right (more bolts?) to a belay at the bottom of a large flake. Fourth class leads to the summit.


Getting down is fine, but do it in the light. Your goal, once getting down sandy ledges and brushy slopes is to aim for a notch to the South. (Think Mountaineers route on Whitney but in reverse) Follow this along the base of the El Segundo Butt and back to your packs.


Gear to 3 1/2.
Travis Madsen
Denver, CO
Travis Madsen   Denver, CO
The bolted belay referred to in pitch three is left of the fixed piton, not right. There are two bolts above a sloping ledge. Oct 18, 2010
Richard Shore
Richard Shore  
P1, as described above and shown in the croft topo, took 2 pitches for us due to rope drag. Liebacking the corner will certainly make it feel harder than 5.7. Jamming it straight in was pretty cruiser. After the crux roof on P2, it is easy to get off-route by following the thin hollow flake up and left to a nice bolted belay. I believe this is part of the route Chortle, 5.10b. Decently protected knob and slab climbing (5.10a/b) leads up and left past 7? or more bolts (1/4" buttonheads, in good condition) to a bolted belay out left. Realizing I was in more difficult terrain, I was able to manage an escape right after 6? bolts to regain the bolted anchor atop P3 of the Beckey Route, on the sloping ledge as described above. The upper pitches have some spicy runouts on 5.8 ground with some route finding; I can't say I'd recommend this one for a noobie 5.9 leader.

All in all, a great outing, varied and classic at the grade. If you start by climbing the Premier Route on the Premier Buttress, it makes for an incredible full day of climbing (~11 pitches). Bring walk off shoes! We didn't, and it sucked bigtime. May 14, 2012
The "button head" on P 4 is a rivet. Sep 25, 2012
Good route, the slab 4th pitch was a nice cherry, save for the rivet! Replace all bolts, place one next to a crack but don't replace the rivet? I wonder the logic. Regardless, thanks for the new bolts, there's a few spicy moves. Jul 8, 2013
Northern NM
Souljah   Northern NM
Todd Townsend
Bishop, CA
Todd Townsend   Bishop, CA
Good route, here's some more info.

P1 - We split this into two pitches as suggested above, since the party before us had brutal rope drag and had to belay below the overhang. This worked fine, but I bet you could do it in one pitch, without too much drag, if you run the rope to the right of the big bushes on the ledge. Depending on your hand size, the corner may be easier to jam, layback, or even face climb to the left in places.

P2 - I thought that the moves around the arete into the small crack were harder/more committing than the roof, but it probably depends on your height and skill set. There is a fixed pin right before the roof and good pro in the roof itself. Make sure you have some finger sized gear for the belay at the end of the pitch.

P3 - Delicate climbing with intermittent pro.

P4 - Either some bolts have been chopped, or the above count is off. There are currently two bolts before the 5.8 bulge, not three. I was able to set a good, tiny brass offset about halfway before the first bolt, which made the runout less scary. After the bulge, there are three bolts and a rivet, not five bolts. I missed the rivet, which is between the first two bolts on this section, and almost blew it big time when a foothold broke right before the second bolt. I was on some flakey holds, a little off-route to the left of the line. You should go up and right from the first bolt to get to the rivet, even though it's steeper, less featured climbing. Hopefully, someone will replace the rivet with a real bolt in the future.

P5 - We came up a little short with a 60m rope and had to do a mini pitch to get to the summit ledge. A 70m would likely reach without any problem.

Descent - We traversed too far left (facing downhill) on the descent and ended coming down a gully between Premier Buttress and the Roadwork Wall. This worked out ok, but it probably would have been better if we had cut back right at some point and found the correct gully between Premier and El Segundo.

All in all, a good adventure and a worthy climb. Oct 17, 2013
Bishop, CA
outdooreric   Bishop, CA
Climbed this in 2005, before the new guide book. On pitch 2 we did the obvious corner to roof traverse that takes off straight above the belay. With micro nuts and nut tool to clean the placements, it takes just enough pro. Goes at about 5.9 PG with the roof being fairly committing.

On P3, we also followed the flake out left and joined the "obvious" line of off-route bolts. Not my best day of route finding. By staying on route next time, it will be like my first time! May 28, 2014
Randy in Ridgecrest
Inyokern, CA
Randy in Ridgecrest   Inyokern, CA
Just did the route - there are 5 real protection bolts total on pitch 4. And the one pretty useless and not necessary rivet.

The climbing is pretty mellow with nice rock. I liked the first pitch best as it actually makes you think in a few places. As mentioned above this pitch is perfectly reasonable as a long pitch to the tree if you don't put pro in way to the left on the ledge. The crack on the second pitch is pretty but over in like two moves of super positive liebacking. You can get small brass nuts in on the first part of the 4th. I think the "5.8" bulge on the 4th pitch is the crux of the climb.

If you get to a cliff on the descent you went down too soon - go back up a move east a little more. Sep 20, 2014
Ian McEleney
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Ian McEleney   Mammoth Lakes, CA
A fun route with great climbing. We found the first pitch to start in a right facing corner, not the left leaning dihedral from the description. It was the flakiest rock of the route but the moves were fun and the pro was good. Like Todd, we broke it into two pitches. Also, as Travis noted, the third pitch belay bolts are to the left of the crack (not the right) a body length or two past the fixed pin. Apr 17, 2015
Cincinnati, OH
Raiden   Cincinnati, OH  
What is the "new guidebook" referenced above? Does anyone have a link or even a title?

Thanks. Apr 23, 2015
See the comments on the main Portal page. One of them mentions the guide and has a picture along with a link.…

As always, the guide has become a little out of date. Pretty good none the less. Apr 23, 2015
Jeremy in Inyokern
Jeremy in Inyokern   Inyokern
Did Beckey with a party of four (Alex Satonik, Nathan Simons, and Jay Beitnes) yesterday May 3, 2015. No other parties in front or behind. We had perfect conditions on this wonderful route. The upper pitches are shabby, if easy, face climbing but the first three/four are high quality and make the route well worth a trip. In fact I may do this once a year from now on. The route beta in the previous posts is spot on save that the bolted belay is out left not right and a 70 meter rope will also leave you just short of the summit. The "runouts" didn't seem that run out to me. If you are a solid 5.9 climber you will have no issues with them. The 5.7 section felt harder than east side 5.7 and gave the route a nice sustained feeling. If you are looking for moderate trad on the east side you cannot do much better than this unless you hike a lot longer. Bang for the buck this route rocks.

Jeremy Walker May 4, 2015
Jan Tarculas
Riverside, Ca
  5.9+ PG13
Jan Tarculas   Riverside, Ca
  5.9+ PG13
If you're a budding 5.9 climber I would stay away from this route. Long run outs especially top of pitch 2. You sling a knob and go about 30 ft till next pro. I sweated fear on some parts of this route. Jun 4, 2017
Drew L
Oceanside, Ca
Drew L   Oceanside, Ca
Great route. Climbing gets nice and exciting for pitches 3 and 4. Jun 19, 2017
Matt N
Santa Barbara, CA
  5.9- R
Matt N   Santa Barbara, CA
  5.9- R
The bolt job on P4 was horrible.
Nothing to protect the belay, and you have to commit to some 5.8 with a sling on a "fin", not knob, and decently runout. Then there's a bolt next to perfect pro, and another bolt higher up AFTER harder climbing and before a very easy low-angle section.
Two of these bolts should be removed, one added lower down from the fin stance, and one to replace the rivet. But that would make sense, which the bolting does not, and we assume was not done for the FA/FFA, just a bad retro job.

Otherwise, fun - great route, and with the bad bolting its more 5.8R than 5.9. Jun 25, 2017
Big Bear City, CA
  5.9 PG13
beantown   Big Bear City, CA
  5.9 PG13
Climbed this route on 6/30/17

P1 I didn't place gear at the ledge and no rope drag issues. flipped the rope over right of the bush, and then just gave slack to the 2nd so she could get up the ledges left of the bush.
P2 Awesome roof move!
P3 nice crack. My partner called this pitch the scrotum of doom.
P4 I didn't have any issues with the 5 bolts nor run outs sections. I moved into 5.9 trad grades several months ago, but I've lead 5.10d sport slab routes so its no issue for me. I think this is a good route for a new 5.9 trad climber if your comfortable on slab. I'd agree with 5.8 PG and not R and defiantly not 5.10x. The bolts could have been better placed though. Also I ran out the 70 meter rope and we did a mini pitch at the end through mostly 4th class. descent was easy to follow.

Awesome climb non the less! Jul 5, 2017
Gilbert AZ
  5.9 PG13
walmongr   Gilbert AZ
  5.9 PG13
Fun route in a great setting!!! Be solid on 5.7 slab 20-30ft above pro. The 2 hard parts 5.8 5.9ish are well protected with gear a little steep spot on pitch 2 and a little steep spot on pitch 4 Sep 23, 2017
Andy Laakmann
Bend, OR
Andy Laakmann   Bend, OR  
Climbed this on May 5th, 2018. Once past the first 40' flaky corner, the rest of the climbing was very good and engaging.

Approach was about 40 minutes... and a solid grunt for the last 25 minutes up the kitty litter.

P1 - We just did a short pitch to the top of the dirty corner. I think linking these pitches would result in EPIC rope drag unless you put in very little gear. Comfy belay on the big ledge.
P2 - 120' of quality granite with a few thoughtful moves for the grade. Nice belay on a tree below the big roof. The gear for the belay is big hand size, but most people would have already placed those pieces Fortunately, there is a PERFECT giant knob to sling along with some finger sized cams to back it up.
P3 - Enjoyable climbing out right and up the arete and then up over the roof. I thought the roof was pretty easy for the grade. After the roof, as mentioned in the other comments, when the crack/flake starts arching left - you should head right and gain a small finger crack. I belayed at the start of this crack. Some nice feet and good gear.
P4 - This was the best pitch on the route IMO. A long, engaging techy/slabby crack with intermittent pro. The pro was all very good and you get it when you need it. Lots of small to big finger sized cams/gear. About 20' past the fixed pin, look LEFT for two anchor bolts. I nearly missed them and it would be very easy to drive right past them
P5 - I definitely clipped five bolts on this pitch... and if you find the path of least resistance the pitch didn't seem particularly scary or runout. Up the fins to the first bolt (which I nearly missed and had already slung a big horn instead). Continue up to the next bolt which is about half way to the steep bulge/crack. Good gear takes you over the bulge and to another both. At the third bolt, start looking slighty right for the path of least resistance. If you charge straight up it'll probably be more exciting then you want :) Two more bolts and I belayed at the base of the big crack.
P6 - 150-200' of 4th class to the top.

Descent: We followed signs of human travel right and a bit up around a big boulder, and eventually spied a cairn at the top of a short gully. Without the cairn it would have taken some exploring... Some easy downclimbing took us to an open area of scree/kitty litter. We worked down about 100' and eventually hard right (after finding another cairn) to gain the hidden gully between the premier buttress and el segundo. The gully was easy descending.

Gear: I was happy to have a double rack of cams from fingers to #3 camalot, and a single #4 camalot. Definitely placed my offset nuts, micro/small cams, and maybe even a small offset cam or two. May 7, 2018

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